This No Bake Caramel Apple Eclair Cake recipe is deliciously dreamy with layers of creamy vanilla pudding, spiced cinnamon apples, cinnamon grahams, and decadent caramel topping! It's the perfect easy dessert for family gatherings, potlucks, or parties and can be whipped up in just 15 minutes!
Table of Contents
This easy-peasy Caramel Apple Eclair Cake is one of my favorite variations on the classic No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake! These no-bake desserts are sometimes referred to as icebox cakes because they have creamy layers that soften crunchy cookie layers until you have a soft combo that is reminiscent of a cake without ever needing to turn the oven on!
Cinnamon, apple, and caramel is one of the best flavor combinations ever, so I thought it would be fun to try making an apple icebox cake with them. With minimal prep, you simply make the layers and let the refrigerator chill it to perfection!
Why We Love This Recipe
- Change the flavors of the pie filling or pudding mix to suit your preference.
- By using a pudding mix, we cut down on prep time (and effort)!
- With only 15 minutes of prep time, you can relax while the pudding chills.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Apple Pie Filling - Use your favorite brand, or make your own!
- Spices - Use ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg to get those classic fall flavors.
- Graham Crackers - Cinnamon graham crackers are our preference for this recipe, but regular honey grahams work well too.
- Pudding - Use a vanilla instant pudding mix for the base of the creamy filling layers in this éclair cake. Instant French Vanilla pudding would work well too. The instant mix will ensure it's light and fluffy and makes this recipe super easy!
- Milk - Any kind of milk will work, but I tend to use whole milk for a richer flavor. You can use lower-fat milk or even a dairy-free substitute if you prefer.
- Cream - Use full-fat heavy cream to make the creamy layer extra smooth and thick, and give it a rich flavor.
- Powdered Sugar - To make the creamy filling sweet.
- Extract - Use vanilla extract to meld together the sweet and spiced flavors.
- Caramel - Caramel dip, caramel topping, or Homemade Caramel Sauce.
How to Make Caramel Apple Eclair Cake
- Prepare apple filling. Place the apple pie filling into a bowl. Use scissors to cut the pieces of apple into smaller pieces so you don't end up with any super large chunks.
- Add spices. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the apple pie filling and set aside. Most commercial pie fillings are just sweet without much spice to them, so we are solving that problem with this shortcut recipe.
- Mix pudding and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the instant vanilla pudding, milk, and powdered sugar.
- Add cream and vanilla. Add in the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer to beat together until creamy and thick, about 3-4 minutes.
- Make bottom layer. Arrange the cinnamon graham crackers in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish or pan.
- Add apple layer. Use about half of the apple filling to spoon a thin layer of the apple mixture over the graham crackers.
- Add pudding mix layer. Use about half of the pudding mixture to spoon a generous layer of the pudding over the apple pie filling, spreading it evenly.
- Repeat Graham cracker layer. Add another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding mixture.
- Repeat other layers. Add an apple pie filling layer, a vanilla pudding layer, and then another layer of graham crackers on top.
- Prepare caramel mixture. Lastly, heat up the hot caramel topping in the microwave so you can pour it over the top.
- Add caramel on top of dessert. Carefully pour the caramel topping over the top layer of graham crackers and smooth it out.
- Chill. Place the cake into the fridge to chill for at least 4-6 hours before slicing into it and serving. Chilling it overnight is best.
This caramel apple eclair cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh, and it should last for 3-4 days.
Eclair cake will freeze well for up to 1 month if you have used full-fat dairy products. Low-fat dairy tends to separate more easily after being thawed so don't work as well. Make sure the cake is sealed in a freezer-safe container or covered in plastic wrap before freezing. Defrost in the refrigerator.
Tips for Success
- Serve as is or topped with Homemade Whipped Cream.
- The first slice is always the trickiest to remove. Use a sturdy spatula to lift it from the pan, then the rest of the slices should be a little prettier.
- All of the elements of this dessert can be made from scratch from the graham crackers to the pudding to the caramel to the apple pie filling. But this is one of the rare exceptions where I almost always use the shortcut approach and it still turns out well.
Eclair cakes should be kept at room temperature for a maximum of 4 hours, so bear this in mind if you serve it at a potluck or on a dessert table. Leave the dessert in the fridge for as long as possible, and return leftovers to be chilled, ideally after 2 hours of sitting out.
Substitutions and Variations
- Try some different fillings to change the flavor of this cake! Use cherry or blueberry pie filling instead of apple. For example, replace the apple pie filling with cherry pie filling and use the same chocolate frosting from my original chocolate eclair cake for a black forest icebox cake version. You could also use chocolate graham crackers or Nilla's Famous Chocolate Wafers instead of honey grahams.
- You can also change the vanilla pudding for another flavor, like chocolate pudding, pistachio, or banana.
- Use regular Graham Crackers instead of the cinnamon ones for less of a cinnamon flavor.
More No Bake Dessert Recipes
- No Bake Peanut Butter Pie
- Lemon Ice Box Cake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse
- No Bake Sour Cream Lemon Pie
- Red, White, and Blue Berry Trifle
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Caramel Apple Eclair Cake
- 1½ (20-ounce) cans apple pie filling (30 ounces in total)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 box cinnamon graham crackers
- 2 (3.4-ounce) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 cups cold milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Homemade Caramel Sauce, caramel dip, or a store bought caramel topping
- Place the apple pie filling into a bowl. Use scissors to cut the pieces of apple into smaller pieces.
- Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the apple pie filling and set aside.
- In a separate large bowl mix the instant vanilla pudding, milk, and powdered sugar.
- Add in the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer to beat together until creamy and thick, about 3-4 minutes.
- In a 9x13-inch baking dish place a single layer of cinnamon graham crackers.
- Spoon half of the apple pie filling over the graham crackers.
- Spoon half the vanilla pudding mixture over the apple pie filling.
- Repeat with another layer of graham crackers, apple pie filling, vanilla pudding, and another layer of graham crackers.
- Lastly, heat the hot caramel topping up in the microwave so you can pour it over the top.
- Carefully pour the caramel topping over the top layer of graham crackers and smooth it out.
- Place the cake into the fridge to chill for at least 4-6 hours. Overnight is best.
- Storage: This caramel apple eclair cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh, and it should last for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: Eclair cake will freeze well for up to 1 month if you have used full-fat dairy products. Low-fat dairy tends to separate more easily after being thawed so don't work as well. Make sure the cake is sealed in a freezer-safe container or covered in plastic wrap before freezing. Defrost in the refrigerator.