Chocolate Cherry Eclair Cake – Eclair cake is one of those no bake desserts that tends to be a hot favorite for potlucks. It’s sort of an old school dessert but honestly to me, it never gets old. Graham crackers are layered with pudding and then topped with chocolate frosting in the classic version. This year, I wanted to make an eclair cake with a twist. I searched high and low and saw a few variations but not a cherry version. It seemed like the perfect twist to me and after experimenting with ingredients and amounts this one hit the proverbial sweet spot.
Chocolate covered cherries seem to start showing up around the holidays on store shelves everywhere. They really are a vintage sweet and the adaptation to this eclair cake is a winner, if I say so myself! The flavors of the creamy cherry filling, maraschino cherries and a homemade fudge topping has brought this one to the absolute forefront of my “go to” desserts.
I’m not sure what I like most the flavor combination or the fact that this cake requires no baking at all. I think it’s both. I love to garnish with whipped cream and a cherry on top giving the eclair cake a special piece for 16 special individuals. Perhap 2-for-one special person if they go back for seconds. and they likely will go back for seconds. Make this dessert a day in advance, and have it ready to satisfy your sweet tooth on a busy day and your family will go nuts for it.
- 1 (14 oz) package chocolate graham crackers
- 3 (3.4 oz) boxes instant cheesecake pudding mix
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 (10 oz) jar sliced maraschino cherries, drained reserve ½ cup juice
- ½ tsp pure almond extract
- 1 (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
- ¾ cup butter
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp pure almond extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Whipped topping and maraschino cherries with stems for garnishing (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, whip together the packages of instant pudding mix, milk, ½ cup reserved maraschino cherries juice and ½ tsp almond extract. Whip with a hand mixer for 3 minutes or until thickened.
- Mix in 8 oz whipped topping and sliced maraschino cherries by hand.
- To assemble: In a non stick 9 x 13-inch baking dish arrange a layer of chocolate graham crackers side by side. Pour ½ of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers.
- Arrange another layer of chocolate graham crackers and the remaining pudding. Spread evenly. Finish with a final layer of graham crackers.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan melt together the butter, cream and cocoa powder cooking over medium heat stirring constantly just until combined. Remove from the heat and add ½ tsp almond extract.
- Gradually beat the powdered sugar in with a hand mixer until smooth. Pour over the top layer of graham crackers. Spread evenly and chill.
- Garnish with additional whipped topping and maraschino cherries,if desired. Store chilled.