Éclair Cake

When I was in high school I decided to learn to speak French. I signed up for French class and I proceeded to learn how to say, well, not a lot. I can easily say “I don’t know” and “Where’s the beef?” Other than that, I don’t know much French. That probably has something to do with how often I skipped class in favor of a long lunch break.

Even back then, food was important to me. Even cafeteria food. Our school had the best chicken sandwiches, baked potatoes, and salad bar around. Seriously. I sometimes dream about those chicken sandwiches.

Anyway, French class wasn’t high on my list of priorities, except for the one or two times a year when we had a food day. Each student had to bring in enough food for the rest of the class and the food had to be, you guessed it, French food. And, no, our teacher wouldn’t allow us to bring in French fries from McDonald’s. I asked.

Each food day, I made this same dessert. It’s sort of an éclair, which is totally French, only this éclair is decidedly not French at all. It’s still tasty as all get out, though, and I still make it every now and again and pretend that I’m wandering around Paris asking people where’s the beef.

Before I share the recipe, I should go ahead and apologize. Last week I told you all how I do my best not to purchase a bunch of processed, boxed foods and this week I’m sharing a recipe where not one thing is made from scratch. Whoops!

You could, if you were really ambitious, make the graham crackers, whip cream, vanilla pudding, and chocolate frosting from scratch. I don’t, though. I just use store bought and totally lose my own grocery game for the week!

The pudding does magical things to the graham crackers and this turns out perfectly sweet and decadent without being overly rich.

Éclair Cake

  • 1 package Graham Crackers
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz) instant French Vanilla pudding
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 16 ounces chocolate frosting

In a large bowl, mix together the pudding mix, Cool Whip, and milk. Beat well.

Arrange graham crackers in a single layer on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Pour half of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Add another layer of graham crackers and pour remaining pudding on top. Add the final layer of graham crackers and spread with chocolate frosting. You may need to soften the frosting up a bit in the microwave to help it spread easily.

Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

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31 Responses to “Éclair Cake”

  1. genesis April 19, 2010 @ 10:12 am (#
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    i forgive you for buying boxed stuff :)

    im really gonna make this tonight. i have a friend who had knee surgery and this seems like just the right stuff to dull the pain ;)

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  2. Em. April 19, 2010 @ 10:17 am (#
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    Dang it, woman, now I want eclairs … like the ones I ate from the little boulangerie in Grenoble when I lived in France. Mmmmm custard, my dearest friend. Ooooh, and the petite cerises … and the fruit tartlets … and the baguettes.

    It’s going to be a long afternoon …

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  3. Barbara April 19, 2010 @ 11:23 am (#
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    Super job, Karly! I love this…it’s easy to put together and makes such a great presentation. Who cares if you used packaged products once in a while?

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  4. Michelle April 19, 2010 @ 3:46 pm (#
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    I’ve had this bookmarked for ages and haven’t gotten to it yet. Thanks for the reminder. Looks yummy.

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  5. Memoria April 19, 2010 @ 6:33 pm (#
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    Well, even though it has processed foods, it looks delicious. Thanks for sharing this lovely cake and your cute story. I wish I would have taken French at an earlier age! Now I want to know how to say “Where’s the beef?” LOL!

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  6. grace April 20, 2010 @ 4:07 am (#
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    this is a treat that my family has all the time–birthdays, holidays, wednesdays, it’s a winner. i like to use a richer, ganache-type frosting, but i have no doubt that a tub o’ pillsbury would be just as tasty. the best part is that it gets better day after day, IF you can keep from eating it all immediately. :)

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  7. TaraTakesCake April 23, 2010 @ 1:10 am (#
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    i love making everything from scratch and avoiding processed foods too….but this looks RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. i want to make this ASAP. i know my family will judge me until they take the very first bite!! i am sure it is as delicious as your pictures look

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  8. sandra April 23, 2010 @ 1:11 am (#
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    Cake is my favorite!I like all kinds of tastes.But i cannot do that at home.

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  9. carey April 23, 2010 @ 1:35 am (#
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    I have made this several times and it is AMAZING! I truly love this recipe! It does strangely taste a lot like an eclair. A real crowd pleaser.

