Easy Chocolate Eclair Cake

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This easy no-bake Chocolate Eclair Cake is a classic Midwestern dessert. Made with graham crackers, pudding, whipped topping, and chocolate frosting, in comes together in about 10 minutes plus chilling time.

Slices of no-bake Chocolate Eclair Cake on white plates with forks.


 

Chocolate Eclair Cake is an old fashioned sheet cake that requires no baking and is reminiscent of a chocolate coated, creamy eclair. Made for generations, this cake is always one of the most popular desserts at any potluck, so I thought it deserved a revisit.

You don’t have to be a baker to layer graham crackers with pudding and whipped topping, and then slather everything in rich chocolate frosting.

Overnight, the refrigerator does all the hard work for you, softening those layers into a perfectly sweet, creamy, chocolatey cake that tastes like you worked much harder than you did.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Chocolate Eclair Cake.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Instant vanilla pudding: If you prefer from-scratch, unprocessed food, you could make Homemade Pastry Cream to use instead of the pudding.
  • Whipped topping: Or substitute Homemade Whipped Cream for the frozen whipped topping.
  • Chocolate frosting: I warm my tub of prepared frosting in the microwave for 20 seconds, then stir. It spreads much easier. Feel free to substitute Homemade Chocolate Frosting if you prefer that.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk until smooth.
Vanilla pudding in a clear bowl with a whisk.
  1. Fold in whipped topping.
Pudding and cool whip whisked in a clear bowl.
  1. Line bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with a single layer of graham crackers, breaking some if necessary to fill the layer. Pour half the pudding mixture over the crackers and spread evenly. Top with another layer of crackers. Pour the remaining pudding mixture over the second layer of crackers and top with a third layer of crackers.
Layering graham crackers on top of vanilla pudding for eclair cake.
  1. Carefully spread the frosting over the top layer of graham crackers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
A pan of Chocolate Eclair Cake with a slice missing so you can see inside.
  1. Serve chilled and store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
Someone sticking a fork into a slice of Chocolate Eclair Cake.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe yields one 9-inch by 13-inch Eclair cake. Your actual servings vary depending on how you cut the slices, but I usually aim for 20 pieces.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The crackers continue to soften in the best way possible (I personally prefer this cake after it sits for at least 24 hours).
  • Make ahead: The cake can be made up to 2 days in advance; the graham crackers continue to soften but that’s a good thing.
  • Freezer: To freeze Eclair Cake, wrap it tightly in a double layer of foil and plastic. Label, date, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator.
Four slices of chocolate eclair cake on plates.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance do you make Chocolate Eclair Cake?

Give this cake at least 8 hours, but those who have infinite amounts of patience make it 2 days in advance. The crackers continue to soften as the dessert sits, but this isn’t a bad thing at all.

Can you make Chocolate Eclair Cake without Cool Whip?

This recipe is definitely not from scratch, but if you would rather use whipped cream folded into the pudding instead of the topping, that is absolutely fine.

Can you make Chocolate Eclair Cake with canned frosting?

Yes, you can. Really, store-bought chocolate frosting really works for this cake! I warm my tub of prepared frosting in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir, then spread. It spreads much easier.

Can Chocolate Eclair Cake be frozen?

If you’re aiming for picture-perfect cut squares of cake, it helps to freeze the cake before cutting. But if you need to freeze this cake, wrap it tightly in foil and store in a zip-top plastic bag to store in the freezer. It should keep well up to two months. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator.

More no-bake sweets

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Slices of no-bake Chocolate Eclair Cake on white plates with forks.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

This easy no-bake Chocolate Eclair Cake is a classic Midwestern dessert. Made with graham crackers, pudding, whipped topping, and chocolate frosting, in comes together in about 10 minutes plus chilling time.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling time 8 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 203
5 from 214 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
  • Line bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with a single layer of graham crackers, breaking some if necessary to fill the layer. Pour half the pudding mixture over the crackers and spread evenly.
  • Top with another layer of crackers. Pour the remaining pudding mixture over the second layer of crackers and top with a third layer of crackers.
  • Carefully spread the frosting over the top layer of graham crackers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Serve chilled and store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Instant vanilla pudding: If you prefer from-scratch, unprocessed food, you could make Homemade Pastry Cream to use instead of the pudding.
  2. Whipped topping: Or substitute Homemade Whipped Cream for the frozen whipped topping.
  3. Chocolate frosting: I warm my tub of prepared frosting in the microwave for 20 seconds, then stir. It spreads much easier. Feel free to substitute Homemade Chocolate Frosting if you prefer that.
  4. Yield: This recipe yields one 9-inch by 13-inch Eclair cake. Your actual servings vary depending on how you cut the slices, but I usually aim for 20 pieces.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The crackers continue to soften in the best way possible (I personally prefer this cake after it sits for at least 24 hours).
  6. Make ahead: The cake can be made up to 2 days in advance; the graham crackers continue to soften but that’s a good thing.
  7. Freezer: To freeze Eclair Cake, wrap it tightly in a double layer of foil and plastic. Label, date, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 3gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 195mgPotassium: 137mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 69IUCalcium: 66mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. I opted for the homemade pastry cream, whipped cream, and chocolate frosting (her recipes are awesome). I made only a half batch of the creams and a quarter batch of the frosting, then put together a “micro” version of this. I didn’t have any graham crackers so I used Bahlsen cookies and I might always have to do that from now on because it was perfection. I can’t believe how much I liked it. This micro-batch made a serving the perfect size for my husband and I to share.5 stars

    1. That sounds absolutely delicious, Marisa! Making every component from scratch is wonderful, I’m so glad you both loved them. (The Bahlsen cookies… I’ll be trying them for my next batch, yum!) – Meggan

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