Boston Cream Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Boston Cream Pie is not a pie at all, but a cake. This classic dessert is said to originate from a Pastry Chef working at the Parker House Restaurant in Boston is the mid-1850’s. The Chef created a version of a Pudding Pie Cake recipe by splitting and filling a sponge cake with vanilla custard and adding a chocolate glaze topping.

I find it easiest to prepare the Pastry Cream a day in advance of using so it has plenty of time to chill and its ready when needed to assemble the cake.
Recipe type: Dessert | Sponge Cake | Chocolate | Pastry Cream
Serves: 8 to 10
Cake Batter:
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
Pastry Cream:
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped. Or, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust the pan with flour.
Tip: Use cake strips around the pans to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is 2 to 3 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
Cake Batter:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small heavy-bottomed pan over low heat combine milk and butter. Heat until the butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover the pan to keep the mixture warm. Set aside.
  3. Separate 3 of the eggs, placing the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl. Tip: a copper bowl is ideal for beating egg whites. Place the 3 egg yolks along with the remaining 2 whole eggs in a large bowl of an electric mixer.
  4. Beat the egg whites to stiff moist peaks (do not overbeat.) Set aside.
  5. Beat the egg yolks and whole eggs with an electric mixer on low speed about 1 minute to blend, add the sugar and beat another minute to blend the eggs and sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 5 to 8 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and drops in ribbons when the beater is lifted. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  6. Place the flour mixture into a wire mesh strainer and sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time over the egg mixture. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the eggs, using about 3 to 4 turns with each addition of flour, and making sure to reach to the bottom of the bowl as you fold. Do not worry about incorporating all the flour until the last addition, as too much handling will deflate the batter. The flour should be added quickly in about 4 to 5 additions.
  7. Before the last addition of flour, quickly pour the warm milk mixture in a stream over the batter. Immediately sprinkle in the remaining flour mixture, and fold into the batter taking about 12 to 15 more turns to completely incorporate the ingredients, and taking no more than 15 to 20 seconds as the batter can deflate quickly.
  8. Using a rubber spatula, immediately push the batter into the prepared pans. If any butter remains in the bottom of the bowl, do not add to the batter as this could prevent the cake from rising. Smooth the top of the batter with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon.
  9. Bake: Tap the pans on the counter to remove air bubbles, and place the pans in the oven. Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until the cake is golden brown, springy to the touch, and has come away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and let stand 10 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Run a thin sharp knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Remove cake from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Tip: Lightly grease the cooling rack with vegetable oil or a nonstick cooking spray to prevent the cakes from sticking.
Pastry Cream:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, ¼ cup sugar, and salt; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then add the cornstarch mixture and whisk until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
  3. In a medium, non-reactive, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, combine the milk, remaining ¼ cup sugar, vanilla bean, and scraped vanilla bean seeds. (If using vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean do not add to the milk; instead the vanilla extract will be added after the cream has been cooked.) Bring the milk mixture to a simmer, remove from the heat.
  4. Temper the eggs: Very slowly, in a thin stream, pour about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs while quickly whisking the two together with a wire whisk. Return the egg mixture back to the rest of the hot milk, pouring back slowly while quickly whisking the two mixtures together. Return to medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula in a figure eights pattern around the edge of the pan and into the center, making sure to scrape the rubber spatula across the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the mixture just comes to a boil. Continue to cook while stirring constantly for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Tip: A heat-resistant rubber spatula is best for stirring because it can scrape the entire bottom of the pot to help prevent the egg from clumping together and coagulating.
  5. Finishing the Pastry Cream: Remove and discard the vanilla bean if using. Or, if using vanilla extract, add it now. Also add the butter and stir until melted and completely blended. Let Pastry Cream cool to room temperature, stirring frequently while cooling. Or, Pour the Pastry Cream into a medium-sized bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface while the cream is cooling to prevent a skin from forming. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools.
  6. Place a sheet of plastic firm directly on the surface while the pastry cream is cooling to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until completely chilled.
Chocolate Glaze:
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan over medium low heat, heat the cream until it is hot and just beginning to steam. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Add Lyle’s Golden Syrup and vanilla, stirring until completely mixed.
  3. Let the glaze sit about 10 minutes or until it registers 90 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir the glaze occasionally while cooling. The glaze should be like a soft icing, but thin enough that it will run down over the sides of the cake.
  1. While the chocolate glaze is cooling, place one of the layers on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula spread the Pastry Cream evenly over the layer to the edge of the cake. Place the second cake layer on top.
  2. Pour the Chocolate Glaze onto the middle of the top layer and let the glaze flow over the top and allow the glaze to drip down the sides. Let the glaze set before serving.
  3. Cover cake loosely and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate Leftovers.
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two 8" Round Cake Pan Prep: Greased and Floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Chocolate Types

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