Delicious Boston Cream Pie

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This delicious Boston Cream Pie is simply perfect. It is a cake, rather than a pie and got its name from the days when cakes and pies might be made in the same pans. It has two layers of hot milk cake with a layer of a thick and rich custard. The top is a wonderfully decadent chocolate glaze.

Although I use a hot milk cake any other sponge cake will also work well. I, personally, like the hot milk cake since it has such a soft and tender texture which goes so well with that creamy custard. The cake originates from Boston in Massachusetts but is popular throughout North America and more widely too.

From reading up on the cake I saw that a rum syrup might be brushed over the cakes. However I am not sure that is so common these days. I don’t do that since I don’t think it is necessary.

There are 3 distinct stages in making Boston Cream Pie. A custard – or pastry cream, the cake and then the chocolate glaze for the top. Making the custard in advance is a good idea, since it has be be completely cool before using it. So even 24 hours in advance is fine. The cake can be a single one, sliced to make two layers, or two cakes one for each layer. The chocolate glaze is the final stage, and can be as simple as chocolate melted into cream.

Although chilling the Boston Cream Pie after assembly works well for setting up the glaze it is better to serve it after it has been out of the fridge for a while, for a wonderfully soft cake.

Boston Cream Pie

Ingredients for Boston Cream Pie

Since there are 3 stages in making the cake there are quite a few ingredients. I will detail these for each stage in turn.

Custard/Pastry Cream

Double Cream – has a high fat content to give a richness to the custard. Heavy Cream is fine too.

Whole Milk – Using this in conjunction with the cream makes a rich custard. Using all milk instead of any cream will also work,but will not be so rich.

Egg Yolks – these add to the richness and help to thicken the custard.

Sugar – for sweetness

Flour – plain or all purpose. This is cooked out to thicken the custard. Cornflour is an alternative though it is not quite so stable.

Butter – unsalted. This, again, adds to the richness of the custard and helps to firm it up when cooled.

Vanilla extract – for flavour in the custard.

Salt – to bring out the flavours.


Flour – plain or all purpose the basis of the cake

Milk – whole or semi-skimmed both work well

Butter – melted into the milk to make the hot milk element for the cake

Eggs – to help with the structure and rise.

Sugar – for sweetness in the cake, and to add more moisture.

Baking Powder – as the raising agent.

Vanilla Extract – for flavouring.

Salt – to bring out the flavours.


Chocolate – I use dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids, but less is fine. Even milk chocolate will work well.

Cream – for richness in the glaze.

Golden Syrup – A little of this will help to retain a slight gloss on the glaze. You can leave it out if you wish. Corn syrup will work well too.

Boston Cream Pie

Process For Boston Cream Pie

For the custard

As I mentioned earlier there are 3 stages to the recipe. Each is quite straightforward. However it is important that the custard is fully cool before using, so it is best to make it first.

To make the custard heat the cream and milk until almost to boiling point. Meanwhile make a paste of the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Whisk in the vanilla and the flour untll everything is smooth.

Temper that with a little of the hot milk and cream, whisking constantly. Then pour the tempered mixture into the remaining milk and cream and return it to the heat. Whisk constantly, on a moderate heat, as the custard starts to thicken. Reduce the heat and continue to stir the custard until it starts to boil and it becomes very thick.

Put the custard into a bowl and whisk in the butter until fully incorporates. Press plastic wrap down onto the surface. Allow the custard to cool completely, this can be done in the fridge.

For the cake

Heat the milk and the butter together until they are scalding hot. Then remove the pan from the heat, covering it with a lid.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside for later.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until they are very pale and have a thick consistency. You can do this in a stand mixer, with a hand mixer or by hand. It will take at least 5 minutes in a mixer or with hand mixer and much longer by hand.

Whisk in the hot milk and butter and then the dry ingredients too, until all is combined.

Divide the batter equally between two 9 inch/23cm can pans that have been greased and have parchment paper lining the bottoms.

Bake the cakes at 160C/325F for about 20 to 25 minutes, until they have risen and begin to come away from the side of the pans.

Let the cakes cool before turning out onto a rack.

For the glaze

Heat the cream with the golden syrup until it just starts to simmer. Tip the chocolate onto the hot cream and whisk it in until it melts and forms a lovely smooth glaze. Then leave it for at least 5 minutes.

