Completely from-scratch with homemade pastry cream, buttery sponge cake, and shiny chocolate glaze, this classic Boston cream pie recipe is supremely decadent and satisfying.
- 2 cups (480ml) half-and-half
- 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 4 ounces (113g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Read the recipe and watch the helpful video above before beginning as there are many little steps that are time sensitive or require cooling.
- Make the pastry cream: Heat half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt together in a bowl until smooth. Add flour and whisk until combined. Mixture will be thick. Whisk about 1/2 cup half-and-half into yolk mixture to temper, then slowly whisk tempered yolk mixture into half-and-half in the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes as the mixture thickens. (America’s Test Kitchen instructs for 7-8 minutes, but mine began thickening quickly.)
- Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on the surface, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until combined. Pastry cream will be thick. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Grease two round 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. You must use parchment! See recipe note.
- Make the cake: Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. In the microwave or on the stove, heat milk and butter together until butter has melted. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover loosely to keep warm. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs and granulated sugar together on high speed until light and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until combined, then whisk in the dry ingredients. Batter will bubbly on top and somewhat thick, similar to pancake batter.
- Divide batter evenly between 2 pans. Bake until the tops of cakes are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.
- Remove cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan. As the cakes cool, check the pastry cream in the refrigerator. If it’s too thick, it won’t easily spread and could tear the cake. I remove pastry cream from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before assembling the cake.
- Assemble the cake: Once cakes are cool, run a thin knife around the edges to release them from the pans. Place bottom cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Spread pastry cream evenly on top. Place second cake layer on top and gently press down to adhere to the pastry cream. Refrigerate cake while preparing the chocolate glaze.
- Make the glaze: Heat heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. As it heats up, place chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl with a pouring spout (I use this 2-cup liquid measuring cup). Once simmering, remove cream from heat and pour over chocolate. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Gently whisk until smooth.
- Pour glaze into the center of cake. Spread glaze to the edges of cake allowing it to gently drip down the sides. Refrigerate cake, uncovered, for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours) before slicing and serving. If chilling for longer than 2 hours, allow cake to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare pastry cream up to 24 hours in advance. See step 3. Baked and cooled cakes can also be prepared 24 hours in advance. Cover and store at room temperature, then continue with step 8. In order to maintain the proper consistency of the chocolate glaze, I recommend preparing right before pouring over cake. However, the entire assembled cake with chocolate glaze on top can be stored for up to 24 hours. See step 10. Pastry cream can weep and break if frozen, so I do not suggest freezing this cake. You can, however, freeze the baked and cooled cake layers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before using.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | White Mixing Bowls | Colorful Mixing Bowls | Glass Measuring Cup | Whisk | Sieve | 9-inch Round Cake Pans | Icing Spatula | Marble Cake Stand | The Perfect Cake Cookbook
- Substitutions: Each ingredient is crucial to the finished cake. I do not recommend substitutions, though you can get away with using the same amount of whole milk instead of half-and-half in the pastry cream. This may be more convenient since whole milk is used for the sponge cake.
- Egg Whites: Lots of leftover egg whites! Make a scramble or use some in any of these recipes.
- Corn Syrup: Feel free to leave out the corn syrup, though it’s what adds shine and sticking power to the glaze. You can try substituting with honey.
- Chocolate: Any dark, bittersweet, or semi-sweet chocolate is a wonderful choice for the chocolate glaze. The corn syrup adds sweetness, so avoid anything very sweet.
- Parchment Paper: Parchment paper is a MUST for lining the cake pans. I failed this recipe 2x before discovering how crucial the parchment paper is. All cakes were ruined until I lined the cake pans with parchment paper on the 3rd try. Parchment paper guarantees the cakes will easily release from the pans. I simply traced and cut two 9-inch circles of parchment paper to line the bottom of the cake pans. Spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter before and after lining with parchment paper rounds.
- Recipe reprinted in partnership with America’s Test Kitchen from The Perfect Cake