Chocolate Eclair Cake
Have you eaten a chocolate eclair—and I mean a good chocolate eclair? The bittersweet ganache coats your mouth as the pastry shell breaks under a soft bite, and the milky vanilla pastry cream is sitting right there, tasting kind of like the best pudding on earth. It's baffling to me that there isn't a designated holiday celebrating the eclair, but I digress. The flavors themselves are straightforward, but together they create a pastry that beautifully represents simplicity and elegance.Recipes for chocolate eclair cakes litter the internet, but there's a problem: they're just sheet cakes with vanilla pudding (or worse, Cool Whip) and chocolate. There's no buttery crisp pastry and there's certainly not the awe of a beautifully constructed confection, because—well—it's just a sheet cake with a makeshift filling, a whole lot of simplicity but very little elegance. Don't misunderstand me, sheet cakes have their place and so does vanilla pudding (jury's still out on Cool Whip)—but for a cake that's supposed to represent an eclair, a little time and a little effort are almost required to make something truly wonderful.We decided to make a cake that's just as worthy of celebration as the eclair. With toasted pastry flecks in a buttercream covering the cake, this confection is filled with chocolate ganache and real pastry cream between each cake layer, topped with a final covering of ganache that drips over the edges. It's a sight to behold, and even more of a delight to eat. The cake might seem like an extravagant baking endeavor because it takes time, but trust us—the recipe is easy to follow and the end result is worth it. In keeping with a long history of French-style pastries, the cake is both stunning and simple, and we can assure you that any sort of celebration would welcome this three-tiered marvel as a fitting centerpiece for the spread.