Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Many of you know that I am a transplanted Bostonian having been born there and having spent the greater part of my life there until my husband’s job brought us to the Chicago area.  Now, our two daughters are headed back to Boston to attend medical school.  Roger and I have officially become empty nesters!

Since Sara and Amy will be going back to the briar patch (they were born in Boston but attended the primary grades in Chicago), I thought I would make a batch of Boston Cream Pie cupcakes in their honor.  If you are familiar with regular Boston Cream Pie, you know that it is actually a cake rather than a pie.  It is the official cake of Massachusetts, having been created in 1856 by a chef at the Parker House Hotel.  Boston Cream Pie is comprised of two layers of vanilla sponge cake which have a layer of vanilla pastry cream between them and then are topped with a chocolate ganache.  Can you say “yum?”  I must confess that I have no idea how it came to be called Boston Cream Pie rather than Boston Cream Cake.

I thought it would be fun to make a mini version of Boston Cream Pie in the form of cupcakes.  I found a recipe on one of my favorite sites, but I must confess that I was not happy with the cake portion of the recipe, so I have substituted a tried and true vanilla cupcake recipe for that part.  The pastry cream is just luscious and really not that hard to make.  If you want to avoid that step, you could always substitute with an instant vanilla pudding (but I wouldn’t!).  The chocolate ganache is also fabulous, and the combination of the three components makes for one mighty tasty cupcake.

I wonder how long it will take for Sara and Amy to start dropping their “r’s” and adding them where they don’t belong.  🙂

One year ago:  Green Bean Salad

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

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Yield:  24 cupcakes

Ingredients for the Pastry Cream

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Cupcakes

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbl. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 16 tbl. unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tbl. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the ganache

  • 9 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tbl. light corn syrup

Directions for Pastry Cream

Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually add the milk in a steady stream and cook until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.  Whisking constantly, slowly add about a third of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks to temper them (otherwise, they could curdle).  Return the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture.  Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a full boil and is thick enough to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon, 2-4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Directions for Cupcakes

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 24 muffin cups or use a baking spray which contains flour to coat cups.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Add butter, sour cream, eggs and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.

Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tins.  Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes from tins using a small offset spatula or knife around the edges of each cake to loosen  and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature.

Directions for Chocolate Ganache

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.  Combine the cream and corn syrup and bring to a simmer in a saucepan (or with short intervals in the microwave).  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes until the chocolate begins to melt.  Gently whisk the mixture until the chocolate is totally melted and a smooth ganache forms.


To assemble the cupcakes, split each cake horizontally with a serrated knife.  Spread about 1 tablespoon of the pastry cream on the bottom half of each cupcake.  Replace the top halves.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the chocolate glaze over each cupcake.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.  (These can be made and assembled up to 1 day in advance.)

Source:  Pastry cream and chocolate ganache from Annie’s Eats, cupcake from Brown Eyed Baker

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