What Is a Chocolate Eclair Cake?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A delicious, ice cold, square cake, chocolate eclair cake is a popular pudding based treat. The cake consists of layers of graham crackers, a vanilla flavored sweet filling, and a cocoa based finish. No baking is required to make this cake; instead, preparers refrigerate the dessert until it sets and is ready to serve.

Chocolate may be shaved as a garnish for a chocolate eclair cake.
Chocolate may be shaved as a garnish for a chocolate eclair cake.

When making the chocolate eclair cake, a layer of graham crackers is placed at the bottom of the dish. A layer of the sweet filling is placed next. These layers alternate until the dish is filled with three to four layers, with the final layer consisting of one last row of graham crackers covered with chocolate icing. The filling is usually made by mixing vanilla pudding, milk, and whipped topping.

Some people crush their graham crackers prior to using them in the layers of a chocolate eclair cake, which can make the cake tastier, depending on personal preference. However, this can make the cake messier to cut and serve. Topping the dessert with shaved chocolate, fruit, or other garnishes is another popular way to serve the cake, though none of these are necessary.

Once the chocolate eclair cake is constructed, it should set in the refrigerator for a minimum of twelve hours before serving, though some recipe times vary. This must be done to ensure that the cake is solid enough to cut and serve. Without setting, the graham crackers will also fail to soften, keeping them hard and crunchy instead of providing them with the softened, cake like consistency that they attain through refrigeration and prolonged contact with the moist filling.

Square baking dishes are usually the easiest containers in which to build a chocolate eclair cake. A clear baking dish can display the pretty, appetizing layers of the dessert for those who wish to present it to guests before it is served, though an opaque dish will work just as well in terms of the final product. Smaller desserts in individual ramekins or other containers are also possible, if the preparer breaks the graham crackers to fit.

To reduce the caloric content of the cake, nonfat milk and fat free whipped topping may be used in the recipe. Some chefs also enjoy adding additional flavoring agents, such as cinnamon. Though some cooks maintain that the icing should be homemade, an inexpensive store bought frosting will work fine. Those who do not enjoy chocolate may use a vanilla frosting or any other flavor of their choice.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


@Bhutan - Yum that sounds so good. It is so easy and enjoyable to bake that I don’t know why most people don’t do it. I think that a homemade chocolate cake from scratch tastes better than any chocolate éclair dessert that you would buy in a bakery.

I rarely go to the bakery, and the only thing that I usually buy is the bread. I love Cuban bread and really don’t know how to make it from scratch. I especially love it when it is hot and they are taking it out of the oven.


I love chocolate éclair cake. I wanted to say that I have a recipe for a banana split cake that is delicious. It is made in a similar fashion to the chocolate éclair cake but it is a little different. You crush some graham crackers together in order to make the bottom of the cake.

You also add a half a cup of sugar and butter and mix as you coat the bottom of the pan. Next, you combine two packages of soften cream cheese and a can of pineapple that is drained and crushed.

The next layer is vanilla pudding with a mixture of two cups of milk with two cups of whipped topping. Then you add about four bananas divided in half and place another layer of whipped topping garnished with some pecans and additional bananas.

You then chill it for about five hours and it is fabulous. It is a nice refreshing dessert especially on a hot summer day.

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