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Small Batch Chocolate Éclair Cake

by on November 20, 2010 · 18 comments

If you’re in the midst of holiday prep and just want an easy, relaxing, dessert that the kids can help make, here’s one of our family’s favorites. You probably already know this recipe, but I took such a good picture of it I had to post it again. May I present to you, Le Chocolate Éclair Cake, which everyone knows is just so much better than the sum of its parts. Since I have a lot of other desserts coming up next week, I made the small version and used an 8 inch square dish. Most recipes are double this and made in a 13×9 inch dish.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Update: I’ve modified this recipe a bit over the years and now use only three layers of graham crackers as opposed to the four (pictured).

Small Batch Chocolate Éclair Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate Eclair Cake made in an 8 inch square dish using 1 box of pudding
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box of Jell-O instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (2%)
  • 1/2 of an (8 oz) tub Cool Whip or you could use 1/2 cup whipping cream, sweetened with some powdered sugar
  • 1/2 a box graham crackers or however many you need to make 3 layers
Chocolate Icing
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of warm milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  1. With a hand-held mixer or whisk, beat together pudding mix and milk for about 2 minutes. Pudding should start to thicken. Fold in the whipped topping or freshly whipped cream.
  2. Break the graham crackers into squares and lay them across the bottom of an 8 inch baking dish. You’ll need to break some of them to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread the pudding mix across the graham crackers. Layer on more graham crackers and more pudding mix twice so that you have a total of 3 layers of graham crackers and two layers of pudding mixture.
  3. To make the icing, beat the butter, cocoa powder and sugar together, then add milk and beat until creamy and smooth. Beat in vanilla.
The photo is of eclair cake made with a total of four layers of graham crackers, but lately I've been making it with 3 layers total.

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Published on November 20, 2010

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Chicken on the Green November 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm

This is my absolute favorite dessert- you are so right that it is so much better than the sum of its parts! Thanks for posting the “small version.”

Jeanette November 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Love this dessert, especially after it “ages” a day or so. Your photo of it is gorgeous~

Cheryl November 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm

It is amazing how versatile Jello products are. I’m using sugar-free instant vanilla pudding along with pumpkin, spices and cool whip for a lo-cal dessert after Thanksgiving. Perhaps I will layer it with graham crackers.

Michelle November 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Thanks for posting a scaled down version of this recipe. I tried the large version for the first time this past Easter and it was a hit. This size will be perfect for small families.

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie November 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Just right for those in a hurry dinner and desserts when you want something everyone will ooh and ahh over without the fuss and muss. I like to think when I bake I’ll do it from scratch. And usually that’s true.

But let’s be honest – there are moment’s in every cook’s life when it’s just not realistic to start sifting and all and mess up the whole kitchen. Great idea!

Linda J. November 20, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Yum, I’m thinking a simple homemade chocolate ganache for the top and we’re good to go! Thanks for the recipe.

the blissful baker November 20, 2010 at 11:20 pm

yum, this looks decadent and delicious!

Amy at TheSceneFromMe November 21, 2010 at 7:03 am

Fantastico! Anything that has the same name as a doughnut or would resemble its taste is a must in my food book. I will be trying this recipe soon!

Kathy November 21, 2010 at 7:29 am

I cant eat chocolate so the pumpkin idea sounds pretty good. What do you think would be a good topping?

Tiffany November 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

I make a version of this with Nutter Butter cookies. Yum!

Anna November 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

Kathy, if you like pumpkin you might want to see if your grocery store has the pumpkin flavored Jell-O pudding mix. I looks like it’s a seasonal product, but I saw it and *almost* bought it to make a pumpkin flavored eclair cake. In the end, I opted to go for our old favorite, but I think this same recipe made with pumpkin pudding and topped with either chocolate (though not in your case) or vanilla frosting with a touch of cinnamon mixed in would be great.

Stephanie@PlainChicken November 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

I LOVE this stuff!! I haven’t made it in years. I think I need to make for the holidays.

Debbi November 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Hi!!! This cake sounds awesome, but I am looking for something to bring for the holidays, so need the full size recipe. Do I just double it, or can someone let me know the website for the fullsize one. I did a search for it but nothing came up.

Mackenzie@ The Caramel Cookie November 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Oh my gosh Anna! This was my all-time favorite dessert that my mom used to make for me! Her recipe used sour cream but I had to stop eating it since I couldn’t find a good lactose-free replacement for it. This recipe looks great and I can make it lactose free! You rock!!!!

Chef Pants November 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm

this looks really delicious, This was my all time favorite dessert, Still my mouth is melting to seen this delicious,thanks for share it.

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm

This looks amazing! Hope you are doing well! Alison

Annette January 11, 2014 at 10:38 am

Its amazing how such simple ingredients make such an amazing desert ! Thanks for posting the family size recipe !

Anna January 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

Glad it’s useful, Annette! My husband likes this so much he requested it as his birthday cake.

Also, it does freeze well if you are making it for two. One little trick is to line the square pan with plastic wrap, assemble in the plastic wrap lined pan, chill, freeze, then lift from pan and slice into squares while frozen. Let the squares thaw in the refrigerator and keep the remainder frozen and tightly wrapped.

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