Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe

Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

The best eclair cake recipe! A delicious eclair filling sits between two layers of homemade choux pastry topped with a rich, from-scratch chocolate frosting. Chocolate eclair cake is a special dessert, perfect for any occasion. 

a piece of eclair cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it


I did something pretty great – I took our famous homemade eclairs (recipe created by my mother-in-law and enjoyed for decades) and turned them into the best eclair cake ever.  Which means that you get the amazing taste and texture of eclairs without having to make, fill and frost individual shells – a total time saver. 

In this chocolate eclair cake recipe, a delicious eclair filling sits between two layers of homemade choux pastry topped with a rich, from-scratch chocolate frosting. This chocolate eclair cake is a special dessert for any occasion, along with this delicious tiramisu recipe! Yum!

piece of eclair cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it

Eclair cake: Ingredients & Substitutions

Let’s chat about the ingredients as well as possible substitutions in the components of this eclair cake recipe – choux pastry, eclair filling and chocolate frosting. 

Choux Pastry

NOTE: You can substitute store-bought puff pastry or even graham crackers for this layer if you want to make this eclair cake recipe even easier. However you will lose the special touch of a homemade crust. 

  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter can be used instead if desired. 
  • All-purpose flour. use unbleached all-purpose flour for the best results. I don’t recommend making substitutions. 
  • Fine sea salt. regular table salt can be used in place of sea salt. 
  • Eggs. No substitutes here – make sure they are at room temperature. 

Eclair Filling

  • Heavy whipping cream. heavy cream also works but  no other substitutions can be made, as we are whipping this to form stiff peaks. 
  • Powdered sugar. You can make your own if you wish, but don’t leave this out. 
  • Instant French vanilla pudding. While you can substitute instant vanilla pudding – I don’t recommend it. The french vanilla is what makes the eclair cake filling so delicious. 
  • Whole milk. You can substitute 2% milk, but nothing with a lower fat content. 

Chocolate Frosting

Once again, you can substitute store-bought frosting to make this eclair cake recipe easier, but nothing beats homemade.

  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter can be used instead if desired. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. Use high-quality varieties for the best flavor. 
  • Whole milk. You can substitute 2% milk, but nothing with a lower fat content. 
overhead photo of the ingredients in this Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe

How to make Eclair cake

This eclair cake recipe has 3 components that each take time to make but aren’t very complicated. Follow the step-by-step instructions below if you have any questions,a nd don’t forget to watch the video. 

Make the Puff Pastry (AKA: Choux Pastry) 

Once the eclair filling is chilling in the fridge, it’s time to make the pastry layers! Instead of making shells like in our eclair recipe, this eclair cake calls for two layers of pastry. One is baked directly in the pan and one is baked on a separate baking sheet to use at the top.  

Make the panade

The first step in making Choux pastry is making a panade, which is just a starchy thickener. To do this, start by melting butter, salt and water together. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Once the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and whip it with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Transfer it from the hot pan to the bowl of a standing mixer to cool.  The panade needs to cool before the eggs are added so they don’t cook when they hit the hot dough!   

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Once the dough is cooled, beat the eggs in one at a time until the batter is smooth and thick. 

If the batter is not thick enough to hold its shape when spread into the pan, you will need to add more flour. I have had to adjust the amount of flour if my eggs are larger than normal and my batter comes out too thin! Add 1 TBS at a time as needed. The dough should be slightly runny, but still hold its shape when spread into the pan. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Prepare the baking pans

Trace the bottom of an 9×13” baking pan on a piece of parchment paper, then put the parchment paper on a separate large baking sheet. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Spread about 1 ¼ cups of batter into the rectangle traced on the parchment. Leaving about a ½” border from the edge.

Spread the remaining batter in an ungreased, 9×13” baking pan (the one used to trace onto the paper). Spread it on the bottom and up the sides slightly.

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Bake

Bake the pastry layers for 15-25 minutes, or until set and very slightly golden-brown. NOTE: The pastry layer on the parchment paper/baking sheet will bake faster (in about 15 minutes) than the bottom layer in the glass baking dish (25 minutes) so watch them carefully. 

