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Boston Cream Pie

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  • Prep 35 min
  • Total 2 hr 35 min
  • Servings 8
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Boston Cream Pie is a heavenly combination of light, buttery layer cake, creamy vanilla custard and rich chocolate icing. That's right—technically, it's a cake! The original Boston Cream Pie title is a holdover from a time when cakes and pies were typically baked in the same type of pan. Master this Boston Cream Pie recipe, and you'll always have a showstopping dessert for birthdays and other special celebrations. Passionate bakers will no doubt enjoy the challenge of making each component of this homemade Boston Cream Pie recipe from scratch, from the cake to the custard and the icing. And because it's kitchen-tested, it really is possible to whip up the very best Boston Cream Pie on the first try.
Updated Dec 31, 2021
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Cream Filling

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg

Chocolate Icing

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1
    Place an egg separator over a small bowl. Crack open 1 egg over the egg separator to seperate the yolk from the white; then separate the other egg. (Save the whites for another recipe.) In a small bowl, place the yolks. Beat the egg yolks with a fork or wire whisk until mixed. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk; set aside.
  • 2
    In a 2-quart saucepan, stir 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon salt until mixed. Gradually stir egg mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Press plastic wrap on surface of filling to prevent a tough layer from forming on top. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until set but no longer than 24 hours. While filling is chilling, continue with recipe.
  • 3
    Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray just the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour.
  • 4
    In a large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, stopping frequently to scrape batter from side and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape bowl. Pour batter into the pan; use a rubber spatula to scrape batter from bowl, spread batter evenly in pan and smooth top of batter.
  • 5
    Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a cooling rack 20 minutes, then remove onto cooling rack to finish cooling completely, about 1 hour.
  • 6
    In a 1-quart saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter and the chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in 1-cup glass measuring cup, microwave the water uncovered on High 15 to 30 seconds or until hot. Remove chocolate mixture from heat. Stir in the powdered sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 3 tablespoons hot water. Stir in additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing is smooth and thin enough to spread.
  • 7
    To split cake horizontally in half, mark middle points around side of cake with toothpicks. Using toothpicks as a guide, cut through the cake with a long, sharp knife, using a back-and-forth motion. On a serving plate, place bottom layer with the cut side up. Spread filling over bottom layer. Top with top of cake, cut side down.
  • 8
    Spread glaze over top of cake, using a metal spatula or back of a spoon, letting some glaze drizzle down side of cake. Refrigerate uncovered until serving. Store any remaining cake covered in the refrigerator.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    As the story goes, the original Boston Cream Pie recipe was created in the 19th century by a pastry chef at the Parker House Hotel in Boston, where it was listed on the menu as “Boston Cream Pie.” Like many a storied recipe, it’s hard to know for sure—but the name has certainly stuck, and Massachusetts laid further claim by naming this cake the official state dessert in 1996.
  • tip 2
    Boston cream “pie” is actually a sponge cake—thus named because it turns out as light and fluffy as a sponge. The cake includes two layers filled with a creamy vanilla-flavored custard and topped with a rich chocolate icing.
  • tip 3
    When making the custard, take care to follow the directions closely. You want to end up with a pudding-like texture, so as the recipe says, boil it for only one minute. A related tip: you can make your custard up to 24 hours ahead to save time the day of.
  • tip 4
    When making the chocolate glaze for your Boston Cream Pie cake, remember to add the hot water only after you’ve removed the chocolate mixture from the stove and have stirred in the powdered sugar and vanilla. This will prevent the chocolate from seizing—which is when the chocolate becomes clumpy and loses its velveteen texture.


510 Calories, 21g Total Fat, 7g Protein, 72g Total Carbohydrate, 52g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1 Starch; 0 Fruit; 4 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 High-Fat Meat; 3 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Don’t be fooled by the name, this “pie” is actually a wonderfully decadent cake. This scratch recipe is the perfect one for Boston Cream Pie lovers and baking purists alike — though if you’re in a rush, readers comment they have made this successfully with a Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ yellow cake mix. This scratch Boston Cream Pie consists of two layers of sponge cake held together with a custard filling and topped with a rich chocolate glaze. While certainly a labor of love, this recipe is worth the effort and makes a birthday, anniversary or any other celebration extra special! If you’re ready to explore other types of cream pies, we’ve got plenty more recipes where this came from.
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