Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie is one of my favorite desserts of all time. It was one of the options in the cafeteria line at my elementary school and the one I always grabbed and put on my tray, next to my codfish sticks, boiled potatoes with parsley, and butter sandwiches on dense Pepperidge Farm-style white bread, which they served in half-portions, each rectangle slipped into a brown waxed bag. (The other option was peanut butter.)

I still remember finishing lunch and diving in with my fork to that wedge of golden sponge cake filled with rich, vanilla custard. In a world that seems hopelessly in favor of milk chocolate (which I’ve come to appreciate), there was a deep-dark chocolate glaze on top, which may have been my first taste of bittersweet chocolate. And one I never forgot.

We’re all familiar with the folks who insist that food remains “traditional.” From Cacio e Pepe to Caesar Salad, some want to keep everything as original as possible. (And some don’t.) The original Boston Cream Pie didn’t have chocolate glaze on it but was dusted with powdered sugar. So if you’re a traditionalist, I beg your forgiveness for using chocolate glaze here. That’s part of what I remember so fondly about Boston Cream Pie and I can’t imagine just dusting the top with powdered sugar and calling it a day. I want my chocolate.

I grew up eating Boston Cream Pie but don’t think I ever made one. It wasn’t really a dessert that jibed with the farm-to-table movement that swept across the U.S. in the 80s and 90s, and nostalgic American desserts didn’t always fit into that narrative. (Unless, I guess, it was made with bean-to-bar chocolate, pastured butter, repurposed parchment paper, and heritage flour.) The pie I remembered was yellow, moist, and had a glaze that cracked a little when you stuck your fork in it, having lost a little moisture from being glazed in advance and left to dry. Similar to Black & White Cookies; part of their appeal is the sugary icing that breaks into crunchy fissures when you bite into it. Creamy ganache can be a little new-fangled for us native New Englanders.

So I went to work on my own version of Boston Cream Pie, but couldn’t get it to what I remembered. I played around with the sponge cake recipe I’ve always used, which is from my book, Ready for Dessert, and was given to me by the late food and wine writer Shirley Sarvis decades ago.

Shirley was prim and proper, as in, the kind of person who might wear white gloves and you’d assume might have a wee nip of sherry before dinner. But she was an accomplished wine writer, and Shirley always had a pleasant, smiling demeanor as well as a degree in home economics. One day she handed me a meticulously typewritten recipe on a piece of paper, and when I read the recipe, I asked her why she added water to the cake. She replied with a cheery smile, “For moisture, of course!” which seemed reasonable to me.

So I made a Boston Cream Pie using that sponge cake recipe as a base, which is wonderfully moist and lofty. But times have changed and it used a few too many bowls for us modern “on the go” types. And that was just for one component of the cake. The cake also sports a custard and a glaze, so to avoid too many dishes and pots and pans, I kept cooking and looking.

I checked out a book that has fallen under the radar since its publication in 2001: Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. Richard was a meticulous baker and curated a wonderful collection of recipes that was the classic baking book for years. He was a beloved figure in the food and baking community, which has changed in some ways since then (it was pre-social media), but he sadly passed away way too young from AIDS. (If only we’d had a vaccine back then, or the medical knowledge we have today, I think about how many lives might have been saved.)

Both Shirley and Richard had their personal struggles, but my public one was successfully making the Boston Cream Pie of my youth. A few people who followed my quest on social media noted that perhaps what I remember came from a boxed mix, which is possible.

Like most cooks and bakers, I’m inspired by others. And I’m also tenacious, but after three tries (and since this recipe has three components, meant I made nine recipes before landing here), I was ready to admit defeat coming up with my own version of the classic. Yes, I have sponge cake, pastry cream, and ganache recipes in my repertoire, but I leaned on Cook’s Illustrated to get to where I wanted to be. I recast theirs and toggled some of the ingredients, and kept others intact but want to give them props for doing the work of putting everything together so well. After my fourth cake, or pie, here ya’ go.