Once baked, remove the pastry layers from the oven and gently press down any air bubbles formed.  Then, transfer the rectangle from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool and let baking pan cool completely.

Once cooled, trim the puff pastry layer made for the top to fit the top of the cake. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Make the Eclair Cake Filling

While the pastry layers are baking and/or cooling, make the eclair cake filling. Begin by mixing together the French vanilla pudding and milk, then let the mixture chill in the refrigerator until it becomes thick (about 5 minutes).

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Combine the whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and whip on high speed until firm peaks form and hold their shape.

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Fold the pudding and whipped cream mixture together, then set aside in the refrigerator while you make the frosting. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Make the Chocolate Frosting

While the pastry layers are baking and/or cooling, make the chocolate eclair cake frosting.  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat butter vanilla and sea salt until fluffy (about 60-90 seconds).

Add 1 cup powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat until combined.

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Once combined, add the remaining powdered sugar and milk and beat until light and fluffy. Then, set the frosting aside and leave at room temperature for easy spreading.

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Putting together the Eclair Cake

Now that you have made all three layers, it’s time to put this eclair cake together. 

First, spread the filling in an even layer into the cool puff pastry base in the 9×13” pan. Then, place the top layer over the filling, and trim off any excess so it fits well. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Eclair Cake

Next, spread the chocolate frosting over the top of the cake and in an even layer.

Chill the chocolate eclair cake

Chill the assembled eclair cake for at least 6 hours, or overnight. 

overhead photo of Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe in a baking pan

Serve

Cut into squares of your desired size and serve. I recommend removing the eclair cake from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving just so the frosting softens up a little, but that is not necessary. 

Store

Store any leftover eclair cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Freeze

You can also freeze this chocolate eclair cake in two ways: 

  1. Freeze the entire cake. Make the entire cake and instead of chilling in the refrigerator, wrap it tightly or place a lid over the 9×13″ baking pan and put it in the freezer. The day before you are ready to serve, transfer the eclair cake to the refrigerator to thaw.  I did this for my daughter’s birthday. She requested this eclair cake as her dessert, so I made it about 2 weeks ahead of time since my due date was the day before her birthday and I wanted to be prepared. So I froze it and it worked out so well. 
  2. Freeze individual portions. If you have leftovers, cut them into individual portions, place them spaced out on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer to harden. Once frozen, wrap in plastic wrap and transfer the pieces to an airtight container to freeze for up to 2 months. 
piece of Chocolate Eclair Cake on a plate

Eclair Cake FAQs

How long does eclair cake last?

This recipe lasts for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

Yes! You can make it the day before you plan to serve it and store it covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. You can also make up to 2 months in advance and store it in the freezer.

piece of Chocolate Eclair Cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it

If you make and love our recipes, it would mean so much to me if you would leave a comment and rating! And don’t forget to follow along with us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Youtube – be sure to tag @joyfoodsunshine and use the hashtag #joyfoodsunshine so we can your creations!

Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe

Laura
The BEST eclair cake recipe! A delicious eclair filling sits between two layers of homemade choux pastry topped with a rich, from-scratch chocolate frosting. Chocolate eclair cake is a special dessert for any occasion.
5 from 15 votes
Course cake, Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Servings 24 Servings
Calories 283
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Chilling6 hours
Total Time6 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Eclair Cake Filling:

Pastry layers:

Chocolate Frosting:

Instructions 

Make the Eclair Filling

  • Mix together the French vanilla pudding and milk. Set aside in the refrigerator until it becomes thick (about 5 minutes).
  • Combine the whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and whip on high speed until firm peaks form and hold their shape.
  • Fold the pudding and whipped cream mixture together.
  • Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Make the choux pastry layers:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trace the bottom of an 9×13” baking pan on a piece of parchment paper, put the parchment paper on a separate large baking sheet, set aside.
  • Add water, salt and butter to a 4-quart saucepan. Heat water salt and butter to boiling. Continue to boil the mixture until the butter is melted.
  • Add the flour to the saucepan all at once and whip with wooden spoon. Mixture will form a ball in middle of the pan.
  • Transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer to cool for about 5 minutes stirring to cool faster.
  • Add eggs one at a time beating thoroughly on high speed for 15-30 seconds between eggs. Batter should be easy to spread but not liquidy.
  • Spread about 1 ¼ cups of batter into the rectangle traced on the parchment. Leaving about a ½” border from the edge.
  • Spread the remaining batter in an ungreased, 9×13” baking pan (the one used to trace onto the paper). Spread it on the bottom and up the sides slightly.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15-25 minutes, or until set and very light golden-brown – the top layer on the parchment paper will bake faster (in about 15 minutes) than the bottom layer in the glass baking dish (25 minutes).
  • Remove from oven and gently press down any air bubbles formed.
  • Transfer the rectangle from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.
  • Let baking pan cool completely.