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  10. Tupper April 23, 2010 @ 10:52 am (#
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    Very cool- you know and I know how personally satisfying it is to make things from scratch. But during the workweek recipes like this are great- I’m saving this one- Thanks abunch!

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  11. Cookie April 23, 2010 @ 11:28 am (#
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    Eclairs are so yummy and this cake seems so easy to make!

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  12. Chris M. April 23, 2010 @ 1:30 pm (#
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    I’ve made this before but I’ve always wondered if using chocolate graham crackers or even cinnamon. Any thoughts?

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  13. BethieofVA April 24, 2010 @ 11:06 am (#
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    This IS the best stuff isn’t it? My late mom used to make this for all our family functions. I need to make it again, soon.

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  14. Regan April 24, 2010 @ 6:30 pm (#
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    OMGosh… I had totally forgotten this recipe. I used to make it years ago and loved it! So glad I found your blog (thru foodgawker) and noticed this recipe!

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  15. Ashley April 27, 2010 @ 7:38 pm (#
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    Yummmmmm who cares that this isn’t totally homemade – it looks SO good!

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  16. Sarah April 28, 2010 @ 2:00 pm (#
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    I just found you through TK and make your granola bars (added flax seed and sunflower seeds to use ‘em up…awesome by the way, and I’ve tried lots!)
    This eclair looks so good. Reminds me of a dessert I had when I lived in Brazil…so good!

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  17. Rick May 18, 2010 @ 6:07 am (#
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    This is my kinda recipe! Just layer everything together.

    bittersweetsugarandsarcasm.blogspot.com

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  18. Cherine May 18, 2010 @ 8:25 am (#
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    This is irresistible!

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  19. Holly May 18, 2010 @ 2:10 pm (#
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    Tried my hand at some real French baking recently and this may be more my speed. It sounds delicious and kid friendly!

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  20. Erin @ One Particular Kitchen May 19, 2010 @ 5:41 pm (#
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    This looks so good!! This will definitely be appearing on a table near me soon. :)

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  21. YiMay July 14, 2010 @ 10:23 pm (#
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    do you have a recipe for chocolate frosting?

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  22. Bob February 19, 2011 @ 7:34 pm (#
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    I don’t often make desserts, but this was easy! $11.70 total (includes all ingredients, 1/2 gallon of 2% milk)

    Thanks Buns!

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  23. sylvia November 3, 2011 @ 11:22 am (#
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    i made this last night for a little get together at my moms house, everyone was in LOVE! i used regular vanilla pudding and cinnamon graham crackers since that what i had on hand, but it was awesome!!! everyone asked me for the recipe!! love your blog!!

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  24. Kerri February 5, 2013 @ 12:54 pm (#
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    I made this for superbowl Sunday and it was a huge hit! I personally don’t like cool whip and I absolutely loved this! It’s so much better the second day, but there wasn’t much left ;)

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  25. Stephany April 17, 2013 @ 6:59 am (#
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    I tried this Chocolate Eclair recipe and it is GOOD. Since the recipe was so easy, I allowed my daughter to make it. It was practically gone by the next day. We kept going back in the fridge to get more. A great recipe when you want to prepare a quick dessert for dinner or anytime. ENJOYED THIS – REALLY ENJOYED THIS!!!!!!!! :)

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    Karly Reply:

    So glad to hear that! :)

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  26. rose April 21, 2013 @ 12:20 pm (#
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    For a more adult taste, I soaked the graham wafers into a mixture of coffee/kahlua (or use any other liquor combination)

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  27. Nonnie April 25, 2013 @ 2:11 pm (#
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    I make this, but instead of frosting I use choc. fudge ice cream topping just microwave it for a few seconds & its ready to spread on the crackers

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  28. Linda May 5, 2013 @ 10:58 am (#
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    Oh my! I love eclairs, I have to try this sounds so easy. Thanks.

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  29. Mary April 15, 2014 @ 10:54 pm (#
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    I have made the recipe with all chocolate ingredients, including witn chocolate

    I have made the recipe with all chocolate ingredients, including withing chocolate Cool Whip. The recipe was eaten within one afternoon. It was soooo good.

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