Boston Cream Pie

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edited a little later to add recipe

(click on image for larger view and more photos)
Boston Cream Pie In February, Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice) made Boston Cream Pie for the first time. And it reminded me that I used to LOVE Boston Cream Pie. I’ve never made it. I’m pretty sure that Mom has never made it either – or not to my knowledge. Perhaps it was a grandmother’s specialty? Or a great-aunt’s?? But I know I had had it as a child.

And it’s surprising that I liked it. I’ve never been a big fan of custard. Or of sweet desserts. But for some reason the Boston Cream Pie combination of custard, cake and chocolate make the custard bearable.

So I mentioned to T that it might be fun to have a Boston Cream Pie. He was thrilled. And being the custardy dessert loving person he is, he jumped at the opportunity.

So we looked through our books for recipes – what?? – only one?!?! (“Joy of Cooking”). Then onto the internet to find a likely looking recipe for Boston Cream Pie on the Food Network site.

Making the Cake:

beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form

First of all… there was a little bit of difficulty separating the eggs (T had scrambled eggs for breakfast the next day):

Me (rummaging in drawer): I’m pretty sure we have a nifty egg separator. Do you want to use that?

T: No, I’ve separated hundreds of eggs… what the…?? Yes. I want the separator.

Me: See? It just rests here on the edge of the bowl. Cool, eh? You break the egg into it and the white drops through the narrow holes and the yolk stays nestled in th… hey!! what the…???

So T used his original method of holding the yolk in his hands and everything was under control again. And then came the whisking…

T (whisking madly): It says to whisk at medium speed… I only have one speed.

But egg whites take WAY less time to beat than cream. And very soon, T was folding whites into the yolks and not long after that pouring the batter into two round cake tins – not greased. I cut out rounds of parchment paper and put them in the bottoms of the tins.

Making the Custard:

6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

As the cakes were baking (they smelled delicious), T began making the custard.

T: Six egg yolks?!! A quarter cup of cornstarch??!!! That’s ridiculous. I’m using 2 eggs and 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. It will be fine.

And so it was. Beautiful custard. Enough for several cakes….

Making the Ganache:

8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, boiling

Well… thank Heaven for the equivalents section in Joy of Cooking, is all I can say…. we only had 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and had run out of unsweetened chocolate. But we had plenty of cocoa and plenty of butter.

1 unsweetened square (1oz) chocolate = 3 Tbsp cocoa + 1 Tbsp butter

1 semi-sweetened square (1oz) chocolate = 1 unsweetened square (1oz) chocolate + 4 tsp sugar

And we decided that 8 oz of chocolate was a ridiculous amount anyway. Or in T’s words: “Hogwash – *Do 3 ounces*” And he used 1/3 cup of 10% cream instead of the heavy cream called for. The resulting ganache was fabulous. And enough for 2 or 3 cakes…

Boston Cream Pie And the final result? Well, I have to say, it was brilliant. (click on image for larger view and more photos)

I’m not sure that it was exactly like the Boston Cream Pies of my youth but I really didn’t care. One of the really great things about it was that the chocolate was not very sweet at all AND it was just a little salty because T had used salted butter in the cocoa/butter chocolate square substitution. It was the perfect foil for the ultra sweet custard and cake. And even though there was enough chocolate for more than one cake, we mounded it all onto the cake. It was delicious…

All in all, a success. Thanks Ivonne for suggesting it!!

…and the extra custard? T spooned it over every one of his slices of Boston Cream Pie. He said it was good and did I want some? “No thank you.” (I couldn’t imagine the cake supporting any more custard!)

edit a little later: Here is T’s take on Boston Cream Pie:

Boston Cream Pie
based on Gale Gand’s Boston Cream Pie


  • 1 c sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ c sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp teaspoon salt
  • ½ c milk
  • ¼ c vegetable oil (canola, safflower, sunflower…)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp teaspoon cream of tartar

Cake Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut 9 inch rounds of parchment paper and place them in the bottoms of cake tins. Lightly butter the sides.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until well combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  5. Fold egg whites into the mixture in the large bowl.
  6. Gently pour the batter into the cake tins. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert the pan onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.


  • 2 c milk
  • dash vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ c sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp sweet butter, room temperature

Custard Preparation

  1. In a medium pot, heat the milk and vanilla extract to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add cornstarch through a sifter and whisk vigorously til smooth.
  4. Whisk in ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Pour in the remaining hot milk mixture and whisk it in.
  5. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  7. Allow to cool slightly then cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)


  • ¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ c salted butter
  • ⅓ c cream
  • 3 Tbsp sugar to sweeten
  1. Bring cream and butter to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder and sugar until smooth.

Assembly of Boston Cream Pie

  1. Remove cakes from pans. Place bottom layer on a serving platter and spread the top with lots of custard.
  2. Place other cake layer over top. Pour chocolate ganache on top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate.

Note that there is too much custard for the cake. Serve extra custard on the side. Keep the cake refrigerated.

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7 responses to “Boston Cream Pie

  1. your sister, B

    Hmm, I remember Mom making that sometimes. I never ate it because of the custard, not even the chocolate or cake parts,because they would have a bit of custard touching them. I still don’t like custard …

  2. ejm Post author

    Really, B? I remember that Dad really liked Boston cream pie but I only remember Mom making birthday cakes, cookies, brownies and plum duff. I should ask her what she did for the next time we have the urge for Boston cream pie. (I must say it won’t be soon; we got Boston-cream-pied-out by the time we got to the last slice – it’s pretty sweet….)

  3. ejm Post author

    Let me know if you do, Paz. I’d be really interested to hear about your thoughts.

    (All these months later, we’re STILL Boston Cream Pied out – it really is very sweet, don’t you think?)

  4. Uncle Hannah

    Mmmm. I love the dialogue you included. Funny!! I was just looking around at different people’s versions of custard. I’m notorious for not following a recipe exactly. I like your style! I would be worried that the custard wouldn’t set up enough without enough starch/whatnot. Heck, I think I used 5 eggs and 3-4 TBS of starch in my recipe!

    I’m making a (gluten-free) yellow cake for my mom’s birthday, with a mocha-almond custard filling and nutella buttercream. Should be fairly intense. Hehehe. I hope she likes it. :)

    That cake sounds great! What a good idea to use a custard filling to counteract the slightly dry quality that gluten-free cake invariably has (at least the gluten-free cakes I’ve had are on the dry side) -ejm


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