No bake Chocolate Eclair Cake is a nostalgic, crowd-pleasing favorite that's made with creamy vanilla pudding, graham crackers, and rich chocolate frosting. It tastes like a classic eclair with none of the work!
Chocolate Eclair Cake
This no bake chocolate Eclair Cake is as simple as could be to make! No oven, no stove, no heat or cooking at all! But it still has all the richness and decadence you'd want in an eclair.
Layers of cool and creamy vanilla pudding in between soft, cakey layers, and topped with a rich and velvety chocolate frosting (that's so quick to make, it's not even funny!).
The hardest part is waiting to eat it!
What is Chocolate Eclair Cake?
Eclair Cake is an icebox cake, which is a no bake dessert made by layering ingredients and chilling in the refrigerator until the layers set and the cookie or wafer layers become cake-like in texture.
Since Eclair cake is inspired by the French chocolate eclair pastries, it has layers of vanilla pudding to mimic the vanilla pastry cream and is topped with a chocolate glaze, just like the original. It has similar flavors as Boston Cream Pie as well.
Can I Eat Chocolate Eclair Cake Right Away?
Nope! It has to be chilled first to set the pudding layers and soften the graham cracker layers. This takes about 6-8 hours or overnight.
Variations of Eclair Cake
There are quite a few fun variations you could try with this icebox cake. Here are a couple ideas:
- Pudding: Use a different flavor pudding instead of vanilla. Some other flavor options are chocolate, banana, caramel, coconut, pistachio, white chocolate, or cookies and cream.
- Graham Crackers: You can also switch up the cracker portion by using chocolate graham crackers, vanilla wafers, chocolate wafers, or shortbread cookies.
- Frosting: A different flavor of frosting can also be used such as vanilla or strawberry, or even something fun like funfetti.
Can Eclair Cake be Made in Advance?
Yes, it should be made in advance because it takes about 8 hours for it to set and soften. For best results and maximum freshness, prepare no more than 2 days before you plan on serving.
Do I Have to Use Whipped Topping?
No, you can use homemade whipped cream. Just whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Then fold it into the filling mixture.
Can You Use Canned Frosting on Chocolate Eclair Cake?
Yes. Instead of the homemade chocolate frosting in the recipe, use one tub of milk chocolate frosting instead. Open container, remove foil wrapper, and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds until soft. Stir and pour over top of cake. Then cover and allow to set in the refrigerator as described in the recipe.
More No Bake Dessert Recipes You'll Love
- No Bake Banana Pudding - another classic family favorite made with layers of pudding, vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and of course whipped cream.
- No Bake S'mores Cheesecake - fluffy no bake marshmallow cheesecake swirled with a rich ganache sitting in a graham cracker crust for all the classic s'mores flavors.
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad - a no bake layered dessert with fresh strawberries on a cheesecake filling with a pretzel crust for that perfect salty-sweet combo.
- Butterfinger Pie - peanut butter filling in a chocolate Oreo crust with Butterfingers mixed in and lots more on top.
- 2 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge - unbelievably easy to make. No one will be able to tell how quick and simple it is to make because it is so darn good.
- 2 packages instant vanilla pudding (3.5 ounces each)
- 3 cups milk
- 8 ounces whipped topping thawed
- 2 sleeves graham crackers
For the Frosting
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4-6 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pudding and milk.
- Fold in whipped topping. Set aside.
- In a 9"x13" baking dish, layer ⅓ of the graham crackers. Spread half the pudding mixture on top, being sure to spread all the way to the edges to seal. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used. (3 graham cracker layers, 2 pudding layers)
- Put plastic wrap over dish and put in fridge for about 30 min to an hour to allow pudding to set.
For the Frosting
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk together to incorporate. Consistency should be like a thick syrup or thin batter. Add milk a tablespoon at a time to thin until desired consistency.
- Pour glaze over cake.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- This cake really is better with time. The 8 hour chill time will allow the graham crackers to soften.
- Frosting: In a time crunch, you can soften store-bought chocolate frosting in the microwave (uncovered without the foil wrapper) and pour over the cake. Although, personally I feel the homemade chocolate glaze is worth the extra couple of minutes.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.
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Claudia Lamascolo says
This is amazing looking I am going to make this tomorrow cant wait to try it !
What a treat! just like my favorite chocolate eclairs but it's a no-bake recipe!
This came out absolutely perfectly! Will definitely make again. Thank you for another winner 🙂
Absolutely delicious every time and always the first dessert to disappear. Thanks for sharing!
Wowowowow! We LOVED this dessert. I'm heavy into the no-bake thing during the summer and this was perfect. Thanks!
This cake was really hard to resist!! Everyone at my house was impressed!
We loved this so much! I love the cake version of this dessert. So delicious and even better than the original eclairs. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
The easiest dessert to make when you're looking to feed a crowd! Made this for a crowd of men who helped us move the furniture in the house and I honestly thought the dish would get licked by them - they loved it so much! I will have to make another one soon, as there wasn't much for me to enjoy 🙂
I made regular pudding instead of instant. Will I be ok?
Yes, that will still work. Instant is just easier, especially in the summer when you're trying to keep the kitchen cool.
Claudia Lamascolo says
I know the family will go nuts over this off to the kitchen to make it!
I've not made an eclair cake in years. It's such a beautiful dessert and this no-bake version is spot on! Perfect for these hot summer nights..cannot wait to make this now.
The Facebook page, Fox11 Living with Amy (a local food TV show) is using your photo without giving you credit.
Thank you for letting me know! ❤
This is the best version of chocolate eclair cake I've ever seen! I love the super thick chocolate topping.
Tayler Ross says
I made this cake over the weekend and MAN was it delicious! This will definitely be our go to dessert from now on!
Amy Nash says
This is my favorite summertime dessert! So delicious, easy, and a total crowd pleaser!
YUM! This looks so delish. I can't wait to try this. Your instructions are really easy to read.
Jean Brown says
Regarding your recipe above.
I'm a little confused about the frosting.
It says to add 1 1/2 cups of powder. Also to says to add 3 1/2 cups of powder sugar.
Do I add in total of 5 cups.
I really want to make this. Please let me know what to do.
Thank you 😊
I am so sorry about this! I changed the recipe my 2nd (or 3rd?) time making it because the frosting consistency wasn't *quite* right. I've fixed the recipe. You should only need 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
Jean Brown says
Making this as I'm typing.
I'll try to send a pic when it's all done tomorrow as I need to keep it in the fridge for 8 hours
Can I use chocolate ganache ( chocolate chips and heavy cream) to top this dessert versus chocolate frosting as listed in recipe?
You can, but keep in mind that it will be refrigerated, so the ganache will be very firm while cold.
These eclairs are a total crowd pleaser!!! Great recipe!!
You were right: the hardest part was waiting to eat it! So worth the wait! This chocolate eclair cake is delicious.
I love that this recipe is no-bake! It's so simple and easy to put together and my kids absolutely loved it. We will definitely be making it again!
I really love the nostalgic taste! So simple and good!
Love this shortcut to a favorite treat of mine.
Joyce Walters Taylor says
I have made this delicious dessert for many years and it always is a big hit!!