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Cake & Cheesecake | October 1, 2010

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie
Photo (above) by the beautiful and talented Whitney Kofford
check out her photography blog here.
Remember the last time we cooked/talked about cooking? We talked about:

Conquering fears.
Stepping outside the box.
Maybe a little one-on-one time.
You and me.
My kitchen.
Hold this thought….
This summer I received a call from Whitney, a young (younger than me) friend and neighbor. She wanted to make a Boston Cream Pie for her dad, for Father’s Day. She knew she was a little late (2 months) but it was his fave dessert, and she wanted to learn how. I told her that I had never made a BCP, but would love to learn how, then teach her.
I didn’t tell her, that one time, a long time ago, I purchased a whole BCP, took it home, ate a couple of bites, and decided to put it on my very short list of desserts I never wanted to eat again. My fam felt the same way. I actually threw it in the trash after a few days. Wasteful, I know. I mean, if kids in Africa wanted the crust off of my sandwich (according to your mother), they would LOVE the BCP we threw out.
A peek into that day:
1 PM: Make the first trial “pie”. Note to me- this is not a pie. It’s a cake. Why do they call it a pie? Google that. Read it. Hmmm. Said something about waaay back when, home cooks prob didn’t have the money to purchase both pie and cake tins, so they made the sponge cake in a pie plate.
First lesson. This is not a normal cake. Maybe that is why it’s called a pie? The layers turned out FLAT. What could I have done wrong? Maybe the eggs weren’t fresh enough. Go to the store, buy fresh(er) eggs. More milk. Whole milk.
2 PM Make another cake. Hmmm Not quite as flat, but still flatter than a normal layer cake. I want this cake to be fluffy. The cake is not cooperating. Wrap up the first cake, freeze for later use. Thought to self- I WILL conquer this cake/pie/whatever it is.
3PM make the custard filling. Taste. Yum. All is well. Refrigerate.
Boston Cream Pie
See the custard sandwiched in between the FLAT layers?
4PM Start making the glaze. Set aside. Things are looking up.
6PM Whitney arrives. Teach her how to make the (3rd) cake. We make and bake two more layers. Still flat. Does this cake have a complex?! Maybe it won’t be a fluffy cake, because it’s being told it’s a PIE?
Our friend Melanie joined us, we love Mel.
7PM Teach Whitney how to make custard and glaze. Set aside to cool. Pull out the pre-made layers, filling and glaze. This cake is beautiful. Accept the fact, this is not a traditional cake. Maybe that’s why it’s called a pie? Yes, I’m a slow learner.
Take pics of Mel and Whit with phone, bc I can’t find my camera.
7:30-8ish PM finish all of the baking. Assemble Whitney’s cake.
Can’t find camera. Tell Whitney to take pics at home.
Send her on her way with the finished product.
Look at the extra layers and custard and glaze. Decide to assemble another BCP and give it away, since we aren’t BCP fans.
Wow. Looks yummy.
Well, maybe just a slice. Have Jake run the whole pie (minus two slices) down to Melanie’s.
8:30 Eat a slice with Jake.
Look at each other.
Send Jake back to Melanie’s for more BCP.
Back to the last post about conquering fears. In the kitchen. So I was not really afraid of making BCP. Just unsure of how to do it. I had the luxury of taking the better part of a day to learn how. Often, I hear peeps say, I don’t make ______, bc it’s too hard. Too time consuming. Too intimidating. I understand. Really, I do.
Here’s my thought process- for what it’s worth. If you don’t ever try, and maybe try a few times, you’ll forever be reduced to buying a store bought crust. Or rolls. Or whatever. One night at about 2 AM (insomnia) after solving many of the world’s problems, my thoughts turned to food. I know you are shocked.
I thought about the BCP experience. I love that- now, I know how to make a BCP. NO WONDER I thought I didn’t like BCP. It was store bought. I thought, maybe I should ask what my friends want to learn. And if they live close, we could have a little session. Group or individual. Do what I did with Whitney and then share with those who don’t live close enough to participate.
Leave a comment, or if you aren’t comfy doing that, email me at [email protected] and let me know what you want to tackle.
I’ll be sitting right here.
Waiting for your response.
Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

Cook’s Illustrated September 1998


Sponge Cake

  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum or 1 teaspoon rum flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter optional

Rich Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


For the sponge cake:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans and cover pan bottoms with a round of parchment paper. Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl (or sift onto waxed paper). Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and add vanilla; cover and keep warm.

