This scrumptious No Bake Eclair Cake is a snap to make and you won’t believe how delicious it turns out!!!
At my house, dessert recipes are king – the unchallenged, untouched ruler of the kitchen. My cupboard has separate box that is just stuffed full of recipe cards and other assorted cut-outs and such. I absolutely love having a whole slew of dessert recipes ready at my fingertips. And there’s a whole category of those dessert recipes that are both easy and scrumptious. It’s like a dream! This is the best éclair cake recipe I know, and it is one of my favorite recipes in the “easy” and “delicious” category.
If you haven’t yet tried a no bake recipe, this no bake éclair cake is a good one to get started on. Making éclair cake from scratch might sound like a tough job – but this recipe is just about as easy as you could imagine. All it takes is a little elbow grease: mix up the éclair, line a baking dish with a few graham crackers, and whip up the éclair cake frosting.
Sounds simple enough, right? Honestly, the very hardest part of the whole recipe? Waiting for the cake to sit overnight in the fridge.
Easy is key, for me. That’s why I use this recipe instead of some other ones you might find around the web. Cook’s Illustrated has a recipe that is delicious, but it’s pretty complicated – just not quite as easy to whip together as this recipe is. And in terms of final taste… well…
The final taste of this recipe is absolutely fantastic!
It is a rich, creamy, full-bodied vanilla flavor that your guests and family will love. With a few simple tweaks you could make a chocolate éclair cake, but this vanilla recipe is so darn good. I like it far better than chocolate éclair cheese cake or the semi-famous Cook’s County chocolate éclair cake recipe.
I’m also a huge fan of how low budget this recipe is. The ingredients are, for the most part, things that you potentially already have in your cupboards! I would pay big money for a fantastic treat like this at a sit-down restaurant, so I love that I can make it up for cheap in my own kitchen.
And what cook doesn’t love a cheap, easy recipe that makes enough to feed a crowd?
Guests will love this cake, but you don’t want to worry about running out. That’s why this cake is made in a 9 x 13 baking pan, giving you plenty of cake for a potluck or cookout. (But be prepared to be bothered all night by people coming up and asking for the recipe!) And the graham crackers give it a nice density that will make even a small slice satisfying – that’s why I wouldn’t serve this éclair cake without graham crackers. Éclair cake with puff pastry (or some other such thing) just doesn’t fill up like the éclair cake with graham crackers. Do quick search for éclair cake, Paula Deen’s recipe also uses graham crackers!
I’ve found that this chilled cake recipe pairs well with a filling meat recipe – like burgers or steak. Something about the hot, seasoned meat really compliments a smooth, creamy bite of this éclair cake. Give it a try!
Overnight in the Fridge: You may notice the last sentence in the recipe: “Refrigerate overnight.” This is essential – and it’s the hardest part of the whole thing. Waiting overnight. But this recipe for éclair cake absolutely has to sit in the fridge overnight (or for a similar amount of time) so that it can come out right. That time chilling in the fridge is crucial to helping the éclair cake to set up. Plus, during that time the graham crackers soak up some of that creamy cake texture. They become soft and moist, acquiring that fantastic pudding-like texture – everything you want from this creamy cake’s crust.
Speaking of overnight in the fridge, you’re going to want to let the Cool Whip thaw overnight in the fridge before you plan to mix up your eclair cake. This will make the Cool Whip usable, instead of rock-hard frozen.
Going Sugar Free: I love finding dessert recipes that are just as delicious when made with less (or no) sugar. In this éclair cake recipe, you can substitute sugar free mixes without compromising the flavor. Sugar free pudding mix can be used, as can sugar free Cool Whip. The reason this works out is simple: the glaze is pretty sweet on its own, so the difference in taste when using the sugar free mixes is pretty negligible. No one will even know you’ve made their cake a little healthier.
If you do decide to go sugar free, you might also consider using skim milk. The difference in texture is very minimal when going with skim milk instead of whole milk – and it’s got a lot less fat.
Did you know there are low fat graham crackers? Yes indeed. Give those a try as well if you’re really looking to make a low fat/low calorie version.
Glaze: I’m someone who loves homemade frosting. And I know lots of people who have a special homemade frosting of their own. What’s great about this recipe is that you can feel good about using your own homemade frosting in substitution for the glaze. Whatever your favorite frosting recipe is, go for it. I like using the glaze in this recipe because it’s not too heavy – it’s light and deliciously compliments the cake without overpowering the flavor. What I would recommend is that you avoid using a really heavy frosting. That will weigh down a cake that’s designed to be airy.
Variations: For a slightly different flavor, try using banana pudding instead of the vanilla pudding. You end up with a pretty unique éclair cake flavor. While I still prefer the traditional vanilla, this is a nice alternative for a change of pace.
Sliced fruits (like bananas or strawberries) pair very well with this vanilla cake. They add a nice bit of extra flavor in every bit. On an especially hot day, try a few fresh slices of fruit to really cool things off!
Originally Posted on Spend With Pennies
Source: Very slightly adapted fromChef in Training
- Yield: Serves 8-12
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Graham Crackers - 2 (14.4) Ounce Boxes
- Instant Vanilla Pudding - 2 (3.4 Ounces) Boxes
- Cool Whip-Thawed - 8 Ounces
- Whole Milk - 3 1/2 Cups
- Butter - 6 Tablespoons
- Whole Milk - 6 Tablespoons
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 1/4 Cup
- Powdered Sugar - 2 Cups
- Vanilla Extract - 1 Teaspoon
- Line the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch pan with a single layer of grahames crackers, cutting them as need be to cover completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the pudding mix and milk with a hand help electric mixer on medium, for 2 minutes. Fold in the Cool Whip.
- Spread half the pudding mix over the layer of graham crackers, taking care to level the top.
- Place another layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture then spread the remaining pudding mixture over the top. Place a final layer of graham cracker on top, smooth side of the crackers facing up.
- Meanwhile make glaze: In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt butter with milk (doesn't need to boil). Mix in cocoa, then mix in powdered sugar until glaze is smooth. Evenly pour glaze over the top of graham cracker. Refrigerate overnight.