Chef John's Boston Cream Pie Recipe -
Chef John's Boston Cream Pie  Recipe
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Boston Cream Pie
See how to make a wicked-good chocolate and vanilla-cream dessert. See more
  • READY IN 5+ hrs

Chef John's Boston Cream Pie

Recipe by  

"This is my quick and easy version of Boston's Parker House Hotel's famous cake."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 cake Change Servings
  • PREP

    30 mins
  • COOK

    40 mins

    5 hrs 10 mins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Spray 2 (8-inch) cake pans with cooking spray.
  3. Stir yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, water, and vegetable oil in a bowl until moistened. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  4. Divide cake batter between the two prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until cakes have risen and are lightly golden brown, 33 to 38 minutes. Check for doneness after 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes should come out clean. Allow cakes to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool cakes completely, about 40 minutes.
  6. Whisk 3 eggs, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl until well mixed and lemon colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
  7. Heat 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whole milk, and 1/2 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil.
  8. Reduce heat to low; pour egg mixture into cream mixture and whisk until thick, about 1 minute.
  9. Pour egg and cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard any chunks.
  10. Whisk vanilla and salt into the egg and cream mixture until combined. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Chill in refrigerator to form a pastry cream texture, 3 to 4 hours.
  11. Place chocolate in a large bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon butter and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside until cooled, but still pourable, about 20 minutes.
  12. Place one cake layer on a plate, flat side up. Spread pastry cream to within 1-inch of the edge of cake. Place second cake layer on top, rounded side up. Press gently to push pastry cream to the edge. Pour chocolate mixture over top of the cake and spread so it drips over the edge.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jun 07, 2012

For those of you who said the filling came out runny, watch his video, even though in the written instructions and on the video he says to turn it to low when you add the egg and cornstarch combination, DON'T. Keep your heat on medium and then it will thicken in 1 minute as he states, otherwise, if you put it on low it will take more like 5 minutes to thicken so quickly. You also need to make sure you chill your filling for 3-4 hours before you put it between your cake layers. The custard came out wonderfully after I made sure it thickened in the pan before I put it in the fridge for 3- 4 hours.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jun 01, 2012

This is a good recipe, but this will make it great! For the problem with the ganache use: 1/2 cup crisco shortening, 1/2 cup butter and mix them together with you mixer until fluffy. Then add 1/4 teas salt and 1 teas vanilla. Mix. Add four cups powered sugar one cup at a time and mix well after each cup. Add heavy cream (not whipping cream) until the mixture is very firm but spreadable. (Weather conditions determine how much cream is needed.) When ready to frost top of cake place ganache into the microwave for a few min. Careful not to burn, but must be porable. ( Add small amount of milk it needed) Pour on the middle of cake and use knife to spread it out causing some to run down sides of the cake. Ganache will firm up after it cools. Also after you take cakes out of oven press down on middle of each cake to make it flat with the edges taken hump out of middle of cakes. This will not hurt the taste and will make a more professional looking finished product.

Apr 16, 2012

I made this according to the directions/recipe on a related link with a video, and it ended up tasting great. The only reason I give it 4 stars is because the filling and the ganache did not firm up as much as they should have. I may not have had the filling at a rapid enough boil, so even after chilling it for several hours it was pretty runny. I firmed it up a bit by adding some plain gelatin (dissolved in a small amount of hot water). I also used 7 tbsp of sugar in the filling, since a note on the original recipe said it could be between 6 and 8 tbsp. The original recipe I used called for "cream" in the ganache. Not knowing what that meant specifically, I used a mixture of half & half and heavy whipping cream. The recipe listed here notes it should be heavy whipping cream, so maybe using only that would make it a little firmer. Ultimately I had to freeze the cake to get it to stay together, especially since I had to transport it by car, and even though it tasted great it looked a little sloppy. I will make this again someday and try these adjustments, hopefully with better results.

May 13, 2012

Excellent! The pastry cream took approximately 8 minutes to thicken up and I had to turn the heat up higher, and keep stirring. We were not disappointed.

Apr 23, 2012

I made this cake today and and it is really simple and quick to make. The only issue i had was my custard was runny. I made the custard the day before and left it in the fridge overnight. I was surprised that it had not set more. Thus when i put it on the cake it just ran.

Apr 24, 2012

I made this, following the recipe to a T and it did not turn out. The custard never firmed up, and the chocolate "frosting" was terribly lumpy. The cake was good, but it was from a box. Will be using a different recipe in the future, sorry.

Jun 19, 2012

This cake recipe is wonderful, I love the how to video that comes with it. I made this for my Hubby's Birthday. Everyone was so bad and had two slices! I will be making this again as soon as I have an excuse!

Sep 26, 2012

The filling was a bit on the bland side and just a little less sweet than I expected. The filling came together beautifully, set up perfectly and I expected it would set even more in the fridge, but... when we spread the filling out it oozed out and over the bottom layer. Nothing at all like in the video as I expected. The gnache was easy and very silky. A bit on the thin side but good. I likely wont make this recipe again as is.


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  • Calories
  • 695 kcal
  • 35%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 72.4 g
  • 23%
  • Cholesterol
  • 199 mg
  • 66%
  • Fat
  • 41 g
  • 63%
  • Fiber
  • 1.8 g
  • 7%
  • Protein
  • 10.3 g
  • 21%
  • Sodium
  • 514 mg
  • 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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