In the next installment of our journey as we bake our way through American history with the book American Cake by Anne Byrn. We’re still in the 1800-1869 time frame after going through the Cowboy Cake that reflected Western Expansion, we’re now heading back east for the Boston Cream Pie ,
There’s a bit of a disagreement over the origin of the Boston Cream Pie – some believe that it originated with a pastry chef at the Boston Parker House Hotel opening in 1856; however, others argue that it’s just a popular custard cake that mimicked a jelly-filled Washington Pie. (Interesting side note – for a while the words “pie” and “cake” were interchangeable because they were baked in the same size pan.)
However, it started, it seems that the Boston Cream Pie is an example of the growing popularity of custard cakes, pies, etc. And is still the state cake of Massachusetts.
So, we made the Boston Cream Pie and we LOVED the custard and the chocolate. However we found the cake to be a bit dense and dry. More on that at the end…
Here’s how the baking went…
First, we made the egg base for the custard (eggs, cornstarch, milk).
While you’re making that, you warm rest of the ingredients for the custard (milk, sugar, gelatin, salt).
You have to temper the egg mixture before combining and cooking to thicken (so you don’t get scrambled eggs!).
Then you strain the mixture, add the butter and vanilla – whisk until smooth and cover and chill.
The custard has to chill for a LONG time, so make sure you plan for that. Then you make the cake… Starting with the dry ingredients
Then you cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. And add in the eggs.
Add the dry ingredients and milk (alternating). Beat until smooth!
Then you divide into two greased cake pans and bake!
After the cakes cook, you get to add the custard! (The custard was my favorite part – I definitely licked that bowl clean!)
Then it’s time to make the chocolate glaze! It’s basically chocolate, heavy cream, corn syrup and vanilla!
Time to add the glaze to finish off your cake! (We may have gone a bit overboard on the glaze…)
And here it is! Our first slice!
Like I said earlier – we loved the custard, we loved the glaze. Not so much on the cake…
We haven’t had the best luck overall with the cake recipes from this book… and while by no means do we pretend to be master bakers, both my mom and I are pretty experienced with baking. So, anyway, given these challenges, we’re re-thinking how we’re going about this book. Stay tuned for more details!