This cream puff cake recipe was shared with me back in high school by a friend’s mom. It’s one of my favorite desserts, with all the tastiness of a cream puff and way less work! I’ll walk you through the steps of making a traditional choux (pronounced “shoe”) pastry for our base. Then, we’ll top it with a quick cream puff filling that’s essentially creamy vanilla cream cheese pudding.

If you’re interested in more pastry recipes that don’t take too much time, try my Puff Pastry Apple Turnovers or my Blueberry Danish recipe. Or, try your hand at another French classic with my Red Velvet Macarons.

A square slice of homemade cream puff cake made with a cream puff crust and vanilla pudding and whipped cream topping, on a gray plate.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy cream puff cake. This cream puff dessert is essentially a giant cream puff made in a sheet pan. I guess you could call it a cream puff sheet cake! Cooking one big cream puff instead of individual cream puffs saves time. Plus, instead of making a custard filling from scratch, the cream puff filling is made with vanilla pudding and cream cheese – also a time saver.
  • Perfect for any occasion. This elegant and easy cream puff dessert would be a hit at a baby shower, wedding shower, or even a birthday celebration – cream puff birthday cake anyone?

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter: This is one of the few times when I’ll tell you it doesn’t matter if you use salted or unsalted butter. 
  • Water: Butter and water is whisked together in a pan and brought to a boil. Weird, right? I know. Just trust the process.
  • All-purpose flour: We’re using all-purpose flour in our cream puff pastry because it’s a great flour to bake with. You can use cake flour for cream puffs, but I wouldn’t recommend it with this recipe since I have not tested it with cake flour. 
  • Eggs: Eggs are key for choux pastry to help provide it with both structure and lift. Plus, the egg yolks will give our pastry a nice golden color. 
  • Pudding mix: Instant pudding mix is one of my favorite shortcuts ever. I used vanilla pudding for a more classic cream puff filling flavor, but feel free to think outside the box with other pudding mixes. Why not strawberry cream puff cake? Or banana cream puff cake? Chocolate cream puff cake? Coconut cream puff cake? The possibilities are endless!
  • Cream cheese: The combination of vanilla pudding with cream cheese helps the cream puff filling have more structure, so it doesn’t spill all over the place.
Cream Puff Cake recipe ingredients on a white marble table: instant vanilla pudding packets, cool whip, cream cheese, eggs, milk, water, butter, flour, and chocolate syrup.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Prep your pan and oven. Preheat your oven to 400℉ and spray a 10×15 jelly roll pan (a sheet pan with tall sides) with cooking spray.
  2. Combine water and butter. It isn’t quite mixing water with oil, but it’s close – add ½ a cup of butter and 1 cup of water to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Add flour. Once the butter-water mixture is boiling, add 1 cup of all-purpose flour to the saucepan and mix well. The flour mixture should start to pull away from the sides of the pan until a smooth ball forms. Once it reaches this stage, remove it from the heat and allow it to stand 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs. Add 4 eggs one at a time. Use a hand mixer to beat your dough well after each additional egg.
A black saucepan with butter, flour and water mixed, then cooked and the mixture forming into a ball. Bottom left image is an egg added to the mixture and being mixed in.
  1. Bake. Spread your pastry onto your prepared jelly roll pan and bake 25-28 minutes in your preheated oven, or until puffy and golden brown. Remove pastry crust from the oven and allow to cool completely. 
  2. Make filling. In a large mixing bowl, beat together 8 oz of softened cream cheese, 6.8 oz instant vanilla pudding mix (two 3.4 oz boxes), and 3 cups of milk. Mix until there are no lumps and the cream puff filling is smooth.
Four photos top left is cream puff batter in a jelly roll pan, top right photo is baked cream puff cake baked in a pan, bottom left is milk and instant vanilla pudding mixture in a bowl, bottom right is instant vanilla pudding and cream cheese mixture in a glass bowl.
  1. Add filling to crust. Pour the pudding mixture over the top of the cream puff crust. Allow cream puff cake to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Add whipped cream. After the cream puff base and filling have chilled for 20 minutes, spread on 8 oz whipped topping. You can use either 8 oz of Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream on top. After adding the whipped topping, refrigerate for at least another hour. 
  3. Decorate, slice and enjoy. Just before serving, drizzle chocolate sauce over the top, or sprinkle on mini chocolate chips. Enjoy!
A sheet pan cream puff case topped with a cream cheese vanilla pudding, then whipped topping, and then swirled with chocolate syrup.

