Old-fashioned Boston Cream Pie is a best-loved classic cake, not pie, that is utterly decadent and delicious!
One of our favorite desserts is this delicious Boston Cream Pie filled with creamy custard and topped with a chocolate ganache. Check out our Boston Cream Poke Cake for another cake recipe that is just as delicious.
What is a boston cream pie?
Boston Cream Pie is a marriage between a cream pie and a cake. Boston Cream Pie is said to have been invented at Boston’s Omni Parker House Hotel in 1856.
Around that time period pies and cakes were often baked in the same baking pan so they had very similar shapes. The hotel referred to it as Parker House Cream Pie & Chocolate Cream Pie.
In 1879 one of the first printed recipes called it a Boston Cream Cake. In 1996 the Boston Cream Pie became the official state dessert of Massachusetts.
Custard + Chocolate = Delish
Boston Cream Pie has layers of tender cake sandwiched with rich homemade custard, all topped with a luscious chocolate ganache. It’s completely delicious!
This year I wanted to try a new dessert for the hubby’s birthday and ended up making this amazing Boston Cream Pie (similar to our Boston Cream Poke Cake).
The finished product was perfectly delicious, and my husband said it was one of his favorite birthday cakes ever.
How to Make Boston Cream Pie
CUSTARD. To make the custard, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn starch and salt until well combined and no lumps remain. Then whisk in the milk until well combined.
- Heat the mixture over medium-high heat for 2 to 4 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla.
- Add the pieces of butter, and stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour the custard into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely chilled.
CAKE. If making homemade yellow cake, be sure to take the cake out of the cake pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack once it comes out of the oven. To assemble the cake, level the sponge cake rounds using a serrated knife or cake leveler.
- Place one of the cake rounds on a serving plate, and gently spread the cooled custard evenly over the cake layer.
- Add the second cake layer on top.
Once the Boston Cream Cake is assembled, make a simple chocolate ganache to go over the top. There are only two ingredients – heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
GANACHE. To make the ganache, add the chocolate chips to a medium bowl. Add the heavy whipping cream to a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, and heat one minute on high, or until boiling.
- Pour the whipping cream over the chocolate chips and let stand for one minute. Using a fork, stir the ganache until it is smooth and the chocolate has melted completely.
- Pour the ganache over the cake, spreading evenly. Let stand 30-60 minutes, until the ganache has cooled and set.
Boston cream filling
This dessert features delicious Boston Cream. Boston Cream is often confused with Bulvarian Cream. Both are used to add richness to some of our favorite desserts, but they do have unique differences.
- Boston Cream is usually always used as a filling for cakes, pies, donuts and more and paired with chocolate. Boston Cream uses cornstarch as a thickening agent as well as milk and eggs which gives it a texture like custard.
- Bavarian Cream can be used as a filling, but can be served as its own dish and topped with fruit puree or sauce. Bavarian Cream uses gelatin which gives it more of a solid texture as well as heavy cream and whipped cream.
Boston Cream Cupcakes. Use the cake batter to make 24 cupcakes. Allow the cupcakes to cool.
- Place a piping tip (Wilton tip 230 the bismarck) in a piping bag and fill the bag with the Boston Cream.
- Poke the tip ⅔-¾ of the way into the center of the cupcake. Squeeze the custard out as you pull the tip up.
- You will see the cupcake swell and the filling will appear out the top when the tip comes out.
- Use Chocolate Buttercream Frosting to top the cupcake, chocolate icing, or the chocolate glaze listed in the recipe.
Add a web design to the ganache. Many Boston Cream Pies showcase a pretty web design in the ganache. Make the chocolate ganache listed in the recipe as well as a white ganache or icing:
- Combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon corn syrup, 1 teaspoon water and warm it up to about 105 degrees. The icing should not be thick. If needed, add more water for it to flow freely.
- Add a small tip to the piping bag and pour in the white icing.
- Pour the chocolate ganache onto the cake. Using the white icing pipe on a spiral design that starts in the center and extends to the edge.
- Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to pull the white icing out every few centimeters along the entire spiral. Be sure to stop before you touch connect your pulled icing with the line of icing in the spiral.
Garnish with toasted coconut, sliced almonds, dark or white chocolate shavings.
STORE. IF you have leftovers, and it probably won’t happen, we recommend storing this cake in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Just cover loosely with foil or plastic wrap.
Make ahead of time. The cake layers for this recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to a month in advance. The custard can also be made ahead but only 24 hours in advance.
- If the cake is assembled, it can also be frozen, but note that the custard will be more water-y when it thaws due to the cornstarch.
This Boston cream pie has the most delicious combination of flavors and textures. I love the light and tender cake, the velvety smooth custard, and the chocolatey ganache. It’s perfect for any special occasion!
For more pies and cakes, check out:
Boston Cream Pie
- 2 8-inch white or yellow cake rounds baked and cooled
for the custard:
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
for the ganache:
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- To make the custard, in a medium sauce pan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn starch and salt until well combined and no lumps remain. Then whisk in the milk until well combined. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat for 2 to 4 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Add the pieces of butter, and stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour the custard into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely chilled.
- To assemble the cake, level the cake rounds using a serrated knife or cake leveler. Place one of the cake rounds on a serving plate, and gently spread the cooled custard evenly over the cake layer. Add the remaining cake layer on top.
- To make the ganache, add the chocolate chips to a medium bowl. Add the heavy whipping cream to a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, and heat one minute on high, or until boiling. Pour the whipping cream over the chocolate chips and let stand for one minute. Using a fork, stir the ganache until it is smooth and the chocolate has melted completely. Pour the ganache over the cake, spreading evenly. Let stand 30-60 minutes, until the ganache has cooled and set.
Thank you Alicia from The Baker Upstairs.
Just a regular vanilla cake?
Yep! I typically use a yellow or white cake, but vanilla works too. You can do boxed or homemade.
This was so hard to resist!! My whole family enjoyed it!
My kids are huge custard fans – they absolutely loved this cake!
Such a yummy cake recipe. The ganache is perfect and the cake and custard filling are amazing. Love this!!
I so not see the recipe for the cake only the custard and ganache // Can you email me where I can find the cake recipe for the Boston cream pie
I made this and my family/ neighbors loved it. My question is what is the best way to cut the cake once refrigerated? The ganache was so cold it bends.
I’d recommend running your knife under hot water before cutting it. Be sure to dry the knife thoroughly, then cut your slices while the knife is still slightly warm to the touch.
Is says to use 2 8-inch white or yellow cake rounds baked and cooled. Then later it says to cut in 1/2. So is this recipe for two cakes? Will there be enough custard and ganache for two. Or can you not cut the cake rounds in 1/2 and just layer two rounds?
Good question! We probably need to tweak the instructions in the post. The cake is baked in two rounds. You will want to level them off (so you’ll cut some off the top, but not necessarily half). And then layer the first cake, the custard, the second cake and top with the ganache. The recipe yields one full cake. Hopefully that helped! There is also a video on the post that shows how to make it.
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