French

A Ganache-y Pound Cake for All You Eclair Lovers Out There

Selecting a pastry from the bakery case felt like an awesome responsibility as a child. I did not take this task lightly, carefully eyeing the frosted cupcakes and the craggy-topped muffins and the gooey chocolate cookies. No amateur in the sugar realm, I’d skip past the biscotti and other similarly austere and adult desserts to land on the cakes and petit four sections. But no matter how decadent the offerings, if I saw an éclair behind the glass window, I’d always be sold.

An éclair is, arguably, a perfect dessert. Given its French origins, that’s no surprise. The French know their pastry. There’s the textural contrast: creamy, crunchy, and gooey. There’s the balance of flavor between the smooth pastry cream, the intense chocolate glaze, and the just-barely-sweet pâte à choux shell. Every bite marries this trifecta of glaze, filling, and shell.

Could I make eclairs at home? Yes, absolutely. While complicated in theory, each element of a classic éclair is perfectly manageable for a home baker. Make a great pastry cream: check. Make a basic pâte à choux dough: check. Make a chocolate ganache: check. But if you’re as into eclairs as I am, there’s no reason not to take your love affair a little further.

Witness the ganache cowlick. Photo by Posie Brien

This may sound like a stretch to you: éclair pound cake. Stick with me though! You don’t have the textural contrast as much, but what you do get is fantastic in its own right: a tender, close-crumbed, dense pound cake with a hint of vanilla and a wonderful, custardy flavor that’s reminiscent of pastry cream. I achieve this by adding both condensed milk and custard powder to the batter.

Custard is hiding in there. Photo by Posie Brien

To top it off, there’s a thick and luscious chocolate ganache glaze. When you’re craving the creamy chocolate + custard + buttery, eggy pastry trifecta, give this cake a shot instead. It's less fussy, but you still get those perfect flavors.

What other desserts would you like to eclair-ify? Let us know in the comments!

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10 Comments

lemons October 1, 2018
How much chocolate by weight? And I assume semi-sweet or a little darker?
 
Author Comment
Posie (. October 1, 2018
6 ounces — I like bittersweet but choose whatever you like best.
 
Lisa S. August 31, 2018
Bird's Custard Powder is literally nothing more than cornstarch with a little salt and color added, so I don't know why you could not substitute cornstarch straight up.
 
bonnie R. August 27, 2018
the flavor of the cake was excellent but it was dry and the consistency of cornbread. not sure what i did wrong but will try one more time.
 
Fran M. August 13, 2018
Where do you get custard powder?
 
FrugalCat August 13, 2018
To answer your question as well as mine, I have deduced that it is like vanilla pudding mix. I think you can use cornstarch. Or buy Bird's Custard Powder from a store that carries British imports.
 
Author Comment
Posie (. August 13, 2018
I wouldn’t add cornstarch — if you do, add at least twice the amount of vanilla. You don’t need the custard powder for texture: the cake will bake nicely without it...its really for flavor. You can find it online easily and lots of grocery stores carry it now!
 
Penny August 14, 2018
You can buy bird custard powder at Amazon.
 
Penny August 14, 2018
You can buy a product called bird custard powder from Amazon. This is the brand that was recommended when the recipe was posted
 
FrugalCat August 10, 2018
What is custard powder?