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Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie is a stunner for holidays, birthdays, special occasions, etc. and is destined to become a requested family favorite.  This decadent dessert will satisfy all your cravings with its tender vanilla sponge cake + luxuriously thick, silky, custard + a decadent chocolate ganache.  This Boston Cream Pie recipe is easy to make with my tips and tricks, step-by-step photos, and video tutorial.  I’ve also included make ahead instructions for a stress-free win!
Prep Time 5 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings



  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of table salt
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into six pieces, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup whole milk (see notes for skim)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar




  • Add the heavy cream, ½ cup milk, sugar and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup milk, egg yolks and cornstarch until smooth. While whisking constantly, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, then slowly whisk in another 1/4 cup then another 1/4 cup, followed by all of the remaining cream in a slow stream (never stop whisking until all the cream is added).
  • Pour the tempered mixture back into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking CONSTANLTY until it has the texture of thick pudding. Continue to cook an additional minute after thick and glossy and the bubbles are popping on the surface.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl then whisk in butter and vanilla until completely smooth. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and place it directly on the surface of the pastry cream (prevents a skin from forming). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, up to 2 days.


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray WITH FLOUR or butter and flour the pans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • Add the milk and butter to microwave safe liquid measuring cup or bowl and microwave until the butter is melted. Stir in the vanilla. Cover with foil to keep warm.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar together on high speed until thick, light and airy, about 4-5 minutes. When done, the mixture should fall back like a ribbon that doesn't dissolve back into the mixture right away.
  • Turn the mixer to low and slowly whisk in the warm milk/butter into the egg mixture just until combined. Remove the cake from the mixer and gently fold in the flour mixture just until combined. Don’t overmix.
  • Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (a kitchen scale is helpful for even cakes).
  • Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the edges are pulling away from the pan, about 23-28 minutes. When you gently press down on the top, it should spring back up. If the indentation remains, cook the cakes a little longer. (Can take more or less time depending on your pans)
  • Let the cakes cool completely in the pans. Once cooled, the cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours until ready to assemble the cake.


  • Place one of the cakes in the center of a cake plate or pedestal, right side up. Spoon the pastry cream onto the cake and spread to within ¼-inch of the edges. Top the cream with the second cake, bottom side up. Press lightly to adhere and to spread the cream to the edges. Refrigerate the cake while you make the chocolate glaze.


  • Add the heavy cream and corn syrup to a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave until just boiling, about 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and add chopped chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk vigorously until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Pour the glaze over the cake and spread into a smooth layer, letting some glaze drip down the edges if you wish. Chill for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator to set the ganache (makes for cleaner cuts) or cover with a cake dome until ready to serve. If the cake has been refrigerated longer than 1 hour, then let it come to room temperature before serving, 30-60 minutes (tastes much better and the glaze will soften).
  • Slice using a hot knife for the cleanest cuts. You can either run the knife under hot water or fill a large glass with hot water, then dip the knife in the hot water before each cut. Wipe the knife clean with a paper towel after each cut, then repeat.



*Whole milk substitute: if you only have nonfat, skim or 2% milk on hand, then just swap some of the milk for heavy cream which you will need anyway for the chocolate glaze.


Cover the cake with a cake container or foil and refrigerate for up to 5 days, although the cake is freshest days 1 and 2.  When ready to serve, slice the cake with a hot knife then let it sit at room temperature in order for the chocolate glaze to soften for 30-60 minutes (it’s 10X better with a softer glaze).   
I do not recommend freezing because the pastry cream contains cornstarch.  This will cause the filling to weep, break down and become watery once thawed. 

Make Ahead 

This Boston Cream Pie can be made ahead in stages and then assembled or the finished cake can be made ahead and stored:
  • Pastry cream:  can be covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before assembling.
  • Hot milk sponge cake: the cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to two months then thawed before assembling.   
  • Finished cake:  can be fully assembled, including the chocolate glaze, and stored in the refrigerator for 1 day.  Make sure the cake is covered completely so the cake does not dry out.  Use a cake container (I like this one) or loosely tented with foil as to not damage the glaze.  Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.