Boston Cream Pie

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated.
Do plan accordingly when making this. The custard filling should be made the day before and the cake slices better when the filling has had time to firm up, which will take a few hours in the refrigerator. Don't be alarmed when you add the hot milk to the whipped eggs, and the mixture deflates somewhat. It's perfectly normal and the cake will still rise nicely in the oven.
When used in a recipe, a FAQ comes up as to what can be used in place of the small amount of corn syrup. It's what gives the glaze its glossy shine. You could use another liquid sweetener with a similar thickness and texture, such as Golden syrup, glucose, rice or sorghum syrup. (Skip the honey, though, whose taste isn't compatible with this cake.) If you diverge from the recipe, the texture may be thinner. If it's too thin, add a little more chocolate. You can read more about the role of corn syrup here and how to use alternative sweeteners.
Check here for desserts that use leftover egg whites.
Course Dessert
Servings 10 servings

Custard filling

  • 2 cups (500ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, (split vertically) or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (35g) flour
  • 4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Sponge Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar

Chocolate glaze

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) light corn syrup, (see headnote)
  • 4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For the custard filling

  • Add the milk to a medium saucepan and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds from the half vanilla bean into the milk. Add the vanilla pod to the milk and warm over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt. Turn off heat.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until smooth, then whisk in the flour. Gradually pour about 1 cup (250ml) of the warmed milk into the yolks while whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan.
  • Turn the heat back on to medium-high heat and cook the custard, stirring the mixture with a whisk constantly (don't vigorously whip it, which will make it harder to see what's happening, and tire you out - just stir it) for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to the next-to-lowest temperature and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a whisk for 8 minutes. The mixture will continue to bubble gently as you cook it, but will not break due to the flour. Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and keep it nearby.
  • When the custard is thick, scrape the mixture into the strainer and press it through with a flexible spatula. Stir in the cold butter and vanilla extract (if using extract instead of the vanilla bean), until smooth. (Even if using vanilla bean, I often add around 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to round out the vanilla flavor, so you can use both bean and extract.)
    Butter a piece of parchment paper and place it butter-side-down on top of the cream. Chill thoroughly, for several hours or overnight. (The vanilla bean can be rinsed thoroughly and dried, and used for something else.)

For the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC.) Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch (23cm) cake pans and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and the butter until the butter is melted. Remove from heat, add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and set aside. Cover to keep warm.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or with a hand mixer, or by hand in a bowl with a whisk...and a lot of moxie) whip the eggs and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, gradually dribble in the warm milk and butter until combined, then the flour mixture.
  • Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and give it a few stirs by hand with a flexible spatula to make sure everything is incorporated, then quickly divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops and bake until the top of the cakes are golden brown and the center springs back when you touch it and the cake feels done, about 20 to 22 minutes. Don't overbake. Let the cakes cool completely.

To finish the cake

  • Run a knife around the cakes to remove them from the cake pans and peel off the parchment paper. Put one round of cake on a serving plate. Remove the custard filling from the refrigerator, which likely has stiffened up, so give it a few good stirs with a whisk or spatula to loosen it up and remove any lumps. Spread it over the top of the cake on the plate. Top with the second round of cake. Chill the two-layer cake while you prepare the glaze.
  • To make the glaze, gently warm the cream, corn syrup and chocolate is a small saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and let stand about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is thick yet spreadable. Pour it over the center of the cake and use a spatula or butter knife to coax it toward the edges, letting it drip down the side.
  • Refrigerate the cake until firm enough to slice, which will take at least 2-3 hours. If you try to slice it before the filling is well-chilled it'll be messy to slice so patience pays off.

Notes

Serving and storage: The cake can be made 1 -2 days in advance and refrigerated. The custard can be made 2-3 days in advance and refrigerated and the cakes can be made 1 day in advance, wrapped well once cool, and kept at room temperature.

 

Boston Cream Pie

74 comments

  • witloof
    May 18, 2021 6:23pm

    I haven’t had Boston Cream Pie in years and years, I think I the last time I had it was from The Virginia Bakery in Berkeley in the 80’s! It’s so good! Why did I stop??? Thank you for the recipe.

  • Betsy Radtke
    May 18, 2021 6:24pm

    Boston Cream Pie was always my favorite dessert too — always my birthday cake, and often served for special occasions. Your recipe looks great. My family always cut each cake layer into two thinner layers, so the final product was four layers of cake, three layers of cream, and the semi-hard dark chocolate on the top drizzling down the sides. Delicious!

  • usi
    May 18, 2021 6:26pm

    Another superb post! This pie will go on my to do list. David, I have made many desserts from your books and your blog; they all came out wonderfully well thanks to your excellent instructions and clear writing. Many thanks!

