Chocolate Eclair Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

A decadent low carb, gluten-free cake with layers of meringue, pastry cream and sugar-free chocolate ganache. Chocolate eclairs in cake form!

Low Carb Chocolate Eclair Cake

I bet you didn’t expect to be eating chocolate eclairs on your low carb, gluten-free diet, did ya? Well in case you hadn’t noticed, I like to defy expectations. Here I am, a suburban mother of three driving a minivan, with a tattoo, occasionally sporting a mohawk, and who has been spotted in sparkly gold Converse-style sneakers. For all that wacky surface stuff, I am actually a pretty conventional person. But I really love to defy the expectation that low carb, gluten-free diets are boring and devoid of decadent desserts. I like to take the sugariest, carbiest, gluteniest of desserts and figure out a way to make them healthy, without sacrificing texture or flavour.

I’m going to go ahead and tell you right now that with regards to Chocolate Eclair Cake, I nailed it. In a completely unconventional fashion, naturally! The original, which I first spied on Pinterest, is made with graham crackers (gulp!), vanilla pudding (double gulp), whipped topping and canned chocolate frosting (triple and quadruple gulp!). Holy carb laden minefield of processed foods! But it sure did look pretty and my instincts told me I could easily come up with a far healthier version.

Low Carb Gluten-Free Chocolate Eclair Cake pouring

Since I came up with my low carb graham cracker recipe a while ago, I considered making some for the chocolate eclair cake. But I found that I was rather disappointed that graham crackers were what made up the layers of such a cake. When I first saw it, I thought it was some sort of nut-laden, crunchy sponge cake which intrigued me so much more than graham crackers. So I mulled it over and settled on a nutty meringue layer to pair with low carb pastry cream and low carb chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Eclair Cake with gluten-free meringue layers

In terms of flavour and texture, I think the cake came out beautifully. In terms of overall appearance, it wasn’t exactly the prettiest cake I’ve ever made. It’s hard to make the meringue layers perfectly even and I’ve never been all that good at cake decorating as it is. Getting photos to make this cake look as appetizing as it tasted was an exercise in frustration. Not for me are the ideal slices of layer cake with every layer delineated and no smooshing or smearing of one layer into another. My chocolate smeared all over the place as I tried to cut the cake.

But do I really care? Will you when you taste this? Nope. You’re mouth will be too full of divine flavours and you will be too busy thinking “I can haz low carb chocolate eclair?”. When you taste it, you will think this is the prettiest cake you ever did see!

Low Carb Chocolate Eclair Cake Slices

Chocolate Eclair Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: 10 servings

Chocolate Eclair Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

A decadent low carb, gluten-free cake with layers of meringue, pastry cream and sugar-free chocolate ganache. Chocolate eclairs in cake form!

Ingredients

    Pastry Cream:
  • 1 ¼ cups whipping cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into two pieces
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp stevia extract
  • Meringue Layers:
  • 3/4 cup fine almond flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

    Pastry Cream:
  1. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sweetener and salt, then whisk in arrowroot starch until mixture becomes pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
  3. Slowly whisk about half of the hot cream into the yolks to temper, then return the yolk/cream mixture back to the saucepan and cook until thick and glossy, about 1½ minutes, whisking continuously. It thickens up suddenly and quickly, so watch carefully!
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and stevia. Transfer to a small bowl and press plastic wrap flush to the surface. Chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours.
  5. Meringue Layers:
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. On a large piece of parchment, trace three (3) 5x10 inch rectangles. Place parchment on a large baking sheet.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour and powdered sweetener.
  8. In a large, clean bowl, beat egg whites with granulated sweetener, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt until they just begin to hold stiff peaks.
  9. Gently fold in almond flour mixture until fully combined.
  10. Spread meringue mixture evenly onto each of the 3 traced rectangles. Bake 15 minutes, then turn off oven and prop open door with a wooden spoon. Leave inside until cool.
  11. Chocolate Ganache:
  12. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together, stirring until smooth.
  13. Stir in powdered sweetener and vanilla extract.
  14. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened but still pourable.
  15. To Assemble:
  16. Peel one meringue layer carefully off parchment and lay on serving platter.
  17. Spread with half of the pastry cream. Top with another layer of meringue and spread with remaining half of pastry cream. Top with final layer of meringue.
  18. Pour ganache over top of cake and let drip down the sides.
  19. Let set 1 hour before serving (you can refrigerate, but let it sit out 10 minutes before trying to cut, to soften ganache).

