Boston Creme Cake

BostonOkay, let’s start with the name. This is not a pie. Why Bostonians call it a pie is not worth trying to figure out. It uses cake pans. It makes a cake. You put some pudding between (pastry creme actually) and then a ganache over the top. It’s a cake by any rational definition.

So no more calling it a Boston Creme Pie.

So next.

This takes time. Sorry but it’s true. Not as much as you might think, but you do have to make pastry cream for the filling. But ganaches are easy.

It is my husband’s favorite thing–outside of me that is. I make him one in a blue moon, whether the moon is actually blue or not. Ain’t he lucky? So do make it. It’s very good. This recipe comes straight from Joy of Cooking. I’ve never found a better one. Enough said.


  • 2 1/2 c cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 8 lg egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 3/4 c milk


  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 lg egg yolks
  • 1 2/3 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 8 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate


  1. Grease and flour 3 cake pans (you will only use 2 layers, freeze the third for another use). Note that I use vegetable shortening to grease my pans. Butter has water and it bleeds out during the baking, and leaves the bottom soggy.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients, three times
  3. In a mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar in a stream and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. In a second bowl, beat the egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest until pale yellow.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the butter along with the flour, alternating in thirds.
  6. Add the milk, just stirring it it until smooth.
  7. Divide the batter between the three pans, and bake in a 375° oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes and then place on racks to cool completely.
  8. For the pastry cream: beat at high speed the sugar, flour, cornstarch and 4 egg yolks until thick and pale.
  9. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a low simmer. Ladle about a half cup of the milk to the egg mixture and stir, then turn all into the  sauce pan and cook, whisking constantly until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Cook for one minute more. Remove to a bowl, add the vanilla and cover the surface with Saran to keep a skin from forming. Cool completely.
  10. For the ganache: Bring the cream just to a boil and then add the chopped chocolate, stirring until the chocolate melts. Cool until it reaches a just barely pourable state.
  11. Assemble: Place a layer of the cake on a serving dish. Put all the pastry cream on the top, spreading evenly. Add the second layer. Pour the ganache in the center, and let it drip over the edges, guiding it with a pastry knife.


NOTES: You can use various cakes, I like the Gold Cake from Joy. You can use a sponge cake which is more difficult to handle but probably is more authentic. The extra layer will hold nicely for a good three months in the freeze, and can make a quick dessert with some fresh berries, or some frosting to make half a cake. Or save another third layer and you have a whole cake already made!


2 thoughts on “Boston Creme Cake

  1. You forgot to mention the amount of SUGAR needed for the cake, and although you mention that this recipe is direct from the ‘joy of cooking’ it is not, so I couldn’t really rely on doing a straight conversion to figure out the amount of sugar required.

    My the time I saw that little tidbit missing, I’d already sifted in half my dry ingredients and 5 of my egg yolks… And since there was no guarantee that I’d get the right amount of sugar (from your totals I’d guess about 1.25 cups), I had to pitch what I had started and start from scratch with a complete recipe.


    • I am sorry. I make mistakes like anyone else. I did leave out the sugar when copying the recipe from Joy of Cooking, pg. 938 of the 1997 edition. Your guess was perfect, which means you probably bake a lot and so I will assume that your little snippiness was just that. I guess I should post the number one rule of any recipe you are trying: READ THE RECIPE IN FULL AT LEAST ONCE AND USUALLY TWICE BEFORE YOU START TO MAKE SURE IT’S ALL MAKES SENSE. (p.s.) I just made a recipe from a famous restaurant from their cookbook via Serious Eats which produced enough dough for 3-4 pans of rolls instead of the one claimed. I put the rest in the freezer to make on other occasions. It does happen, even from the professionals. Since you don’t put the egg yokes with the flour, I’m confused as to how you had to pitch anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s