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Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pies are delicious cakes made from sponge cake layers that are filled with ultra-rich pastry cream and topped with the smoothest of chocolate ganaches.  It is thought that the cake was originally called a pie, because back in the 1800s, cakes were usually baked in pie tins (these were called Washington pie plates).  Washington Pie was another tender cake which was split and filled with a pastry cream, although some versions used jam or jelly instead of cream.  It wasn’t until the mid 20th century, however, that the idea of adding a rich ganache topping came into play.

Boston Cream Pie

If you’ve never had the pleasure of baking a Boston Cream Pie then I think you should treat yourself to one very soon.  The cake layers which I showed you in a previous post are perfect for this this type of cake.  Most recipes for Boston Cream Pie give you one cake layer to split and fill, but my recipe produces two wonderful layers that are thick and light.  This version of the classic cake is a bit taller than most you will ever encounter, but that’s because I happen to love cake.  My delicious Pastry Cream recipe is suitable for sandwiching the layers, and the ganache I’ve provided below is also equally tasty.  Actually, all ganache recipes are scrumptious and not difficult to make whatsoever.  

Enjoy baking this cake! 

Cake is served on Wedgwood Queen's Ware.

Boston Cream Pie Ingredients

Ganache Ingredients
  •  4 oz. {110 g.} bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 oz. or 1/2 cup {120 ml.} heavy cream

The cake serves 10-12 

Check your cake layers for domed tops.  If they are slightly domed, trim the tops to make them level.  Those scraps can be put into a zip top freezer bag and be used as a topping for ice creams and sundaes.

Center one of the layers on a cake stand or cake plate.  

Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator and give it a quick stir with a rubber spatula to smooth it out.  Pastry cream solidifies somewhat under refrigeration.  

Spread 1 cup of pastry cream on top of the layer and bring it to just about 1 inch from the edge (my recipe makes approximately 2 1/2 cups; reserve the remaining cream for another use).

Place the other cake layer on top of the bottom layer and center it.  Don’t press too hard or you risk having the pastry cream ooze out the sides.  

NOTE:  if you plan on serving this cake right away, continue with the ganache.  If you want to serve it several hours from now, refrigerate the cake (well covered) until you’re ready to top it with the ganache.

I love Scharffen Berger chocolate.  For this cake I decided to use their bittersweet variety.

To make the ganache, chop your chocolate bar into shards using a serrated knife.  Hold the handle with one hand and the tip of the blade (blunt side) and cut down.  The chocolate will shave off easily.

Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring it up to a boil.  Watch the cream!  

As soon as it does come up to a boil, quickly pour it over the chocolate.  Wait a minute or so and then begin to stir it with a heatproof spatula to melt the chocolate.  You want to melt every single piece of chocolate.

As you stir and combine the ganache, it will go from a milky consistency to a smooth chocolate sauce.  Once the chocolate is completely melted, let it sit to firm up.  

For a Boston Cream Pie, you want don’t want the ganache to be a runny and pourable glaze.  It should be firm enough to spread, but not too stiff that it solidifies and tears the cake layer.  

Don’t panic if your ganache does harden.  It can be reheated and melted once again, until you have the right consistency.

Spread the ganache over the layer and let some of it run down the sides (or not).  The cake is now ready to be served.  

Note: Sponge cakes and any foam style cakes should be cut with a serrated knife, using a sawing motion.  Don’t attempt to cut it with a chef’s knife or you will compact it.  These cakes are much more delicate than butter cakes.   

Any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator since the cake is filled with pastry cream.  The cake is best on the day it is assembled.

A generous wedge served with cafe au lait.  Delicious!

What I love about Boston Cream Pies is that they are perfectly suitable for a weekend luncheon as they are for a more formal dinner.  One cake will generously serve 10 to 12 people and since it’s such a simple dessert to assemble, it’s wonderful for the busy host.  I would love for you to bake a Boston Cream Pie for your next gathering, dinner party or whenever you have a craving for some cake.  You don’t need to spend a lot of time putting the cake together as long as you’re organized.  Make the pastry cream and the cake layers the day before you plan on serving it.  Leave the ganache until the last minute and voila.  Have it with a glass of milk, a cup of tea or some wonderful espresso.  You’re going to fall in love with Boston Cream Pies all over again I can assure you!  


  1. You stinker, you! What a gorgeous cake!!

    Honestly, I love Boston Cream Pie but I'm sure home-made, your version will blog any bakery/grocery store's out of the water.

    Okay! Added this to my long list of your recipes to try.


  2. It's really good Janet! Yes, put it on your to-do list for the future. FYI: I have those types of lists too! ;)


  3. I have made Boston Cream Pie (cake) and it is wonderful! Yours looks delicious.

  4. Thanks Paula! As you know, Boston Cream Pie is totally delicious. Try making this one!


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