July 24, 2013

The Cake Slice Bakers July 2013 - Boston Cream Pie-lets

It is so hard to believe that we only have a short time left baking from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson. Each month has produced some beautiful creations and it is really hard to pick a favorite from the cakes that The Cake Slice Baker's have baked. I am sure that it is a cookbook that I will return to again and again.

This month's choice is the Boston Cream Pie-lets - such a cute name.  I would call this recipe a deconstructed Boston Cream Pie because it is actually made in individual pudding cups, which is a wonderful idea because you can add more of the good stuff- that delicious vanilla pudding.

Of course the name Boston Cream Pie is a misnomer because it isn't a pie at all, it is a cake.  So how did it get the name?  The Boston Cream Pie was the the invention of the chef at the Parker House Hotel in Boston in 1856, and back then it was known as the Parker House Chocolate Pie. Even when it was created it was still really a cake, but was probably baked in a pie tin, which were more common than cake tins, and was therefore known as a pie. I guess the name just stuck. Did you know that it is also the official dessert of Massachusetts?

I was really looking forward to trying this recipe because I have never made a cake that starts with whipped cream and I was really curious as to how it would turn out. I prepped everything I needed and got ready to bake the cake. After I added the cream to the mixer I turned it on to high speed and started whipping it. I swear I only turned my back for a minute to grab the measured sugar so I could pour it in and I turned back to a bowl cream that was beyond "soft, droopy peaks". My heart sank as that was the last of my cream, and I didn't really want to face Costco on the weekend. I tried to convince myself that it may still be ok, so I added the sugar and kept my fingers crossed.  In hindsight I should have crossed my toes too because what I ended up with was a bowl of separated cream and sugar. Oh, and I had just used the last of my sugar too. Here I come Costco! Moral of the story - do not turn your back on your cream. It is better to err on the more droopy side than the stiff peaks side.

Once I returned from Costco with my cream and sugar (and a few other items - darn you Costco, why can't I just buy what I went in for?) I was ready to start again. This time I watched the mixer like a hawk and stopped at "soft, droopy peaks" and I am happy to report that the rest of the mixing was uneventful and the cake came out perfectly.  I loved both the taste and texture of this cake and it is going to be my go-to recipe whenever I need to make a layered dessert.  The recipe suggests keeping the leftover cake to snack on later but I am suggesting that you just snack on it straight from the pan while it is warm, but I do caution you that once you start snacking you will not be able to stop.

After looking through my cupboards for suitable pudding cups I decided to try a variety of containers to see what worked best.  I tried a ramekin, a lowball glass, a teacup, a wine glass, a tumbler, and finally some Chinet plastic cups. The ramekin and the plastic cups were the easiest to work with because they had even sides.  Although it is nice to see the layers of the pie-lets, I thought it was kind of fun to have them hidden under layer of chocolate so everyone got a surprise when they dug their spoons in, so I would probably just go with all ramekins next time.

The Boston Cream Pie-lets were another winner. I sent the six I had made in plastic cups to some of my daughters college friends and they declared them delicious and they were gone in no time. They reminded me a little bit of a tiramisu without the coffee flavor, and they were definitely sweet so a little went a long way.  I think they would make a great dessert if you had to bring something to an office potluck, or a picnic, or even a bake sale because you could make them in small plastic cups which would be so easy to eat.

Please join me in visiting my fellow Cake Slice Bakers to see their wonderful creations.

Boston Cream Pie-lets
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Ingredients ~ Cake
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, cold
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Ingredients ~Pudding
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ corn starch
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Ingredients ~ Ganache
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet, chopped or chips

Preparation ~ Cake
  1. Center an oven rack and preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Grease a 13x9-inch cake pan and set aside eight 6-ounce pudding cups.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to make sure they are well combined.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on high speed until soft, droopy peaks form. 
  5. On medium-low speed, add the sugar in a steady stream  and then return the mixer to high and continue to whip the cream until stiff peaks begin to form. 
  6. Return the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  7. With the speed still on low stir in the flour mixture in three parts, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition to ensure all the ingredients have been incorporated fully. 
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack until the cake springs back in the middle when lightly touched, about 30 minutes.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack until it is room temperature. While the cake is cooling make the vanilla pudding.
  10. To assemble the cake, use a 2¾-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut 8 circles in the cake directly from the pan. Carefully remove them from the pan and, using a serrated knife, cut each one in half horizontally to create two layers per cake (keep the leftover cake to snack on). Spoon 3 tablespoons of the warm pudding into the bottom of each pudding dish. Set the bottom half of the cake on top of the pudding, then spoon another 3 tablespoons of hot pudding and cover it with the top half of the cake. Cover the pie-lets  with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set up.  Once they are firm, spoon 2 tablespoons of warm chocolate ganache over each one and allow the dessert to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.  Well wrapped and refrigerated they will keep for up to 5 days.