Notes

Serves 10. Each serving has 5 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3 g.

Per serving: 281 Calories; 28g Fat (85.4% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 145mg Sodium.

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Comments

  1. I may not be low carb… but I love this recipe. What a great idea!

  2. We are definitely having this for dessert tomorrow night . You are a low carb genius!

  3. I kind of want to see what the original looks like. ;)

    And look at you go. This is awesome!

  4. just printed this off to duplicate ASAP…

    We are on last few servings of last weeks
    “Salted Dark Chocolate Candy Bar Tart”.
    With that one, I totally nailed the cooking
    time of the caramel and must say, it was a
    huge hit for my husband after he had frozen
    it after cutting (I had gone on to work).
    I agree that eating it frozen makes me forget
    all about Hagen Dias ice cream bars!

    Thanks once again for all you do to explore
    new horizons in the low carb sweet world.
    Just one small request: more luscious white
    chocolate treats, please!

  5. Love that you created a low carb version of chocolate eclair cake! Great idea to use meringue layers in place of graham crackers!

  6. I was at a work reception the other day, and while there were plenty of low carb food options (beef tenderloin, roasted vegetables, good cheeses), the hardest thing was to walk away from the tray of mini pastries – eclairs and Napoleons. This sounds wonderful. Yum! Thanks!!

  7. Your pastry filling? Is the taste anything like nanaimo filling? (Obviously the consistency is different…) I’ve seen your other nanaimo tart recipe, but I have a corn allergy and can’t do the sf vanilla pudding packet. I’ve been trying to find a possible alternative to make nanaimo squares, but that cream filling keeps foiling me.

    • Hi Serena…pastry cream is much, much softer and gooier than nanaimo bar filling. I don’t think it’s a good sub, in this case. It’s not stiff enough.

  8. Eclairs have been one of the things I’ve missed most on a low carb diet. Thank you SO much Carolyn! I’m beyond thrilled to try this. It looks incredible! I know I’ve said it before but you’re one of my heroes.

  9. Low carb and gluten free or not, this sounds delicious to me! Amazing how you were able to make the recipe healthier. Good job!

  10. Could I use 1 tsp of gelatin in place of the cornstarch for the pastry filling? I know this will alter the consistency of the pastry filling…..

  11. Oh my goodness, how am I ever going to decide what to make for my birthday treat next month? You just keep outdoing yourself! Thank you!

  12. Loving that eclair layer recipe you came up with Carolyn – pure genius!

  13. You may be a conservative suburban housewife to all appearances but you are definitely a rockstar in your kitchen! Amazing recipe and how incredible of you to figure out how to give us decadence using low carb. You know I’m gonna have to make this, don’t you….

  14. I LOVE CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS!!! I can almost taste this in my head – it looks gorgeous to me! You are the low carb pastry Queen fo sho! Hat’s off to you for this one!!!

  15. fabulous Girl! I heart eclairs!

  16. Is it possible to use xanthan gum instead of arrowroot in this recipe?

    • I don’t know. You’re certainly welcome to try. I’d add it right at the end and whisk vigorously to get it to combine.

  17. Antoinette Blair says:

    This cake came out AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It came out PERFECT and was DELICIOUS! The only thing that I did differently in this recipe was that I used Truvia in place of the Swerve sweetener. I used a little less of Truvia (2 1/2 Tablespoons per 1/3 cup of Swerve, since Truvia is sweeter than the Swerve). I actually used granulated Truvia and I also made my own powdered Truvia by using a small coffee grinder, which worked perfectly! This recipe truly is genius! Thank you Carolyn for such an awesome recipe!