Make the Chocolate Frosting

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat butter vanilla and sea salt until fluffy (about 60-90 seconds).
  • Add 1 cup powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat until combined.
  • Add remaining powdered sugar and milk and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Set aside and leave at room temperature for easy spreading.

Assemble the Eclair Cake

  • Spread the filling in an even layer into the cool puff pastry base in the 9×13” pan.
  • Trim the puff pastry layer made for the top to fit the top of the cake and place it on top of the filling.
  • Spread the chocolate frosting over the top of the cake and in an even layer.
  • Chill for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  • Cut into square pieces and serve.

Video

Notes

Store

Store any leftover eclair cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Freeze

You can also freeze this recipe in two ways: 

  1. Freeze the entire cake. Make the entire cake and instead of chilling in the refrigerator, wrap it tightly or place a lid over the 9×13″ baking pan and put it in the freezer. The day before you are ready to serve, transfer the eclair cake to the refrigerator to thaw.  I did this for my daughter’s birthday. She requested this eclair cake as her dessert, so I made it about 2 weeks ahead of time since my due date was the day before her birthday and I wanted to be prepared. So I froze it and it worked out so well. 
  2. Freeze individual portions. If you have leftovers, cut them into individual portions, place them spaced out on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer to harden. Once frozen, wrap in plastic wrap and transfer the pieces to an airtight container to freeze for up to 2 months. 

Ingredient Substitutions

Choux Pastry
NOTE: You can substitute store-bought puff pastry or even graham crackers for this layer if you want to make this eclair cake recipe even easier. 
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter can be used instead if desired. 
  • All-purpose flour. use unbleached all-purpose flour for the best results. I don’t recommend making substitutions. 
  • Fine sea salt. regular table salt can be used in place of sea salt. 
Eclair Filling
  • Heavy whipping cream. heavy cream also works but  no other substitutions can be made, as we are whipping this to form stiff peaks. 
  • Instant French vanilla pudding. While you can substitute instant vanilla pudding – I don’t recommend it. The french vanilla is what makes the eclair cake filling so delicious. 
  • Whole milk. You can substitute 2% milk, but nothing with a lower fat content. 
Chocolate Frosting
You can substitute store-bought frosting to make this eclair cake recipe easier, but nothing beats homemade.
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter can be used instead if desired. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. Use high-quality varieties for the best flavor. 
  • Whole milk. You can substitute 2% milk, but nothing with a lower fat content. 

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 683IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

If you like this recipe, try these: 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through a link you clicked on here, I receive a portion of the sale. Thank you for supporting JoyFoodSunshine! 




latest recipes

Post a Comment or Ask a Question!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. I love that you’re using homemade whipped cream. I make a version of this where the chocolate frosting is mascarpone cheese whipped with cocoa powder, powdered sugar and whipping cream. It’s to die for. Thanks for the post!

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe but you didn’t say how much of each ingredient you are to use. Can you update for me please.

  3. Your cake looks delish, I am going to try making it, I wondered if you could tell me how many cups after adding all the ingredients of the filling it makes, as I would prefer not to use the instant pudding mix, not that there is anything wrong with using that, I just like making it from scratch. I’m going to make this for my son-in law for his birthday, he loves eclairs!
    Thanks
    Bridget

  4. I made this recipe and it was delicious!! My choux pastry came out slightly dense and tasted very “eggy.” Wondering if there are any tips on what I could do to improve that? (an online search wasn’t very helpfu.) Thanks!