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Boston Cream Pie

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The Boston Cream Pie is not a pie at all, but a classic American cake. 2 layers of delicious vanilla sponge, sandwiched together with a rich, creamy vanilla Creme Patissiere (pastry cream). Although traditionally topped with a bittersweet ganache, I’ve chosen to coat mine with an easy chocolate glaze that hardens. But won’t crack when sliced.

Boston Cream Pie on a cake stand

This month’s theme for ‘Progressive Eats’ is New England Feast. I immediately thought of the Boston Cream Pie.

This recipe is adapted from the Boston Cream Pie recipe in my cook book ‘A Year of Cake’. It’s a very simple victoria sponge cake recipe that can be used for any occasion. The creme patissiere filling is pretty easy to make. However, if this is the first time of making, I suggest you read through the instructions first to get an idea of how it’s done.

If you struggle with making a chocolate ganache, this chocolate glaze is much easier to make. It doesn’t split, which is what can sometimes happen with ganache when you’re not used to making it. And it can be used for all sorts of other recipes that need a chocolate topping. Such as this Chocolate Tray Bake with easy to slice hard chocolate topping.

How to make a Boston Cream Pie.

There are three steps to making a Boston Cream Pie.

  1. Crème Patissiere – First, you need to make the Crème Patissiere. It needs time to cool and set.
  2. Chocolate glaze – This easy to make topping also needs to firm up a little, but still have a spreading consistency.
  3. Sponge Cake – Using a basic cake recipe that you are familiar with, means you have the beginnings of a great cake. Once it’s made and cooled down, all the other components of a Boston Cream Pie will be ready for you to put the whole cake together.

How to make Crème Patissiere ( Pastry Cream)

Pour the milk and cream into a pan. Add the vanilla pod and seeds, if using. Scald the milk by placing it over a low heat and bringing it to just below boiling point. Which is just as you begin to see bubbles forming at the side of the pan. Remove from the heat. If using Vanilla extract, add at this point.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until you have a thick creamy consistency. Add the cornflour and mix until well combined. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture, through a sieve to remove any bits, over the egg mixture and mix well, then return to a clean pan. Place over a medium heat and cook gently, whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming.

As soon as it begins to thicken, this will only take a couple of minutes, take off the heat and keep mixing until it all comes together into a thick smooth creamy consistency with no lumps. This may take an extra minute or two.

Transfer the crème pâtissière to a clean bowl and cover the surface of the crème with cling film to avoid a skin forming. Place in the fridge to cool and set.

butter and chocolate melting in a bowl

How to make a chocolate glaze.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth and well mixed. Leave to one side to cool while you make the cake.

You will find full instructions on how to make the sponge cake in the recipe card when you scroll below.

Once the cake is made and cooled completely, you can simply sandwich the two layers together with the Creme Patissiere (pastry cream).  Spread the cooled Chocolate Glaze over the top. Allow it to drizzle over the sides if you wish.

There should be enough pastry cream to generously fill the cake and you can use all of the chocolate glaze too. It’s a gorgeously rich and delicious Boston Cream Pie cake.

Notes:

  • After the chocolate glaze has cooled. If you find that it’s a little too firm for spreading over the cake, give it a thorough mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until it becomes spreadable again. There’s no need to reheat at all.
  • Placing cling fill over the top of the Crème Patissiere stops any skin forming. You need to make sure the film actually touches the pastry cream to avoid any air pockets.

If you like this Boston Cream Pie, you may like to try this recipe for Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. It uses the same amount of ingredients. But being cupcakes, they bake a lot quicker and make a great companion to a large cake if catering for a party or large crowd where a mix and match of portions are needed.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
These Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes have a delicious vanilla sponge with each centre scooped out and filled with a creamy Crème Patissiere, (Pastry Cream) Which is then topped with swirls of delicious chocolate glaze.
Check out this recipe
small cakes on a plate

This Chocolate Tray Bake is very easy to make and also uses the Chocolate Glaze.

Chocolate Tray Bake with easy to slice chocolate topping.
Chocolate Tray Bake with an easy to slice, when hardened, chocolate topping.
Check out this recipe
Chocolate Tray bake with an easy to slice hardened chocolate topping.

Progressive Eats

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is A New England Feast. From lobster and blueberries to Vermont cheddar and pizza, New England cuisine encompasses a lot. Our host this month is Sarah Walker Caron who blogs at Sarah’s Cucina Bella.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the deliciousness we’ve put together for our celebration inspired dishes!

