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.
- 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
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
Gather the cake ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper.
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.
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.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until fully combined.
Add half of the buttermilk and mix for another 30 seconds, until well incorporated. Continue alternating with the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk.
Beat for 3 minutes more, until batter is light and fluffy.
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.
Make the Pastry Cream Filling
Gather the pastry cream ingredients.
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.
In a medium bowl whisk the flour, sugar, salt and egg yolks.
Continue to whisk as you slowly drizzle 1/3 of the hot cream into the mixture.
Return egg mixture to the saucepan, set over medium-low heat and whisk constantly for about 4 minutes, or until very thick.
Once pastry cream has thickened in consistency, transfer pastry cream to a medium glass bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 1 hour.
Make the Chocolate Glaze
Gather the ingredients.
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.
Assemble the Cake
Cut the cake in half lengthwise, and spread the chilled pastry cream on the bottom half.
Sandwich the layers together, and cover with the chocolate glaze.
Cut into slices and enjoy!
- 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.