This classic Boston Cream Pie recipe brings together light sponge cake, homemade pastry cream, and a sweet chocolate ganache. What can sometimes be a finnicky cake is proven easy with our no-fail recipe!
Why this Recipe Works
Don’t let the name fool you. Boston Cream Pie isn’t a pie at all. This cake is made by layering buttery sponge cake with vanilla pastry cream.
- Perfect pastry cream. Made with a custard base and fragrant vanilla, the cream filling in this recipe is out of this world.
- Shiny ganache frosting. Using corn syrup in the glaze makes the cake glisten with a professional touch.
- Easy instructions. We’ll walk you through every step of making a perfect homemade Boston Cream Pie from scratch. No guess work and delicious results!
The spongy hot-milk cake is the perfect base for today’s boston cream pie. It’s soft and moist, but firm enough to hold up to the pastry cream filling.
We used this sponge cake as a base to our delicious tres leches cake recipe too!
- Eggs. You’ll need 3 eggs for the cake, and another 6 egg yolks for the pastry cream. Save those whites and make a batch of meringue cookies!
- Light corn syrup. This makes the chocolate ganache topping shiny, but can be omitted from the recipe if you prefer.
- Unsalted butter. Keep the butter cold until adding to the pastry cream. Helps the pastry cream firm up and thicken, but also enhances the flavor.
How to Make Pastry Cream
The trickiest part of making Boston Cream Pie is getting the custard cream just right. It takes a little care and attention but the results are well worth it! You can also use this cream in our easy cream puff recipe.
- Warm the Half and Half. Heat half and half in a sauce pan until it reaches a gentle simmer.
- Make the Filling. While the half and half is warming up, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a separate bowl until smooth.
- Add all purpose flour to the egg mixture and whisk well. Slowly whisk in half a cup of the warmed half and half. Then, return the newly combined cream and egg mixture to the pan with the rest of the half and half.
- Thicken the filling.
- Chill. Remove the filling mixture from heat, then whisk in cold butter and vanilla until fully incorporated. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Let the pastry cream chill for at least two hours before using.
Once the cake layers are baked and cooled and the pastry cream is set, it’s time to assemble the Boston Cream Pie.
Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread the pastry cream over the cake, using a spatula to distribute it all the way to the edges.
Add the second cake layer on top. Pour the chocolate glaze onto the top of the cake and let the excess drip down the sides.
Tips and Tricks
- Make ahead. You can bake the cakes ahead of time to make prepping the Boston Cream Pie easier. Cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
- Freezing. If you want to prep the cake further ahead of time, store cooled cake layers in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Do not over whisk. Over whisked or under heated pastry cream will not thicken properly.
- Chill the cream. Don’t skip this step! It’s important for helping the pastry cream firm up. Plan ahead of time to allow at least 2 hours for the cream to chill.
If your filling is runny, you may not have heated the cream mixture sufficiently. Substituting milk for the half and half will also result in pastry filling that is runnier. Be sure to follow the directions completely and use ingredients as listed.
Store Boston Cream Pie covered in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before serving for best taste.
The pie moniker dates back to the early 20th century when home bakers commonly baked cakes in pie plates. Original Boston Cream Pies were baked in pie pans and then layered like a cake.
I don’t recommend substituting milk here. The heavy cream gives the ganache a richer, creamier flavor.
More Cake Recipes
Bakery quality Boston Cream Pie made at home! The combination of luscious cream filling and shiny chocolate icing is the ultimate in impressive desserts.