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Boston Creme Pie Please help

My new son-in-law's (2 months ) favorite dessert is Boston Creme Pie, Of course, I want to make it for him when they come to dinner tomorrow night- But-how and with which recipe?? I have looked online and had 2 trial runs at this dessert but each cake was dry and heavy. I used one from CI online not the subscription and the other was on Martha Stewart website. For some reason, I thought the cake was more spongelike and less dense. Does anyone have a recipe or resource they can point me toward? Thanks in advance.

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  1. You might want to check the old Joy of Cooking--right era and region. They specify a Gold Layer Cake with egg yolks. Page 674 is the recipe,

    1. I'd go with the Joy of Cooking suggestion also. My 2006 edition has a recipe on page 732, calling for either for a four egg yellow butter cake, sponge cake (my personal preference) or a buttermilk based layer cake, your choice, and all recipes can be found in that edition. In case you don't have that book, whatever the edition, here's my online go-to favorite for tested, tried and true recipes, Joy Of Baking (not related to Joy of Cooking;) her recipe is adapted from the CI Baking Illustrated book. She uses a sponge cake, which is the "proper" cake for BCP, imo, but not necessarily the one always used:


      14 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Boston Cream Pie originated at the Parker House in Boston. Have had it there numerous times and it is absolutely NOT a sponge cake. Never heard of or had Boston Cream pie with sponge cake, and I have had many of them. Definitely not the "proper cake for BCP. It is a simple yellow layer cake.

        1. re: emilief

          I have no reason to doubt your accuracy -- on the other hand, rejecting sponge cake (if the cook likes sponge cake) because it isn't "authentic" kind like dissing Panda Express Orange Chicken because that isn't how it's cooked in China? Personally, I'd go with what I like if it differs from what it's "supposed" to be.

          On the third hand. it's good to know what the original BCP was/is.

          1. re: Muskrat

            Did not reject sponge cake. Make it chocolate if you like. Just wanted to say that sponge cake is not the "proper" cake, which is not a matter of opinion but a fact.I'm sure it is great with other cakes.

                  1. re: escondido123

                    Got it, thanks. Very interesting, especially love the first paragraph.

                    I have two more comments on this cake subject. The pastry chef who developed the cake for service to the customers at The Parker House was French, and the genoise or sponge cake base may very well have been favored by him; from your link, "Despite all these promising leads, the original recipe for the Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie still eluded me. At this point Ruth Murray, from the Parker House Human Resources department, came to my rescue with Omni Parker House Famous Recipes and A Pocket History of the Omni Parker House. The recipe packet included Boston Cream Pie—not Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie—and claimed it was the original recipe. I believe it. Several things about this recipe stand out. The cake itself is a classic French biscuit au beurre, or butter sponge cake. Egg whites and yolks are beaten separately with sugar, folded together without (no chemical leavening!), and at the end, cool melted butter is gently incorporated."

                    My second comment, the photo in your link looks like a rather coarse textured sponge cake.

                    Now all this discussion has made me want one, so off I go to bake...

          2. re: emilief

            I've had it in Boston as well, as my mom's family is from MA, and although the great Parker House may or may not personally serve a sponge cake now, although I believe they do, other Bostonians choose to. The Parker House invention is a claim made 155 years ago. Descriptions of the cake from that period frequently refer to the original cake as a sponge, which was derived from a English style cream cake, and developed at the Parker by the French pastry chef, M. Sanizan.

            Here's a copy of the original recipe, reprinted by the Boston Globe, from the
            www.foodtimeline.com website:


            Scroll down to the Omni Parker House's Boston Cream Pie recipe/assembly pdf link, fifth paragraph:


            If those are not sponge cake recipes, I don't know what are.

            I did write, if you want to read my post again, "imo," which stands for "in my opinion," and "not necessarily the one (cake style) always used." So it's just a matter of taste, tradition notwithstanding. I prefer the sponge and tend to think it's the more authentic version. It's difficult to know what is fact or not, and I don't claim to know. I stick my my statement that a sponge cake is the proper, original cake.

