The best Cream Puff Cake recipe, featuring a fluffy crust, easy vanilla filling, and of course, chocolate. You’ll love this homemade version of a cream puff!
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Why You’ll Love This Cream Puff Cake Recipe
If you’ve ever had the chance to enjoy a Cream Puff, then you know what I’m talking about when I say they are a delicious, indulgent treat.
The texture of the pastry is slightly chewy, but also light and airy. And it’s filled (traditionally) with a vanilla pastry cream.
Today’s Cream Puff Cake recipe is an easy version of the traditional dessert.
Here’s why I love it:
- This is the best (and easiest!) way to make cream puffs for a crowd! Cream puff cake is always a winner for potlucks and backyard barbecues.
- It has homemade flavor with shortcut ingredients. Cool Whip and pudding mix make it a cinch to put together!
- Needless to say, this cream puff cake is delicious, but I also love the contrasting textures. The airy, chewy crust is the perfect base for all that whipped vanilla cream!
If you love this spongy treat, you’ve got to whip up our tres leches cake next!
Important Ingredient Notes
- Unsalted butter – The go-to for baking! Unless a recipe says otherwise, always assume you should use unsalted butter.
- All-purpose flour – We’ll use the flour to make something called choux pastry, which gets puffy thanks to steam instead of a traditional leavener like baking soda or powder.
- Vanilla extract – I recommend pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
- Eggs – Eggs also help give choux pastry its signature texture.
- Instant vanilla pudding mix – Regular vanilla or French vanilla both work for this cream puff cake recipe.
- Milk – I recommend whole milk for the richest cream filling, but any kind you have on hand is fine.
- Cream cheese – Use the kind that comes in a block not a tub.
- Cool Whip – While homemade whipped cream is delicious, Cool Whip lasts longer, so it won’t deflate in the fridge.
- Chocolate syrup – The perfect finishing touch! Use our homemade chocolate syrup recipe!
How to Make Cream Puff Cake
Prepare: Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Coat a 13×9 baking dish with baking spray.
Make the Choux Pastry:
- In a small saucepan, add the butter and water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
- Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the flour.
- Pour the flour mixture into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended.
- Mix in the vanilla extract.
Bake: Spread the choux dough into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool completely.
Make the cream: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk until blended. Beat in the softened cream cheese for 3-4 minutes.
Tips and Tricks
- Start by softening the cream cheese at room temperature. This will ensure that it mixes in smoothly and evenly into the cream.
- One of the things I love about this cake is you can make it a day or two in advance and it will still have the same texture and flavor as if you just prepared it.
- You can also make cream puff cake ahead in parts—either make the cream topping or the crust ahead of time. This works well if you don’t have a big block of time for making a recipe, like in the run-up to a party when you’re juggling a bunch of to-dos.
- Store cream puff cake in the refrigerator for up to four days. I don’t recommend freezing it.
Traditional cream puffs are either filled with pastry cream, whipped cream, or a combination of pastry cream and whipped cream. The topping for this cream puff cake is more like the latter.
Mix it until the eggs and vanilla are incorporated. Unlike other recipes, you can’t overmix choux, so don’t be afraid to keep the mixer running until you’re sure everything is well-combined.
Maraschino cherries make a fun topping for cream puff cake, and in the summer, it’s delicious with an assortment of fresh berries. Don’t be afraid to break tradition and put your own spin on it!
More Easy Custard Recipes
If you love this cake with the creamy, custard like filling, here are a few of my favorite desserts that are similar:
- Traditional Chocolate Eclair Cake made with layers of graham cracker, pudding mix, and chocolate ganache. Easy no bake dessert!
- Layers of cinnamon graham crackers, vanilla pudding and fresh banana make this no bake Banana Eclair Cake a huge summer hit! To top it off, I literally topped it off with a cinnamon glaze!
- This Strawberry Eclair Cake is made using Cheesecake JELL-O in the filling. Plus there’s no oven needed which means it’s perfect for the warmer weather!
- Easy, fried Boston Cream Donuts in under 30 minutes! Made using biscuits and filled with a creamy pudding mixture, these are sure to tempt you! Don’t forget the rich chocolate ganache!
- Rich, fudgy and dense…this Chocolate Pudding Cake is a huge hit at family parties!
More Easy Dessert Recipes:
- Brickle Bars
- Pudding Cookies
- Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
- Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- Bread Pudding
- Banana Pudding
Cream Puff Cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2 small boxes 3.4 ounce each instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 8 ounce cream cheese softened
- 8 ounce Cool Whip thawed
- ¼ cup chocolate syrup
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, add the butter and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat and whisk in flour.
- Pour flour mixture into a mixing bowl and add in eggs one at a time until well blended. Add vanilla extract.
- Spread into prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk until blended. Beat in softened cream cheese (for about 3-4 minutes).
- Pour into cooled crust. Top with cool whip. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour. ENJOY.
- One of the things I love about this cake is you can make it a day or two in advance and it will still have the same texture and flavor as if you just prepared it
- Store cake in refrigerator for up to four days.