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Boston Cream Pie is a classic dessert! Two layers of yellow cake are filled with pastry cream and topped off with a chocolate glaze. It is sure to be a favorite!

Boston Cream Pie with a chocolate ganache on top sitting on a cake stand.

You can always use the short-cut version of boxed yellow cake and instant pudding, but there’s nothing quite like a Boston Cream made from scratch with spongey yellow cake, decadent pastry cream, all topped with a simple ganache. It is breathtaking.

Why is it called a Boston Cream Pie?

This cake gets its name from a time period when cakes and pies were cooked in the same pans so the names were used interchangeably. Nowadays, we might call this a Boston Cream Cake, but the “pie” part has stuck to this classic dessert.

Do I have to use buttermilk?

The buttermilk in this cake interacts with the baking powder to help the cake rise. If you substitute milk, your cake will not be as fluffy. If you don’t have buttermilk available, it is very easy to make a buttermilk substitute by adding either white vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk. For the full substitute instructions, please see the link.

STORAGE: This cake needs to be stored in a refrigerator due to the pastry cream filling. Once it has been sliced into, you’ll need to cover the exposed portion of the cake to keep it from drying out. Plastic wrap is perfect for this.

Slice of boston cream pie on a white plate with a fork on it.

SHORTCUT: If you don’t have time to make pastry cream from scratch, you can also use 2 small boxes of vanilla pudding mix. The pastry cream is worth the extra effort of making, but if you are short on time, this shortcut will definitely work.

If you like this recipe, you may also like these other cake recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Boston Cream Pie with a chocolate ganache on top sitting on a cake stand.
Boston Cream Pie is a classic dessert! Two layers of yellow cake are filled with pastry cream and topped off with a chocolate glaze. It is sure to be a favorite!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Ingredients

Yellow Cake

  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk room temperature
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1/3 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz dark chocolate roughly chopped
Instructions

YELLOW CAKE

  • Grease two 9-inch pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  • Add in flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined.
  • Divide the batter among the two prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let sit in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

PASTRY CREAM

  • In a large sauce pan, stir together milk and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolks, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar.
  • Once the milk has reached a simmer, work quickly and carefully pour half of the hot milk in a steady stream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling or cooking the eggs. Immediately pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Return to a medium heat and whisk constantly until mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat once thickened and stir in butter and vanilla until melted. Pour into a clean mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap, letting the plastic wrap touch the top of the pastry cream to avoid the creation of any film on top. Cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

GANACHE

  • In a small sauce pan, bring heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Place your chopped chocolate into a small mixing bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

ASSEMBLING CAKE

  • Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. The baking sheet will be used to catch any drips from your ganache. Place a pre-cut cake circle onto the wire rack. Lay the bottom cake layer onto the cake circle.
  • Spread pastry cream over cake to create a filling. Top with remaining cake layer.
  • Carefully and slowly pour ganache over cake, letting drip down sides.
  • Transfer cake to the refrigerator and let cool until set, about 1 hour.
Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 665IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 3.5mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Boston Cream Pie

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Anca Kusovschi

5 stars
I just made the yellow cakes and my cream is cooling in the fridge. It has been a success so far and we can’t wait to try it! I’m sure my husband is going to love it. Since corona is not allowing us to go out and celebrate his birthday, we will do just great at home with this cake and a good steak! Thank you for the recipe!

HS

5 stars
Oh my, this cake is Amazing!!! The yellow cake is good on it’s own. Adding the pastry cream and ganache takes it to a new level. This recipe is a keeper and I look forward to making it again soon.

Sonia

Thanks for sharing your recipes, are delicious and easy to follow and make!
I love it !

Linda VanMeter

5 stars
yumm my favorite

Aileen

5 stars
I have been following you for a while now and your recipes are definitely a hit!! Very helpful for a newbie like me!!

nimita quadros

4 stars
Thanks for the recipe!

Nimita Quadros

I baked this cake last evening and I followed the instructions to the letter, however- when I added the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in the bowl, my batter curdled terribly. I thought my batter was ruined and wanted to give up, however when I added the dry ingredients, the batter was creamy again. I am curious as to what caused my batter to curdle? How long do you keep the buttermilk out to reach room temperature? On a side note, my pastry cream turned out to be delicious and was a success. Overall, my cake assembled well but it did… Read more »

Heather

So excited to make this gluten free! Thank you for the recipe!

Honeylyn

Can this be turn to cupcakes?

Easy to follow directions for a perfect cake. The only addition is that I just lightly brushed my cool layers with a simple syrup as I always do. Thank you for the recipe!

Judy

2 stars
My cream never thicken , I did the 1st batch , threw that out made a 2nd and it still didn’t thicken , I did everything as you said , I just don’t get it how can I do it just like yours ? Now I have 2 cakes , the panache and no filling , I just wanna throw it all away …. smh

Josh

If I want to cover the sides with chocolate (not just the top), how many ounces of chocolate (and heavy cream) do I need?

KATHLEEN

about to make this cake tonight , is it BAKING POWDER OR BAKING SODA?

kimber kleinbohl

Is it correct then? 4tsp baking powder……. NO baking soda?

Hi. Which sugar do you use?

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