A delicious, ice cold, square cake, chocolate eclair cake is a popular pudding based treat. The cake consists of layers of graham crackers, a vanilla flavored sweet filling, and a cocoa based finish. No baking is required to make this cake; instead, preparers refrigerate the dessert until it sets and is ready to serve.
When making the chocolate eclair cake, a layer of graham crackers is placed at the bottom of the dish. A layer of the sweet filling is placed next. These layers alternate until the dish is filled with three to four layers, with the final layer consisting of one last row of graham crackers covered with chocolate icing. The filling is usually made by mixing vanilla pudding, milk, and whipped topping.
Some people crush their graham crackers prior to using them in the layers of a chocolate eclair cake, which can make the cake tastier, depending on personal preference. However, this can make the cake messier to cut and serve. Topping the dessert with shaved chocolate, fruit, or other garnishes is another popular way to serve the cake, though none of these are necessary.
Once the chocolate eclair cake is constructed, it should set in the refrigerator for a minimum of twelve hours before serving, though some recipe times vary. This must be done to ensure that the cake is solid enough to cut and serve. Without setting, the graham crackers will also fail to soften, keeping them hard and crunchy instead of providing them with the softened, cake like consistency that they attain through refrigeration and prolonged contact with the moist filling.
Square baking dishes are usually the easiest containers in which to build a chocolate eclair cake. A clear baking dish can display the pretty, appetizing layers of the dessert for those who wish to present it to guests before it is served, though an opaque dish will work just as well in terms of the final product. Smaller desserts in individual ramekins or other containers are also possible, if the preparer breaks the graham crackers to fit.
To reduce the caloric content of the cake, nonfat milk and fat free whipped topping may be used in the recipe. Some chefs also enjoy adding additional flavoring agents, such as cinnamon. Though some cooks maintain that the icing should be homemade, an inexpensive store bought frosting will work fine. Those who do not enjoy chocolate may use a vanilla frosting or any other flavor of their choice.