  • Steve Garner
    May 18, 2021 6:27pm

    loved it

  • MR in NJ
    May 18, 2021 6:29pm

    David, you are so adorable! So completely real. Yes, the first hit of something like bittersweet chocolate is memorable.

    I too have always loved BC”P.” Did not know the original version had 10X sugar on top. No chocolate??? What’s the point?

    Thanks for this. I must make it.

    • May 18, 2021 7:26pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes it did. There are some stories about the origin of this cake, which may have been based on another cake that was jam-filled and dusted with powdered sugar. And it evolved to this. I know a number of people are irked when foods get changed but in this case, I think it’s a good thing it was :)

  • Jeffrey
    May 18, 2021 6:36pm

    Thank you! Classic Home Desserts is one of my favorites-particularly for “comfort foods”.

  • Gayle
    May 18, 2021 6:43pm

    I remember Mom making Betty Crocker…or was it Duncan Hines?? …anyway, I remember her making Boston Cream Pie, and always from a box. She made it often, so we must have all loved it.

    Thanks for a trip down memory lane from another New Englander.

  • Ellyn
    May 18, 2021 6:45pm

    Followed your comments on this quest & am excited to see the end result! Also my favorite dessert and not easy to get right. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks, David!

  • Iman Bluhm
    May 18, 2021 6:52pm

    I tried two retro foods that I hadn’t had in years and didn’t remember liking particularly but was curious to try again: caramel corn and lemon meringue pie. I found a recipe for a pinapple meringue pie and also caramel corn and was surprised how much I liked both of them.

  • Terry Sauer
    May 18, 2021 7:05pm

    Can’t wait to make this! I love Boston Cream Pie! My mom made the Betty Crocker boxed version when I was a kid. I have tried several recipes but have not been successful in producing a cake that I like. I hope my search will end with this recipe!

  • Susan
    May 18, 2021 7:07pm

    It’s gotta be my age, but I love to see references to Shirley Sarvis -still making her Raspberry Trifle and Richard Sax -so many recipes but his Quaresemali are my family’s fav “biscotti “

    • May 18, 2021 7:28pm
      David Lebovitz

      I remember her so well. She was always so well put together and absolutely charming, and so knowledgable about food and wine. I remember an article she wrote for Gourmet about cakes made with breadcrumbs that I clipped but never made any from the article. I do love that I still have her typewritten recipe in my personal recipe book that I used when I was baking professionally.

  • Patricia
    May 18, 2021 7:07pm

    Aw nuts. This is my all time fav that I have not been able to master and here you are with it after I resolved to stick to my no sugar regime just yesterday. Is it odd or Is it God.

    • jane
      May 25, 2021 1:15am

      There is a third option, infamous for temptation. . .

  • Linda Houston
    May 18, 2021 7:13pm

    Love your personality that comes through the recipe write ups! I have a holiday house in the Dordogne ( Domme) and pre-Covid spent at least three or four months a year there. If ever you are down that way, come and have a drink ( if I am in my little Domme-isle and not in Cape Town) . Good luck with continuing to enthuse us! Regards Linda Houston

  • Sue
    May 18, 2021 7:15pm

    This is a wonderful recipe for the cake & glaze. The cake has a delightful texture and I have used it for several different recipes. That said the custard doesn’t firm up as much as it should so I’ve gone to my tried & true custard recipe.

    • May 18, 2021 7:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      I was surprised that it cooked so long (I usually cook pastry cream about 2 minutes, just to remove the floury taste) but mine came out firm and fine. (I swapped out milk for the half-and-half in the original recipe.)

  • Susan
    May 18, 2021 7:16pm

    The Boston Cream Pie I remember as a child definitely came from a mix. My mom had neither the time nor the money for anything else. But I will definitely make this recipe as an homage to both you and my mom—anybody who loves BCP this much is alright in my book!

  • Melissa
    May 18, 2021 7:18pm

    Isn’t it funny how school lunches create some of our most lasting food memories and ultimately shape our preferences (for better or worse)?

    My Dad just celebrated his 65th birthday and still pines for the lemon pudding cake that the lunch ladies made at his rural elementary school. He remembers it as a sponge cake on top, with a lemon sauce on the bottom, all baked together in a single pan. I’ve auditioned various recipes for “Magic Cakes”, soufflés, etc., over the years, and while none of them are quite what he remembers, we’ve both enjoyed the process.

