Our No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake recipe features triple chocolate flavor! Changes the old standby eclair cake into a rich and decadent dessert. Usually, the first dessert that’s gone at potlucks!
I’m not exactly sure how the original eclair cake got its name. Some people say it is because it tastes like an eclair.
It does not taste like a true eclair with pate a choux, but it is pretty darn close, with about one-fourth of the work required for a true eclair.
This layered no-bake dessert gets its flavor from three chocolate ingredients.
Chocolate graham crackers, fluffy chocolate filling, and a chocolate fudge topping are enough to satisfy any chocolate lover!
Chocolate graham crackers should be easy to find at any local market.
If for some reason you can’t find them, regular or honey graham crackers can be used as a replacement.
The graham crackers will not fit perfectly into a standard pan.
Break them into pieces and fill in any large gaps. Make sure that the pudding is spread all the way to the edges of the crackers.
I find that alternating the directions of the whole cracker sheets by layer helps the finished dish to hold together more like a cake when it is completed.
Additionally, you may need more crackers to fill the pan for the upper layers. Using a glass pan with rounded edges, like I did, will leave some gaps on the edges.
You can avoid these gaps by snapping off bits of crackers to fit. I don’t do that because the crackers do not break evenly and it looks like a mosaic on the sides.
I struggle to get the crackers to break evenly at the lines designed for breaking as it is.
Regular instant chocolate pudding mix is used in the recipe. Sugar-free pudding mix can be substituted, I have used it successfully.
The pudding is not made with the full amount of milk the package directions call for, so it makes a thicker pudding. I do not know how to substitute homemade pudding for the box mix.
Regular chocolate or chocolate fudge pudding is great in this recipe. Chocolate fudge just adds even more richness. I bet the new Godiva Chocolate Caramel Pudding would be heavenly in this recipe.
Note: You can see some lumps in my pudding mixture. I didn’t use a whisk, that would have taken care of most of the lumps.
I was moving pretty slow trying to take some process shots. The finished product was fine.
In fact, there was none left and I suspect my guests might have licked the pan if I had not been watching.
So, if you have some small lumps it too will still be fantastic and chocolately!
(Crackers have been placed over the large gaps.)
If your goal is to use homemade pudding, you will need 3 cups of a thicker pudding. Something about the consistency of a pie filling.
Additionally, I have substituted skim milk for the whole milk and used it with regular pudding, as well as sugar-free pudding and had no issues.
Some boxes of pudding mix state the pudding will not set up with soy milk. I have not tried any version of this dessert with soy, almond or coconut milk so I cannot comment on those substitutions.
I would imagine though that if you are able to make any of those substitutions with success when making a bowl of pudding, it would be fine in this chocolate eclair cake recipe too.
You could make your own whipped topping.
Dream Whip is always a good way to get the perfect whipped topping.
The texture of the finished product may be slightly softer than using whipped topping.
Alternatively, 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream can be used to make a homemade whipped cream.
Sweeten and stabilize homemade whipped cream with 3 to 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar.
The homemade whipped cream will not set up as firm as a commercial non-dairy whipped topping.
I use a can of chocolate fudge frosting that has been slightly melted in the microwave for my topping.
I like the flavor and of course the ease-of-use.
Using melting frosting will not leave a smooth top. You will see the outlines of the crackers.
A smoother top can be achieved by frosting the top as you would any other cake. It’s a lot more work though since those crackers are going to want to slip around on the pudding.
For those of you opposed to canned icing, we have a solution for that.
In a small saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of butter 3 tablespoons of water and heat over medium-low heat until but has melted.
Add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and whisk until no lumps remain.
Remove from heat and add enough powdered sugar, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups, to make a pourable icing.
This icing will also show all of the nooks and crannies on the top of the chocolate eclair cake.
Short on Time?
When made as directed this needs at least overnight in the refrigerator and preferably at least 12 hours for the graham crackers to become softened.
If you need a dessert sooner than that, dip the graham crackers in a bowl of milk for a few seconds before placing it into the desert.
This will speed up the softening of the crackers. I would still give this some time in the refrigerator though to allow the filling to set up a bit more.
Chocolate Eclair Cake
- 2 3.9- ounce boxes instant chocolate pudding
- 3 cups milk
- 8 ounces frozen dessert topping thawed
- 14.4 ounces chocolate graham crackers
- 16 ounces chocolate fudge frosting
- In a medium-size bowl, mix both boxes of chocolate pudding and milk with a whisk until it begins to thicken.
- Add dessert topping and mix with a spoon until it is well combined and the color is even. Set aside.
- Line a 9 X 13 pan with a layer of chocolate graham crackers, break the crackers as necessary to fill in large gaps.
- Spread half of the pudding mixture over the layer of crackers.
- Place another layer of crackers over the pudding mixture in the pan. Again, breaking the crackers as necessary to fill in large gaps.
- Place the last half of graham crackers over the pudding. The top layer may require more crackers than the other layers depending on the type of pan used.
- Heat the frosting in a microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Continue until frosting is a pourable consistency.
- Pour frosting over the top layer of graham crackers as evenly as possible. It should spread on its own, but if it does not just use a butter knife or an off-set spatula to cover all of the graham crackers.
- Place in refrigerator for at least 12 hours for best results.
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