Daughter Number 4 has a birthday that falls on November 23rd. Sometimes it’s on Thanksgiving, and sometimes it falls a day or two on either side. This year, her birthday was the day after Thanksgiving. I have always been a firm believer in letting my girls choose what kind of a birthday cake they get for their birthday. D4 chose a Boston Cream Pie.
I prefer making my own, but have definitely purchased some along the way, depending on the situation. There was the Thomas the Tank Engine cake back in 1993, the Snickers cake in New Mexico in 2009, and of course, any requests for DQ Ice Cream cake has to come from DQ. Natch.
This year, I was in a bit of a quandary when she said she wanted a Boston cream pie. I love Boston cream pie. Great choice for an almost eight-year old. I knew that I was going to spend the majority of Thanksgiving Day cooking and/or cleaning. Did I really want to take on the challenge of making a birthday cake that I have never made before? Especially one that has three very distinct and somewhat complex parts? Or, did I want to venture out on Black Friday…that was it. I was making a Boston cream pie.
I knew that it was going to take some time, because the pastry cream had to chill for at least two hours. Then, there was the making of the sponge cake, with time to cool, and the ganache. I have tried to make ganache one other time with moderate success. I knew that I could not have “moderate” success on this occasion. After all, birthdays are very special… I read 6 different Boston cream pie recipes, and settled on two. The one that I used most pieces of came from the FoodNetwork courtesty Gale Gand. I have given you the link, if you want to see that recipe.
It was unbelievably good. The Boston Cream Pie turned out even better than I could have possibly imagined. The cake was spongy and fresh, the pastry cream filling was so vanilla-y, and the ganache was spot on. The birthday girl thanked me over and over for making it for her. She was not as thrilled with the filling as some she has had, though she didn’t say as much. I could tell. I finally told her if she was too full she could be done. Her sweet smile told me I was right. Then she hugged me and told me again how much she liked it and how glad she was that I made it for her. All of the layers of sweetness and the dark chocolate ganache were almost too much for me to handle.
I did, though. The Guinness helped wash it down. A little Irish with a little Boston; a great combination!
Boston Cream Pie
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pastry Cream Filling:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean (split lengthwise, seeds scraped out)
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream (boiling)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 9 inch cake pan. Lay parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. Butter the parchment and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely. When cool, remove pan and parchment.
- Pastry Cream Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with waxed paper, lightly pressing the paper against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)
- Ganache: In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.
To assemble pie first, cut the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on wire rack and spread with the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Place a baking sheet under the wire rack.Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Gently lift the cake onto a serving plate or platter. Refrigerate cake before serving.
Refrigerate any leftover cake.