This recipe does have some family significance for me. I remember at Thanksgiving or Christmas, Aunt Debbie (from Dad's side) used to make a big eclair cake and bring it to the family gatherings. It was sooooo good! It never lasted long. Most people only use vanilla pudding. But Aunt Debbie used both chocolate and vanilla. She just layered them. Also, some people mix the whipped cream with the pudding, and some layer it over the pudding. I can't remember which one she did... But she did describe how she made it all the time. I have tried it a few times myself, and this is how I like to do it. I don't remember aunt Debbie using frosting, but many people do (I think she just used a top layer of chocolate pudding and whipped cream over the last layer of graham crackers). But I like the look of the chocolate frosting, and the richness. You can also make your own frosting.
No-Bake Eclair Cake
2 (3.5 oz.) boxes vanilla instant pudding (or 1 chocolate and 1 vanilla)
3 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip
2 (14.4) oz packages graham crackers
1 container of the darkest frosting you can find
- In a large bowl, blend milk and pudding packets for about 2 minutes (separate bowls if you use chocolate and vanilla). Fold in Cool Whip (divide it equally if different pudding flavors).
- In a 9x13 pan, Layer graham crackers to cover entire bottom of pan. You may need to cut and shape the crackers to fit nicely.
- Pour half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level (if using different flavors, use all of only one flavor at this time).
- Put another layer of graham crackers to cover entire surface. Cut and shape crackers accordingly.
- Put the second half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level (if using different flavors, use all of the other flavor at this time).
- Put the final layer of graham crackers on top with bumpy side down. This will help the top look more smooth when you go to put the frosting on top. Once again, cut and shape crackers accordingly to avoid pits and cracks.
- For the frosting, remove the lid and the seal from the frosting container. Microwave it just long enough to make it pourable. Pour frosting over the top of the last layer of graham crackers and spread it out, making sure it covers all areas.
- Cover cake and refrigerate overnight to allow cake to set, otherwise it may be too runny, and the graham crackers will not soften properly. Cut into squares and serve.
TIP: For an interesting twist, use different flavored graham crackers, puddings, and toppings (such as Nutella). Dissolve some coffee crystals in a a few tablespoons of water and add it to the pudding and whipped cream, for a more "tiramisu" flavor. You can also make it more figure friendly by using fat-free/sugar-free alternatives, or gluten/dairy-free substitutes, if you have an allergy. The sky is the limit, so be creative!