This Wicked good Boston Cream Pie recipe is a New England classic. It is made with fluffy yellow cake, creamy pastry cream, and topped with a rich chocolate ganache—what’s not to love?!
Whenever I go to a donut store, I ALWAYS get the Boston Cream Donut. I love the creamy custard filling inside the donut. Unfortunately, I don’t go to the donut store as often as I would like to. This is probably a good thing for my wallet and hips but that’s another story.
This leaves me with a dilemma though. So when I have this need to taste that delicious Boston Cream filling, what’s a girl to do? Make Boston Cream Pie, obviously!
I just love this cake. While growing up in New England, I remember this cake being a fixture in every bakery. This cake is a classic for a reason…I mean just look at it!
Fluffy cake, creamy custard, and rich chocolate ganache, it is everything my dreams are made of. Make this Boston Cream Pie recipe to satisfy all your cravings for that yummy custard cream filling layered between two layers of cake.
This dessert would make the perfect birthday cake, dessert for a family dinner, or any holiday dinner. But if you know anyone who loves Boston Cream Donuts as much as I do then no excuse is needed to make him/her this cake!
When I set out to find a recipe for this New England classic, I turned to the Massachusets-native recipe publication, Cook’s Country. Their recipe is for this cake is dead-on and so worth the extra effort! I only made a few changes to their recipe, mostly an increase in the vanilla extract in both the pastry cream and yellow cake.
Recipe Questions Answered:
What is Boston cream filling made of?
To make this delish custard you will use half-and-half, egg yolks, sugar, a pinch of salt, flour, unsalted butter, and vanilla extract. That’s not very many ingredients to whip up into the delicious filling for the Boston Cream Pie.
Why is it called Boston cream pie?
Boston Cream Pie is the official dessert of Massachusetts. That is a state I could live in for that reason alone! Owners of the Parker House Hotel in Boston say that the Boston Cream Pie was first baked at the hotel in the late 1800s.
Sponge cakes with custard fillings may have existed at the time but none had been served with a chocolate frosting before. It was not common practice to bake a cake with a chocolate topping so when the hotel chef first created this recipe it became a popular item on the hotel’s menu. The name started out as Chocolate Cream Pie, and then moved to Parker Cream Pie, before being settled on the name we know it by today, Boston Cream Pie.
Should I refrigerate Boston Cream Pie?
Yes, for food safety reasons, you should refrigerate this cake. It should be covered loosely with foil or plastic wrap and will stay fresh for 3-4 days.
Cook’s Note – Boston Cream Pie:
- This cake can be made up to 1 day in advance.
- When making the pastry cream, please don’t skip the tempering step. This will ensure that your eggs don’t cook too quickly altering the texture and thickness of the finished cream.
- Leftover cake can be stored in a cake container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. I like this cake container the best.
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- medium saucepan
- mixing bowls
- fine-mesh strainer
- 9-inch cake pans
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- offset spatula
- cake stand
ONE YEAR AGO: Paradise Cookies
TWO YEARS AGO: Sloppy Janes
THREE YEARS AGO: Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberry Topping
Boston Cream Pie Cake
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM:
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch table salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into four pieces
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped fine
MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM:
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until just beginning to simmer.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the yolks, sugar, and salt until combined. Whisk in the flour until combined and no flour pockets remain. Take the half-and-half off of the heat, and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the half-and-half to yolk mixture to temper.
- Pour the tempered yolk mixture into the half-and-half in the saucepan. Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, for 8 minutes. Then, increase the heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on the surface, about 1-2 minutes. Take the saucepan off of the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla until the butter is melted and incorporated.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the pastry cream through the strainer. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and place it directly on the surface of the pastry cream. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
MAKE THE YELLOW CAKE:
- Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat until the butter is melted. Then, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar together on high speed until light and airy, about 4-5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and butter until combined.
- Add in the flour mixture and pulse the mixer on and off until the flour is just combined. Quickly divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
- Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the tops are light brown, about 20-25 minutes. Move the cake to a wire rack to cool completely in the pans. Invert the cakes onto wire racks and then carefully peel off the parchment paper. Then, invert the cake again.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
- Put one of the cakes in the center of a cake plate or pedestal. Spoon the pastry cream onto the cake and spread it evenly to the cake edges.
- Gently place the second cake round on top of the pastry cream so the cake is bottom side up. Using your fingertips, gently press onto of the cake to make it level. Place the cake in the refrigerator while you make the chocolate glaze.
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
- In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and add the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 1 minute, and then whisk until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture sit, whisking every minute until the chocolate has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes in total.
- Pour the chocolate glaze onto the center of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the glaze to the edges of the cake, letting some of the glaze drip down the sides of the cake. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.
This Boston Cream Pie first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on March 10, 2011. I have since updated the pictures. The originals are below. 🙈