I think I’ve mentioned on here once or twice that my mamma isn’t much of a baker, so it’s a surprise that I really enjoy it. Try she did though, because she wanted to make my sisters and I very happy. Growing up, she’d bake us cookies from a tube and cake from a box, and we loved it all the same because sweets are sweets to kids no matter how they’re made, let’s be honest. To this day I still have a love for funfetti cake from a box that is unexplainable to me, and I find it to be so funny because I was just talking to a friend about how we both know our way around a kitchen and can make any cake from scratch with our eyes closed, yet cake from a box still tastes the best. Why is that? There’s just something so great about the texture and taste of it. You can’t really replicate that moistness (I’m sorry) in a homemade cake. Neither of us could explain it. I think it’s just a reminder being a kid and eating it all of the time. Mom would always make us a boxed cake whenever we were bored or wanted a treat or for a special occasion. She wouldn’t make it fancy either, so there weren’t multiple layers or anything like that. She’d bake the cake in a rectangle pan and let us frost the top and my sister’s and I would load it up with all the sprinkles we wanted. That’s what I call a childhood.
These Funfetti Eclairs are a nod to my childhood, and to anyone else out there who had (and maybe still has) a love for boxed funfetti cake that will never go away. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I had eclairs growing up, I didn’t even know that they existed when I was a kid. But I figured that since funfetti everything has already been created, why not try a new take on something that hasn’t already been thought up. That’s how these Funfetti Eclairs came to be. If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that I made S’mores Eclairs on the blog not too long ago. I’m currently on an eclairs journey and I hope you can jump on board with me because now you have two to try. You better get a move on it.
Let’s start with the filling for the eclairs. Just like traditional eclairs, these are filled with a simple vanilla pastry cream. Don’t be scared. You can do this. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
Add the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. The mixture will be very thick and might be somewhat difficult to whisk smoothly, but continue to whisk as best you can until the mixture comes together. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth.
**Note: Separating eggs is always easier when the eggs are cold, but whenever you bake with them, they’re better at room temperature. So I recommend separating them cold and then letting them rest at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes before.**
Whisk in a bit of the warmed milk into the egg mixture, whisking until smooth. Then continue to stream in the milk while whisking continuously until all of the milk has been combined.
**Note: It’s important to temper the egg yolks first by adding that little bit at the beginning. That will bring the egg mixture to the same temperature as the milk. If you add all of the milk all at once, it’ll cook the eggs a bit and the entire thing will be RUINED. So adding a little bit and stirring, will prevent that!**
Once all of the milk has been added and the mixture is well combined, pour it back into the saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture has come to a bubbly and thickened like pudding. Stop stirring every once in a while and check to see that it’s bubbling. Once thick, cook for 30 seconds longer and then immediately remove from the heat. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until melted through.
Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, through a fine mesh strainer, pushing through with a spatula or spoon. This will ensure that there are no lumps or bits going through into the pastry cream. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the pastry cream directly. This will prevent a film or skin from forming. And store in the refrigerator until completely chilled, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
**Note: You can speed the process up, if you’re in a hurry, by placing the pastry cream in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour. Just make sure to stir every once in a while so that it doesn’t firm up too much.**
While the pastry cream chills, let’s make the pate a choux pastry for the eclairs. I’m going to go through the process pretty quickly, but if you need further step by step or guidance, you can check out these S’mores Eclairs from a few weeks ago. There’s a more detailed look into making the pate a choux.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer, until the butter has melted. Remove form the stove and add the flour and stir rapidly until the mixture comes together. Return to the flame and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
**Note: Make sure to continue to stir with a wooden spoon. By keeping the dough moving, it’ll ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, and ensure that it cooks it somewhat without over cooking.**
Transfer to a stand mixer and mix on medium-high with the paddle attachment. Add the whole eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The mixture should be soft, but still somewhat stiff.
**Note: The stand mixer makes it a lot easier since there is a lot of mixing involved to ensure that the eggs mix well together. BUT if you don’t have one, you can most definitely do this by hand with a wooden spoon. Just be prepared to really get down and dirty with the mixing.**
Add the sprinkles and then fold in with a rubber spatula. I like doing this by hand because if you mix with the stand mixer, it’ll break down the sprinkles too much. Use multi-colored jimmies, or those thin sprinkle rounds.
