Chocolate Eclair Cake will be one of the easiest no-bake dessert recipes you’ll ever make. Plus, one of the most impressive! This cake tastes exactly like a chocolate eclair, it’s incredible!  

Because I love no-bake recipes (especially during the hot summer months) I’ll share some of my favorites:

You can never have too many easy dessert recipes up your sleeve.

A slice of Chocolate Eclair Cake on a white plate.

Let me tell you about this cake.

Graham crackers. That’s the secret. You need lots of graham crackers to make this recipe.

Works like magic

Here’s what happens. First, you layer a fluffy vanilla pudding mixture over top a layer of graham crackers, then top it with a rich and smooth chocolate glaze. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Come the following day as you cut into the cake you will see that the graham crackers have softened and given way to the presence of the vanilla pudding topping.

In addition, the chocolate glaze has firmed up slightly and taken on a thick frosting-like consistency.

So how do you make this mouth-watering dessert? It’s easy, I’ll show you!

A fork cutting into a square slice of Chocolate Eclair Cake.

How to make Chocolate Eclair Cake

  1. In a large bowl beat the vanilla pudding and milk together for 2 minutes, I use a hand mixer for this step but you can use a stand mixer as well. If you don’t have hand beaters use a whisk and stir vigorously. The pudding will be thick after mixing for 2 minutes. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Two side by side photos: Left photo shows a glass bowl with vanilla pudding in it. The right photo is of a spatula mixing cool whip into the vanilla pudding.
  2. Layer graham cracker sheets to cover the bottom of a 9″x13″ inch pan. Overhead photo of a 9x13 inch pan lined with graham crackers.
  3. Spoon half of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers.
  4. Use an offset spatula to level the pudding into an even layer. Vanilla pudding being spread over a layer of a graham cracker lined pan.
  5. Place another layer of graham crackers over the pudding (cutting and shaping the crackers to that the pudding is fully covered).
  6. Spoon the remaining pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Two photos: left photo is of a 9x13 inch pan lined with graham crackers, and the right photo is of the same pan but with vanilla pudding overtop of the crackers.
  7. Place the final layer of graham crackers over the pudding, flat side of the crackers facing up.

Make the Chocolate Topping

  1. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa together (sifting ensures the topping will be smooth and free of lumps).
  2. In a microwave safe bowl add the butter and milk, microwave until the butter has melted. Whisk in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Pour the chocolate topping over the last layer of graham crackers, spread into a smooth layer. A chocolate eclair cake in a rectangular pan topped with a chocolate glaze.
  4. Refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours.

Once the cake has been sliced into, be sure to cover the cake with plastic wrap and continue to store it in the fridge. Will keep for 3-4 days, covered and refrigerated.

Chocolate Eclair Cake Variations

Gluten-free chocolate eclair cake: substitute gluten-free graham crackers for an easy gluten-free dessert.

Sugar-free, low fat chocolate eclair cake: use fat-free Cool Whip, low-fat graham crackers, low-fat milk, and sugar free vanilla pudding for a low calorie no-bake dessert option.

Chocolate Eclair Cake with Nilla Wafers: try using Nilla Wafers in place of the graham crackers.

A square slice of Chocolate Eclair Cake on a plate against a white background.

 Tips for success and FAQ

  • Can you make chocolate eclair cake without Cool Whip? Yes. You can use freshly whipped cream, but the cake will be a softer. But not to worry, you can place it in the freezer for a few minutes prior to serving to help it firm up.
  • Can you make this cake with store bought frosting? Yes. I would warm up the frosting in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to loosen it up so that it spreads easier.
  • I use Honey Maid graham crackers brand. I haven’t tried it with off-brands before. I don’t know if the off-brand graham crackers will soften as nicely as the Honey Maid’s do. Similarly in my Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding recipe I advise the use of the name brand Nilla Wafers.
  • Place the cake in the freezer 20 minutes prior to serving if you want clean cut sides like you see in the photographs.
  • Mix the vanilla pudding for 2 minutes (using a hand mixer, stand mixer, or a whisk). You’ll notice that around 90 seconds the mixture starts to thicken up nicely.
  • Cut and shape the graham crackers to fit.
  • This is a great make-ahead dessert.

Slice of Chocolate Eclair Cake on a plate, with a fork next to the cake.

Slice of Chocolate Eclair Cake on a plate, with a fork next to the cake.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Eclair Cake

This no-bake Chocolate Eclair Cake is magical! It's super simple to make, requires basic ingredients, and tastes just like an eclair! Make this and you won't be disappointed.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Chill Time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 8 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 15 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 2 3.4 oz packages vanilla instant pudding mix - dry
  • 3 1/3 cups milk
  • 12 oz cool whip - thawed
  • 1 14.4 oz package graham crackers

Chocolate Topping

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl beat the vanilla pudding and milk together for 2 minutes. Fold in the whipped cream. 
  • In a 9”x13” inch pan layer graham cracker sheets to cover the bottom of the pan. 
  • Spoon half of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Use an offset spatula to level the pudding into an even layer. 
  • Place another layer of graham crackers over the pudding (cutting and shape crackers so that the pudding is fully covered). 
  • Spoon the remaining pudding mixture over the graham crackers.
  • Place the final layer of graham crackers over the pudding, flat side of the crackers facing up. 

Chocolate Topping

  • In a medium bowl sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  • In medium microwave safe bowl add the butter and milk. Microwave until the butter has melted.
  • Whisk in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar until smooth. 
  • Pour the topping over the last layer of graham crackers, spread into a smooth layer. 
  • Refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours (so the graham crackers can soften). 

Notes

Recipe adapted from Chef-in-Training

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal (15%)Carbohydrates: 47g (16%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 5g (25%)Cholesterol: 22mg (7%)Sodium: 263mg (11%)Potassium: 181mg (5%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 29g (32%)Vitamin A: 276IU (6%)Calcium: 117mg (12%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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