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No Bake Eclair Cake


The first time I had an icebox cake, it was actually at a fairly nice restaurant for tapas.  I’m talking about the $16 a plate for 4 meatballs type of joint.  They brought out a crazy embellished stack of chocolate and berries, complete with micro mint lavender strewn prettily all around the borders of the plate.  The verdict?  Good, but I think the bill tipped heavily in favor of presentation more so than anything else.  A couple weeks later, at one of my favorite diners, I polished off my meal with their version of an icebox cake.  Again, the verdict?  Good, but this time it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

The great thing about ice box cakes is that they’re quick, easy, and no bake yet they’re impressive enough to serve guests.  While it sits in your fridge overnight, it morphs into cakey like layers that can be sliced up just like a traditional layer cake that has now fused with every flavor component, making it taste even better as it sits.  There’s good reason that for on-the-fly desserts for impromptu guests, I rotate this with my no bake chocolate peanut butter pie aka my “love me more pie.”  You just can’t beat a dessert you can assemble in 15 minutes from start to finish.

Since this cake is so easy, I always like to whip up my own pastry cream which is also called cream patisserie.  Fancy name, un-fancy preparation.  The homemade custard, especially when folded together with whipped cream, really lends a luxurious body and decadence to the finished product, really elevating the humble ice box cake.  Of course, the generous bath of chocolate ganache doesn’t hurt either.  Each bite possesses the qualities vanilla cake with fudge-y frosting with tangles of tiramisu and eclair flavors.


5.0 from 3 reviews

No Bake Eclair Cake
Prep time

Total time


Serves: 8 x 8 cake

Pastry Cream
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 3 tb cornstarch
  • ⅔ c sugar
  • 2 ts pure vanilla extract
  • 2 room temperature egg yolks
  • Optional: 1 c whipped cream
Chocolate Ganache
  • ½ c bittersweet {or semisweet} chocolate
  • ¼ c heavy cream
  • Optional: ¼ ts instant espresso powder + ¼ ts fine salt
2 sleeves of graham crackers

    1. For the pastry cream, combine all of its ingredients into a bowl. Whisk thoroughly.
    2. Heat low and slow over the stovetop or microwave. In my 1.58 kw microwave, it took a total of 2-3 minutes when taken in short bursts with regular stirring. The pastry cream is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and is thick and glossy. Set aside/chill to cool.
    3. Optional: when cool, fold in whipped cream. Lay cling directly on the surface of the pastry cream so it doesn’t develop a skin and refrigerate.
    4. In a cake pan lined with parchment, line the bottom with graham crackers. Spread the top with cooled pastry cream.
    5. Repeat and end with a layer of graham crackers. {I completed 3 thick layers in my pan}.
    6. For the chocolate ganache, combine everything into a microwave safe bowl and gently heat in short bursts. Stir and allow the residual heat the melt the remaining chocolate bits.
    7. Spread the ganache over the top layer of graham crackers.
    8. Chill overnight to set before serving.

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