If you are looking for a truly special dessert to serve at your next party, try this recipe for Elegant Cream Puff Cake. This homemade cake recipe tastes just like a cream puff or a chocolate eclair, but it can feed a crowd. The base of this cream puff cake recipe features a homemade dough that comes together quickly on the stove. Everyone you serve this cake to will be incredibly impressed that you made your own pastry dough from scratch. If you think this Elegant Cream Puff Cake looks too complicated, think again. The filling for this Southern dessert recipe is made using instant vanilla pudding mix, and you can easily prepare the filling a day ahead of time. You can also make the chocolate sauce up to three days in advance. Then, the only thing you will have to worry about is making the dough on the day you plan to serve the cake.
For more sweet Southern treats, download a free, printable copy of Heavenly Southern Desserts: 9 Easy Cake Recipes.
Cooking Vessel Size9 x 13 inch baking dish
- For the Filling:
- 1 (3.4-ounce) box French Vanilla instant pudding mix, plus required ingredients
- 1 container whipped topping
- For the Dough:
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup eggs (about 4 large)
- For the Chocolate Sauce:
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the Filling:
Make the pudding according to the package directions and chill. The pudding may be used immediately or chilled and covered up to one day before assembling the cake. Thaw the whipped topping in the refrigerator for 4 hours before assembling the cake.
For the Chocolate Sauce:
In a 1-quart saucepan over medium high heat, combine the milk, butter, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Combine the sugar and cocoa powder and stir to avoid any lumps, then add to the pan and continue to stir with a whisk until it boils and is thickened, at least 2 minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon when thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Transfer the chocolate sauce to a small bowl and cover. Chill for 1 hour before using. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week. Bring the sauce to room temperature and stir before using.
For the Dough:
Combine the water and the butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Once the butter has completely melted, add the flour and stir well. Continue to stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. It is important to cook it the full 2 minutes so that the flour will cook completely. The dough will stick to the sides of the pan and then form a ball. Keep stirring and cooking.
After 2 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and place the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow the dough to cool for about 5 minutes.
With the machine running on low, add the salt and one egg at a time. Allow each egg to incorporate before adding the next. The dough will change in appearance from looking like scrambled eggs to looking like shiny batter. Continue to beat for about 2 minutes until the dough pulls away from the bottom or sides of the bowl.
Spread the dough into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, pushing the dough into the corners and up the sides.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and bake for for 15 to 18 minutes. The cake should look lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
Assembling the Cake:
After the base has cooled completely, spoon the prepared pudding into the center, smoothing evenly and pushing to the edges. Top with the whipped topping, smoothing evenly and swirling in a decorative pattern. Drizzle with about 1/3 cup of the chocolate sauce. Cover cake lightly with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour before serving.
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