            Beyond that, let's let the OP decide what she/he likes.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I attempted the Foodtimeline Boston Globe recipe--twice--and I hope to save someone else from the recipe errors regarding the custard. There was no place to leave a review, so I'm doing it here. I didn't make it past the custard part (found another recipe that I ended up making) so I haven't tried the other aspects: they may contain errors also!

              1) The custard recipe calls for "6 eggs", which are then beaten with 1/2 c. sugar until they form "ribbons." Um, no. And I say that with confidence, because I tried for up 30 minutes to "ribbon" the mixture...twice. The recipe should say 6 egg yolks. Not eggs. Six YOLKS. The difference is extremely crucial. It MAY be possible to ribbon whole eggs, I don't know, but the sugar ratio would have to be much different. Also, on the very slim chance that I just didn't whisk long enough to reach the ribbon stage (it's supposed to take 5 minutes), making a custard with whole eggs is very eggy tasting...makes a sweet omelette batter, not a custard. Yuck.

              2) The recipe custard is supposed to chill/set in the fridge, with the rum whisked in after. NO. The rum should be added after the custard is taken off the heat, before it sets. Whisking rum into set custard is going to ruin the texture.

              Hopefully I save someone from these issues. I always read reviews before I make a recipe, but in this case, there just weren't any. I will try the other parts of the recipe sometime, but for now, all I can comment on is the custard.

              1. re: 64airstream

                Thanks for the tips, will avoid that one. My basic recipe is posted below. Sometimes I jazz the custard up by folding whipped cream into it (that is what is called Diplomat Cream).

                I personally wouldn't use six eggs in custard. Too many and will make it taste too eggy, which in my opinion is not what Boston Cream Pie is all about.

                Sorry you had to go through all that waste.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  I recently was told that "eggy" taste is caused by the whites.....if this is so, this is great info to learn.....

                  1. re: sandylc

                    Sandy, my personal opinion after this experience is yes, it's the egg whites! For the successful custard I made with the same amount of eggs, but yolks only, my palate did not pick up an eggy taste.

                  2. re: TrishUntrapped

                    Trish, I will try your recipe next time. Thanks for sharing it! Also, I LOVE the idea to add whipped cream to the custard. I believe that would be a most excellent addition to the custard texture.

                    1. re: 64airstream

                      For the Diplomat Cream, fold the whipped cream into the cold pastry cream. Also, important, covering the pastry cream when it's hot all over with plastic to avoid skin.


          3. I, too, l o v e BCP! and agree that a heavy dry cake isn't right. I use a vanilla genoise baked in pans that are buttered and dusted with flour/sugar mix - . I bake 2 layers tho many recipes have you split one layer into 2.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ElsieB

              +1 for sponge and two full layers.

            2. I'm originally from Massachusetts and all I can say is no one I ever knew made Boston Cream Pie with spongecake. It's just not a frugal Yankee thing. But whatever you like, do it.

              I am including my recipe for Boston Cream Pie. I use only one of the layers which I split in half with a knife or a thread. Think of it this way, you get two Boston Cream Pies with one recipe. Yep, that's the Yankee way. Also, two full layers is too thick for one "pie."

              The cake base is an adaptation of King Arthur's Elegant White Cake. The filling is a pretty standard vanilla cream filling, and the icing is chocolate ganache because I think it tastes the very best. So as you can see, this is not the so-called Parker House recipe. I make this for my husband's birthday every year because it is his favorite cake.

              Boston Cream Pie

              Cake (Very easy recipe)

              1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter — softened
              1 tablespoon baking powder
              1 3/4 cups superfine or granulated sugar
              3/4 teaspoon salt
              2 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
              5 large egg whites, room temperature
              2 3/4 cups cake flour
              1 cup milk

              1. Cream together butter, baking powder, sugar, salt and vanilla until light - 5 min. or more.
              2. Add egg whites one at a time and beat well after each addition.
              3. Stir in flour and milk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour. (i.e. 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour)
              4. Pour into two 9-inch round gresed and floured cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until done. After five minutes, remove cake from pans and cool completely. Use one layer, split in half (use a thread or sharp knife) for each "pie."

