This Boston Cream Pie is made entirely from scratch! It has a soft and fluffy vanilla cake, a silky pastry cream, and a decadent chocolate ganache! This recipe does require a little bit of prep time (make the pastry cream a few hours ahead or even the night before) and is worth every second!
Boston Cream Pie is a perfect end to a perfect dinner. We love to serve this Boston Cream Pie cake after a dinner of pork tenderloin, crock pot scalloped potatoes, roasted carrots, and caprese salad!
The Best Boston Cream Pie
What is Boston Cream Pie? Boston Cream Pie is a classic and well-loved cake (yes, cake, not pie! we’ll touch on this more in a bit!), and everyone should have a good recipe up their sleeve. This is one of my favorite recipes! This Boston Cream Pie recipe is made with a soft and fluffy vanilla cake base, a creamy vanilla pastry cream, and a silky chocolate ganache.
The best part is that this recipe is made entirely from scratch, no boxes or packets needed here. While Boston Cream Pie requires a bit of foresight (the pastry cream will need to chill for several hours), it’s actually not a complicated cake to make. It is, however, stunning and decadent. Let’s jump in!
How to Make Boston Cream Pie
Boston Cream Pie may look complicated with its many layers and fancy chocolate topping but don’t let its appearance intimidate you. Making Boston Cream Pie involves three main components:
- Make the pastry cream
- Mak the vanilla cake
- Prepare the chocolate ganache and assembling.
For the Pastry Cream:
- If possible, prepare the pastry cream the night before. To prepare, bring cream, milk, sugar, and salt to a simmer.
- Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch. Temper eggs by gradually whisking cream mixture into eggs.
- Cook until thickened. Add butter and vanilla. Pour through a strainer and allow to cool completely and chill before using.
For the Cake:
- Cream together butter, oil, and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- Whisk together dry ingredients and gradually stir into wet ingredients.
- Divide cake batter into baking pans and bake. Cool.
Ganache & Assembly:
- Melt together chocolate and cream until smooth. Allow to cool slightly while assembling the cake.
- Evenly top one cake with pastry cream. Top with second cake.
- Unlike ganache frosting, this ganache is poured over the top of the cake. Allow ganache to harden
Slice and serve!
So there you have it. The best Boston Cream Pie ever. Sure, a few steps are involved, but nothing too complicated or fancy.
More Cake Recipes You’ll Love
- Banana Pudding Cake
- Pumpkin Dump Cake – 3 Ingredients!
- Chocolate Poke Cake From Scratch – kid approved
- The Best Carrot Cake – a family favorite!
- Vanilla Bundt Cake – gorgeous cake
What is Boston Cream Filling Made of?
Boston Cream Pie Filling is actually nothing other than a classic and simple pastry cream. Pastry cream is made of cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla, butter, and salt. Simple pantry staples that yield amazing results! I actually use the same pastry cream filling in my Boston Cream Pie that I use in my Cream Puffs.
Why is it called Boston Cream Pie?
I know what you’re probably thinking. This is clearly a cake, so why do we call it a Boston Cream Pie? Well, once upon a time, cakes and pies were often baked in the same tins. It is believed that this cake was first baked in a pie tin, and so the name Boston Cream Pie stuck.
While that may be the case, make no mistake that this “pie” is actually most definitely a cake! If you’re looking for a true pie, make sure to check out Apple Pie or Shoofly Pie instead!
Boston Cream Pie
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 9 tablespoons sugar divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg yolks room temperature
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened and cut into 4 pieces
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup buttermilk room temperature preferred
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup¹
- Prepare this first, as it will need to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Prepare the night before making this cake if possible.
- Combine milk, cream, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium-size saucepan over medium-heat. Stir frequently until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least ten minutes.
- While mixture is cooling, in a separate large bowl whisk together egg yolks and remaining 3 Tablespoons of sugar. Whisk until sugar begins to dissolve (about 30 seconds).
- Add cornstarch to egg/sugar mixture and whisk until mixture is slightly thickened.
- Slowly drizzle just a small bit (about ¼ cup) of the cream mixture into the egg mixture while whisking constantly². Continue to whisk while drizzling in the remainder of cream mixture until cream and egg mixture are completely combined.
- Pour the egg/cream mixture back into saucepan and return to stovetop over medium heat. Whisk mixture constantly until it has thickened. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Add butter, one piece at a time, whisking until melted and completely incorporated after each addition.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly in contact with the surface of the pastry cream (to keep a skin from forming). Allow to cool at room temperature until pastry cream reaches room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours before using.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare two 9” round cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly greasing the sides. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer (or stand mixer) cream together butter, oil and sugar until creamy and well-combined (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition, then stir in vanilla extract.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Hand mix using a spatula (don’t use a mixer here! It’s too easy to over-mix and the cake will be dense and dry!), alternate adding flour then buttermilk to the butter mixture. Start and end with flour mixture and mix until just combined after each addition. The batter should be smooth and fully combined, without over-mixing.
- Evenly divide batter into prepared cake pans, and bake on 350°F (175°C) for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with few moist crumbs (no wet batter).
- Allow cakes to cool in their cake pans for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Ganache & Assembly
- Prepare ganache by combining chocolate and cream in small saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup, if using. Set aside and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes or until cooled. If poured right away, it will spill all over the cake. It must be cool enough that it slowly drips off a spoon. It will be gently spread over the edges of the cake. It will look much prettier this way!
- While ganache is cooling, set one (completely cooled) cake round on serving tray. Spread pastry cream in an even layer over the top of the cake round, spreading almost to the edge. Top with second cake round.
- Once ganache has cooled, pour evenly over the top of the second cake layer. Use a spoon to gently push out over the edges for a pretty drip appearance.
- Allow ganache to set (move the cake to the refrigerator for 20 minutes to speed this up) then slice and serve!
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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My cake came out outstanding! I chose to cut the cake into 4 thin layers with thin layers of filling. I couldn’t be happier. I’ll use this recipe every time. Thanks!
The pastry cream is very good as is the cake but the ganache doesn’t hit the mark. It’s like eating a mouthful of chocolate chips After spending so much time on the rest it was a let down.
My family & I are originally from New England, & were brought up on Boston Cream Pie. It was available to purchase at every bakery, which most of us did, since it’s pretty involved & time consuming to make. It’s a very delicious pie, but personally, I’d never attempt to make it myself. Perhaps I should, since we DO miss it quite a bit. Thanks for the lovely recipe, & the memories of home :-)
You will have to let us know if you try it Agnelina!
What kind of chocolate chips? Milk chocolate or semi? Light or dark corn syrup?
This will depend on how rich you would like this pie! I like to make the ganache with milk chocolate chips and dark corn syrup.
I love all the delicious recipes
I am so glad Sandy!