I’m posting this recipe for my Boston Cream Pie from Scratch just in time for my oldest son’s upcoming birthday. Ever since he was a little boy, he has loved Boston cream doughnuts and of course Boston cream pie. Naturally, I had to do a special post just for him for his special day. This recipe for Boston cream pie is made from scratch with two fluffy yellow cake layers that are filled with silky homemade pastry cream and topped with a rich chocolate ganache.
History of Boston Cream Pie
The funny thing about Boston Cream Pie, is that it’s not actually a pie, it’s a cake. Back in the day, both cakes and pies were cooked in the same type of pan, now known as a pie tin or pie plate. The words were interchangeable so that’s probably where the name originated from. The historic Parker House hotel in Boston has long since stated that they were the original creators of the Boston Cream Pie. I really don’t care who invented it, but I’m glad it happened!
How to make Boston Cream Pie from scratch
Boston Cream Pie consists of three essential components:
- Yellow Cake
- Pastry Cream
- Chocolate Ganache
This yellow cake recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cake recipe from Amanda at I Am Baker for her Happy Birthday Cake. It’s simple to put together and always comes out perfect. After making this cake, you slice it through the middle to create two equal layers that you will fill with pastry cream. If the idea of baking a cake from scratch is not your speed, a box mix will substitute just fine.
Way back at the beginning of Saporito Kitchen, I posted a recipe for my White Chocolate Cream Filled Eclairs. I used the same recipe for pastry cream in this Homemade Boston Cream Pie. I just doubled the quantities and omitted the white chocolate. Pastry cream can seem like a scary thing to make from scratch, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Chocolate ganache is so easy to make and also very versatile. I use it all the time in dessert recipes and it’s an essential component of my Whiskey Chocolate Cake recipe. Ganache consists of just two ingredients, chocolate and cream. It’s flavor and texture is perfect to finish off this classic dessert.
Once you have your three components put together, you are ready to assemble your cake! Here are some tips to make sure your cake, or pie I guess I should say, comes out perfect!
- Make sure to allow your cake to cool completely before slicing in half so it doesn’t crumble or break.
- Leave a little room around the edges of the bottom layer of cake when you are adding the pastry cream to give it some room when you add the top layer. Then, make sure you press down very gently when adding your top layer so the pastry cream doesn't squish out the sides and down the cake.
- Allow the cake to chill in the fridge for an hour or two after you have assembled it. This allows everything to set for easier slicing.
Boston Cream Pie from Scratch
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease the inside of an 8" round cake pan.
- Reduce speed on the mixer to low and slowly add in vegetable oil, milk, vanilla and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Add into the the mixer with the wet ingredients and mix on low until everything is just combined.
- Pour cake batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until the sides start to pull away from the outside of the pan and a toothpick comes up clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool while you make your pastry cream.
- In a small bowl combine egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, and only ¼ cup of the sugar. Whisk to combine.
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk and remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
- Spoon a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Once the egg mixture is mixed and warm to the touch, add back into the milk mixture and whisk to combine. This will slowly warm the egg mixture so it will not scramble.
- Continue cooking the mixture over medium heat while whisking vigorously until mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to make sure the cornstarch has been cooked out.
- Remove the pastry cream from the heat and whisk in the butter until. Continue to milk until all of the butter pieces have melted and are combined well with the cream.
- Place the cream in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is directly on the pastry cream. This will make sure that a skin doesn't form on the top of the cream.
- Place the pastry cream in the refrigerator and cool completely before using. Remove the cake from the pan it was baked in and allow to cool on a wire rack completely.
- Once the cake and pastry cream have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to cut through the middle of the cake to create two equal layers.
- Add the bottom layer to serving plate or platter and top with pastry cream, leaving ½" of space around the edges.
- Carefully add the top layer of the cake to the pastry cream being careful as to not squish the pastry cream out of the sides. Place cake in the fridge while you make the chocolate ganache.
- Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Add heavy cream to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the cream starts to create small bubbles on the surface.
- Remove cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 1 minute.
- Whisk together the chocolate and cream until all of the chocolate is melted and incorporated together with the cream.
- Remove cake from the fridge. Pour chocolate ganache on top of the cake, starting in the middle until it starts to drip down the sides of the cake. Use a spoon to push the ganache over the sides if needed.
- Chill cake for 1-2 hours to set the ganache completely.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe for my Homemade Boston Cream Pie as much as our family does. If you are looking for more baking recipes, here are some fun desserts that are popular on the blog: