We are in love with this light and fluffy homemade Cream Puff Cake. It's made with beautiful layers and it tastes just like your favorite eclair dessert. This pudding dessert is made with vanilla pudding and cream cheese is all on top of an egg based pastry crust. Easy to make and delicious to eat!
Make this easy pan cream puff for a cool summer treat or for your favorite holidays like birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. You won't go wrong and it will be a crowd favorite. We make this every year for Mother's Day. Topped with strawberries for an extra tasty treat.
Check out the list of ingredients for extra tips and hints. It will make the baking experience so much better!
- Butter- For this recipe, you need salted butter. The dough tastes very bland when you use unsalted butter.
- Eggs- Like other baking recipes, if possible, use room temperature eggs. I set my eggs out 30 minutes prior to baking.
- All Purpose Flour
- Milk- When I made this cake I used whole milk. But we also tested and 2%, and 1% work well too.
- Vanilla Pudding- Use instant vanilla pudding not the cooked pudding.
- Cream Cheese- It's important to soften the cream cheese to room temperature before baking. It won't make a smooth mixture if it's not softened.
- Cool Whip- Using Cool Whip is quick and easy. You can also use sweetened whipped heavy whipping cream as an alternative.
- Melting Chocolate- Use a high-quality brand name melting chocolate. We have noticed that off-brand melting chocolate is difficult to work with.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Cream Puff Cake
I first made this recipe when my husband and I were newly wed and it instantly became a family favorite. Follow these step-by-step process photos so you too can enjoy this amazing recipe.
- On high heat, bring water and butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Add flour and salt and mix until a sticky dough forms.
2. Add one egg at a time to the dough and mix into the dough. Mix until smooth. Repeat for all 4 eggs. Make sure dough is smooth and together after adding the eggs in.
3. Press the dough into a greased 9x13 pan. Make sure to push the dough to each side and edge. Cook the dough for 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top. The dough will puff up and may raise over the edges, that's ok! The crust will deflate as it cools.
4. As the crust cools, mix together the pudding packages and softened cream cheese. Mix with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Add in the milk one cup at a time and mix until completely smooth.
5. Once the crust in completely cooled, spoon in the pudding mixture and spread to the edges of the pan.
6. Top with desired layer of whipped topping in order to cover the pudding mixture. Melt chocolate and drizzle on top of the cool whip before serving.
Hint: Make sure to add one egg at at time when mixing the eggs into the dough. It will be tough to mix in at first but keep working the dough until the dough is smooth and formed together again.
Substitutions and Variations
- Gluten Free - use gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour. There will be a texture change, and the crust may not rise the same way as directed.
- Chocolate pudding - substitute vanilla pudding for chocolate pudding.
- White Chocolate Pudding- substitute vanilla pudding for white chocolate pudding.
- Chocolate Syrup- Use chocolate syrup instead of melting chocolates for a quick chocolate topping.
- Berry Topped - top this creamy dessert with sliced strawberries or your favorite berries like blackberries, or raspberries.
- Caramel Sauce - Serve topped with caramel sauce instead of chocolate syrup or both.
Storing Cream Puff Cake
Store leftover dessert in an airtight container or with plastic wrap covering the top in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Best eaten the day of, chilled.
Freeze cream puff cake in the freezer in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving, or serve frozen. Texture of crust may vary slightly.
Use melted chocolate chips to get a more authentic chocolate shell top. If you are in a pinch and serving immediately, you can use chocolate syrup for ease and convenience. When I use the chocolate syrup, I put it on individual slices.
Cream Puff Cake
- 9X13 baking pan
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup salted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 2 instant vanilla pudding packages 3.5 oz. each
- 1 8 ounce package cream cheese softened
- 1 container cool whip
- ½ cup melting milk chocolate or chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9x13 cake pan.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat bring the water and butter to a boil. Add the flour and mix until a dough is formed.
- Adding one egg at a time, mix the eggs into the flour water mixture until you make a runny dough. It should be smooth. Spread the dough in the pan covering all the edges and sides.
- Cook the dough for 20 minutes, or when the top of the dough is golden brown. The dough will rise while cooking and may rise above the height of the pan. That's ok! When the crust is done, remove and let cool.
- While the crust is cooling, mix together the softened cream cheese and vanilla pudding packages. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until smooth. Add in the milk and beat again until smooth and set.
- Spread the pudding mixture in the cooled, puff crust. Spread it all the way to the edge of the crust. Top the pudding mixture gently with cool whip.
- When ready to serve, melt chocolate and drizzle on top of the cool whip. Or use chocolate syrup.
- Give yourself enough time to soften the cream cheese. This recipe won't work if it's not.
- Use chocolate syrup instead of melted chocolate if you're in a pinch.
- Whipped heavy whipping cream can be used instead of cool whip. Make sure to sweeten before using.
- The egg will seem tricky to mix into the dough. Keep mixing and it will form into one dough ball again.