No-Bake Eclair Cake

I’ve been excited about the thought of making this eclair cake ever since I stumbled across it on the Chef-In-Training site a few weeks back. The recipe uses several American ingredients which are tricky to get hold of in the UK, and even when you can get hold of them they tend to be ridiculously overpriced, so I’ve adapted it to ingredients more readily available here, but included notes on the American equivalent. My quantities are different too because of the different pack sizes of the comparative ingredients. Also, I clearly need some practice in the art of cutting perfect looking slices. The picture of the slice on the Chef in Training site looks like this:

Eclair cake from chef

Photo credit: Chef in training site

My slice looks like this:

Eclair cake slice

Seriously, how do you stop everything from dragging downwards when you cut into it? Anyway…

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the main part:

2 packs of vanilla whip dessert, in powder form, Angel Delight type, except that Angel Delight doesn’t come in vanilla flavour so I used Morrison’s supermarket own brand. Each pack was 47g, but I noticed that Angel Delight packs are 59g each, so other brands might vary, doesn’t really matter (Original recipe is 2 x 3.4oz packs Vanilla Instant Pudding mix).

600ml milk, or different amount if your whip packet says something else (Original recipe is 3 1/2 cups milk)

600ml whipping or double cream (Original recipe uses 12oz Cool Whip)

Approximately 36 Ice-cream wafers, these are the type I used:

Ice-cream wafers

(Original recipe uses 2 x 14.4oz packs graham crackers. We are often told that we can substitute digestive biscuits for graham crackers, but I really didn’t think that would work in this particular recipe, so I figured that ice-cream wafers, once softened by sitting in between cream layers, might most closely resemble the choux pastry that is usually used for eclairs).

For the frosting:

6 tbsp/85g butter

6 tbsp milk

2 cups icing/powdered sugar

6 tbsp cocoa

(Original recipe used half those quantities for the frosting, but in the write-up she said that she usually doubles the frosting quantity, so I just went straight for that – why scrimp on the chocolately bit right?).

Was that the most detailed ingredient list you’ve ever read? Just wondering.

WHAT YOU DO:

1. Whip the cream until stiff (tip the bowl upside down and it doesn’t move).

2. Whip the vanilla dessert powder with the milk for about 2 minutes until thick and creamy, then fold it into the whipped cream.

3. Using a pan approximately 9 x 13″, place one layer of single wafers, you’ll need to break them up to fit.

4. Spread half the cream mixture on top.

5. Another layer of wafers.

6. Another layer of cream mixture.

7. A final layer of wafers. This is what my top layer of wafers looked like, rather art deco wouldn’t you say?

Art deco wafers

Place in the fridge while you make the frosting:

8. Melt butter and milk together in the microwave until butter is just melted and liquid.

9. Sieve the cocoa and icing/powdered sugar into a bowl.

10. Pour the melted butter and milk on to the sieved cocoa and sugar and beat well together until smooth and glossy.

11. Pour over the top of the cake and smooth out. Refrigerate.

IMPORTANT NOTE – This really does need to be made the day before to give the wafers enough time to soften in the cream. The original recipe with graham crackers also says to make the day before. I initially made it in the morning and thought it would be fine by the evening, but it wasn’t, the wafers were still quite hard. By afternoon the following day they were better, still a little chewier than I might have wished though, but really not a bad approximation of choux pastry. Next time I might look for thinner wafers as these ones are quite substantial (oh yes, there will definitely be a next time).

If you like eclairs then this really is yummy and very much like eating eclairs, it’s perfect for a party, or if you are bringing dessert to a gathering. Even better if you can work out how to cut neater looking slices than I can! I think I’m going to need to experiment A LOT to perfect the wafer choice, the refrigeration time, and the cutting technique…

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11 responses to “No-Bake Eclair Cake

    • It feels very naughty and indulgent to eat I must say! It’s not overly sweet though which I like, obviously the chocolate frosting is very sweet but the cream filling is only slightly sweetened – I think the original version probably tastes sweeter because Cool Whip is sweetened whereas the cream I used isn’t.

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  1. I’m with Carrie. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
    This looks yummy. ❀ ❀
    I love that you're not afraid to substitute and experiment. The first time I baked anything I had to substitute and I was ticked, (age 13) but it made for adventurous cooking and baking in future.

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    • I love substituting and experimenting, but it’s annoying when it goes wrong, I hate to waste food so I usually try and use it in some way even if it doesn’t work. Thankfully this one did work πŸ™‚ Sorry this still isn’t a hip-friendly recipe though πŸ˜‰

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      • Hop to it, won’t you? My desert of choice is red wine, but once in a blue moon chocolate and creamy things call to me. I have to watch my ****** figure after all. If I don’t, who will?

        I’m sure you’ve never thrown anything out. I once heard a young wife threw a whole roast in the garbage because her husband was late home for supper. I couldn’t sleep for weeks. What a waste.

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  2. It’s probably less the cutting technique – or even the knife used – than it is the structure of the cake itself. I’d guess graham crackers, which are significantly firmer than wafers, allow for a more distinct slicing action. Though, I think you’re right that the wafers better approximate choux pastry. One tip I learned from making sushi is to use a very sharp knife and wet it, just barely, between each slice motion. No guarantees, but that might allow for a more precise cut.
    Of course, presentation only matters for the few seconds before you start eating. After that, who cares? πŸ™‚

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    • I can see how a wet knife might prevent the chocolate frosting from being dragged downwards, that makes sense, and like you say, maybe the wafer texture is less conducive to a neat cut than graham crackers. It was really just for the blog photograph I was worried about presentation, but if I make it again (for guests next time rather than just us at home like this one was!) I might try the slightly wet very sharp knife technique, thanks πŸ™‚

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  3. Running the knife under hot water (and then quickly drying it) might help, too. That’s supposed to help it glide more smoothly and quickly through a variety of textures.

    Your substitutions sound much more tasty than the original. Anything that features Cool Whip is flat and artificial to my taste buds!

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