Monday, February 20, 2012

Cake Slice Bakers - February 2012: Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie. It’s not actually a pie; it’s a cake, a really good and creamy looking cake. It’s typically a two layer cake, but instead of frosting, it’s filled with vanilla custard and topped with velvety smooth chocolate ganache that drizzles down the sides.

For the month of February, the Cake Slice Bakers’ popular choice was the Boston Cream Pie. I actually got pretty excited about this cake because I’ve never made one before (or even tried a slice for that matter). So experiencing a new cake sounded like fun, plus all the pictures I’ve seen of a Boston Cream Pie look so delicious.

Like I said before, Boston Cram Pies are traditionally round, but I wanted to make something a little smaller because my mom would be out of town and my sister doesn’t like custardy things, so I didn’t want half a cake to go to waste. (Maybe I should just invest in a smaller cake pan.) So instead of pouring the batter into that standard round tin, I cut the recipe in half and used an 8x4 inch loaf pan. This is probably the only thing that went smoothly, the batter that is.

I actually had a lot of trouble making this cake, and I’m sure I’m partly/mostly at fault. The batter was perfectly smooth and velvety and baked up like a dream. However, after a day, the cake became a tad bit dry, and after the second day, it was just… well dry. One of my fellow bakers had mentioned the dryness so when I went to make the cake, I added an extra egg yolk to see if it would help, I don’t think it did.

I don’t think anyone else had this problem, but my custard didn’t want to set up. At first it looked like it was going to, but after being in the fridge for at least 24 hours, it was still very liquidy. This was my first time making a custard cream, so that might have been the problem, but I thought I followed the directions precisely. Oh well.

The last problem was totally my fault. I thought we had whipping cream for the ganache, so I didn’t think to buy any at the store. It turns out that it was half & half that I had seen. Whoops. Oh well, I thought. I could use half & half, but just not as much. Then I found out that I didn’t have any of my bar chocolate because one particular person in my family didn’t know what it was for and had eaten my chocolate (two bars) as a snack over the period of a monstrous kitchen cleanse. So instead of that, I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips, hoping I would get the same results. When making the ganache, I don’t think I let the milk become hot enough or maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I didn’t get all of the chocolate melted, so my ganache was really more just like a grainular liquid pool of chocolate. I still poured it over the cake though.

So in the end, I didn’t really have success with this recipe. I may try it again if the other Cake Slice Bakers’ cakes came out batter, but if not, I guess I’ll just have to try a proper Boston Cream Pie some other time.

Boston Cream Loaf
Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle
Makes one 8x4 inch loaf

Hot Milk Sponge Cake
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ + ¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
¼ cup + 2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp Vanilla Extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally spray the loaf pan with Pam (or something similar); set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt three or four times.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. Heat just until the butter has completely melted. Take saucepan off heat and set it aside to cool.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the egg and egg yolk on high speed for about a minute. Gradually add in the sugar and beat for another 6 minutes or until the mixture has become a very pale yellow and has tripled in size. Add in the vanilla extract.
  5. Detach the bowl from the mixer and fold in about a third of the flour mixture with a rubber spatula. Once that third has been incorporated, repeat with the rest of the flour. The mixture will be very stiff and not look like batter at all, don’t worry, it will once the milk is added. Speaking of milk, reheat the milk and butter mixture. Add it all into the bowl and mix. This will give you a work out. It will seem that the batter is drowning in milk, but give it time, it will smooth out eventually.
  6. Pour/scrape batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 15 minutes (I strongly advise against baking any longer). Cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake, and place right side up on a cooling rack.
Vanilla custard
3 egg yolks, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch until pale and thick. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and add a third of it to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk the egg yolk and milk mixture vigorously. This is to temper the eggs. Return mixture to saucepan and whisk continuously over medium-high heat for about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat, scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter until melted.
  3. Immediately strain the custard through a sieve into a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, let the mixture cool to room temperature, and then transfer to the fridge until well cooled.
  4. Just before assembling the cake, transfer the custard to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the heavy cream and beat the mixture with the whisk attachment on high until soft peaks form.
Chocolate Ganache

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir continuously until chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the glaze into a heat-proof bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
  1. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally in half. Place the bottom half of the cake on a serving platter, cut side up. Scrape as much filling as you want ontorecommend leaving a half inch border so the filling doesn’t ooze out. Top with the second layer, cut side down.
  2. Pour warm glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to a day. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.


  1. Hey, at least you tried! I'm proud that you contiued on with the recipe even when everything didn't turn out the way you wanted. I hope you have better luck next time!

  2. Monica - Thank you. It seems like everyone's cake looked flawless, so maybe I was just having an off day or something. Maybe when I have time I'll try making the cake again.

  3. I hate when a recipe goes wrong, I hate wasting ingredients. And I hate it even more when someone uses up my ingredients! My kids do that all the time! I have thought about putting a lock on my pantry door, my kids love to go through it!

  4. What a shame the cake didn't turn out as ou hoped. Looks deliicous though. You'l have to serve it warm with the custrad poured over the top - bet that would be delicious!

  5. My filling just wouldn't set either, I resorted to gelatine eventually!

  6. I am sorry it didn't turn out as well as you had hoped. My cake was dry too after the first day. As for the filling, that is why I did the cupcakes. Good luck and great job for giving it a go.

  7. Oh no! I'm so sorry your cake didn't turn out well. I agree that the crumb was dry. I didn't taste my cake the next day so I couldn't tell you if it got worse. But I served it the same day and it was already pretty dry.

    I hate when cakes make me look bad. LOL! One thing about custard is that you have to keep whisking it over the heat until it turns thick. She didn't do a good job of explaining that in the book. My post has step by step pictures so if you want to you can compare and see if that's what your cream looked like.

    Good luck if you try again! Good for you for posting anyway! We can't always have successes in the kitchen and it's important for our readers to understand that and realize we are really human after all. ;-)

  8. What a great new idea for a Boston Cream Pie (my favorite cake)! I love loaf cakes, I love bcp's, so this for me is the ultimate!

  9. Maranda- Thanks for the tip. I've never made a custard before, so I didn't know about that keep whisking bit. Thanks for the tip :)


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