Preparation ~ Pudding
  1. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise using a paring knife, scrape out the seeds from the pod and put them, along with the pod, into a large saucepan. Then add the milk and ⅓ cup of sugar. 
  2. Place the pan over medium heat and heat until the milk is hot but not boiling. 
  3. While the milk is heating, thoroughly whisk together the yolks, the remaining ⅔ cup of sugar,  and salt, and then blend in the cornstarch. 
  4. Slowly whisk in a third of the hot milk into the yolk mixture to temper it and prevent scrambling.
  5. Pour the mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk and gently cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously, until the pudding just begins to thicken and has been bubbling for about 1 minute. 
  6. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the butter until melted. 

Preparation ~ Ganache
  1. Once the pie-lets have chilled for approximately 3.5 hours, prepare the ganache.
  2. Place the chocolate into a medium heat-proof bowl. 
  3. Heat cream in a medium saucepan set over medium low heat. Stir occasionally until the cream starts to simmer. 
  4. Remove the cream from heat and pour over chocolate. Swirl the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is coated. 
  5. Cover the bowl with a lid and let the cream and chocolate sit together for 5 minutes. 
  6. Remove the lid and stir the cream and chocolate together. First start with small circles in the center and gradually increase until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. 
  7. Set aside for 30 minutes so that it becomes creamy (makes about 1½ cups).

Recipe from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson


  1. Looks delicious, love your cream pie, I'll try it

  2. I am so excited this recipe worked for you too! I agree... they were delicious! I love your beautiful presentation! Way to Go Felice!!! You Rock!

  3. Yup... it was this good! Love the hidden treasure in the teacup thought!

    I wonder if adding the sugar to the whipped cream with the eggs would have saved that first time?

  4. Hi Emily, I actually did continue on and add the sugar hoping to salvage the cream, but I ended up with a mix that looked something like partially churned butter and sugar, so I had to start all over again. But it was totally worth it :)

    1. Its a soup bowl not a teacup.... after a second look!

    2. Hi Emily, it actually is the size of a teacup but I guess you could do a small soup in it - maybe a chilled one.

    3. but I will say it was PERFECT for your dessert!!

  5. I love the teacup idea... You don't know what you are digging into but know it'll be so worth it with all that fabulous ganache! Yummy! Hazel x

  6. I hate when you don't have enough of an ingredient you thought you would have enough for. I once went to the grocery store twice in 30 minutes because of forgotten or low ingredients. Luckily I live a 2 minute drive away from the store.

    Your cakes look great. I love that double handled tea cup :)

  7. So clever to try out teacups, tumblers and wine glasses, Felice. Very astute to compare this Boston Cream Pie recipe to Tiramisu sans coffee =)

    P.s. Bet your daughter and her friends were happy with your tasty present.

  8. Love the ganache filled to the rim!

  9. Yes, definitely a winner! Love the tea cups by the way.......elegant, sophisticated touch to this fabulous dessert!
    Making a second trip to the store does absolutely suck when your in the middle of a recipe! This too happened to me! I missed reading the part in the recipe that says to set aside part of the sugar for the whip cream, and when I came to that part I was mad at myself for missing that! Thank goodness one block away from a corner store, it just took me literally five minutes to go grab some.
    Love that you loved this recipe, it was really hard to stop snacking on this cake while it was warm.

  10. Love it! It was soooooo good! Julie Losinska from the cake slice fb page. Thank you for steering your way so I can play catch up on the cakes from vintage cakes :)

  11. Oh wow...what a beautiful job you did on these pie-lets! Sorry it cost you an extra trip to Costco! But it was well worth it! And I love the pretty cups you served it in! : )

  12. Question: the ganache recipe says to let it sit for up to two hours to get creamy. But the recipe for assembly says to spoon warm ganache over the tartlets. The ganache won’t be warm in two hours. Should I do it while it is still warm or wait until it is creamy? Or does it not matter?

    1. Hi Katie, I've sent you a message with some more details, but I would not start making the ganache until the tartlets have been in the fridge for about 3 1/2 hours. That way it will still be warm and pourable when they come out of the fridge. I will amend the recipe instructions above to reflect this.


Thanks for visiting my blog. I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.