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Chocolate Eclair Cake
A few days ago I was determined to make a neat dessert for my family. I wanted pastry, but I also wanted chocolate. I thought about doughnuts, cream puffs, and fudge. They all sounded great just not what I had a taste for. Then I remembered the eclairs I made a few years ago.
Eclairs aren't too hard to make. They take a little more time than what I wanted to spend on this day. Then inspiration struck – why not a cake with cream filling and chocolate icing? So I went on an internet search. All I found were recipes for no-bake chocolate eclair desserts – not what I wanted.
Most of you will probably guess by now that it's pretty easy to do what I was thinking. You'd be right. The basic idea is to cut a cake into two layers, fill with cream, pop the top on, then cover with chocolate icing. In practice, if you want a cake that really looks like an eclair and tastes close to the real thing, you'll need to take care in your choices.
For those of you that want to go the easy route just make two layers of yellow cake in a round pan. Once they're cool spread whipped topping on the bottom layer (vanilla flavored), place the second layer on that, and pour melted chocolate frosting over the top of it all. Not exact, but it's still tasty.
If you want to make my version follow on.
Make a homemade yellow cake in a 13x9 pan. (I used this recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/scottleys-basic-yellow-cake/). Homemade cake is more dense and dry than boxed mix. You'll want this texture as it stands up to cutting and moving, along with absorbing cream better. Frosting or icing is easy to spread on homemade cake, too!
Cut the baked, cooled cake into a top and bottom layer. Make the top layer a little thinner than the bottom. To make this easier I placed the cake on a cutting board and cut through with a long serrated bread knife. Once you've cut all the way through DON'T try to lift the top. The easiest way to move the top is to slide another cooling rack into the cut, then lift. My racks are cheap, non-stick from Wal*Mart. They come in handy for all sorts of baking.
Spread your whipped topping onto the bottom layer. (I use Dream Whip. Follow the instructions on the package. Once stiff add another teaspoon of vanilla and two tablespoons powdered sugar. )
Replace the top layer. Spread with your chocolate icing. I made my own but you can melt regular chocolate frosting and pour it on. Don't cover the sides, allow the icing to drip down for a pretty effect.
Cut and serve.
1 stick of butter, melted
¼ cup cocoa powder (more for more intense, dark chocolate flavor)
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix all of the ingredients until you have a shiny, chocolatey spread. The consistency will be right when it coats the back of a spoon, similar to gravy only sweet and tempting. As it cools it will thicken just like bakery icing on eclairs.
That's it. This cake is great for dessert or with coffee. Enjoy!