When I was living in Wisconsin I stopped by the Viroqua Food Coop on a very regular basis to get a quick meal from the hot bar. One of my favorite desserts was their individually sized Chocolate Eclair Cake, and I could almost always find a reason to justify why I deserved this treat. I haven’t been able to have it in a long time, so I decided it was time for me to figure out how to make this icebox cake for myself!

The standard version of this cake calls for layers of instant boxed pudding, frozen whipped topping, and a can of prepared chocolate frosting. This from-scratch version takes a few more minutes to prepare, but it’s still a simple process. Graham crackers alternate with layers of homemade vanilla pudding lightened with whipped cream, then topped with a thick chocolate ganache. The pan chills in the fridge for several hours to allow the pudding to set up and the crackers to soften slightly, resulting in a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.

If you are the kind of person who thinks the graham cracker crust is one of the best parts of a cheesecake or pie (like me!) consider doing thinner layers of pudding so you can add one or two more layers of graham cracker.

Chocolate Eclair Icebox Cake
Chocolate Eclair Icebox Cake
Print Recipe
The standard version of this cake calls for layers of instant boxed pudding, frozen whipped topping, and a can of prepared chocolate frosting. This from-scratch version takes a few more minutes to prepare, but it's still a simple process.
Servings Prep Time
20 people 45 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Servings Prep Time
20 people 45 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Chocolate Eclair Icebox Cake
Chocolate Eclair Icebox Cake
Print Recipe
The standard version of this cake calls for layers of instant boxed pudding, frozen whipped topping, and a can of prepared chocolate frosting. This from-scratch version takes a few more minutes to prepare, but it's still a simple process.
Servings Prep Time
20 people 45 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Servings Prep Time
20 people 45 minutes
Passive Time
8 hours
Ingredients
Topping
Servings: people
Instructions
Make the Pudding
  1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Slowly add the milk and stir with a whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook and stir until the mixture has thickened and large bubbles appear on the surface, about 4-6 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, at least two hours.
  3. Stir the water and gelatin together in a small microwave safe bowl and let sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave for approximately 15-30 seconds until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is bubbling around the edges. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip 2 cups of cream on medium-low speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the gelatin mixture and whip until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add one-third of the whipped cream to the chilled pudding and gently stir to combine. Gradually fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set aside.
Make the Topping
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Warm 1 cup of heavy cream in the microwave or on the stovetop until hot, but not boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for several minutes, then gently stir to combine the melted chocolate with the cream. Set aside to cool slightly while you assemble the rest of the eclair cake.
Assemble the Cake
  1. Place one layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan, breaking crackers as necessary to ensure the entire base is covered. Spread half of the pudding mixture evenly over the crackers. Repeat with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding. Add the last layer of crackers to the top, then pour the chocolate ganache over the top in a thin, even layer. (You could also make thinner pudding layers in order to add one or two more graham cracker layers, if desired.)
  2. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. The cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Recipe Notes

If you are the kind of person who thinks the graham cracker crust is one of the best parts of a cheesecake or pie (like me!) consider doing thinner layers of pudding so you can add one or two more layers of graham cracker.

Adapted from Cook's Country.

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