              Vanilla Cream Filling:

              2/3 cup sugar
              1/3 cup all-purpose flour
              1/8 teaspoon salt
              2 cups hot, scalded milk
              2 eggs, slightly beaten
              1 tsp vanilla extract or other flavoring

              1. In top of double boiler (or heat resistant glass bowl) over pan of simmering, not boiling water, mix sugar, flour and salt.
              2. Add hot milk.
              3. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring with a whisk, until mixture thickens.
              4. Add approximately 1/4 cup of hot milk mixture to the eggs to temper them, then add egg mixture to the double boiler and cook two more minutes.
              5. Stir in vanilla.
              6. Cover with plastic wrap, with the wrap pressed gently onto the top of the filling to prevent skin, and refrigerate till needed. MAKE SURE FILLING IS COLD BEFORE FILLING CAKE.

              Chocolate Icing (Ganache):

              1 cup heavy cream
              1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
              1 tablespoon unsalted butter

              1. Put chocolate in a medium bowl.
              2. Bring heavy cream to a boil, pour over chocolate.
              3. Stir till soft and shiny, add butter, stir till blended.
              4. Refrigerate till ready to use. Should be slightly thick and not overly runny for the topping. If too cold and solid, can microwave slightly to soften.

              Assembly: On cake dish, put one layer of the split cake, top with a thick layer of filling, top with remaining layer, and spread the top with the ganache. (You likely will NOT use all the filling or all the ganache.) Decorate with a cherry in the center if desired.

              1. Whichever recipe you choose, I would like to nominate you for World's Best Mother-in-Law.

                1. No matter what you make, I will bet your son in law will love it. Just stop worrying and enjoy the visit.

                  1. All this discussion about what kind of cake is interesting, but to me Boston Creme Pie is all about the filling. Because of the chocolate, the filling must hold its own, and I like a very eggy, very rich custard filling. May not be frugal, but there it is. (Anyway, an extra egg yolk never hurts.)

                    1. Wow, thank you so much for the great responses! Last night I made the pastry cream using eggs,cornstarch,AP flour,sugar, cream,milk, and scraped vanilla beans. It sits covered in the fridge and has set up nicely. Now I am going to "attack" the cake. I plan on making the Joy of Cooking recipe for Genoise. I may double the recipe for 2 layers rather than cut one round in half. Not sure, though how that will work with cake vs pastry cream filling ratio. Any thoughts on that?
                      Thanks again for all the posts-I knew I could count on you!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: foodseek

                        Without knowing how your layers will turn out, I can only repeat that a really thick cake is not the norm and has drawbacks.

                        If you look at pictures online you can see that most BCPs have two thin layers of cake, which comes from slicing a layer in half.

                        If you are timid about slicing a cake, and I understand that, I recommend NOT doubling the recipe, and make the recipe for a single layer and pour it into two pans, that way you will get thinner layers.

                        Enjoy and have fun with it!!!

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          I vote for the thinner layers---want to go for 4?--otherwise it will not have the right cream to cake ratio

                          1. re: escondido123

                            I am a bit weary of slicing the cake. Having said that, I agree that the cake/pastry cream ratio would most likely be off using two full layers. So, I think I will keep my fingers crossed and attempt to slice the one round in half. Any tips for slicing cake? Also what is the best knife to use? Many thanks!!

                            1. re: foodseek

                              Glad you asked!

                              Tip one: Use a long serrated knife.
                              Tip two: Freeze the cake first, makes slicing easier.
                              Tip three: In the alternative, with a room temp. cake, you can take a piece of thread placed on fingers from both hands and with a gentle back and forth motion slice the cake.

