Table of Contents
  1. This cake is one of the simplest combination of flavors. Here's why.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions:
  6. What other cake recipes should I try?
  7. Watch how to make this recipe
  8. Have I convinced you to make this cake recipe?
  9. Boston Cream Pie Recipe

While it has the word pie in its name, Boston cream pie is simply a yellow cake with pastry cream in the middle and a chocolate ganache spread on top. The richness of the chocolate ganache is tempered when combined with the moist, tender yellow cake and the lightly sweet pastry cream, creating an all-around satisfying dessert.

This cake is one of the simplest combination of flavors. Here’s why.

Boston cream pie is most likely not at the top of your baking list. But let me tell you why it needs to be.

This entire recipe starts with a simple yellow cake. The cake batter is truly homemade but made with ingredients you’re likely to have in your pantry. While the two layers of cake are baking, you make the pastry cream.

If you haven’t made pastry cream before, here’s a fair warning: you’ll fall in love with it. Pastry cream is really a rich pudding. Egg yolks, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract come together and thickened with some cornstarch. The outcome is pastry cream. If you’re trying to imagine the taste, think of the cream in the middle of your favorite donut or the filling on a fruit tart at your favorite bakery.

The cooled pastry cream is slathered between the cake layers and topped with chocolate ganache. No fussy frosting is needed. Simply allow the chocolate to drip down the sides.

It’s as simple as that! The cake is simple, humble, and perfect.

Pie of Boston cream pie sitting on white plate with fork beside and rest of cake in background on a white cake plate.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

The ingredients for this recipe are pretty much pantry staples. And while the flavors of the cake are each pretty basic, when they’re combined, each ingredient really shines through. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • cornstarch
  • neutral oil
  • salt
  • butter
  • buttermilk
  • eggs
  • whole milk
  • vanilla extract
  • chocolate
  • sugar
  • cake flour
  • heavy cream
  • baking powder
Marble surface with lots of Boston cream pie ingredients sitting on counter with text boxes indicating ingredient names.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

This cake has three main components: two round yellow cakes, a pastry cream that is placed between the layers, and a rich chocolate ganache that’s swooped over the top. While it may seem like a few steps, the overall cake is pretty simple, with each step allowing for plenty of prep time. Here’s how to make it:

  • Prepare the yellow cake batter. Begin by creaming the butter and sugar. Room temperature butter is best when creaming the butter because it will mix and aerate the butter correctly. It actually takes longer to cream butter and sugar than one thinks. When completed, it should be light and fluffy, with all of the butter and sugar fully incorporated. This process works air into the butter mixture, which is what makes it fluffy. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks to the butter mixture, one at a time. Adding egg yolks increases the richness and provides yellow color to the cake. Let each egg mix into the batter before adding the next. This will ensure that the mixture is homogenous. Next, whisk together the dry ingredients: cake flour, baking soda, and salt. Separately, combine the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and neutral oil. To the butter and sugar mixture, alternatively add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Start with a third of the dry ingredients, then add half the wet ingredients, and so on. Mix all of this together until everything is fully combined.
  • Divide the yellow cake batter between two cake pans and bake. Make sure to butter the sides of the cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper as well to ensure the cakes release nicely from the pans once baked. This also imparts a bit of extra butter flavor to the top of the cake. Once divided equally into two pans, place them in the preheated 350°F oven and bake for 24 to 26 minutes. While baking, prepare the pastry cream and chocolate ganache.
  • Prepare the pastry cream. Combine together the egg yolks, whole milk, sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Rather than tempering the milk into the egg yolks, which is what would be traditional with pastry cream, this method heats everything together and it’s much simpler that way. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it’s thickened, making sure to continually whisk the mixture so that it does not burn. The mixture should be removed from the heat when it’s a pudding-like consistency that has some resistance to the whisking. Off heat, add in the cold butter and vanilla extract, and whisk until everything is incorporated. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent any “skin” from forming. Then set aside to cool to room temperature until ready to assemble the cake.
  • Prepare the chocolate ganache. To speed up the dissolving, chop the chocolate into somewhat small, even pieces. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the scalding cream over the top. Allow the chocolate to dissolve for about five minutes before whisking. Right before the mixture is fully mixed, add in some vanilla extract to impart a touch more flavor. Mix until everything is combined, then set aside to cool before assembling the cake. The ganache will thicken as it comes down to room temperature.
  • Assemble the cake. Place one of the cakes on a serving dish and slice off any “dome” that remains from the baking. Flattening the top surface of the cake will allow the pastry cream and second layer of the cake to sit more evenly. Spread the pastry cream on top of the first cake layer, making sure to leave about half an inch around the edge. When the remaining layer of cake is placed on top, the weight will push out some of the pastry cream to the edges. Top with the remaining cake and finish with the chocolate ganache as desired.

These tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is truly light and fluffy. Depending on the softness of the butter, this can take anywhere from three to five minutes.
  • When preparing both the yellow cake and pastry cream, crack your eggs into a separate bowl before adding them to the mixture. This way, any shell that could accidentally make its way into the mixture can easily be removed.
  • Make sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl when mixing together the yellow cake. This will ensure that any of the ingredients that are caught in the bottom of the bowl are also incorporated into the batter.
  • For the pastry cream, use whole milk. Higher-fat milk will impart more richness and flavor to the resulting mixture.
  • Use good-quality chocolate for the ganache. Since the ganache has only a few select ingredients, the flavor of each ingredient needs to be top-notch.
  • When preparing the ganache, use a spatula to whisk together the cream and the chocolate. This will prevent adding air to the ganache, which is not desirable.
  • All three parts of this cake should be cooled before assembly beings. If the cake, pastry cream, or ganache are too warm, the cake may not set up correctly.
White plate holding slice of Boston cream pie with chocolate ganache on top with fork holding piece of tip of cake.