  2. Separate three of the eggs, placing whites in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or large mixing bowl if using hand mixer or whisk) and reserving the 3 yolks plus remaining 2 whole eggs in another mixing bowl. Beat the 3 whites on high speed (or whisk) until whites are foamy. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of the sugar; continue to beat whites to soft, moist peaks. (Do not over beat.) If using a standing mixer, transfer egg whites to a large bowl and add yolk/whole egg mixture to mixing bowl.

  3. Beat yolk/whole egg mixture with remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Beat on medium-high speed (setting 8 on a KitchenAiuntil eggs are very thick and a pale yellow color, about 5 minutes (or 12 minutes by hand). Add beaten eggs to whites.
  4. Sprinkle flour mixture over beaten eggs and whites; fold very gently 12 times with a large rubber spatula. Make a well in one side of batter and pour milk mixture into bowl. Continue folding until batter shows no trace of flour, and whites and whole eggs are evenly mixed, about 8 additional strokes.
  5. Immediately pour batter into prepared baking pans; bake until cake tops are light brown and feel firm and spring back when touched, about 16 minutes for 9-inch cake pans and 20 minutes for 8-inch cake pans.
  6. Immediately run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen cake. Cover pan with large plate. Using a towel, invert pan and remove pan from cake. Peel off parchment. Re-invert cake from plate onto rack . Repeat with remaining cake.

For the pastry cream:

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until hot but not simmering. Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan until mixture is thick and lemon-colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cornstarch; whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in hot milk. Cook milk mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly and scraping pan bottom and sides as you stir, until mixture thickens to a thick pudding consistency and loses all traces of raw starch flavor, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla, rum, and butter (if usinand transfer to another container to cool to room temperature, placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface of mixture to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate pastry cream until firm. (Can be refrigerated overnight.) To ensure that pastry cream does not thin out, do not whisk once it has set.

For the glaze:

  1. Bring cream and corn syrup to a full simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Off heat, add chocolate; cover and let stand for 8 minutes. (If chocolate has not completely melted, return saucepan to low heat; stir constantly until melted.) Add vanilla; stir very gently until mixture is smooth. Cool until tepid so that a spoonful drizzled back into pan mounds slightly. (Glaze can be refrigerated to speed up cooling process, stirring every few minutes to ensure even cooling.)

  2. While glaze is cooling, place one cake layer on a cardboard round on cooling rack set over waxed paper. Carefully spoon pastry cream over cake and spread evenly up to cake edge. Place the second layer on top, making sure layers line up properly.
  3. Pour glaze over middle of top layer and let flow down cake sides. Use a metal spatula, if necessary, to completely coat cake. Let sit until glaze fully sets, about 1 hour. Serve.

Recipe Notes

-I followed the recipe almost exactly. The glaze is more glossy, as in the first picture posted right after making. It takes on more of a satin finish later.
-I read many recipes before choosing this one. Felt like this one had the best reviews, and liked the combo of ingredients.
-It’s tempting to use packaged goods, I know. If you take shortcuts and use boxed pudding in place of the custard, or use a cake mix, the quality of the finished product will be different.
That’s the bottom line. Nuff said.

12 thoughts on “Boston Cream Pie

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Recipe Rating

  1. Oh of all the pics you have of me that is the one you had to post. The pie was delish, the company was even better. Did you mention how tired Whitty's arms were getting?

  2. Of course I have to comment, because my claim to fame is Melanie, MY BFF, in the photo…

    I have never liked BCP, but maybe because I've only had it once from a PIE place. I am not a fan of pies, but if you're telling me it is a CAKE, then I am totally up for trying it.

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