Eclair Cake

Chocolate Eclair Cake

 

The Spruce / Morgan Walker

  • Total: 95 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Cooling Time: 60 mins
  • Servings: 8 slices
  • Yield: 1 cake

This chocolate eclair cake is perfect for an occasion like Father’s day or Fourth of July, and will make quite a statement at gatherings of all kinds.

The creamy texture of the pastry cream mixed with the decadent chocolate and fluffy yellow cake makes this a balanced and delicious dessert. The flavor and sophistication are amplified with the use of vanilla beans rather, than vanilla extract, giving the custard a richer vanilla flavor and speckles of vanilla bean. You can, of course, substitute vanilla extract if you wish. 

It's a fairly simple cake that can be made the day before and kept refrigerated before serving, or at room temperature. Just be sure to cover the cake to prevent it from drying out.

Ingredients

  • For the Cake: 
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • For the Pastry Cream: 
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • For the Chocolate Glaze: 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the cake ingredients.

    gather eclair cake ingredients
    The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper. 

    prepared baking pan for eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  3. In a large bowl using electric beaters, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar using on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl 2 to 3 times.

    cream butter and sugar for eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  4. Add egg and the egg yolk, 1 at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition, or until just combined. Add the vanilla bean and beat until incorporated.

    creamed butter, sugar, and eggs with vanilla bean for eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    dry ingredients combined in a bowl for eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  6. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until fully combined.

    incorporate a portion of the dry ingredients into eclair cake batter
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  7. Add half of the buttermilk and mix for another 30 seconds, until well incorporated. Continue alternating with the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk.

    incorporate buttermilk into eclair cake batter
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  8. Beat for 3 minutes more, until batter is light and fluffy.

    whipped eclair cake batter
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool slightly, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before assembling.

    eclair cake batter in pan for baking
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker

Make the Pastry Cream Filling

  1. Gather the pastry cream ingredients.

    pastry cream ingredients eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  2. Heat heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean in a saucepan set over medium heat until steam rises from the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

    heat cream for pastry cream eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, sugar, salt and egg yolks.

    egg and other ingredients combined for pastry cream
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  4. Continue to whisk as you slowly drizzle 1/3 of the hot cream into the mixture.

    whisk hot cream into egg mixture for pastry cream_eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  5. Return egg mixture to the saucepan, set over medium-low heat and whisk constantly for about 4 minutes, or until very thick. 

    whisking mixture for pastry cream over heat
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  6. Once pastry cream has thickened in consistency, transfer pastry cream to a medium glass bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 1 hour.

    thickened pastry cream
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker

Make the Chocolate Glaze

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    chocolate glaze for eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl combine the heavy cream, coconut oil, and chocolate. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and let sit in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir until combined or repeat the process until fully melted. 

    melted chocolate glaze for eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker

Assemble the Cake

  1. Cut the cake in half lengthwise, and spread the chilled pastry cream on the bottom half.

    spready pastry cream on eclair cake halves
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  2. Sandwich the layers together, and cover with the chocolate glaze.

    glazed eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker
  3. Cut into slices and enjoy!

    slice of eclair cake
     The Spruce / Morgan Walker

Tips

  • The pastry cream and chocolate glaze can be prepared while the cake cools, for immediate assembly. Or, the cake and pastry cream can be prepared in advance, refrigerated, and assembled closer to serving. Chocolate glaze should be make right before assembly.
  • If you like fruit, try adding raspberry jam on top of the pastry cream while assembling the cake for a tart kick to help balance the sweetness.