HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 17, 2011 01:08 PM

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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.