Monday, August 9, 2010

Boston Cream Pie

As much as I enjoyed my trip to Boston several weeks ago, I was a bit sad that I didn't get to try any authentic Boston Cream Pie.  I "discovered" this delicious dessert (which is more like a cake) back in high school and I've always enjoyed the soft, buttery cake layers topped with smooth Bavarian-style cream and chocolate. 

E and I were invited to enjoy dinner with friends a few weeks ago, so I decided to make a Boston Cream Pie.  I found this recipe on and I'm pleased with the results.  As much as I enjoy and appreciate a from-scratch cake, this recipe uses a boxed cake, but the results are more than satisfactory.

First I baked a double layer yellow cake (I used Duncan Hines).  I split each layer in half (so I had a total of four layers) and topped the layers with homemade vanilla cream.  Making the cream was the most difficult part of this cake.  I didn't pay attention to the recipe and I ended up with some lumps, but it was still good.  Just be sure you read the entire recipe before you begin.

I topped the first three layers with cream, then put the fourth layer on top. 

I would recommend baking the cake and making the cream the day before.  Those were the most time consuming parts of this recipe. 

Then it was time to make the chocolate ganache topping.  This was so easy!  It was my first ganache and now I just want to cover everything in our kitchen in chocolate.  I even dropped the whisk and my dog ended up getting a taste of the chocolately goodness (I know, I know... I'm a bad pet parent.  She didn't get much.)

I chopped up some Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate...

and whisked in some warm heavy cream...

And the sauce was ready!  It was that easy.

Then I poured the sauce all over the layered cake and let it drip down the sides...

It was a bit messy, but it was sooo good!  I placed it in the fridge for a few hours prior to serving, just to make sure the layers didn't slide out of place at the table.

I would not recommend trying to travel with this cake.  I held my breath the entire time we were driving to our friend's home out of fear that these layers would slide and smear and smudge our cake carrier.  Keep this dessert at home, or assemble it on location.

The result is a light, fluffy cake with just enough creamy filling to wet your fork and the perfect amount of not-too-sweet rich chocolate topping.

I will admit that E and I ate this the following morning with coffee for breakfast.  Yes, I know.  We're bad.

Boston Cream Pie
from Aaron McCargo, Jr. on The Food Network


1 box yellow cake mix

Pastry Cream:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (I used pure vanilla extract.)
6 egg yolks
4 tablespoons instant flour (recommended: Wondra)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Ganache:8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Bake 2 cakes according to package instructions in a 3-inch deep cake pan. Once baked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, take a long serrated knife and slice each cake in half to form 4 separate disks.
Pastry Cream:
Pour the milk, 1/4 cup sugar and the vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. Combine the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl and whisk until light in color. Add the flour, vanilla extract and the salt to the egg yolks and mix to combine. When the milk just begins to boil, remove from heat. Very slowly temper the hot milk into the yolk mixture, stirring constantly. When about half of the milk has been added, pour all of the yolk mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Using a whisk, mix as it heats, making sure to reach all of the corners of the pan when stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. The mixture will be thick. Remove from heat and add the butter. Strain the pastry cream through a fine strainer. Put it into a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the cream. Refrigerate to chill for at least 1 hour before using.
In a small saucepan, over low heat bring the cream to a boil. Add the chocolate to a small bowl and pour in the hot cream. Stir until smooth, then allow to cool slightly.
Spread cooled pastry cream on the top of 3 of the cake layers. Put each disk of cake on top of each other, leaving the last cake disk untouched. Press the cake firmly. Put the cake on a wire rack with a sheet tray underneath. Pour the slightly cooled ganache on top of the cake being sure the ganache covers the whole cake. Allow to cool in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Put any remaining pastry cream in a piping bag with a star tip and use to decorate the top. Slice the cake and serve.  (There was no cream left when I finished layering this cake!)


  1. That cake looks fantastic!

  2. This cake looks fantastic Keeley- the ganache is my favorite part! I agree, it is so simple and just so good. There's no wonder you ate it for breakfast :-)

  3. That cake looks fabulous and yummy!!!! Because you are a way better chef than I (therefore I cannot touch this recipe. lol), I wanted to share that I found a Boston Cream Cake recipe on and tried it not too long ago and it was yummo also!!!

  4. That is one serious "pie". I've only seen Boston Cream pie with two layers. Four definitely would up the yum factor. I'm saving this one for when my dad comes for a visit. He really likes Boston Cream Pie.


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