Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

Dorcas Annette Walker

The few recipes that I have in my mother’s hand writing are very special to me. As stated before since my mother seldom baked any unique dessert that she made became a red letter day for us. Our house simply buzzed with excitement the day my mother announced that she was going to try and make a Boston Cream Pie. This elaborate dessert turned our evening meal an instant celebration. I remember my father shaking his head and muttering that he didn’t see what all the fuss was about over a cake with pudding in the middle as my mother, beaming with pride, served each of us a piece of her Boston Cream Pie. Since Boston was the site where the first shot was fired heralding the beginning of our independence from Britain, I thought that my mother’s Boston Cream Pie recipe would make an excellent dessert for this 4th of July celebration.

The Boston Cream Pie is actually a round cake filled with custard cream pudding and frosted with chocolate. The Boston Cream Pie was invented by a French pastry chef at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1855 when he decided to top off an English cream cake with chocolate and put almonds around the outside. One early version of the Boston Cream Pie simply sprinkled powdered sugar on top while another included a raspberry jelly filling. Some Boston Cream Pies were made with white cakes while others used a sponge cake. The cake/pie had it’s origin in colonial days and was sometimes called a Pudding-Cake pie as in the mid-nineteenth century pie tins were more common than cake pans. The first Boston Cream Pies could easily have been baked in pie tins. In 1996 the Boston Cream Pie was officially proclaimed the certified Massachusetts State Dessert.

The Boston Cream Pie is a rich filling dessert ideal for family reunions or gatherings throughout the year. While this Boston Cream Pie recipe has had several steps shortened compared to original recipes, preparation time is still around an hour not counting cooling time. My Boston Cream Pie serves eighteen.

Boston Cream Pie

Prepare one yellow cake mix as directed baking in two layers. Cut the top of each layer flat and cool for around an hour.

In a small saucepan mix together with a Wisk:
4 eggs
½ c sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tb cornstarch dissolved in 1 c evaporated milk
Cook using medium heat while stirring constantly until thickened. Take off heat and add:
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Continue to beat with a Wisk until the pudding cools slightly. Pour the pudding over the top of one layer and spread around evenly. Place the second layer on top of the pudding.

Then in a small bowl mix together:
2 c powdered sugar
4 tb cocoa
2 tb shortening
¼ c hot water
Beat until smooth with a Wisk and pour over the top of the cake letting the chocolate run down the sides. Store the Boston Cream Pie in an airtight container. You may garnish the cake with sliced almonds!

Weekly tip: For a smooth sharp cut on a baked cake use a long bread knife that has been heated by running under hot water and dried with a paper towel. For gooey or sticky cakes use un-waxed dental floss!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:


Jeanne said...

thanks for this recipe. It's my husband's favorite and I'm going to make it.

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

You're welcome!
You can also use a pound cake mix for a different texture if you prefer.

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

For another tweak you can also add 1/4 c of peanut butter to the melted chocolate to drizzle over the cake. Yummy!