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Chocolate Eclair Cake

If you’re looking for a show-stopping dessert that’s easy to make and absolutely delicious, this chocolate eclair cake is just the ticket. With a creamy vanilla filling, sweet graham crackers, and rich chocolate ganache, this no-bake cake is a dream come true!

a slice of chocolate eclair cake on a white plate

I am a from-scratch baker at heart, but there are a few recipes that are long-time exceptions. This chocolate eclair cake is one of those. While there are versions out there that are just an assembly of shortcut ingredients, this one strikes a balance with store-bought graham crackers and pudding mix along with freshly whipped cream and chocolate ganache. It’s still an easy, no-fuss recipe and undoubtedly one of the best desserts you’ll ever have the pleasure to eat.

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe

  • Easy to make. With simple ingredients and straightforward steps, this no-bake dessert is perfect for both beginner and experienced bakers. No oven required!
  • Crowd-pleaser. This icebox cake is a guaranteed hit at parties, potlucks, and family gatherings. Its impressive presentation and delicious taste make it a favorite for any occasion.
  • Make-ahead friendly. Prepare this cake the day before your event for a stress-free dessert. It needs time to chill and set, so it’s ideal for making ahead.
  • Irresistibly delicious. The classic flavor combination of vanilla and chocolate is elevated in this cake, making each bite a delightful treat that’s hard to resist.
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Why Is It Called Eclair Cake?

This icebox cake is called “eclair cake” because it captures the flavors and textures of a classic chocolate eclair in an easy-to-make, no-bake form. Traditional eclairs are made with a light pastry filled with vanilla cream and topped with chocolate glaze. Similarly, this eclair cake features layers of graham crackers (which mimic the pastry), creamy vanilla pudding filling, and a rich chocolate ganache topping. The combination of these elements gives you all the deliciousness of an eclair without the need for baking or advanced pastry skills.

overhead view of ingredients for chocolate eclair cake

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card below for the full recipe, including ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Instant vanilla pudding mix – While I usually prefer making things from scratch, instant pudding mix works so perfectly in this recipe that I highly recommend using it.
  • Milk – I recommend using whole milk. Other milks will work with varying results, but expect the texture, richness, and possibly the flavor to be affected.
  • Heavy cream – Look for heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. I prefer the taste and texture of fresh whipped cream versus a store-bought whipped topping like Cool Whip. If you prefer that shortcut, you’ll need about 2 cups.
  • Graham crackers – You’ll need a full box for all these layers.
  • Semisweet chocolate – Roughly chop the chocolate so it will melt more easily. I recommend using chocolate bars or discs.
  • Corn syrup – This helps give the ganache topping a better structure that holds up to slicing and serving. You can skip it, but just know that texture will be different and it may be difficult to cut through cleanly.

How to Make Chocolate Eclair Cake

  • Make the filling. Whisk together the pudding mix and milk. Whip the cream and fold into the pudding mixture.
  • Layer. Place graham crackers in a single layer in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the top. Add another layer of cookies, and top with the remaining pudding mixture. Then add an additional layer of graham crackers on top. Cover and chill.
  • Make the ganache. Place the chocolate and corn syrup in a bowl. Heat the cream over medium-low heat until it comes to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate, let sit for 5 minutes, and then stir until smooth. Spread over the chilled cake.
  • Chill. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Tips for Success

  • Use cold ingredients. Make sure your heavy cream and milk are cold before whipping and mixing. This will help achieve the best texture for your whipped cream and pudding mixture.
  • Make even layers. For a uniform look, take your time spreading each layer of pudding mixture evenly over the graham crackers. An offset spatula can be very helpful for this.
  • Arrange the graham crackers efficiently. Align the graham crackers as closely as possible to avoid gaps. Breaking them to fit the edges will help create more solid layers as well as a neat and tidy appearance.
  • Simmer the cream. Make sure to heat the cream until it just begins to simmer, not boil. Overheating can cause the cream to separate, affecting the smoothness of your ganache.
  • Get clean slices. Be sure to chill this icebox cake in the refrigerator before serving. Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry before each cut to help slice through the layers cleanly.
a slice of chocolate eclair cake on a white plate with two more slices and the remaining cake in the background

Variations and Serving Suggestions

  • More chocolate. Add some chocolate shavings or a drizzle of white chocolate over the ganache just before serving.
  • Graham cracker variants. For something a little different, use chocolate graham crackers or cinnamon graham crackers.
  • Filling variants. Try chocolate pudding, butterscotch pudding, cheesecake pudding, or another favorite instead of vanilla.
  • Berries. For a bit of colorful garnish, serve your eclair cake with fresh berries.
  • Whipped cream. Add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream when serving for another layer of decadence.
  • Nutty crunch. Sprinkle a layer of finely chopped nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans) between the pudding and graham cracker layers for added texture and flavor. Or add some chopped nuts on top of the ganache.
a fork cutting into a slice of chocolate eclair cake on a white plate

How to Store

Cover your chocolate eclair cake or place smaller portions in airtight containers. Refrigerate up to 4 days. Beyond a few days, the graham crackers become too soft and the overall quality diminishes.

Can This Dessert Be Frozen?

I don’t recommend freezing this eclair cake, as the texture doesn’t hold up that well and the ganache may not look its best. However, the flavor shouldn’t be affected. If you do want to freeze it, be sure to wrap it well and seal it in an airtight container that’s freezer-safe. Properly stored, it should keep in the freezer up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

a slice of chocolate eclair cake with a bite missing from the front corner

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Yield 16 to 20 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 15 minutes

This Chocolate Eclair Cake is a no-bake delight with layers of graham crackers, creamy vanilla pudding, and rich chocolate ganache. Easy to make and perfect for any occasion!

a slice of chocolate eclair cake on a white plate with more servings in the background


For the cake:

  • 2 (3.4-ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 & 1/2 cups (828ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (236ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (14.4-ounce) box of graham crackers

For the ganache:

  • 9 ounces (255g) semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup (158ml) heavy cream


  1. Whisk together the pudding mix and milk. 
  2. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whip the cream to stiff peaks. Fold into the pudding mixture.
  3. Place a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Break them as needed to fit well.
  4. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. 
  5. Repeat the layers, and add another layer of graham crackers on top.
  6. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  7. Place the chocolate and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl. 
  8. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat just until the cream comes to a low simmer. Pour over the chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes. Then stir until smooth.
  9. Spread the ganache over the top layer of graham crackers. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving. 

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    2 Comments on “Chocolate Eclair Cake”

  1. Can you halve this recipe by using an 8#8 pan?

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