Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie

"This recipe is from "Cooks Illustrated" and, though time-consuming, sounds delicious. I am posting it for future use. Chill the assembled cake for at least 3 hours to make it easy to cut and serve. Note: Prep and Cooking times do not include chilling times."
photo by eabeler photo by eabeler
photo by eabeler
photo by Rich in Chicago photo by Rich in Chicago
photo by c.worbs64 photo by c.worbs64
photo by Kate S. photo by Kate S.
photo by monveres photo by monveres
Ready In:
1 Cake




  • For the Pastry Cream:

  • 1. Heat half-and-half in medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Add flour to yolk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Remove half-and-half from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add ½ cup to yolk mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to half-and-half in saucepan.
  • 2. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 8 minutes.
  • 3. Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is melted and incorporated. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • For the Cake:

  • 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and cover to keep warm.
  • 2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar at high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Remove mixer bowl from stand. Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.
  • 3. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until tops are light brown and toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.
  • 4. Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool -completely in pan, about 2 hours. Run small plastic knife around edge of pans, then invert cakes onto wire rack. Carefully remove parchment, then reinvert cakes.
  • To Assemble:

  • 1. Place one cake round on large plate. Whisk pastry cream briefly, then spoon onto center of cake. Using offset spatula, spread evenly to cake edge. Place second layer on pastry cream, bottom side up, making sure layers line up properly. Press lightly on top of cake to level. Refrigerate cake while preparing glaze.
  • For the Glaze:

  • 1. Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk gently until smooth, 30 seconds. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. Pour glaze onto center of cake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze to edge of cake, letting excess drip decoratively down sides. Chill finished cake 3 hours before slicing. Cake may be made up to 24 hours before serving.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
  1. janetgunther
    I cooked my custard just until it got good and thick. I've made plenty of custard and once it thickens you're all set to refrigerate.
  2. janetgunther
    It seems like only 1 1/2 C of flour is not enough. I plan on making cupcakes and piping in the filling so I need the batter to be correct. Anyone else use more flour than that?
  3. scottbedrosian
    What size cake pans did you use for this? Thx
  4. carriemtotten
    Do i need to make any adjustments in this recipe for high altitude?


  1. Rich in Chicago
    Followed the recipe exactly as written. Was amazed at how perfectly it turned out - the recipe is written so well. I do agree with another commenter that said this would be difficult if using an electric cooktop -- the quick temperature adjustments when making the pastry cream would be a challenge.
    • Review photo by Rich in Chicago
  2. Mary Christmas
    I have used cake mix in the past for my boston cream pie, but I decided to try a scratch cake recipe and this did not disappoint. The cake was moist and sweet, and so much tastier than a boxed cake. I made my favorite pastry cream from another site, but I did use the recipe for this ganache (semisweet chips instead of the bittersweet chocolate), which was easy and delicious. I would advise first-time bakers to read the recipe through carefully, as it is a little unusual. The end result is well worth the effort.
  3. c.worbs64
    I don't remember that last I spend this much in the kitchen for just 1 dessert, but well worth my time. I did however make substitions for all the sugars and instead used Great Value No Calorie Sweetener, you use it like sugar cup for cup. I have diabetics in my home and their Doc's tend a little snippy when blood sugar levels go up and up, lol. Anyway I did have a problem with the topping, it was fairly runny, I am wondering if anyone else has had this problem and to rectify this runny situation.
    • Review photo by c.worbs64
  4. Taryn P.
    Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!! My 6 year old son wanted Boston Cream Pie after watching Great American Baker. He helped every step of the way and it turned out perfectly. Try it, you will LOVE it!
  5. Kate S.
    Fantastic recipe! I love to bake and wouldn’t call myself a novice but I was a little intimidated because I had never even tasted a Boston cream pie. But it turned out flawlessly and even my Boston cream connoisseur parents in law loved it!
    • Review photo by Kate S.


  1. c.worbs64
    Substituted No Calorie Sweetener instead of sugar. Cake and Custard turned out perfectly.
  2. Joanne B.
    Do oven at 350


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