Assembling the Boston Cream Pie

Spread the custard over one of the cake layers and place the second cake on the top. Then pour the glaze on as well. Spread the glaze over the top. just to the edge. You can allow some to run down the sides if you wish.

Chill the cake in the fridge for at least a couple of hour to let the glaze set up. I like to let the cake sit out for a while before slicing, so that the cake becomes lovely and soft.

Boston Cream Pie

My Cake

I made my cake in the three stages described above. The cakes baked well and the custard set wonderfully thick as it cooled. The glaze looked so nice and smooth too.

So I assembled my cake and let it chill for a couple of hours. Then I took it out of the fridge and left it on the counter for a while so the cake layers softened nicely. The glaze was nice and glossy too.

I cut a good slice for tasting. What a wonderfully decadent dessert it makes. The cake layers were so soft and went so well with the thick and creamy custard. The sweetness was nicely offset by the lovely dark chocolate glaze. Simple a great dessert.

Boston Cream Pie – Video

Another very good dessert is Perfect Lemon Posset Tarts.

Delicious Boston Cream Pie

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Cakes, DessertsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Custard
  • 240ml(1 cup) double cream

  • 240ml(1 cup) milk

  • 6 medium egg yolks(large in USA)

  • 100g(1/2 cup) caster sugar

  • 37g(1/4 cup, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour

  • 56g(1/4 cup) unsalted butter

  • 10ml(2 tsp) vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt

  • Cake
  • 212g(1 1/3 cups+4 tsp, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour

  • 6g(1 1/2 tsp) baking powder

  • 180ml(3/4 cup) milk

  • 85g(6 tbsp) unsalted butter

  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA)

  • 300g(1 1/2 cups) caster sugar

  • 3g(1/2 tsp)salt

  • 7.5ml(1 1/2 tsp) vanilla extract

  • Glaze
  • 120ml(1/2 cup) double cream

  • 15ml(1 tbsp) golden syrup

  • 113g(4 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped


  • Pour the milk and double cream into a saucepan and put it on a low heat, until it is almost ready to boil.
  • Meanwhile beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fully combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk again.
  • Tip in the flour and salt and whisk again until fully combined into a smooth loose paste.
  • Whisking constantly drizzle a little hot milk/cream onto the paste, to temper it. Add a little more and mix again.
  • Pour the paste into the remaining hot milk and cream and stir.
  • Place the saucepan onto a moderate heat and keep whisking until the custard starts to thicken.
  • Reduce the heat and continue whisking until the custard starts to boil and becomes very thick indeed.
  • Put the custard into a bowl and whisk in the butter until fully combined.
  • Press some plastic wrap down onto the surface of the custard and leave it to cool completely. You can place it in the fridge once it has cooled down a little.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C/325F
  • Grease two 9 inch/23cm round cake pans and line the bases with parchment paper.
  • Put the milk and butter into a saucepan and heat it until scalding hot. Then take it off the heat and cover with a lid, leaving it for about 5 minutes as you work on the other ingredients.
  • Mix the baking powder and salt into the flour until fully combined.
  • Place the eggs and sugar into a large bowl, or into a stand mixer, and whisk together until they are very pale and thick in consistency. This will take at least 5 minutes with a stand mixer or hand mixer.
  • Whisk in the hot milk/butter
  • Tip the flour into the mixture and whisk until all is fully incorporated.
  • Divide the batter equally into the prepared cake pans.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cakes have risen and just start to come away from the edge of the pans.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pan then transfer to a wire rack.
  • When the custard and the cakes are cooled completely heat the cream and golden syrup in a saucepan until just simmering.
  • Put the chocolate into the cream and whisk until it melts and creates a smooth and glossy glaze. Set it aside for at least 5 minutes.
  • Spoon the custard onto one of the cakes and spread it to cover the top completely.
  • Place the other cake on the top and place it in the fridge until your glaze has cooled a little.
  • Pour the glaze onto the top of the cake and gently spread it over the surface, just up to the edge. You can let some run over the edge if you wish.
  • Chill the cake in the fridge until the glaze has set up nicely, this might take a couple of hours.
  • Take the cake out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes before slicing.

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