    (Meanwhile, if anyone out there just happened to be a lunch lady in Goff, KS in the 1960s…)

    • Jenny
      May 21, 2021 4:21pm

      Hi Melissa, have you tried Jamie Olivers Lemon Curd Pudding? It sounds very similar. There are other recipes about but this is the one I prefer. It’s very easy, all in one dish. Good luck!

    • Josie
      July 17, 2021 9:32am

      That sounds very much like lemon Delicious, a favourite Australian dessert. It’s a baked self-saucing pudding/cake, with a light lemon-flavoured sponge on top of a sweet-tart thin lemon custard. The Australian public broadcaster ran a competition years ago to find the ultimate Lemon Delicious recipe. There are lots of recipes online, try this one from the President of the South Australian Country Women’s Association (CWA): https://www.abc.net.au/radio/recipes/baked-lemon-delicious-pudding/8919496.
      If this doesn’t fit the bill, I hope you find the correct recipe soon!

  • Liz Power
    May 18, 2021 7:25pm

    After moving to the UK from NJ (and NYS prior to that) 18 years ago I more or less forgot about Boston Cream Pie until a few years ago. I love it and will make your recipe for sure. Your perspective as an American living overseas resonates with me every time I read your newsletter, thank you.

  • Pete
    May 18, 2021 7:25pm

    I’m curious why you (and CI) cook the custard for so long. It’s a standard pastry cream, so why not just the usual couple of minutes at a bubble?

  • Susan
    May 18, 2021 7:32pm

    Ahhh…the cake..that’s the piece to the BCP puzzle I had been missing. I use a donut glaze for the icing..it crackles a little when it’s cut and the sheen is perfect. Found it by accident in a Betty Crocker recipe for yeast raised donuts, and it’s perfect. It matches the diner style of my youth!

  • Hope Anderson
    May 18, 2021 7:32pm

    I love Boston Cream Pie and haven’t had it in ages, probably because it’s not popular outside New England. Yours looks divine–even better than the one at the Parker House in Boston, which invented it.

  • Madeleine LaFrano
    May 18, 2021 7:32pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe ! Boston cream for me is like Proust and the Madeleine cakes, it was my father’s favorite cake.I might try it in his honor on Flag Day his birthday. I will try to let you know how it turns out.We had a bakery in Whitestone,Queens- Storks that made a really good version and they piped whipped cream all around the sides- a memorable cake!

  • Paula
    May 18, 2021 7:34pm

    David, thank you for sharing this creation with us. When I first saw the recipe today I thought, I’m making it for book club tonight. After I read the recipe I’ll make it for our June gathering. My friends will love this and I know I will too! Thank you for being so generous with your fans!

  • Arturo
    May 18, 2021 7:38pm

    I was surprised to see this as I thought you had given up! Really shouldn’t be though -as a Chef/cook when you have an idea stuck in your head sometimes you have to plug at it until you are satisfied (or until you can admit it was a terrible idea, hah!)

  • Kristina Hall
    May 18, 2021 7:45pm

    David,
    You made my day! To see Shirley Sarvis’ name at the beginning of this story was such a treat. Shirley was one of my late mother’s (Loni Kuhn, SF cooking school teacher for decades) very dearest friends. I worked with Shirley in her last few years, organizing her files and cookbooks and typing recipes on my computer instead of her typewriter. Yes, absolutely, white gloves and sherry! She was a true spinster lady and had such a wonderful palate.
    I’ve always adored BCP and can’t wait to make this one. Love your newsletters!

    • May 18, 2021 7:48pm
      David Lebovitz

      I remember your mother well! Although I didn’t know her, but she was such a prominent fixture in the SF culinary world back in those days. Shirley was a true “lady” in the sense of the word, even though I’m not sure that word is used today ; )

      Happy you’re enjoying the newsletter!

  • Alene
    May 18, 2021 8:34pm

    My Connecticut mother never made these but probably bought them at the bakery (remember those?) because I vividly remember eating them at home. Now I am stuck with needing to be gluten free. I have saved several sponge cake recipes, mostly from British gluten free bakers. I will give those a try, although this dessert will shout childhood for me. I guess I didn’t like them as well as you did.

