It had been years since I made a Boston Cream Pie. I loved it then even if I hadn’t known the first thing about how to make custard. I knew I would love it 100x more now, what with heaps more baking experience behind me, and plenty of cookbooks to browse among. I decided to try again—and to dig into Boston Cream Pie and its history while I was at it. Because yay! History!
Many websites boast of Boston Cream Pie’s mystery, such as why it’s termed “pie” when it’s a cake, and why the name Boston, when those aren’t actually mysteries at all. I feel just like Charles-Haden Savage, Oliver Putnam, and Mabel Mora solving a crime (that’s an Only Murders in the Building reference. If you haven’t watched it yet DO IT. It’s wonderful!). No murder has been committed here, unless you count the murdering of fact, that is. There is a vast amount of disinformation out there, cookbook and online.
Let’s set the record straight. We will take a look at the history behind the Boston Cream Pie: Who invented it, why it was a big deal, and bake recipes galore. You can also head over here to view the origin of custard, mousse, and pudding. I’ve included the original recipe, as well as two other BCP recipes so you can pick and choose how you want to roll with this. Use the table of contents below to zip around, if desired.
- Cookbooks in this Article
- What is Boston Cream Pie
- Who Created Boston Cream Pie?
- Why is Boston Cream Pie Called “Pie” When It’s Cake?
- Invention of the Boston Cream Pie
- The Original Boston Cream Pie Recipe
- Boston Cream Pie Variations in Boston Alone
- Other Boston Cream Pie Cake Recipes
- Boston Cream Pie Recipe (Hot Milk Sponge Cake)
- Boston Cream Pie Recipe (with Shortening)
- Boston Cream Pie is a Classic Cake
- Related Resources:
Cookbooks in this Article
I’ve included links to Amazon and eBay to better help you better explore the books used here. I love cookbook shopping and browsing and I figured you do too. The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Edition, New and Revised, is a 1969 edition, the closest I can find to my 1973 version on Amazon. The eBay version is correct.
What is Boston Cream Pie
A traditional Boston Cream Pie starts with a sponge cake base of one layer split in half horizontally or two layers. A sponge cake is a cake that uses a teensy tiny amount of fat. You won’t see much butter, oil, or shortening in a sponge cake. These cakes include more eggs, whether the whole egg, egg yolks, or egg whites, than the typical non-sponge cake recipe.
You won’t find much in the way of leaveners in a sponge cake either, except for, maybe, a scant amount of baking powder. A sponge cake relies on air bubbles in well-beaten eggs to achieves its airy, light rise. It’s why, as you’ll see in the recipes below, you have to be careful with the batter. Beating the heck out of the batter will break those bubbles—and we need those bubbles to make a great sponge cake.
Between those two layers of sponge cake, traditional Boston Cream Pie recipes include a layer of thickened, chilled custard, or pastry cream (which is really just custard thickened with a little cornstarch). Chocolate ganache is then poured over the top, artfully dripping down the sides. The whole cake is kept refrigerated. It may be brought to room temperature or served cold (my preference).
Who Created Boston Cream Pie?
The Omni Parker House is Boston’s oldest continuously operating hotel established back in 1855. It’s also the oldest continuously running hotel in the United States. Plenty of sites proclaim Boston Cream Pie to have been created in 1856. They also claim that BCP was the creation of Chef Sanzian. They are wrong there, too.
The chef’s name wasn’t Sanzian, but Chef Augustine Anezin, who worked at the hotel from 1865-1881 (until he died). As you already guessed, the 1856 date is wrong. The exact year when Boston Cream Pie was created isn’t nailed down, but it’s definitely sometime after 1865 and, obviously, before the chef died in 1881 or we would call this Boston Ghost Pie.
When the Parker House opened in 1855, chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings. There was no lack of chocolate in Boston, since America’s first chocolate mill had opened in neighboring Dorchester in 1765.
Since colonial times, New Englanders have enjoyed a dessert called American “Pudding-cake pie,” but when Parker House’s own Chef Anezin and his bake staff drizzled chocolate icing onto sponge cake filled with vanilla custard, something new and sensational was born. Originally dubbed “Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie,” Boston Cream Pie became an immediate and perennial hit.