Frequently asked questions:

What if you don’t have cake flour available but still want to make this recipe?

You can still make this recipe! It’s not a perfect solution, but to a one-cup measure, add one tablespoon of cornstarch. Fill the remainder of the cup measure with regular all-purpose flour. This will create cake flour in a pinch. Since this recipe calls for 2 ½ cups of cake flour, you would need to combine 2 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch and 37 ½ tablespoons of all-purpose flour.

What types of oil are neutral oils?

Neutral oils are avocado, grapeseed, and safflower oils. Personally, I like to use avocado oil as my neutral oil. Corn oils and vegetable oils can also be used, but I find that they have “off” flavors and don’t have the best health benefits.

Can the chocolate for the ganache be chopped up in the food processor?

Yes, but don’t do it for too long. The heat generated by the food processor can cause the chocolate to melt before you want it to. Using a knife is the safest route, but the processor does work as well.

Can this cake be made a day (or a few days) ahead and be assembled the day of? If so, how?

Yes! Here’s how:
Yellow cakes: Bake these up to a few days in advance, wrap them tightly (place in an airtight container), and place them in the freezer. Approximately three hours before you want to serve the cake, remove the cakes from the freezer and allow them to thaw to room temperature.
Pastry cream: This can be made up to three days in advance. Once the mixture is cooled, place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming and place it in the refrigerator. On the day when the cake will be served, simply remove the pastry cream from the freezer, remove the plastic layer, and assemble the cake.
Chocolate ganache: This can be made the day before, but should not be placed in the refrigerator. If the ganache is still a bit stiff when the cake is ready to assemble, place it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time (no more than five seconds) until it is at the desired consistency.

Boston cream pie with chocolate ganache on top sitting on white cake plate on white countertop with stove in background.

What other cake recipes should I try?

Watch how to make this recipe

Have I convinced you to make this cake recipe?

What do I hope you do with this recipe? I hope you make it and put some food on your dessert table. And whether you make it for Father’s Day like I do, or any other day of the year, you will love the simplicity of this cake. Also, when you leave a comment and share a star rating, you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

More cake recipes you'll love

Boston cream pie sitting on cake plate on white countertop with stove in background.

Boston Cream Pie

5 from 1 vote
Author: Kaleb
While it has the word pie in its name, Boston cream pie is simply a yellow cake with pastry cream in the middle and a chocolate ganache spread on top. The richness of the chocolate ganache is tempered when combined with the moist, tender yellow cake and the lightly sweet pastry cream, creating an all-around satisfying dessert. Whether it's made for a special occasion or any day of the week, you'll love this cake.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 26 mins
Cool Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 56 mins
Servings 16 servings

Equipment

  • 2 9-inch round cake pans
  • 2 parchment paper rounds

Ingredients

For the yellow cake

  • 10 tbsp butter room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil

For the pastry cream

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter cold
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache

  • 4 oz chocolate
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

For the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, fit with parchment in the bottom, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running on low, add the egg yolks and eggs one at a time until each one is mixed in. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
    10 tbsp butter, 1 ½ cups sugar, 3 large egg yolks, 3 large eggs
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
    2 ½ cups cake flour, 1 ½ tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt
  • In a small measuring glass, whisk the buttermilk, vanilla, and oil.
    1 cup buttermilk, 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • With the mixer running on low, add ⅓ of the dry mixture followed by ½ of the milk mixture. Allow to incorporate and repeat the steps, finishing with the final ⅓ of the dry mixture.
  • Divide the cake batter between the two cake pans and smooth out to an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, 24-26 minutes.
  • Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven. Allow the cakes low to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Once slightly cooled, remove the cakes from the pans, discard the parchment paper, and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the pastry cream

  • In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the egg yolks, milk, sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set the mixture over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. Continue to whisk until mixture is thick with bubbles forming, 6-8 minutes.
    4 egg yolks, 1 cup whole milk, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp salt, 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • Once thickened, remove the pastry cream from the heat. Add the butter and vanilla. Whisk until the butter dissolves and immediately push through a sieve. Allow the pastry cream to cool. I find this best to make the day before and store in the refrigerator.
    2 tbsp butter, 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache

  • Chop the chocolate into fine, uniform pieces and pour them into a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream until it's steaming and almost boiling. Once the cream is steaming, immediately pour the cream over the prepared chocolate. Allow the chocolate and cream to rest for 5 minutes.
    4 oz chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream
  • Once the mixture has rested, slowly stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. As the ganache cools, it will thicken.
    1 tsp vanilla extract

To assemble the cake

  • Place a room temperature or cool layer of cake on a serving platter. Spread the chilled pastry cream over one layer of the cake, staying about ½-inch from the edge. Place the second layer on top of the pastry cream. Pour the ganache over the top layer. If the ganache is too thick, heat for a few seconds in the microwave. Allow the ganache to slightly drip down the sides. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 390kcalCarbohydrates: 49.5gProtein: 5.9gFat: 19.2gSaturated Fat: 10.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.9gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 150.1mgSodium: 262.4mgPotassium: 190.8mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 31gVitamin A: 161IUVitamin C: 0mgCalcium: 101.3mgIron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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