  • Marcia
    May 18, 2021 8:57pm

    I was introduced to Boston Cream Pie in the Cafeteria at Tufts University. It was delicious , and not many things there were. This was in the sixties . How did this multi component dessert become a feature of New England school Cafeterias? There is a recipe in “The Way we Cook” by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven who wrote for the Boston Globe. I kept meaning to try it, but now I have yours.

  • Mel
    May 18, 2021 9:35pm

    Regarding Richard Sax, it’s so easy to forget how scary and tragic the AIDS era was. So much talent lost too soon. I highly recommend the British TV series It’s a Sin which is about that time (if you don’t know it already). Great soundtrack too.

  • Peter
    May 18, 2021 9:50pm

    Infinite thanks! Your description of your school cafeteria, particularly your selection, made me recall that being a kid had its advantages. As an adult, having your recipe in hand gives me a chance to revitalize!

  • Bonnie
    May 18, 2021 10:13pm

    A fellow New Englander here with similar memories of the school lunch, but with one exception. Butter Sandwiches? That’s old school!

  • Gracie
    May 18, 2021 10:16pm

    Same recipe as America’s Test Kitchen.

    Yes, America’s Test Kitchen is part of Cook’s Illustrated, which I mentioned a few times as inspiration, acknowledging them in the post and at the intro to the recipe. – David

  • Annette
    May 18, 2021 10:54pm

    I had a boyfriend who’s favorite cake was also Boston Cream Pie. I made it for him 3 years in a row before I gave up and smartened up, and went to an Italian bakery in Revere Massachusetts to pick one up. Each time I tried to bake one it was a disaster and seemed to take all day! He was always polite about it but I was so disappointed. Thank You for persisting! I’ll give it one more go.

  • Linda L.
    May 18, 2021 11:44pm

    Have you thought of contacting your school and asking about the BCP recipe? The lunch program may have been taken over by commercial producers as so many have but there may be someone who could connect you to the right people.

  • Ann
    May 19, 2021 1:35am

    Both my husband and my mother loved this “pie”–including the version from the Virginia Bakery on Shattuck Avenue. Your recipe sounds even better–I’m going to make it for my husband!
    I just made my mother’s hot milk sponge cake for our strawberry shortcake. Glad to see it here as well–it’s so versatile. Thanks for all the research and work you put into it!

  • normadesmond
    May 19, 2021 1:40am

    Betting my mother’s version was a box cake & My-T-Fine vanilla pudding.

  • Paula
    May 19, 2021 2:44am

    Reply to Melissa re: Lemon pudding cake. I’m about your dad’s age, and we made these in Home Ec. class in 6th grade. Try looking up Lemon Cups. I found a couple of recipes on Food52 and James Beard Foundation that may be what you are looking for.

  • Mary Fris
    May 19, 2021 2:49am

    Delightful! I have friends who were in the restaurant biz who pooh-poohed this as being too old fashioned, but I’ve always loved it. Thank you for bringing it back!

  • Carolyn
    May 19, 2021 4:11am

    This is fate. My daughter turns 10 in 2 days, she has been asking for a Boston Creme pie as her cake, and I wasn’t finding one locally, planning to cobble something together.

  • Veronica
    May 19, 2021 5:14am

    First of all, you were very lucky to have gone to an elementary school that served potatoes with parsley, Pepperidge Farm-like bread and Boston Cream pie! My elementary school served industrial-styled boxed fish fingers, french fries and a pudding cup for dessert…

    I have always loved reading your blog posts and I have your cookbook which I loved reading too. (Yes, I like to read cookbooks.)

    I, too, have always liked Boston Cream Pie because of the custard and chocolate. Thanks for posting this recipe and attempting to streamline the procedure. I will maybe give it a go this summer holiday when I have more leisurely time.

    Thanks!

    • May 19, 2021 2:00pm
      David Lebovitz

      It was definitely a different era and I remember our school meals being pretty good. I’m sure they used some mixes, etc., but back then (and even now) Pepperidge Farm was good. On a related note, I went to “Pepperidge Farm” a few years ago and it was interesting to learn that the founder’s daughter had food allergies so Margaret Rudkin made sure to use pure ingredients in their baked goods and not use additives and preservatives. She was also influenced by simple European cookies, hence the names, such as Milano, Pirouettes, and Brussels.

