Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cake Slice Bakers - July 2013: Boston Cream Pie-lets

Today the girls of The Cake Slice Bakers and I come at you with Boston Cream Pie-lets. In a way I’m glad I got another chance to make some Boston Cream Pie because last year’s cake didn’t go so well. This year’s cake did turn out much better, but yet gain I had trouble with the pudding. Gosh-darn pudding always seems to give me trouble!

Despite my pudding handicap, this cake turned out so much better than last year’s pie I think.

This cake uses so butter. In fact, the cake gets it height from whipped cream. And boy did this cake grow! I really didn’t expect the cake to grow so tall. And it’s so light on the tongue. Is that weird to say? Oh well. It really is a fabulous cake.

The pudding I’m assuming would taste oh so amazing if it had actually set up properly. The recipe calls for a vanilla bean, something I have never used ever! So that was actually pretty exciting. And even though my pudding didn’t set up, I still used it. I know I cooked it for long enough, it just didn’t want to set up. I put some of the vanilla sauce (that’s what I’m calling it) on the bottom of the glass and on top of the first layer of cake. The sauce absorbed into the cake and made for a wonderful texture. I don’t know how to describe the texture without it sounding gross. How about it feels like cold ice cream running through a thick slice of warm cake? Am I the only one that loves when that happens? Yes? No? Ok let’s move on.

The ganche that tops this cake has been used several times in our baking adventures for this book and as always I am very pleased with the results. I didn’t have any bar chocolate or normal sized chips on hand so I used 4 oz. of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips along with the cream and it still turned out fabulously!

All together this cake is pretty great. Not in my top favorites for this year, but definitely a contender. I think I would have liked the cake a little more if I poured the vanilla sauce over the top layer of cake too. And even though I am pudding challenged, my absolute favorite part was the vanilla pudding sauce just because of the vanilla beans. I can’t wait to use vanilla beans again!

Boston Cream Pie-lets
Slightly adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson
Makes 6 servings

1 cup (minus 2 tbsp.) unbleached all-purpose flour*
2 tbsp. corn starch*
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup heavy cream, cold
½ cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white (use yolk for pudding)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

*or you can use 1 cup cake flour

½ vanilla bean
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. corn starch
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

½ cup heavy cream
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips

Line an 8x8 inch square cake pan with foil. Do not grease the foil. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

To make the cake: Sift together the flour and corn starch several times. This is to get the consistency of cake flour. Or alternatively you can just use 1 cup of cake flour. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk the cold heavy cream on high speed until soft, droopy peaks form. Turn the speed down to medium-low and gradually pour in the sugar. Whip the mixture until stiff peaks form. Turn the speed down to low and add the egg and egg white followed by the vanilla. With the speed still on low whisk in the flour mixture into the whipped cream in three parts. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients have been incorporated evenly.

Pour the batter into the foil-lined pan. Bake on the center rack for 20-22 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack while you make the pudding.

To make the pudding: Slice the vanilla bean in half, length wise. Scape out the seeds from one half of the pod and place them, along with the pod, in the sauce pan. Add the milk and a few tablespoons of sugar to the sauce pan. Place the pan over medium heat and heat until the milk is hot. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar. Stir in salt and corn starch. Stir 1/3 of the hot milk over the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over medium-low heat until mixture begins to thicken. Strain mixer over a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Whisk in the butter until melted.

To make the ganache: In a small sauce pan, bring cream to a simmer. Place the chopped chocolate or chips into a large, heat proof bowl. Add the hot cream to the bowl. Swirl the bowl to ensure even coverage of cream on the chocolate. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Remove lid and whisk the chocolate from the middle and outwards. Start with small circles in the middle and move outwards until all the chocolate has melted.

To assemble: Cut 2 ½ inch circles in the cake. You will get four circles, so you can use the left over cake for another 2 servings. Cut each circle in half horizontally so you have 8 circles. Place a few tablespoons of pudding on the bottom of a glass, top with one cake circle. Dollop a few more tablespoons of hot  pudding on top of the cake and top the pudding with another cake round. Cover the top cake with the chocolate ganache. Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.


  1. It still looks beautiful! You did a great job Becca! I agree... I love this ganache recipe! Definitely a keeper! Simple and delicious! Who needs more? And yes... the cake! OH MY! This cake was like a cloud! :)

  2. Oh Becca...this is so pretty! My cream didn't thicken either, despite the cornstarch AND I refrigerated it overnight. But I went ahead and assembled it according to the book. I wish I had used your restraint...because it looks so lovely sitting in perfect proportion in your wine glass! I just felt like my dessert was a swimming mess of vanilla 'sauce'! Great job!

  3. Great Job Becca, it looks lovely.

  4. Just mouthwatering...looks delicious!

  5. I'm with glad we had another shot at Boston Cream pie! I've never had the chance to use Vanilla beans though, they always seem to be out of my budget :( I can just imagine what a nice flavor your custard had. I'm still wondering though what could be the cause of your custard not setting up??? Did you forget to add the cornstarch??? Did you simmer long enough? I also learned in this recipe, they had a tip on the "Magic of Cornstarch" that if you simmer too long it will thin out during the cooling process, this I didn't know! Maybe this is what is happening when you make your custards??? I always just cook until the mixture comes to a simmer/boil and take it off the heat no more than 30 seconds later and it always works.
    I'm glad your flavors still turned out nicely for you though, I love Tres Leches cakes, I bet it had the texture of it :)

  6. Me think its the ratio of the amount for the milk that some of our pudding not thickening (including mine - which was smooth and delish despite that).

    Agree with you Becca, love this Boston Cream Pie cake batter than our other Boston cake!

  7. Yum Becca! I never even thought to use a wine glass!

    But The pudding was a tad fiddley wasn't it. I went on the over thickened side to help it set up and cooled it down to help it thicken before I got it into the cake. The first layer I put in sort of absorbed some bit into the cake but the top layer was perfect. I was delighted to use vanilla bean also. I love those little dark flecks in the custard. Hazel x

  8. Your Pie-lets certainly look delicious and would make me want to dig in. I was another who was surprised to read in the side notes about The Magic of Cornstarch (p. 137 in the book), and how overcooking the custard can result in it thinning when it cools. I did not realize that, and always thought that it would only get thicker the longer it cooks. On the other hand I think this recipe definitely lends itself to a custard sauce too, so maybe it was meant to be :).

  9. Looks great...vanilla sauce and all!

  10. Looks yummy and love the wine glasses for pudding cups. Wish I would of thought of that.. :)

  11. This looks fun! I've never had a Boston Cream Pie and didn't even really know what it was until I looked it up just now. I love the glass idea!


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