Baking Our Way Through American History – Boston Cream Pie

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).

Making the Egg Base for the Custard for the Boston Cream Pie

While you’re making that, you warm rest of the ingredients for the custard (milk, sugar, gelatin, salt).

Making the Custard for the Boston Cream Pie

You have to temper the egg mixture before combining and cooking to thicken (so you don’t get scrambled eggs!).

Cooking the custard for the Boston Cream Pie

Then you strain the mixture, add the butter and vanilla – whisk until smooth and cover and chill.

Straining the Custard for the Boston Cream Pie

Chilling the Custard for the Boston Cream Pie





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

Dry Ingredients for the Boston Cream Pie






Then you cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. And add in the eggs.

Butter, sugar, eggs for Boston Cream Pie






Add the dry ingredients and milk (alternating). Beat until smooth!

Batter for the Boston Cream Pie

Then you divide into two greased cake pans and bake!

Baking the Boston Cream Pie

After the cakes cook, you get to add the custard! (The custard was my favorite part – I definitely licked that bowl clean!)

Adding the custard to the Boston Cream Pie

Then it’s time to make the chocolate glaze! It’s basically chocolate, heavy cream, corn syrup and vanilla!

Making the glaze for the Boston Cream Pie

Time to add the glaze to finish off your cake! (We may have gone a bit overboard on the glaze…)

FInished Boston Cream Pie

And here it is! Our first slice!

Slice of Boston Cream Pie

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!

About Lindsey

Hello! I'm a 30 year old, newly married, lady living outside of one of the best cities in the USA! I work in communications, love to read, recently purchased an RV with my husband (yay for road trips!) and am looking forward to starting a family soon-ish. I love to smile and hope to make other people smile too!

2 thoughts on “Baking Our Way Through American History – Boston Cream Pie

    1. Thanks! I love the history of them – but the recipes aren’t stellar! I think I’m going to abridge the recipes a bit and focus more on the fun historical facts! 🙂

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