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When you see how this Creamy Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe turns out, you will be dying to take a bite. With everything you love about this classic dessert, this eclair cake recipe will blow you away. This ultra decadent cake is made up of a vanilla pudding filling, creamy whipped topping, and finished with a chocolate sauce drizzle. Talk about delicious. This is one cake that you'll want to serve on those extra special occasions.
This recipe requires a few steps, 3 separate recipes, and timing. But, by planning your work carefully, this is a spectacular cake. The pudding can be made 1 day ahead, the chocolate sauce up to 3 days ahead, but the dough should be made the day you intend to make and serve the cake. After assembly, the cake should chill for at least 1 hour before serving, but it is best served the day it is assembled.
Chilling Time1 hr
Cooking Time18 min
Cooking Vessel Size9 x 13-inch bake dish
- For Elcair Dough
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup eggs (about 4 large)
- For Eclair Filling
- 1 3.4 package French Vanilla instant pudding mix plus ingredients called for on the pudding package
- 1 container whipped topping
- For the Chocolate Sauce Topping
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To Prepare Eclair Dough:
Combine water and butter in a 4 quart heavy saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Once the butter has completely melted, add the flour and stir well. Continue to stir over medium heat for 2 minutes - it is important to cook it the entire 2 minutes so that the flour will cook completely. The dough will stick to the sides of the pan and then form a ball keep stirring and cooking.
After 2 minutes, remove from the heat and place dough in bowl of an electric mixer allow to cool about 5 minutes. Then, with the machine running on low, add the salt and eggs, one at a time with time in between each addition. The dough will change in appearance from looking like scrambled eggs to a shiny batter. Continue to beat for about 2 minutes until it pulls away from the bottom or sides of the bowl.
It now can be used for the base of the clair Cake, or to make Cream Puffs or Eclairs.
Make the pudding according to package directions and chill. May be used immediately or chilled, covered up to one day before assembling cake. Thaw whipped topping in the refrigerator for 4 hours before assembling cake.
Chocolate Sauce Topping:
In a 1-quart saucepan over medium high heat, combine milk, butter, and salt and bring it to a boil. Combine the sugar and cocoa powder and stir to avoid any lumps, then add to the pan and continue to stir with a whisk until it boils and is thickened, at least 2 minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon when thickened - it will continue to thicken as it cools.
Remove to a small bowl and cover and chill 1 hour before using. Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week - bring to room temperature and stir before using.
To make Cream Puffs or Eclairs:
Place dough into a pastry bag with a -inch tip, or into a zip-top bag and cut off -inch on one corner. Squeeze the bag of dough into mounds for cream puffs or into 4-inch long strips for eclairs.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and bake 12 15 minutes for cream puffs or eclairs (depending on size), or for 15-18 minutes for cake base. The tops should no longer look wet and they should look lightly golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off. Use a paring knife to prick a hole in each cream puff/eclair to allow steam to escape. *This step is not necessary for the cake base.
Return the pan to the oven with the heat off, leave the door ajar and allow to cool to room temperature.
Spoon vanilla pudding or a home-made pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a -inch plain or star tip. Insert the tip into the same hole you made with the knife when the puffs came out of the oven. Fill the puffs/eclairs and serve immediately, drizzled with chocolate sauce topping. If not serving immediately, keep puffs uncovered in the refrigerator up to 5 hours. (Covering tightly will cause them to soften).
To Assemble the Eclair Cake:
Spread the dough into a greased 9 x 13-inch bake dish, pushing it into the corners and up to the sides.
After the base has cooled completely, spoon prepared pudding into the center, smoothing evenly and pushing to the edges. Top with the whipped topping, again smoothing evenly and swirling in a decorative pattern. Drizzle with about 1/3 cup of the chocolate sauce. Cover cake lightly with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour before serving.
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