No-bake Caramel Apple Eclair Cake Will Have You Going Back for Seconds

This recipe only requires nine ingredients and it’s almost impossible to mess up.
No-bake Caramel Apple Eclair Cake Will Have You Going Back for Seconds
This no-bake caramel apple dessert is packed with sliced apples, whipped cream, and sweet caramel. (Sara Haas/TNS)
I like making my desserts from scratch. It must be a genetic trait that came from my grandmother, who I never once saw buy a store-bought dessert; she proudly favored her homemade desserts. Unlike my grandmother, though, I know that not everyone enjoys baking. While we like the results, the work can be tedious and isn’t often appreciated.
That’s why I’m grateful for desserts like this caramel apple eclair cake. It’s an apple-inspired twist on the viral recipe for chocolate eclair cake. There’s no cooking required and it’s almost impossible to mess up. With a tiny bit of assembly, you can have a delicious dessert that even my grandmother would appreciate.

Ingredients in Caramel Apple Eclair Cake

There are only nine ingredients in this cake recipe, but many of them are store-bought like the apple pie filling and caramel sauce. The only labor-intensive things you’ll need to do are prepare two packages of instant vanilla pudding and whip some cream, which shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. After that, it’s all about assembly, which should take no more than five minutes!

Tips for Making Caramel Apple Eclair Cake

  • Make the whipped cream. You might be tempted to buy prepared whipped cream, but trust me when I say you’ll end up with a cloyingly sweet dessert. Between the canned pie filling and prepared caramel sauce, you won’t need any additional sweetener.
  • Add lemon to the filling. To keep things easy, I use canned pie filling. While handy, prepared pie fillings can often be a bit sweet and one-note. Adding a bit of fresh lemon juice helps bring the filling to life and adds the perfect hit of brightness to help the apples shine.
  • Salt your dessert. Salt plays a crucial role in bringing out the flavor of savory dishes, and the same holds true of desserts. Adding some salt to the filling, and then as a garnish, helps distinguish the flavors in this dish. A little bit is all you need.

Caramel Apple Eclair Cake

Serves 12 to 14
  • 2 (3.4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding
  • 2 2/3 cups cold whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 2 (21-ounce) cans apple pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (14.4-ounce) box graham crackers
  • 1 (14-ounce) jar prepared caramel topping, or 1 1/4 cups homemade caramel
  • Flaky salt (optional)
  • Chopped toasted pecans (optional)
1. Place 2 (3.4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding and 2 2/3 cups cold whole milk in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened, 2 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer or beating by hand). Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until medium peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes.

2. Add the whipped cream to the pudding mixture and use a flexible spatula to gently fold together until well combined.

3. Wipe out the whipped cream bowl. Juice 1 medium lemon until you have 2 tablespoons, then place in the bowl. Add 2 (21-ounce cans) apple pie filling, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine.

4. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers (about 1 sleeve) in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, breaking the crackers as needed to fit. Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture (about 3 1/2 cups) evenly over the graham crackers. Dollop with 1/2 of apple pie filling (about 2 1/3 cups) and spread into an even layer. Repeat layering graham crackers, remaining pudding mixture, and remaining apple pie filling. Finish with a third layer of graham crackers (you may not use all the graham crackers in the box).

5. Pour 1 (14-ounce) jar caramel topping evenly over the top layer of graham crackers, then smooth it out with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight. Sprinkle with flaky salt and chopped toasted pecans if desired before serving.

Recipe Notes
  • Cool Whip substitute: One (8-ounce) tub thawed Cool Whip can be used in place of the whipped cream. The final cake will be slightly sweeter than one made with whipped cream.
  • Storage: Leftover caramel apple eclair cake can be covered and refrigerated for up to five days, or frozen for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Sara Haas is a contributor to, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to [email protected]. Copyright 2024 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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