Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No Bake Recipe: Eclair Cake

Sometimes I get in the mood to bake and there is nothing that will stop me, well, except for a lack of ingredients or a scorching 100+ day. 

Other days, I crave dessert but I just don't feel like going through the process of measuring and mixing and scooping and fitting into cupcake liners. If you have any days like that, this is the perfect recipe for you!

The first time I had chocolate eclair cake was at Shaun's parents house for Christmas. I'm not much of a regular eclair or Bear Claw or even cake type person so I took my small slice hesitantly. 

What I was expecting was the typical custardy filling with a "chocolate-flavored" frosting on top. Boy do I hate artificial chocolate flavor!

But to my surprise and delight, the eclair "cake" wasn't much of a cake at all. There were no spongy layers or bright colored frosting that made me gag at every childhood birthday party (including my own).  This cake is cool, soft, delicate yet rich in flavor. Pretty much everything I needed at that exact moment.

Luckily I was able to recreate that recipe so I don't have to wait for that one time of year when it is served during the holidays!

If you're looking for a recipe that is perfect for those days you'd like to leave the oven off, I suggest you try this. Even if you're not a chocolate lover you'll appreciate the flavors that go into this beauty!

What you'll Need
Box of Graham Crackers (I used the basic honey flavor, but cinnamon might be delicious too!)
2 packages of French Vanilla instand pudding
1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip (fridge temp)
3 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
9x13 baking dish
small to medium saucepan

The other wonderful thing about this recipe is that you might already have all these things on hand. At most you might have to go out and spend $2 on the instant pudding or Cool Whip but otherwise you've got an in-stock pantry dessert ready to go!

What you do

1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix up your pudding mix and 3 cups of the milk. 

Once this is smooth and free of lumps, fold in your cool whip and mix until completely blended

2.  Butter your baking dish and add one even layer of graham crackers to the bottom. It doesn't have to be perfect!

3. Gently spread 1/2 of your pudding mixture onto those graham crackers being sure not to overlap the graham crackers in the process. 

Rub this layer with the back of a spoon or a spatula until smooth.

4. Add another layer of graham crackers and repeat with the other half of the pudding mix.

5. Finally top of with a layer of graham crackers. This is the only layer that I like to focus on to make sure everything is even.

6. In your saucepan heat your 1/4 cup milk, sugar and cocoa over medium-high heat allowing it to boil for 1 minute. Make sure you whisk or stir while it is cooking so it doesn't burn!

7. Remove pan from heat and add butter and vanilla. Continue to whisk until evenly combined. Allow this to cool for several minutes.

8. Before the chocolate topping solidifies, pour over top of the last layer of graham crackers and distribute evenly. You can use a spoon or spatula to smooth over the cracks and crevices. 

9. Allow this to cool in the fridge for at least an hour or until the chocolate topping has set. 

10. Enjoy! This cake only gets better with time, so make sure to leave it in the fridge for a couple days and come back to it when the graham crackers have soaked up all that french vanilla goodness.

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