  • Susan Dasso
    May 19, 2021 5:53am

    I have an old 9″ cake pan from my grandmother that has an indentation in it. There is only one layer of sponge cake, the custard goes in the indentation and the chocolate glaze goes over the top. The custard definitely needs to be chilled in the cake before the chocolate ganache is poured over the custard. It is an amazing balance between sponge, custard and chocolate.

  • May 19, 2021 6:37am

    My husband (of 32 years) has always maintained that his favorite cake is BCP. I on the other hand have been telling him (for over 32 years) that it can’t be and rarely have I made it for him! As his birthday is coming up I’m going to make this for him as you have convinced me it is worth the effort. I personally think the nostalgia factor is what makes him THINK he likes it. I’ll let you know how it goes

  • Judith Stutts
    May 19, 2021 10:19am

    I found my mother’s recipe for this dessert. She used to make it all the time for my dad. Tried to attach a picture of the recipe card so you could get a kick out of how it was written but was unable to.

  • Susan
    May 19, 2021 2:07pm

    There is a traditional British cake called Queen Victoria cake which is a sponge cake with jam in the middle and has powdered sugar on top. Maybe this was the great grandmother of the Boston Cream Pie.

  • Maja
    May 19, 2021 3:44pm

    On your cover photo of the BCP post, your cake seems to be served on an old fashioned orange Fiesta plate (am I right). Old orange Fiesta plates are blasting radioactive – coming from uranium oxide in its glaze. I confirmed this using a Geiger counter in my lab.

  • sillygirl
    May 19, 2021 3:55pm

    Maybe because of this “pie” I’m always drawn to pastries that include custard and a chocolate glaze. I made it from my mother’s Betty Crocker Cookbook.

  • Julia
    May 19, 2021 5:47pm

    And this post is why you are the best and my favorite food writer these days. I love the origin story, the name checks, the credit given and the result. I always enjoy your posts but this one is very special.

    • May 19, 2021 6:11pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks! I do my best to give credit and talk about how I develop, come up with, or find recipes. The story to me is always interesting and something fun to write about.

  • Elissa Atlas
    May 19, 2021 11:39pm

    Enjoyed this recipe immensely. I did bake the cake 26 minutes since it wouldn’t spring back when touched so I was concerned that I overbaked it. But that didn’t happen and it was delicious!!

  • Sarah
    May 20, 2021 1:04am

    This is a delicious-looking recipe as always, but moreover it was so moving reading about Richard Sax and his life. Thank you for introducing me to him and I’ll try to get a copy of his book.

  • A.M. Saverino
    May 20, 2021 2:45am

    My nana made this! Her shortcut was to use instant pudding for the filling, and we all loved it.

  • patty
    May 20, 2021 3:09pm

    I have only made one BCP and that was in the 70’s! It took all day, but I remember it was delicious. It is time to make another one! LOL!!

  • Sarah
    May 23, 2021 11:46pm

    When I was a child, the oldest of 4, we would spend a week in the summer at my grandfather’s house. Not all 4 of us at once, usually just 2 at a time. The year I was 10 and my sister was 8, we got taken out for our first “fancy” dinner. Pierce’s Restaurant in Elmira NY. It was a nice place. And it was way fancier than we were used to!

    The best thing, there was a dessert cart! Dessert came to your table and you got to choose! We had never seen this before. I don’t remember what my sister had, but it was the first time I had Boston Cream Pie. I was baffled – I pointed, got it, and was told its name, which made no sense, as it clearly was not a pie. But it was good.

    I never had any success in making it.

    When my grandfather died, the family had dinner after the funeral at Pierce’s. They didn’t have the Boston Cream Pie any more. And now they are closed. (And really, I can’t imagine I will ever be in Elmira again these days.)

    Now I can make it. Thank you!

  • Joan
    May 25, 2021 4:42am

    This looks exactly like the one my mother made – with cooked chocolate fudge frosting. My mother-in-law would bring one from Conti’s Bakery on Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx but they used a lite whipped cream – not as good as the original. Hmmm, I think I need to make this now…

  • Annmartina
    May 26, 2021 2:51am

    You had me with parsley buttered boiled potatoes. I still crave those potatoes from elementary school in Minnesota. I’ve never been able to replicate them. How did they make them taste soooo good?

