Boston Cream Pie is two layers of sponge cake with pastry cream in between and a chocolate glaze poured over the top. Try my Boston Cream Pie Surprise Inside Cake for a layered cake with a pudding filling and a surprise inside.
Boston Cream Pie
This ‘pie’ is actually a layered sponge cake. Since pies were around in America before cakes, most kitchens had pie pans (which were used for cakes and pies). This was probably how the dessert was given a pie name. In December of 1996, the pie was proclaimed as Massachusetts State Dessert. After trying three Boston Cream Pie recipes (and not being completely satisfied with the results) I went for it a fourth time (successfully) with the recipe from Baking Illustrated.
Boston Cream Pie Ingredients
There are three important parts to this recipe–sponge cakes, pastry cream filling, and chocolate glaze. The pastry cream should be made first since it has to be stored in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 2 days.
Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is used in the chocolate glaze, and it is different than half-and-half. Heavy cream is between 30-36% fat and all cream.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch was used in this recipe (as opposed to flour) to thicken up the cream. Cornstarch is also easier to use in this recipe compared to flour.
Flour: Both cake flour and all-purpose flour were used in the sponge cake recipe.
Light Corn Syrup: Light corn syrup is a natural sweetener. It helps give you a glossy texture in the chocolate glaze. I do not recommend using dark corn syrup in the glaze recipe.
How to Store Boston Cream Pie
Since there is cream in the center of this cake, it will need to be refrigerated. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
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Boston Cream Pie
- 2 cups half-and-half
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick / 57g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into four pieces
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup (50 g) cake flour
- ¼ cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 5 large eggs, room temperature and divided
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup (238 g) heavy cream
- ¼ cup (85 g) light corn syrup
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the half and half, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Heat until the mixture starts to simmer, whisking occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
- While the half and half is simmering, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until combined. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar for about 15 seconds, or the sugar has begun to dissolve. Whisk in the cornstarch and mix until the mixture is light yellow. It will be thick.
- Slowly pour the simmering half and half into the egg yolk mixture, whisking to combine. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Over medium heat, bring the mixture back to a simmer, whisking constantly. After about 30 seconds, the mixture should thicken and be glossy.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Using a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl, strain the cream. Immediately after straining, cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, or prepare with GOOP, and line bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together both kinds of flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add the milk and butter. Heat until butter has melted (20-30 seconds). Cover to keep warm.
- Separate three eggs. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the three egg whites only. To the egg yolks, add the other two whole eggs and set aside.
- At low speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Increase the speed to medium and gradually add half of the sugar. Beat until soft peaks form. (Soft peaks will briefly stand on their own before falling back in the mixture.) Transfer the beaten egg whites to a large bowl.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the egg yolks and whole egg mixture. Beat this mixture at medium-high speed with the remaining sugar until the eggs are thick, about 5 minutes. Add these eggs to the beaten egg white mixture.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture, gently folding about 12 times with a rubber spatula, or until mostly combined.
- In one side of the batter, make a well. Pour the milk and melted butter mixture into the batter and continue to gently fold until there is no trace of flour remaining.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when touched. (Check a few minutes early for doneness.)
- When done, remove the cakes from the oven and immediately loosen the cakes from the pans with an offset spatula. Invert each cake onto a large plate or serving platter. Remove parchment paper and flip each cake over again onto a wire rack. Let the cakes cool to room temperature before continuing with the recipe.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add heavy cream and corn syrup. Bring to a simmer.
- Once at a full simmer, remove from heat and add the chocolate pieces. Cover and let stand for 8 minutes, or until the chocolate has melted.
- Gently stir in the vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Allow glaze to cool to lukewarm. (If put in the refrigerator to cool, stir every few minutes.)
- While the glaze is cooling, place one of the cooled sponge cakes onto a cardboard round or a cake stand. Spread the pastry filling evenly over the cake to the edges.
- Place the second cake on top. Pour the glaze onto the middle of the cake and let it flow down the sides of the cake.
- Let the cake sit for about an hour, or until the glaze has set. The cake is best served the same day.
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Boston cream pie looks like what my mom used to make. Finally I got a recipe to make it. Thanks so much !!!❤️
what is the meaning half-and- half?
is that flour?
Half and half is half cream, half milk
would the filling be able to withstand the weight of a 4 layer cake? Maybe if I used less between each layer?
O dont have Cake flour. Can o use more all porpouse flour and extra baking powder ? How can i substitute?
Thanks a lot !
You can make your own Cake Flour if you don’t buy it. Just google and many will come up. King Arthur Flour also tells you. Happy Baking
This was melt in your mouth amazing! I will definitely be making this again. Everything turned out perfect and assembled together it made for a delicate but decadent dessert!
We don’t have all purpose flour in South Africa, only cake flour and self-raising flour. Can I use all cake flour?
This is what I found online:
What is all-purpose flour called in South Africa?
White flour, also referred to as all-purpose or plain flour, is one of the flour varieties that is most frequently used in baking. All-purpose flour is a type of wheat flour with several applications. Hard red wheat or a blend of 80:20 hard and soft wheat is used to make it predominantly.
Absolutely stupendous recipe. Thank you
My cakes didn’t rise…not sure why
Can you use regular cake mix?