  18. Pat Jenista says:

    Wow Carolyn you did it again!!

  19. I would love to make this….it looks so yummy! Unfortunately, I can’t find any powdered Swerve. I’ve tried 4 different stores and every website I can find including the Swerve site. Any suggestions on where I can find it?

  20. This is beyond stunning and unique!! I would eat this every day of the week!

  21. Ohhhh, i LOVE the eclair cake. I make it all the time in the summer. I think the original version looks terrible, too, but it tastes great so that’s the point :)

  22. Is there a good tasting natural replacement for Swerve Sweetener? I don’t like Stevia’s aftertaste, but I have Xylitol though I’ve never used it.

    Is Xylitol a good replacement for Swerve?

  23. Wow does that look great! You really have the magic touch when it comes to low-carb desserts.

  24. I have been dreaming of eclairs lately. I love the idea of having them as a cake.

  25. In the directions it says to add half the hot cream to the yolk mixture and return to heat. What happens to the other half?

    • Hi…that’s called “tempering the eggs”. The other part of the cream remains in the bowl and you add the tempered yolks back into it.

  26. You just keep outdoing yourself, Carolyn. BRAVO! One of my favorites I’ll have to try.

  27. I am going to try this tomorrow … Like all the ladies said Carolyn … Well done :)

  28. GadgetQueen says:

    This can also be called DACQUOISE. America’s Test Kitchen did a whole show on it. They said to add the sugar to the egg whites as follows, half at very soft peaks, half at the end & the meringue will be less brittle, a good thing when you want to cut it.
    I’m making this recipe!

    • Low carb sweeteners work differently than sugar, so don’t necessarily follow ATK guidelines. I’ve made a dacquoise before that was far too brittle because I treated the Swerve like sugar. The trick with low carb meringue is to NOT beat until stiff, but only until it just barely holds the peak. Hope that helps!

  29. This sounds like an easier way to satisfy my LC boston cream pie cravings! Beautiful result, too. I love swerve but I find the powdered very messy to work with… inhaled it numerous times. It’s not very sweet, either, but I prefer that. : )

    One question: I don’t want to invest in arrowroot starch for one recipe, and it’s pretty high carb in larger amounts – I do have xanthan gum and a Locust bean/ guar, acacia, xanthan gum thickening mixture – would either of these work in the custard instead?

    • The gums might work but I can’t guarantee. My advice is to add no more than 1/2 tsp right at the end of the pastry cream process and whisk like crazy to get it to combine without any clumps.

  30. Carolyn, this cake is beautiful! I’m learning so much about using Swerve from perusing the recipes on your website. Happy to see the press you’ve gotten this past year! Congrats. :)

    • Thanks so much, Lauren. I read somewhere you were going to focus more on your blog too? But I think you also got a medical degree?

  31. Could you use Splenda instead? They don’t sell swerve locally. :(

    • No, unfortunately Splenda will change the consistency of the meringues and filling. CAn you order some online?

  32. charlotte says:

    these look sooooooooooooo good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am definitely making these soon.
    love chocolate
    love pastry cream
    love meruinge ANYTHING!!!
    Love these

  33. charlotte says:

    P.S ( i forgot to ask)
    Could you use sugar instead of swerve?
    If your not low-carb?
    i’m GF, but am fine with everything else

  34. I just love the idea of this recipe. It looks so yummy but we cant do tree nuts/gluten/corn/soy/coconut in our house. Any suggestions?

    • Carolyn says:

      You could try making the meringue part without any filler like almond flour. Not sure how it would bake up, though.

  35. Feel free to come over and, oh you know, be my mom :)

    What a wonderful kitchen we would have with you!

  36. What can I use instead of stevia extract?
    Your recipes have been a god sent for our family and especially for my granddaughter.
    With her being a diabetic and eating gluten free the carbs in your recipes are so low that she can enjoy the sweet things like everyone else.
    Thanks again

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