Transfer the pate a choux to a large pastry bag, fitted with a large plain circle tip, and pipe out onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You want about 2 to 2 1/2 inch logs, with about 2 inches of space in between each. Using wet fingers, smooth out the sharp tips of the dough.
**Tip: If you don’t have a pastry bag with fancy tips, then try using a large gallon sized food storage bag and snip off the end.**
Brush with an egg wash and bake in a preheated 425 degrees F oven for about 15 minutes. Then lower the temp to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on wire racks.
Once completely cooled, they’re ready to be filled. Transfer the pastry cream to a pastry bag, fitted with a small circle tip. Using a small pairing knife, make a small cut on the side of each eclair and then fill each with the pastry cream.
**Tip: If you want to ensure that the entire eclair is filled, fill from both ends. Sometimes if you only fill from one end, the cream won’t fill all the way through. Tips of the trade.**
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making pastry cream from scratch, there are two routes you can take. One, you can make one of those instant pudding boxes and fill it with that. Or you can fill it with whipped cream. Just beat heavy whipping cream together with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Easy peasy.
Dip the top of each eclair into melted white candy melts, allowing the excess to drip off. Then dunk into a bowl of sprinkles, making sure the top is completely covered with them.
**Note: You can find candy melts online on amazon or at crafts stores like Michaels. I like using them for this because they melt easy and are great to work with. If you want though, you can also just melt white chocolate chips and then dip them in that.**
Allow the eclairs to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes in the fridge to allow the topping to set before serving. You can keep the eclairs in the fridge for up to 4 days. Any longer than that, and the eclairs will become soggy and not so good. You won’t want not so good eclairs.
I really like eclairs because they’re a fancy dessert without actually being super fancy. You want someone to be really impressed with you? Make them these eclairs. Sprinkles always make people really happy. They’ll be all like “OOOOHHH! How cute!” And then you’ll be a star. A STAR!
You can switch things up a bit by changing the sprinkles you use. Try using chocolate jimmies instead or use whatever kind of sprinkles you have on hand or can find at the store. Maybe stay away from the fine sugar sprinkles though, those tend to “bleed” their color too much and wouldn’t really work here.
Even if you look at these and this long post, and feel like they’re too much work, go ahead and crack open a box of funfetti cake mix. Make that instead because you’ll still come out winning either way. I won’t be mad at that. How could I be? I’d actually be jealous because you have cake.
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup multi-colored sprinkles
- 1 large egg, whisked with a splash of water
- 1½ cups white candy melts
- 2 cups multi-colored sprinkles
- To make the pastry cream, warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat, until bubbles form around the edges.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. It'll be thick, and a little hard to stir, but that's okay. Whisk in a bit of the warmed milk into the dry ingredients. Once combined, continue to whisk in the warmed milk until all of it has been added. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium heat. Continue to whisk and cook until thickened, about 5 to 8 minutes. The mixture will be very thin at first but continue to cook and whisk until it's thickened like a pudding. Don't stop whisking, as the mixture might stick if you do. Once thickened, let the mixture come to a boil and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and vanilla until well combined and then pour into a bowl, through a fine mesh sieve/strainer. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream. Chill until completely cold, about 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- To make the eclairs, in a medium saucepan bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rapid simmer. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring rapidly until the mixture comes together for about 30 to 60 seconds. Return to the heat and cook, constantly stirring rapidly, for about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and stir on medium. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix once more. The batter should be thick, but fall slowly away from the paddle. Fold in the sprinkles. Transfer to a large pastry bag fitted with a plain circle tip.
- Pipe out the eclairs onto the prepared baking pans, to about 2 inch think logs. Make sure to leave about 2 inches of space apart. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake until puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Let the eclairs cool completely on the baking sheets before filling.
- Using a small sharp pairing knife, make a small incision on both sides of each eclair, this will make them easier to fill. Transfer the chilled pastry cream into a piping bag with a small plain circle tip. Fill the eclairs with the cream and return to the baking sheets.
- Pour the candy melts into a medium bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted through and smooth. Pour the sprinkles into a separate dish. Dip the tops of each eclair into the candy melts and then into the sprinkles making sure they're well covered. Return to the baking sheet and let set before serving. Serve immediately or keep in refrigerator until ready to eat. They can be kept in the fridge for 4 days. Enjoy!