This Boston Cream Pie Cake is a classic! Soft yellow cake with a homemade custard filling, topped with silky chocolate ganache.
The Boston Cream Pie is a classic cake recipe that dates back to the mid 1800’s. It was created by the chef at a hotel in Boston. And although it is called a pie, it is indeed a cake.
If you’ve never had one before, you definitely need to try it! And if you love it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make.
Why you’ll love this cake:
- 100% from scratch
- Soft, moist yellow cake
- homemade boston cream filling
- chocolate ganache that is easy as ever
- a gorgeous presentation!
All About Boston Cream
Let’s talk about Boston cream if you don’t know what it is. Boston cream is a dessert that is very similar to custard. It’s made from milk, eggs, sugar and cornstarch for thickening. It has a cool, creamy vanilla flavor that pairs well with the rich chocolate.
Because Boston cream is a milk based custard, you’ll want to keep it refrigerated (think pudding!).
How to Make Boston Cream Pie from Scratch
There are three homemade parts of this cake. Don’t let that scare you off! I’ll walk you through the steps and give you hints for shortcuts.
Make the cake.
We baked the cake in 2 9″ cake pans. This makes thin cake layers. If you’d like a thicker layer, use 8″ cake pans and bake them for just a few minutes longer.
Make sure you don’t just dump the ingredients in the bowl and mix. Instead, mix the ingredients separately and combine the liquids with the dry ingredients alternately so that the cake gets mixed properly without over-mixing the batter.
Need a shortcut? Use a yellow cake mix. Easy as ever. 😊
Make the Boston cream.
When you make the cream, you’ll want to plan enough time for the cream to cool and thicken. Make the cream right after you put cakes in the oven. Or you can even make the cream first before making the cake. This will give it plenty of time to cool.
Make sure you drizzle the warm cream into the eggs slowly so that the eggs don’t scramble. It will give your custard a lumpy texture and not be good!
Need a shortcut? Use vanilla pudding and use less milk so that the pudding is thicker.
Make the ganache.
There are many, many ways to make chocolate ganache, but we feel that the microwave is the easiest method. Simply heat the heavy cream to very hot (but not boiling) and add the chocolate. Give it time to melt and then simply stir to combine the two into silky chocolate goodness.
Please note that you should use a high quality chocolate, preferably darker chocolate (at least semi-sweet). Don’t use mini chocolate chips as they won’t melt.
Should you refrigerate Boston cream pie?
Yes! Be sure to refrigerate this cake. Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate until serving. You can make this cake a day in advance and keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Boston Cream Pie
For the cake:
- 1 ½ cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk
For the custard filling:
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate ganache:
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
Make the cake:
- Grease and flour 2 9” cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper so the cakes come out cleanly.
- Preheat the oven to 375º Fahrenheit.
- Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, mixing between each addition until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges of the cake shrink from the sides of the pan and the center springs back when you touch it.
- Turn the cakes out to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the custard filling:
- Warm the cream and half of the milk over medium low heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. When bubbles start to form around the edges, add the sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove the pan from the heat and cover with foil to keep it warm.
- Whisk together the remaining milk and cornstarch in a bowl.
- Add the eggs and whisk again until smooth.
- Drizzle the warm cream/milk mixture into the eggs in a slow drizzle, whisking the entire time.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring the entire time, until the mixture thickens (to a thick pudding texture) and is smooth.
- Once the mixture is thick, remove from the heat.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and cool to room temperature.
Make the chocolate ganache:
- Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it is hot, but not boiling.
- Place the chocolate chips in a bowl, then pour the hot cream over top.
- Cover the bowl with a plate and allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Stir the chocolate chips and cream until they are completely combined, smooth and shiny.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly. You want it to be runny so that it easily covers the top of the cake and runs slightly down the sides, but you don’t want it to totally run off.
Assemble the cake:
- Place one cake layer upside down on a cake plate.
- Spread the cooled custard on top of the cake.
- Place the second cake (also upside down) on top.
- Spoon the chocolate ganache on top and spread it towards the sides of the cake so it barely starts to drip down.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.