While it might seem a little odd to us to call a Boston Cream Pie a chocolate cream pie, given that 1. it’s not a pie and 2. there isn’t much chocolate to a BCP, there are a few good reasons for those things. I know, it’s odd to think that something with so little chocolate could be called a chocolate cream pie, since it’s definitely not what we would expect if we ordered such a thing unknowingly, but chocolate with this application was new at the time.
It would have made an eye-catching menu item.
Why is Boston Cream Pie Called “Pie” When It’s Cake?
In older areas of the US, the terms “cake” and “pie” were once interchangeable. As I think I’ve mentioned before, cakes were once made in pie tins. Consider this: Layer cakes weren’t even a thing until the 1870s. Isn’t that mind-blowing? The 1870s! Back then, cake tins were harder to come by. So, people used their pie tins.
Think of it as something similar to how folks in the UK call desserts in general pudding, even though the blanket term covers far more than just pudding, yet it also includes actual pudding, and you have the right idea. Same thing, and only slightly confusing.
Now for the second point: Chocolate wasn’t everywhere like it is today. The first chocolate mill didn’t hit the US until the mid- to late- 1700s. People didn’t go out to get chocolate, but consumed it at home, in the form of a beverage. Drinking chocolate was so widespread, in fact, that according to Chocolate by Marcia and Frederic Morton, “Tavern keepers complained about the foreign drink’s inroads on the traditional English tankard. In 1763, ale and beer interests had even pushed for legislation against the import of cocoa beans. They were unsuccessful.” That may have occurred in England, but chocolate was gaining a foothold in the US too, thanks to established trade routes.
According to the same book, an apothecary was already advertising chocolate for sale in the states in 1712. By 1755, industrial colonists were trading in chocolate themselves. People considered chocolate a medicine, able to heal what ails you, hence the reason apothecaries were in the game. But 1765 was a turning point.
Rather than rely on the apothecary for ground chocolate, Dr. James Baker of Dorchester, Massachusetts teamed up with Irish chocolate maker, and new immigrant, John Hannon. They rented a grist mill and became the first chocolate factory in the Bay Colony, with advertisements popping up by 1777.
As years passed, the business turned over to various family members, with some name changes here and there, until it became the name you recognize today. Baker’s Chocolate is the oldest chocolate company in the US.
Why tell you all these things about chocolate?
Because the addition of chocolate to a dessert was a big deal. People weren’t eating chocolate then, they were drinking it. Boston Cream Pie probably helped change people’s opinions about chocolate and, perhaps, helped them see the potential.
I mean, I saw in the book I mentioned how one doctor said that combining chocolate and sugar was poisonous, so people obviously had a few ideas. It also makes sense why the Boston Cream Pie was named Boston (because of its location) and why it would have been created in Boston, because of the location’s proximity to a chocolate company. If you’re going to make something new, you need to be able to get the supplies you need easily. It was the perfect set up.
Invention of the Boston Cream Pie
It’s important to note that the hotel and Boston were the perfect places to spread this new idea of chocolate in actual food, and not just something you drink. It wasn’t uncommon then to name things for places or people. The addition of “Boston” to the title makes sense. It wasn’t even uncommon for the Parker House Hotel to come up with new things. Parker House Rolls, brownies, and Boston Cream Pie all originated there.
After all, what do you do when you try something new and amazing? You talk about it! Unlike a home kitchen, the Parker House Hotel had people moving through the dining room in droves, who could then sample a new dessert, and share it with others. It could spread tales of a new dessert that much faster.
The recipe from that time, as it appears below, is still in use in the dining room of the hotel.
The Original Boston Cream Pie Recipe
Sponge Cake Recipe
- 7 Large Eggs Separated
- 8 Ounces Sugar
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Ounce Butter Melted
Pastry Cream Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 2 Cups Milk
- 2 Cups Light Cream
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Dark Rum
- 5 Ounces Fondant for White Icing
- 6 Ounces Fondant for Chocolate Icing
- 3 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Melted
White and Chocolate Icing Substitution for White and Chocolate Fondant Icing
- 6 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Melted
- 2 Ounce Warm Water
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Corn Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Water
Make the Cake
- 350* oven.
- Grease a 10" cake pan with Baker's Joy, Pam with Flour, or your favorite method. Set aside.
- Separate the eggs, dividing the yolks and whites between two bowls and add 1/2 cup sugar to each bowl. Beat contents of each bowl (and until egg whites are stiff).
- Fold stiff whites into the yolk.
- Slowly add the flour and mix with a wooden spatula and a light hand (no beating the heck out of the batter!).
- Add in the butter and mix just until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 20-30 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
Make the Pastry Cream
- In a heavy, medium saucepan, bring butter, milk, and light cream to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and eggs. Whip together until ribbons form (the mixture should feel thicker, but lightened in color. Lift up the whisk and the mixture that falls off onto the top of the mixture resembles a ribbon, before it disappears). At this stage, the mixture should be fuller, with significant expansion, and almost foam-like.
- When the cream mixture starts to boil, whisk in the egg mixture, and return to a boil, boiling for one minute.
- Pour into a chilled bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming or, like me, just stir the skin back into the custard before using.
- Chill overnight when possible. Otherwise, chill well and then, using a whisk, mix in the dark rum.
Assemble the Cake
- Slice the cake in half horizontally with a large, sharp serrated knife. Set the top cake half aside. Spread almost all of the chilled pastry cream over the top of the bottom layer, cut-side up. Spread pastry cream almost to the edges. The weight of the second layer will finish the job. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining pastry cream around the sides to give the almonds a place to stick.
Make the Chocolate and White Fondant Icing
- For the chocolate fondant: Warm 6 oz. of white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105 degrees. Add melted chocolate. Thin to a spreading consistency with water. For the white fondant: Warm 5 oz. of white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105 degrees. Thin with water if necessary. Place in a piping bag with a 1/8-inch tip.
- Alternate approach to Step 4: Melt the chocolate. Combine with warm water. Combine ingredients and warm to approximately 105 degrees. Adjust the consistency with water. It should flow freely from the pastry bag.
- Step 5: Spread a thin layer of chocolate fondant icing on the top of the cake. Follow immediately with spiral lines starting from the center of the cake, using the white fondant in the pastry bag. Score the white lines with the point of a paring knife, starting at the center and pulling outward to the edge. Spread sides of cake with a thin coating of the reserved pastry cream. Press on toasted almonds for the final step of our classic Boston Cream Pie recipe.
Can you almost taste it? No? Here’s another description for you.
The flex sponge (another term for sponge cake) is sliced in half, the bottom layer spread with about an inch and a half of pastry cream, then sandwiched with the top half. Chocolate ganache is delicately dripped on top, pushed out into a thin circle, then dotted with white fondant which is carved into a spider web-like design using a toothpick. To finish it off, extra pastry cream and crumbles of nuts are patted around the outside of the cake. The kitchen also bakes the batter into smaller, individual-sized cakes.Amy Schulman, Boston Has the Omni Parker House To Thank for Its Beloved Cream Pie, The Culture Trip, August 23, 2019.
The creation of the Boston Cream Pie didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. There was already a cake that, funny enough, was also termed “pie” and circulated before the BCP. It seems as though Washington Pie, so named for President George Washington, began much the same as a Boston Cream Pie, but should not be confused with Washington Cake, a cake often studded with raisins and sometimes other fruit.
Some sources point out yet another version of Washington Pie made of crumbs and put into a pie crust; this isn’t that cake, though the Washington Pie we are discussing was also sometimes called Washington Cake. Yes, it is a little confusing.
Washington Pie, like Boston Cream Pie, possessed two layers of sponge cake, but used a jam filling, and a dusting of powdered sugar over the top—or not. Recipes differ on that account too, with some old recipes including frosting (just as people have varying opinions today on how to top a cake). Washington Pie is sometimes referred to as a jelly cake. I wondered if a jelly cake came first and then people changed the name in celebration for Washington’s birthday, and later found confirmation for those thoughts, as some recipes titled the confection “Washington’s Birthday Cake.”
While some sites claim that the Washington Pie wasn’t around until the 1850s, there are mutterings surrounding an 1849 cookbook, Mrs. Putnam’s Receipt Book: And Young Housekeeper’s Assistant (link heads to a free eBook), that say the book included a recipe for one. After browsing through the book, and doing searches for related terms like “jelly,” “Washington,” and browsing the proper sections, I didn’t see it in there. The 1850s story is as good as any.
There is another mention of a similar cake, the American Pudding-Cake Pie. I cannot seem to find reliable mention of this one and am unable to confirm its existence through legit sites or books. Washington Pie is, however, similar to Britain’s Victoria Jam Sandwich. As Cake: A Slice of History shares (page 69), this favorite cake of Queen Victoria, named for her in the 1850s, first appeared in print in 1861 in Beeton’s Book of Household Management (read for free at this link).
Back to Washington Pie, a popular enough dessert to still appear in a selection of my own cookbooks, starting in the 1930s. I admit that my cookbook collection doesn’t include many titles before that period. Even so, it was fun to see how these recipes compared, at least in terms of the recipes that didn’t confuse BCP. Cookbook authors appear to have only slight differences of opinion when it came to what composed a Washington Pie. With only an outlier or two, it’s surprising to see how much stayed similar through the years.
The search for Washington Pie led to a few discoveries: most cooks seemed to agree on the cake portion, with opinion divided over the number of layers (one or two). Many cooks appeared to agree that the cake should be split and topped with jam, though a one-layer cake just has the jelly spread over the top, and two-layer cakes use undivided layers. Most use a berry jam or jelly, while some don’t bother to specify. Powdered sugar sifted or sprinkled over the top was the one unanimous topping in all the recipes that didn’t confuse BCP with Washington Pie.
I did want to take a moment to point out Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes: The Great Depression Cookbook. This book, originally published in 1931, with various reprints over the years, offers a glimpse into foods of the depression era. Taken from a radio show, and sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Home Economies, Aunt Sammy (the wife of Uncle Sam, get it?) shared recipes and advice for fifteen minutes a day, five or six mornings each week. This cookbook includes Washington Pie, an important clue, I believe, to show Washington Pie’s popularity even in times of frugality (and for many decades after the BCP arrived on the scene).
Boston Cream Pie Variations in Boston Alone
Now that you’ve seen the ingredients and technique involved in the original Boston Cream Pie, it becomes much more fun to see how people have played with the recipe to make it their own. Yes, even in Boston. Or, perhaps, especially in Boston.
Boston.com states that a Boston Cream Pie is “Sweet custard is layered between yellow butter cake, and glazed with chocolate.” That same article reveals the locations, at the time of its writing, of multiple Boston area restaurants with Boston Cream Pie worth trying. Magnolia’s Bakery incorporated the flavors in a vanilla pudding layered with vanilla wafers, bananas, and chocolate fudge. Oak Long Bar + Kitchen, however, used “a rum-soaked sponge cake topped with a rum-flavored pastry cream, then topped with cocoa nib sauce and toasted cocoa nib almond crumble. S&S Restaurant used “layered rich golden cake and sweet vanilla custard with chocolate ganache.” That’s not all.
A list of Boston Cream Pie on Eater Boston includes still more variations. Bova’s Bakery made a white layer cake, paired with pastry cream, and then topped with thick chocolate fudge. Bread & Salt at Wink & Nod had a limited time BCP with “yellow cake layered with yellow cake-infused panna cotta, toasted coconut ice cream, chocolate ganache and sauce, pina colada pastry cream, and coconut crumble.” According to the Modern Pastry website, their BCP features “Layers of white cake filled with Chantilly cream. Covered in chocolate with white ganache accents and dusted with white cake crumbs.” People love to tweak and play, don’t they?
After browsing around, I found one recipe website that suggested topping a Boston Cream Pie with a Maraschino cherry and a little parsley. I know it sounds like I’m making this up. It is for real! For real, I tell ya! It’s a good example of how one dessert can be different things to different people (even if they are completely wrong haha).
Other Boston Cream Pie Cake Recipes
From a sponge cake found in a modern cookbook that references an 1851 recipe to a cake made with shortening, as well as the original recipe found above, there are THREE DIFFERENT cake recipes here. I think you will like the result. Best of all, if you are out of one ingredient, you can turn to one of the other cake recipes and make that tried-and-true version instead.
Since a Boston Cream Pie uses a custardy filling, you do need to keep it refrigerated. This cake was made to be served chilled anyway, in my opinion. If you disagree, bring it to room temperature before serving, and then put it back in the fridge. I say it in every recipe, but for the cleanest slices, warm the blade of a knife, wipe off the water, then make your slices, reheating and wiping as you go, as needed.
Boston Cream Pie Recipe Using Sponge Cake
This is an amazing recipe. Although Greg didn’t share his 1800s source for the sponge cake, he did at least say that he took the custard from Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery. This 1851 book is a treat! While I linked to the Amazon and eBay versions above, as usual, in case you want a hard copy, clicking the linked titled right here takes you to archive.org, where you can read the original 1851 scanned book for free. I thought you’d like that.
Boston Cream Pie Recipe (Hot Milk Sponge Cake)
- Hand mixer
- Cooling Racks (Preferably 2)
Custard Filling Recipe
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1 3" long Cinnamon Stick
- 1 Vanilla Bean, Split Lengthwise I used an equal amount of Vanilla Paste instead.
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 4 Large Egg Yolks
Hot Milk Sponge Cake Recipe
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, Chunked
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2/3 Cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 3 Ounces Semisweet or Bittersweet Chocolate, Coarsely Chopped I used an equal amount of milk chocolate chips instead.
Make the Custard
- Combine cream, cinnamon stick (if using), and vanilla bean (or vanilla paste) into a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat. DO NOT turn your back or it will boil over and make a mess (trust me on this).
- Remove from the hot burner, add in the sugar, and whisk until dissolved. Let it sit for an hour.
- 325* oven.
- Grab a 9" glass pie plate and a baking pan that is big enough to hold the pie plate. You will add boiling water to the baking pan to reach halfway up the pie plate later. If you plan on using a kettle or stovetop to heat your water, and not the microwave, start heating it now.
- Return to your cream mixture. Stir any skin on the surface back into the filling. Strain, if desired. Personally, I'm not messing with that foofy step, and the custard was still plenty smooth. If you would like to, use a fine mesh strainer and strain it back into the saucepan.
- Strained or not, heat the mixture until almost boiling in the saucepan.
- Meanwhile, while heating the cream mixture, crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk them.
- Once the cream has almost reached the boiling point, slowly, carefully, pour the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks. Resist the urge to beat the heck out of the egg yolks. Gently whisk the yolks and cream instead. For smoother custard, strain the egg yolk mixture, now officially termed a custard, right into the pie plate. I skipped the straining, as you may have guessed.
- While you can pour the mixture into the pie plate and then place the pie plate into the baking pan, I simply had the pie plate in the baking pan from the start. I don't trust myself to make that maneuver without sloshing it everywhere.
- Add the boiling water halfway up the sides of the pie plate.
- Set custard into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or just until the custard is set. Your custard is done when the tip of a sharp knife stuck into the middle of the custard comes out clean.
- Carefully remove the custard from the baking dish. That water is HOT and you don't want to spill it or your custard. Set aside to cool to room temperature, preferably on a wire rack.
- 350* oven.
- Grease a 9" cake pan using Pam with Flour, Baker's Joy, or your favorite method of choice. Line the bottom of the pan with waxed or parchment paper. While the original recipe says to flour the pan, I find that unnecessary with the parchment paper. I had zero sticking issues.
- Combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Combine milk and butter in a heavy, small saucepan over low heat.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed until the eggs have lightened in color and feel thicker, in just a few minutes. Grab the sugar and, on medium speed, slowly add in the sugar, and then turn the mixer to "high" and beat for five minutes.
- Add in vanilla extract.
- At this point, I paused to heat up the butter and milk in the microwave to a boil. If you are using the stovetop, you may want to begin that now, while completing the next step.
- Using a low speed, pour in the dry ingredients, beating just until the mixture comes together. Do not overbeat! Be gentle with the batter. This will not take long.
- Grab the boiling hot milk and cream mixture and, with the hand mixer on low speed, pour the mixture into the batter over a period of 15-20 seconds. Once it is smooth, STOP MIXING.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will look done, be golden brown, and spring back when you lightly touch the center.
- Cool for ten minutes on a cooling rack.
- Before inverting, you may want to run a knife along the edges, to loosen any stuck-on bits for clean removal. Cover the cake with the cooling rack and invert. Remove the parchment (or wax) paper. Cover the cake with a second rack and set right-side up to finish cooling.
- If you are steady of hand, use your electric knife for a clean horizontal cut through the middle of the cake. Otherwise, any long, sharp, serrated blade will do. Set aside the top half, and place the bottom half cut-side up.
- Pour or spoon the custard filling onto the cake layer. Smooth it almost until it reaches the edges. The weight of the second layer, which you may now place over the top, will help it scoot along to the edge.
- Refrigerate the cake.
