This Boston Cream Pie looks impressive but is simple to make. A rich layer of custard is sandwiched between two, fluffy layers of white cake and topped with chocolate glaze to make for a unique, delicious dessert.
There’s a tradition when it comes to birthdays in our newsroom. Whenever someone is celebrating one, I bake that person a cake of their choosing. Many of the requests are the same: Red Velvet, chocolate cake, lemon cake. But, every once in a while, someone requests something different.
When my co-worker asked for a Boston Cream Pie for his birthday, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a recipe I’d forgotten about and was so happy to rediscover.
There’s only one person I know who ever made Boston Cream Pie: Grandpa Cork. It was one of his signature dishes, often requested for birthdays and other special occasions. The best part was how he would present the cake — often with enthusiastic song and plenty of laughs.
I helped Grandpa make this Boston Cream Pie a couple of times, but I haven’t ever baked one on my own. In fact, I haven’t had this cake since Grandpa Cork died over ten years ago.
So, I pulled out the old Betty Crocker Cookbook of his that I have and flipped to the recipe. It was easier to make than I remembered and almost therapeutic to revisit a recipe that I associate with so many good memories. I found myself longing for my grandparents’ house in LaSalle, their witty jokes and the sound of their old clock chiming. It’s amazing how certain smells and tastes can transport us.
This cake was a hit in the newsroom. Many people said it taste like a giant, cream-filled donut, which is a pretty good description. I wish I got a picture of this thing sliced open — the thick custard filling is the best part!
Every bite reminded me of my childhood. I can’t wait to make this again. Why did it take me so long?
Boston Cream Pie
modified from Betty Crocker
- 2 large egg yolks, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 oz. dark chocolate
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1 1/2 cups milk. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, corn starch and salt until combined. Place over medium heat and gradually add egg mixture, whisking constantly. Cook until mixture starts to thicken and boil, still stirring constantly. Boil for one minute before removing from heat. Immediately cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
- While filling cools, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together using an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
- Add remaining cake ingredients to butter and sugar mixture and beat on low speed until smooth, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Pour cake batter into pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing it from the pan and transferring it to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before assembling cake.
- While cake cools, make the chocolate glaze. In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk powdered sugar into chocolate mixture until combined. Add vanilla and one Tablespoon of heavy cream to the mixture at a time until glaze is just thin enough to spread.
- To assemble the cake, cut it in half horizontally using a cake leveler or large, serrated knife. Place the bottom layer cut-side-up on a cake plate and top with chilled custard. Place second half of cake on top, cut side down. Spread warm glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Refrigerate until serving.