Old Fashioned Chocolate Eclair Cake

This post contains links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. We appreciate your support!

Old fashioned chocolate eclair cake is a classic potluck party dessert made from vanilla pudding, graham crackers, and topped with chocolate frosting. Once it has chilled, it gets an amazing texture that tastes just like a chocolate eclair!

A serving of chocolate topped no bake vanilla pudding torte with graham crackers on a blue plate.

If you've been to any baby or bridal shower in the midwest, there's a good chance you've encountered this chocolate eclair cake, or chocolate eclair torte as my family always called it.

This fancy-sounding dessert takes just 10 minutes to prep and can be done days in advance of your party.

It tastes even better the longer it chills because the graham crackers turn into a cake-like texture you'll swear tastes just like a chocolate eclair.

Popular at church picnics and at potluck parties: you'll quickly understand why it's a hit once you try a bite.

Why This is the Best Recipe

Old fashioned desserts, like the kind you often see on a church dessert table or at a potluck party, are some of the easiest and most delicious desserts ever.

I think this is the best old fashioned chocolate eclair cake recipe because:

  1. Easy Pantry Ingredients: As long as you've got fresh milk on hand, you can keep all the ingredients to make this no bake dessert in minutes right in your pantry or freezer!
  2. Just 10 Minutes: Mix the pudding and assemble the torte. This dessert takes just minutes to pull together.
  3. Make Ahead Friendly: You can prep the entire chocolate eclair cake in advance, up to 2 - 3 days if you keep it covered in the fridge.
  4. Cool, Creamy, and So Delicious: My family went wild for this easy dessert. It would be such a quick busy week treat to serve as a special surprise.


The ingredients to make a no-bake chocolate eclair torte are on the counter.

All you need to make a chocolate eclair torte is:

  • Graham Crackers: Believe it or not, this is what gives the "cake" texture!
  • Instant Vanilla Pudding: I used French Vanilla-flavored pudding since this is a chocolate eclair-inspired dessert. Do not buy the Cook and Serve pudding, this trick only works with instant pudding.
  • Whipped Topping: I keep a tub of Cool Whip in my freezer all the time.
  • Milk: I used regular 2% and it worked great. Fat-free milk would work just fine, too.
  • Chocolate Frosting: You'll need a tub of prepared chocolate frosting. This is one instance where I wouldn't recommend making the frosting from scratch since you'll need to heat it in the microwave so it becomes pourable.

Prepare the Vanilla Pudding

Start by whisking together the instant pudding mixes and milk.

Beat them together for 2 minutes or until smooth and slightly thickened.

Then scrape the entire tub of whipped topping into the pudding bowl and gently fold them together.

The mixing bowl has the vanilla pudding with the cool whip on top.

Assemble the Chocolate Eclair Cake

Set out a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Lay the graham crackers neatly in a single layer over the bottom of the dish.

Notice how I had to arrange the crackers and even break one into a smaller piece to make them all fit correctly and cover the entire bottom of the dish:

The graham crackers have been laid down in an even layer on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish.

To assemble the dessert, you'll spoon half of the pudding mixture over that first layer of graham crackers. Spread it evenly.

The graham crackers and pudding are layered in the dessert.

Then lay a second layer of graham crackers over the pudding. (Photo 3 above.)

Spoon the remaining half of the pudding over the top and spread it evenly. (Photo 4 above.)

How to Top with Chocolate Frosting

Lay a third layer of graham crackers on the very top of the pudding torte.

By now, it is much easier to arrange the crackers to cover the top of the dish.

Open up the frosting tub and remove the foil that covers the frosting. Heat it up in the microwave for 15 - 30 seconds so that it becomes pourable.

The step by step photos show how to frost the torte with chocolate frosting.

Pour the frosting over the top and spread it into an even layer.

Chill the dessert for at least 8 hours so that the graham crackers can soften from the moisture from the pudding and get their amazing cake-like texture.

Make Ahead Tips

The 9x13-inch baking dish filled with chocolate eclair cake.

You can make the entire chocolate eclair cake up to 3 days in advance if you store it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.

I don't recommend freezing it, the texture of the pudding could become watery as it thaws.


I love this easy no bake dessert just as it is, but there are a few delicious variations you could make:

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Torte: Add fresh strawberries on top of the chilled frosting.

Mini Chocolate Chip Torte: You could add mini chocolate chips to the pudding layers for texture and more chocolate.

Reverse Chocolate Eclaire Torte: You could use chocolate pudding and a vanilla frosting on top if you'd like to reverse the flavors.

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Torte: You could use a cheesecake-flavored pudding instead of the vanilla.

Chocolate Banana Cake: You could use banana-flavored pudding mix instead of the vanilla.

Serving Suggestions

A serving of chocolate eclair cake on a blue plate.

I made this chocolate eclair cake for my family during a busy week just because we needed a little pick-me-up. I couldn't believe how well it went over.

You could serve it as a special Valentine's Day dessert, as part of an Easter dessert table or for a Christmas party treat.

This makes such an excellent potluck party dessert since it travels so well.

More No Bake Desserts

If you love creamy desserts made with pudding, cream cheese, and/or whipped topping, you won't want to miss these family favorites:

📖 Recipe

A serving of chocolate eclair cake is on a blue plate with a fork.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Eclair Cake

5 from 2 votes
Layers of creamy vanilla pudding with softened graham crackers and a rich fudgy frosting on top tastes just like a chocolate eclair! This classic church dessert is a popular potluck party treat because you can make the no-bake pudding torte in advance and it travels so well.
PREP TIME 10 minutes
CHILL TIME 8 hours
YIELD 12 servings


  • 2 (3.4 oz) boxes of instant vanilla pudding mix do not buy the Cook and Serve pudding, it has to be the instant variety
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (8 oz) container of whipped topping like Cool Whip
  • 1 (14.4 oz) box of graham crackers
  • 1 (16 oz) tub of prepared chocolate frosting


  • Add the powdered pudding mix to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the cold milk and whisk them together for 2 minutes or until smooth and thickened.
  • Scoop the whipped topping into the pudding and gently fold it in until well combined.
  • Set out a 9x13-inch baking dish. Open one sleeve of graham crackers and arrange them in a single layer on the bottom of the dish, covering it neatly from edge to edge. You may need to break some of the crackers into smaller pieces to get the rows to fit along all sides.
  • Spoon half of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers and spread evenly.
  • Lay another even, single layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture.
  • Spoon the remaining pudding mixture over the graham crackers and spread evenly.
  • Top the pudding with the final layer of graham crackers.
  • Open the can of chocolate frosting and remove the foil covering if there is one. Heat it in the microwave for 15 - 30 seconds until the frosting is smooth and pourable.
  • Pour the chocolate frosting over the graham cracker topping and spread it into a pretty, even layer.
  • Chill the chocolate eclair cake for 8 hours before serving so the graham crackers have a chance to soften from the moisture of the pudding. Serve cold.

Save This Recipe to Your Recipe Box

Find this delicious recipe next time you visit by saving it to your very own recipe box on my site. All your favorites stored in one easy place!

The photo collage shows the 9x13-inch baking pan of dessert next to a serving on a blue plate.

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating