Saturday, November 23, 2013

Boston Cream Pie, second try.

I made my friend Karen a Boston Cream Pie for her birthday last year and while the flavour was good, the pie, well, it was a bit of a fail.   It totally fell apart when I tried to put it together and rather than having it look great on a cake stand, it was relegated to a shallow bowl as a last minute fix. .

So this year, rather than try one of the 'fancy' websites for a recipe, I went to one of my favourite cookbooks.   The "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery" cookbook collection, from 1966.   Nanny (my sister's MIL) gave my other sister, Tania and I, a set of the cookbooks away back when.   We divided them equally between us and I ended up with I think, almost every other one.   And then a few years ago, I ran across a few of them at a flea market and purchased a couple more.   I am now the proud owner of 7 of the 12 books.   (I just found a complete set on Ebay, and may just gift myself with the whole set).

I have made so many of the recipes from this set of cookbooks, and the majority of them have been good.   So, I decided to look up a recipe for Boston Cream Pie and was totally unsurprised when I found one, and it was in Volume 1, page 47 to be exact.

Boston Cream Pie
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, mix well, then add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk.  Pour into two greased 8 inch layer pans and bake in preheated moderate oven, (375 deg) for 20 minutes.   Turn out on cake racks to cool.

Custard Filling

I admit I cheat here, but honestly, if you can find some Bird's Custard Powder, use it.   I did make it with a pint of half and half, cause I could.   After cooking it, set it aside to cool a little. To prevent a skin from forming, place a sheet of plastic wrap right on top of the custard. 

 Basic recipe 
2 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
Make a smooth paste.
Heat the remainder of the pint of cream or milk up til almost boiling, then add that to the paste, whisk it together and then pour it back into the pot and heat to boiling again, whisking it constantly to keep it from clumping up.  

Ganache Topping.

8 oz. Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate or any good quality chocolate.   (I usually have Baker's chocolate in my cupboard, but when I get a chance to go to the 'big' city and find Guittard, or Scharfenbergers or any other quality chocolate on sale, I grab it.  )  I wrote this before the elves hid my Bakers chocolate so I used a 12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead. 
1 cup heavy cream

Chop up the chocolate a little, set aside.  Heat the heavy cream to almost boiling and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes for the chocolate to get warm and then start mixing them together, by folding over and under with a spatula until it is well mixed.  You don't want to incorporate a lot of air into it. (hey, if there is any left over, you can always whip it up later on and use that to frost a cake or some cupcakes, or just eat it with a spoon).   Let sit at room temp for a couple of hours if you like.  This helps it to 'set up' a little.  However, don't let it set up too much as you want it to be pourable for this cake.

Put a dab of the custard onto a cake plate and place one of the cake layers on top of that.  This helps to 'glue' it to the plate so it doesn't move around.  
Pour or spoon the custard on top, then place the second cake layer on top of that.   And please, if you have a cake leveler or even if not, make sure that bottom cake is totally level.  I shoulda done that, but didn't.
Maybe if I had then it would not have cratered later on.
Pour the ganache over top, smoothing it out until it drips off the side of the cake.
And this is what happens if you don't make the bottom cake level.  Of course this was after we'd eaten half the cake but still.
It was not a pretty sight.  But it sure did taste good.   

Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.


  1. One of my favorite cakes, so wonderful. Looks like it turned out really good!

    1. It did turn out well this time, and best of all it tasted good. Won't the last time I use this recipe.


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