Last week, for A’s birthday, I baked his favorite dessert: Boston Cream Pie. Fresh vanilla custard sandwiched between dense layers of vanilla cake and topped with chocolate glaze – what’s not to like?! I’ll be honest – this isn’t the simplest dessert to make. But sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the ones we love. It requires the better part of an afternoon and a good amount of patience to bake a boston cream pie, but it’s not difficult to make if you have the time and follow the instructions carefully. And trust me when I say this cake is SO worth the effort!
Boston Cream Pie
for the custard:
3 large egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 c whole milk
1 T unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c heavy cream
In a medium bowl whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about a third of the hot milk into the yolk mixture to temper the eggs. Then pour the entire yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until custard thickens, about one minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk until smooth.
Then whisk in butter until melted. Next pour custard into a medium bowl and whisk in the vanilla extract. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that it touches the top of the custard. Let the custard cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for two hours or until well chilled.
Note: heavy cream will be added to chilled custard just before cake is assembled.
for the cake:
18 T unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 c sugar
3 c all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp salt
9 egg whites
1 1/4 c milk
1 T vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, mix egg whites, milk, and vanilla.
Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend, then add half of the egg mixture. Add another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining egg mixture, and finally the last of the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl often while blending the mixtures together.
Divide the batter among two 9 inch cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pans and return them to the wire rack to cool completely.
for the chocolate glaze:
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, then stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the chocolate glaze to a small bowl. Cover the surface of the glaze with a piece of plastic wrap and let cool for about 10 minutes.
to assemble the cake:
Just before you’re ready to assemble the cake, transfer the custard to the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Add 1/4 c heavy cream and beat at high speed for about one minute, until the mixture forms soft peaks.
Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving dish. Spread the custard onto the cake using a spatula. Top the custard with the second cake layer. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake. (I recommend pouring the glaze directly over the center of the cake. The glaze will spread and some will run down the side. Pouring around the edges will lead to lots of chocolate on the edges rather than a drippy effect.)
Serve the cake immediately. Leftovers can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Custard and chocolate glaze recipes adapted from Lick The Bowl Good.