Recipe Tips

You can use either whipped cream or 8 oz of Cool Whip. To get roughly 8 oz of homemade whipped cream, start with 1½ cups of cold heavy cream. Add powdered sugar to taste – start with 1/4 cup or less. You can also add optional vanilla extract.

Make sure to use just the instant pudding powder – don’t make the pudding beforehand.

Experiment with cream puff filling recipes. If you want to go the extra mile and make pastry cream from scratch, go for it! For more cream puff filling ideas, try different flavoring extracts, pudding flavors, or even cream cheese alternatives, like ricotta or mascarpone. 

Go crazy with toppings – fresh fruit like berries would be scrumptious, or maybe caramel sauce in place of chocolate sauce.

To make this cream puff cake more like an eclair, skip the whipped topping and top the cream filling with a chocolate ganache instead.

Allow your crust to cool completely. Adding the moist filling to the pastry while it’s still warm will cause it to get soggy more quickly.

If you’re having trouble with mixing the cream cheese and milk, allow both ingredients to sit until they come to room temperature. It doesn’t take long. They won’t spoil and will be easier to mix together.

Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezing

Make Ahead: This cream puff dessert recipe can be made up to 24 hours in advance. If you want to keep the whipped cream topping looking nice, wait to spread it on top an hour before serving. Put any other toppings on right before serving.

Storing: The easiest way to store this cream puff dessert is in its pan covered with plastic wrap. You can also put slices in an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for five days.

Freezing: The crust for this cream puff cake can be made, baked, and frozen for up to two months. Do not freeze the cream cheese-pudding filling, as this will ruin the texture.

A photo of cream puff cake in a baking sheet, topped with cool whip and chocolate syrup.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the difference between French, Italian, and Polish cream puffs?

Cream puffs have been around since the 1500’s, which is wild! And while we associate them with France and French pastry, it appears they were actually introduced to France by Catherine de Medici – of Italy! However, there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference between cream puffs in any of these countries today.

What’s another name for cream puffs?

In Europe, cream puffs are commonly referred to as profiteroles.

What is cream puff filling made of?

Cream puff filling varies – it can be as simple as whipped cream only, or a cooked pastry cream, or pastry cream mixed with whipped cream. For this easy cream puff cake recipe, we use pudding mix and cream cheese to make a thick cream filling.

Overhead photo of the best cream puff cake on a gray plate resting on a tan and blue striped linen napkin.

More Easy Desserts

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a star rating and review or scroll below the recipe card and do so there. 

Stay up-to-date by following us on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Overhead photo of the best cream puff cake on a gray plate resting on a tan and blue striped linen napkin.
Print Save Review
No ratings yet

Cream Puff Cake

This cream puff cake is easier to make than traditional French pastry cream puffs. We use a choux pastry and bake it in a small baking sheet, then top it with a cream cheese vanilla pudding and frozen whipped topping.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup butter - salted or unsalted butter is fine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 oz cream cheese - softened
  • 6.8 oz instant vanilla pudding - (2- 3.4 oz boxes) INSTANT vanilla pudding
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 oz cool whip - or homemade whipped cream
  • chocolate syrup - for drizzling overtop (or mini chocolate chips)

Instructions
 

  • Spray a 10”x15” jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 
  • Add butter and water to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the flour and mix well. The mixture should come away from the sides and form into a ball. Once it does, remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs, one at a time. Using a hand mixer, beat well after each egg. 
  • Spread into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. 
  • In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, instant vanilla pudding and milk until smooth and no lumps remain. Pour overtop of the cooled cream puff crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Then top with cool whip (or homemade whipped cream) and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. 
  • Just before serving, drizzle chocolate syrup over the top, or mini chocolate chips. Enjoy! 

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 32g (11%)Protein: 7g (14%)Fat: 19g (29%)Saturated Fat: 11g (55%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 112mg (37%)Sodium: 284mg (12%)Potassium: 176mg (5%)Fiber: 0.5g (2%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 712IU (14%)Calcium: 128mg (13%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Did you make this recipe?Leave a star rating and review on the blog post letting me know how you liked this recipe! Take a picture and tag @saltandbaker on Instagram and Facebook so I can see what you’re making!