Cream puff cake has a golden crust that puffs high in the pan as it bakes, which forms the perfect container for creamy custard filling. A drizzle of scratch-made chocolate ganache makes this cake pretty and gives it added richness. What makes it extra delicious? Real butter. Butter gives the ganache a beautiful shine and smooth consistency while keeping the choux batter rich and fluffy.
A Classic Pastry
Pâte à choux is one my favorite classic pastry elements. It’s the base for eclairs, profiteroles, savory cheese puffs, and other delicious bites that are carefully piped on baking sheets. I’d never considered the fast and easy option of spreading an entire batch of choux pastry in a dish and baking it as a crust, but it works marvelously! It makes the fluffiest, airiest crust for this cream-filled cake that slices neatly for serving.
One ingredient that you just cannot do without when making choux batter is real butter!
The ingredients are few, using only flour, butter, water and egg. Each one performs a specific function to make a crisp, airy pastry. Flour and eggs give structure, water provides steam to ‘puff’ the pastry, and butter provides texture and, most importantly, flavor. Without butter the texture of the crust would be dense and bread-like instead of airy and light.
Heat the butter and water in a saucepan and then the flour is added all at once. The warm melted butter mixture helps the flour to gelatinize, and when stirred, the mixture will form a neat little ball as it cooks. Spread the ball out on the bottom of the saucepan to let some heat escape, then mix in the eggs one at a time.
Spread the batter into a 13×9-inch baking dish. A rubber spatula coated with cooking spray will make this a quick task.
After the pastry is baked, you’re ready for some creamy filling, which whips up in a flash! You’ll use a mixture of cream cheese, instant white chocolate pudding, and milk. I don’t often use instant pudding in recipes, but in this recipe it’s a real time-saver and doesn’t compromise flavor one little bit!
What’s better than one cream filling? Two! The white chocolate filling is topped with whipped cream, and then a small drizzle of scratch-made ganache.
I couldn’t resist sprinkling on some chopped pecans and serving slices topped with maraschino cherries. This cake was so refreshing served chilled, and the cream puff crust gave the entire cake buttery, decadent flavor.
This cake is potluck friendly, so you may want to bookmark it for your next gathering!
This recipe was developed in partnership with The American Butter Institute for their website Go Bold With Butter!
Cream Puff Cake
- 13×9 inch baking dish
- 1 cup 240ml water
- 1/2 cup 113g unsalted butter
- 1 cup 120g all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups 600mlskim milk
- 3 packages 3 ounces each instant white chocolate pudding mix (such as Godiva)
- 1 1/4 cups 300ml heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ganache and toppings
- 1/4 cup 60g chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- Maraschino cherries *optional
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- For the crust: Add the water and butter to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the flour all at once and stir constantly over heat until a smooth ball forms. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Use a spoon to break the ball into pieces to release steam and aid cooling. Let cool 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with an electric mixer after each addition. The finished pastry should have the appearance of buttery mashed potatoes. Spread the pastry into a greased 13×9 inch glass baking dish. Bake 25 minutes or until well puffed and golden. Allow the crust to cool in the pan completely.
- For the fillings: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, milk and pudding mixes together in a large bowl until smooth. The mixture will be thick. Spread the filling over the crust in the dish. Beat the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a separate chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the filling and chill for 25 minutes.
- For the ganache: Combine the chips, heavy cream and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 30 second intervals until melted (about 1 minute total). Let stand for 1 minute and then whisk together. Let cool slightly. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate ganache over the cake, or use a pastry bag with the end snipped to pipe on the ganache. Sprinkle the cake with the chopped nuts. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour, or until the filling is well set.
- Serve chilled with maraschino cherries on the side, if desired.