  • rob
    May 30, 2021 4:07pm

    Thanks David, I’ve made this twice already and it’s a fun and delicious project that looks very impressiive.

    I added an extra yolk to my latest custard (using USA “Large” eggs, which aren’t too large) because I found the color a bit too white, and might add another yolk still to make it more yellow.

  • Janet
    June 1, 2021 11:51pm

    Halved the recipe and made a mini cake for my husband. Used two eggs for the sponge cake since mine were on the smaller side. The recipe worked out perfectly, and the ganache and custard came out exactly as I had hoped. Thank you!!

    • June 2, 2021 6:26pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for letting us know halving the recipe worked!

  • Fabrizia Dorante
    June 3, 2021 8:56pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe ;) It does look lovely and vey delish. Will attempt that for my sons 10th birthday. One question though if you don’t mind. After getting the custard ready, the parchment paper should be placed over it and nothing else? No cling film?

  • Ally
    June 7, 2021 6:29am

    Thank you so much for the recipe! Couldn’t be better timed either; I just had my first Boston Cream Pie yesterday at twenty-five, which is wild considering I grew up in the Hudson Valley. Not New England, but not far enough to explain a 25 year Boston Cream Pie-drought. I’ve thought of nothing but baking one in the last twenty four hours. Lo and behold, a recipe from your blog posted less than a month ago :)

  • Elyn
    June 7, 2021 2:42pm

    Thank you for mentioning Richard Sax …. I always loved his writing and, while other books have come & gone, Classic Home Desserts remains on my cookbook shelf. I often think of him when I’m baking recipes left to me by my mother & grandmother … I’ve never forgotten his comment about the “miraculous sensation of taking written instructions from someone long gone and, by following them, bake the same cake in my oven today… thereby connecting the generations.” Thanks also for writing about Boston Cream Pie. It was one of my mother’s standout desserts (her recipe is not too dissimilar to yours) and your writing brought back some great memories!

  • Tanya
    June 12, 2021 12:09pm

    Really excited to try this recipe, thank you, David, for working on it and sharing! one question – if I have just one pan of this size(23cm)- what would you recommend:
    1) bake all batter in one go and slice it into two rounds
    2) bake two cakes one after another
    3) bake two cakes simultaneously in two smaller pans (18cm), adjusting ingredients.
    I am not sure how import is to bake these cakes at the same time:)
    Thanks in advance, so looking forward to this! :)

    • June 12, 2021 3:43pm
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Tanya: I’d probably bake it in one pan and slice it in half crossways after baking. I’ve not done it with this recipe but I’ve baked spongecakes like that better and didn’t have issues. If you try it, let us know how it works out!

      • Tanya
        June 15, 2021 8:15am

        Thanks a lot for your reply, David! Followed your advice and baked it in one 23cm cake pan. Baking time almost doubled, the spongecake came out perfect, I had no problem cutting it, with a turntable and a serrated knife. Lovely fluffy texture inside! Finally, a delicious Boston Cream Pie in Europe! :)

  • Hal
    June 20, 2021 1:34am

    My small dorm cafeteria Boston Cream pie jump started my food career.

  • Jan
    June 20, 2021 8:58pm

    David – I made it and it was wonderful! My memory (yes – of the box mix!) is that the cake was a bit lighter. Would I get that it I 1) substituted cake flour for AP and 2) cooked in one pan and split into two layers (which is how the mix worked) – I see one comment where this was done?

    I am also thinking about baking in a square pan next time, as getting the filling to stay aligned at the “point” at the center of the circle was a challenge when I shared pieces. Any thoughts?

    Thanks for recreating one of my (and obviously many others) favorite desserts! Worth your considerable efforts.

  • Hal
    June 30, 2021 10:35pm

    Dorm..freshman year..like a first kiss. Thanks for a great trip down memory lane and a well crafted recipe. In about three hours I’ll relive a bit of the that.

  • Ben
    August 5, 2021 3:12pm

    I just made this for my son for his 18th birthday, and he really enjoyed it. I have previously made the Zingerman’s version (which has an annoying and unnecessary white frosting layer) and Stella Parks’ recipe (she insists you must use cake flour or the cake will be dense). This is by far my favorite, and I even subbed a bit of white whole wheat flour into the cake for flavor. Thanks for a wonderful recipe and the best Boston Cream pie I’ve ever made.

A

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