Prepare the Glaze
- Stovetop Method: In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a simmer, and add the chocolate. Stir with a whisk until the chocolate is close to melted. Remove from the heat and keep whisking until the mixture is smooth. Set aside for a few minutes, with occasional stirring, to let the mixture thicken.
- Microwave Method: Place cream and chocolate in a microwave safe container (I use an extra large measuring cup). Heat for 30 seconds, stir, then heat again. Continue this process for 30 seconds at a time, repeatedly stirring and heating as necessary. With my machine, after a minute, the chocolate isn't fully melted, so I whisk it until smooth, zapping it an extra 20-30 seconds again if needed. Let cool to thicken slightly.
- Pour the thickened glaze over the top of the cake. Smooth glaze to the edges, letting some drip over the sides to make it extra eye-appealing. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set. Refrigerate. For extra clean slices, stick a long, sharp knife in hot water. Wipe off the water and slice into servings, wiping off the blade and repeating as necessary.
Boston Cream Pie Recipe Using Shortening in the Cake
Shortening in a cake? Before you grab your cake testers in lieu of pitchforks and flood me with hate mail, I decided this Boston Cream Pie recipe that uses shortening would be a good addition to try. While I normally have a whole big stockpile of butter on-hand, that wasn’t always the case. I figured there are people out there who would appreciate an option using shortening following the traditional single-layer cake split into two horizontal halves mode. Also, it was good! Like, really good.
I used the basic shortening sticks because they are infinitely easier to measure (and far less messy) than the big ol’ tub of shortening I used to use many years ago. They were the plain shortening sticks, not the butter-flavored shortening sticks, FYI.
Boston Cream Pie Recipe (with Shortening)
- 1/3 Cup Shortening
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/4 Cup Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 Cup Milk
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk
- 2 Egg Yolks Slightly Beaten (just use a fork and mush around a bit)
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 1-oz squares Unsweetened Chocolate I used a heaping 1/4 Cup of Milk Chocolate Chips
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons Water I used Heavy Cream instead of the Water
Make the Cake
- 350* oven.
- Grease one 9"-round cake pan with Baker's Joy, Pam with Flour, or your favorite method. Set aside.
- Cream shortening and sugar in a large bowl until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
- Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add dry ingredients and milk to the creamed mixture. Combine well after each addition.
- Pour batter into the greased pan. Smooth the top to ensure it is even.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cool for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
Make the Glaze
- Melt butter and chocolate over low heat in a medium saucepan.
- Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Mix in water or heavy cream (whatever you've decided to use), until the glaze feels pourable but not too thick or too thin. It will firm up as it chills.
- Let cool and store the cake in the refrigerator. Eat it chilled from the fridge.
Make the Filling
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Slowly stir in 1 1/2 cups milk. Cook over medium heat, continue stirring, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
- Keep stirring and boil for one minute.
- Add one small bit of the hot mixture to your beaten eggs. Combine well.
- Add egg yolk mixture to the pan.
- Bring back to a boil and boil for one minute. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Resist the temptation to keep boiling longer or you will end up with eggy bits in your filling.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Chill in the refrigerator until the cake is completely cooled and ready for assembly.
Assemble Cooled Cake
- Split cooled cake into two horizontal layers by slicing through the middle layer. I use an electric knife for the cleanest cut, but any long, serrated knife will do. If you slightly biff it, and cut it a little uneven, no one will notice once it's layered together, so don't worry.
- Set the completely cooled top cake layer to the side. Set the bottom layer cut-side up on your cake plate. For a super clean presentation, use bits of wax paper or parchment paper just underneath your cake to catch drips.
- Pour or spoon chilled custard on the room temperature cake. Spread until it almost meets the edges. The weight of the cake will help it slide over the last little bit.
- Carefully place the top layer of the cake, cut-side down, over the custard. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top. Chill for one to two hours and store in the fridge. Serve chilled. For the cleanest cake slices, run your knife under hot water to heat the blade. Wipe off the water, slice the cake, and repeat as needed. This cake cut so clean for me, I didn't need to do that, but it's worth knowing.
Boston Cream Pie is a Classic Cake
It’s not every cake that stays in the public eye, and inside commercial and home kitchens, for more than 100 years. From the spongy, soft cake to the cool custard or pastry cream interior, up to the tippy top of its shiny chocolate-covered layer, Boston Cream Pie remains as appealing as ever.
Do share your memories, experiences, and (of course) your recipes! Who couldn’t use more BCP in their lives?