If you like éclair pastries but would love something even more decadent—and perhaps even more cheap!—an éclair cake may be just the thing you’re looking for. It’s the simplest dessert to make, with no baking involved. I make one for my husband’s birthday every year, and this year it’s already half-gone on his birthday (without my daughter and me eating any of it yet!). Here’s how you do it.
1 box graham crackers
2 boxes vanilla pudding
1 container whipped topping
3 cups milk
1 container chocolate frosting
Mix your vanilla pudding packages with 3 cups of milk, then stir in your entire package of whipped cream. Lay a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of a baking dish, then spoon half of your pudding/whipped cream mixture on top. Layer another layer of graham crackers on top of that, followed by another layer of filling. Finish it off with a final layer of graham crackers.
Next, put your icing in the microwave (be sure to remove the lid and foil seal if present!) for just a few seconds to melt; 30 to 40 should work fine. Drizzle this over the top of your cake over and over until the container is empty (or until someone in your house wants to lick the bottom half-inch or so!), then place the whole container in the refrigerator. You should keep it there for at least three hours before serving so it will be a smooth, creamy, firm mixture in cakelike form.
When you cut the cake, it’s so soft that a spoon will generally work; the icing, however, usually hardens so you may want to use a knife first before spooning into a dessert dish. You could also drizzle some sauce or a bit of whipped topping on top of the cake—but it’s pretty awesome as it is.
This cake is a perfect project for kids, since it requires no heat or baking. It’s also a good treat in the winter or the summer, since it’s cold and creamy yet chocolaty. For variations, you can always substitute any flavored pudding you like—Oreo might be very good, and chocolate lovers might want to substitute their favorite chocolate pudding—or even add a few spices. I am thinking a swirl of caramel with some sea salt would be pretty amazing, but my husband likes it this classic way, so that’s how we make it this time of year.
Next summer, however, we may have to include some caramel sauce…