Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sunday Baked: Boston Cream Pie Cake

Let's just clear this up right now.... This is no more a pie than I'm a size 2 beauty queen. There is no pie crust or pie dish to speak of. Nope. This is cake through and through. I imagine when the first versions of this dessert appeared in Colonial America, cake pans were not commonplace. So, the Colonial bakers of yore grabbed whatever they had available, which happened to be pie tins.

Comprised of layers of vanilla sponge cake and luscious pastry cream topped with rich, dark chocolate glaze, the Boston Cream Pie gained popularity when The Parker House Hotel, a Boston landmark, first placed it on its menu in 1856. The 'Chocolate Cream Pie', as it was know then, went on to become an American classic and the official dessert of the state of Massachusetts. 

Boston Cream Pie is one of those desserts I specifically remember loving as a child, but I don't recall my Mom ever making it at home or any relatives being known for their stellar version of this Beantown classic. I guess it doesn't matter who introduced us, I am just very glad to have made my acquaintance with this yummy and visually appealing treat.

Matt and Renato's version seemed to have all the components of a delicious version of this American classic, but it did take me two attempts to get the hot milk sponge layers to rise in their pans properly. And, even then, I was only able to get a three layer cake instead of the called for four layers. No matter though, I simply eliminated the chocolate pastry cream layer, which I wasn't all that excited about anyway, and went the purest route... vanilla pastry cream through and through.

Pretty? In theory it should have been. Mine, however, was more of a hot mess. No matter though, I did enjoy the toothsome bite of the hot milk sponge cake. It was reminiscent of a European genoise and a nice change of pace for me from the butter cakes I usually make.  I also thought it was a good match for this cake since it has the ability to absorb the moisture from the rich, smooth pastry cream rather well.

Overall, I think this recipe has potential. Individually all the components were very good, but I would like to play around with them a bit more. I love the idea of finding the perfect Boston Cream Pie recipe because when done right it is beautiful to look at and sensational to taste, but I am not totally convinced that this is the one. I need to experiment some more :)

To read what my fellow bakers thought of this recipe, hop on over to the new Baked Sunday Mornings website, or even better buy a copy of Matt and Renato's book Baked Explorations and join in on the fun! 

Have a Sweet Day!
Jaime @ The Great Cake Company


  1. I think yours turned out really pretty!

  2. Splendid - looking cake! It doesn't look like a mess - but more what it should look like (according to the boys)! I've only made BCP once - and wasn't sure if I made it correctly, so I am by no means an expert. If it tasted good - then you were a success! ;) Interested in seeing your "adjustments" though!

  3. I'm glad you were happy with the end result - and your cake looks great. Neither John nor I remember eating this growing up, so it was nice to try something different .

    I love your slideshow! You are incredibly talented. I always say I'm good at making things that taste good, but not so good making them look pretty - a skill you've mastered!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xoxo

  4. Your milk sponge layers are beautiful! I love how high yours rose. I enjoyed reading the history behind this cake and I really don't understand why it fell out of popularity for some years. I remember when my dad first asked me to bake one I thought it was a pie and was confused when it was really a cake. We joked about that. :)

  5. cake looks nice, light a fluffy! i'd eat it!

  6. Truth to be told I've never had a Boston Cream Pie. Funny enough I've always thought it is a pie when it is actually a cake, and I love sponge cake, it is like a mother of all cakes to me.It goes well with anything.
    Yours looks so fluffy. If I could eat pastry cream for breakfast I would! I love it.
    Happy Holidays!


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