                              It's important that once the cake is sliced to be gentle with the layers.

                              Here is a cake slicing tip using dental floss and toothpicks:

                                1. re: magiesmom

                                  Yup, dental floss is best method, as long as it's not mint flavored ;). I haven't had much luck with even slicing when using the toothpick method, though.

                                  I just noticed a recipe for a Washington Cream Cake at KAF; some food historians think that this cake or similar style of cream cake was the forerunner or a big influence on the creation of the BCP. Essentially it's the same thing but it's four layers of cake instead of two.

                                  I didn't really like the ingredients in KAF's recipe for the pastry cream though; they used vanilla pudding mix as a base...

                      2. Thank you for all the suggestions and advice! The BCP turned out great although I wish my cake was a bit lighter. I think there is a real trick in folding in the butter so that it does not deflate the batter. I used the floss method for slicing the cake in half and that worked out terrific. Unbelievable! Iced it with the chocalate ganache frosting(cream,Baker's semisweet squares,butter) which I did have to warm up again in microwave since it hardened up. But, all in all a success since my son-in-law had 2 slices of cake. I am thrilled! Thanks again. Will be posting for help next on his request for Lemon Meringue Pie. This young man is going to be making a baker out of me yet.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: foodseek

                          Blend the butter with about a cup or so of the batter first, then fold in by using a wire balloon whip or the wire whip from your stand mixer, and rotating the bowl quarter turns, as you would do when folding with a spatula; no stirring or rough stuff, gentle and brief is the way. The whip method keeps the butter in suspension better and you experience less deflating, as the whip works faster for blending and more thoroughly than a spatula. If your cake was more dense than you wanted it to be, you may have overfolded and burst some bubbles.

                          Pastry chefs I've known used their hands as spatulas; pastry chefs tend to have clean hands (or they wear gloves).

                          I have a great and easy lemon meringue pie recipe, posted it recently. Do a search, I'm sure there are more than a few threads on the subject.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            Found your recipe for lemon meringue pie and am going to do a trial run this weekend.

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              So a boston cream pie is just 2 layers of your favorite yellow cake with pastry cream in between the layers and a dark chocolate genache poured over the top?

                              Also, sounds like you may need to use skewers to prevent sliding.

                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                Pretty much yes. You don't need skewers if you take one layer and split in half across the middle. It become unwieldy if you use two full size layers. And really the filling/cake ratio tastes better using the one split layer.

                            2. I've been getting a real kick out of this post. One of my Mother's best known desserts was a BCP and everyone that tasted it loved it. We've all been trying to replicate it for years. She made it with only 1 layer but the cream filling was the real prize. By the way she used a Dunkin Heins yellow cake mix. Any Mother -In-Law that's willing to try to make their new SIL favorite is to be commended. Another note, my Mom's signature dish was Lemon Meringue Pie, Best of luck with that one, I won't even attempt it! LOL

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: othervoice

                                I stopped making Lemon Meringue Pie after my husband begged and pleaded for one, so I made it... We each ate a piece,it came out really good, but I was dieting so I didn't eat any more. He let it sit in the fridge until it got moldy and had to be thrown out. A few weeks later, we went to a friend's house for dinner, and dessert was.. you guessed it, lemon meringue pie. "Oh good, he said, I love this," and he ate two pieces. She can make it for him the next time.

                              2. From the Boston area here and have had my share of BCP including the Parker House version, and my favorite way is the recipe from Yankee Magazine which calls for sponge cake.


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Infomaniac

                                  Thank you so much for the recipe for BCP using sponge cake. I made it for Easter and must say it turned out terrific. No problem with cake slippage of layers and it looked as good as it tasted. Son in law gave it a thumbs up. Still trying to perfect the lemon meringue-poor husband is weathering the tastings and he does not even like lemons.

                                2. After much trial and error, I have landed upon yellow butter cake, 2 full layers, for BCP.