A New England Feast

Cocktails

Appetizers

Bread

Main Courses

Sides

Desserts

Boston Cream Pie on a cake stand

Boston Cream Pie

The Boston Cream Pie is not a pie at all, but a classic American cake. 2 layers of delicious vanilla sponge, sandwiched together with a rich, creamy vanilla Creme Patissiere (pastry cream). Although traditionally topped with a bittersweet ganache, I’ve chosen to coat mine with an easy chocolate glaze that hardens. But won’t crack when sliced.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate topping, custard filling
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Setting time for the chocolate glaze and Creme Patissiere: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12
Calories: 515kcal
Author: Lynn Hill

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 225 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 225 g self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Crème patissiere

  • 125 ml whole milk
  • 125 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp teaspoon vanilla extract or one whole vanilla pod. Seeds scraped
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 20 g cornflour

Chocolate glaze

  • 200 g dark or milk chocolate roughly chopped
  • 90 g unsalted butter

Instructions

Crème Pâtissière

  • Pour the milk and cream into a pan. Add the vanilla pod and seeds, if using. Scald the milk by placing it over a low heat and bringing it to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat. If using Vanilla extract, add at this point.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until you have a thick creamy consistency. Add the cornflour and mix until well combined. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture, through a sieve to remove any bits, over the egg mixture and mix well, then return to a clean pan. Place over a medium heat and cook gently, whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming.
  • As soon as it begins to thicken, this will only take a couple of minutes, take off the heat and keep mixing until it all comes together into a thick smooth creamy consistency with no lumps. This may take an extra minute or two.
  • Transfer the crème pâtissière to a clean bowl and cover the surface of the crème with cling film to avoid a skin forming. Place in the fridge to cool and set.

Make the chocolate glaze

  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir frequently until melted, smooth and well mixed. Leave to one side to cool while you make the cake.

Make the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c conventional/160°c fan. Grease and line 2 x 18 cm (7 inch)
  • Using an electric mixer. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. If needed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a little flour in between each egg. This will help prevent curdling.
  • Add the vanilla extract then gradually add the remaining flour. Mix until well combined.
  • Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared cake tins.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 mins. Or until baked and slightly golden looking. Testing the centre of each cake with a skewer until it comes out clean. Leave in the tins for about 10 mins to cool a little before turning out onto a wite rack to cool completely.
  • When the cakes have cooled and the creme patissiere has set. Place the creme pattissiere on top of the first cake layer. Place the second cake on top. Decorate with the chocolate glaze.

Notes

Notes
  • If you find that the chocolate glaze is a little too firm for spreading over the cake. Give it a thorough mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until it becomes spreadable again.
  • Adding cling fill over the top of the creme patissiere stops any skin forming. You need to make sure the film actually touches the pastry cream to avoid creating any air pockets.

Nutrition

Calories: 515kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 970IU | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how you got on. Tag me on Instagram at @clandestinecake and include hashtag #clandestinecake

15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My family loves Boston Cream Pie and you’ve baked up a beauty!!! Time to treat them with your yummy recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve always been a fan of Boston Cream Pie! I’m not much of a baker but your step-by-step instructions make it look so easy! I think I’ll be trying this!

  3. 5 stars
    I adore that you are making recipes from across the pond with us!! Love this cake and the cupcake duo! I must make one soon!

    • Thanks, Ansh. I love being part of the Progressive Eats group. It was a no brainer to make a cupcake recipe to go with this cake. I wanted to show how easily adaptable a recipe can be.

  4. This is one of my faves! The cake is so light and it is perfect with the pastry cream! Plus ganache makes everything better!

    • I love making pastry cream. Once mastered, it’s so easy to make from thereon. A cake like this just has to be topped with chocolate.

  5. I don’t make many desserts, but when I do, the calories must be worth it! Lol. Your Boston Cream Pie sounds fabulous, and your instructions and photos make it look quite doable. Looking forward to having a go at it!

    • Thanks Tamara. I agree with you. There’s nothing worse than making a dessert that you don’t enjoy. I judge a good recipe when people come back for more.

  6. I love Boston cream pie! I don’t know why I’m so afraid of making the filling! Yours looks amazing.

  7. 5 stars
    My kids and I travel to Boston at least once a year, and almost always stay at the Omni Parker House — it was at the Parker House restaurant that Boston Cream Pie was created. Sharing one (they make minis) is part of our experience each stay — usually prompted by my son saying that he’s never tried it. Your version looks delightful!

  8. I lived in Boston for awhile, and often – I mean really often – had Boston Cream Pie. It’s the BEST – but for some reason, I’ve never made it. Thanks for this recipe – and I see you also have a recipe for Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes!!! LOVE!

    • Thanks, Susan. As soon as I knew I was making the Boston Cream Pie for this theme, I just had to make cupcakes to go with them. Some people find cupcakes easier to make.

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