Chocolate Boston Cream Pie

Last week Katrina made an All-Chocolate Boston Cream Pie using a recipe from Hershey’s. Well, monkey see, monkey do, I made one too — only the Boston Cream Pie I wanted to emulate was the one Luby’s Cafeteria used to serve. It was a chocolate cake with a vanilla filling and icing all over. In the end, mine really wasn’t like Luby’s at all, but it tasted great.

Chocolate Boston Cream Pie

Instead of regular chocolate cake, I used a chocolate chiffon which resulted in a much lighter base. The filling was pretty basic – it’s based on Murray Jaffe’s recipe and it’s perfect because it has a reasonable number of egg yolks (2 as opposed to 4-7), is easy to make, and yields just enough to fill a split 9 inch cake. As for the glaze, I used a ganache from an old Cuisine at Home recipe….one which I noted was “perfect” the last time I tried it.

Overall, I was happy with this chocolate version of an old favorite, but I’m still going to try Hershey’s and maybe re-try the old Parker House recipe which I tried years ago but have forgotten what I thought of it.

Chocolate Boston Cream Pie

Chocolate Cake:
1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder plus extra for dusting pan
6 tablespoons boiling water
3 extra large eggs, separated**
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch salt
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter, cut up

Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of light corn syrup or honey

Microwave the water in a glass measuring cup until it boils, then add the cocoa and let sit for about half an hour or until it cools.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Rub a 9×2 inch cake pan (make sure the pan is at least 1 ½ inches high) generously with butter or shortening and dust with cocoa powder or just spray with flour added cooking spray. Place a 9 inch round of parchment on the bottom.

In bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; Scrape whites out of bowl and set in a second bowl to wait.

Wipe stand mixer bowl clean and add flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients well, then stir in the oil so that it coats the flour. Stir in the egg yolks, vanilla and cocoa mixture. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl once or twice, for about a minute or until mixture is well blended. Carefully fold in the whipped egg whites.
Pour into pan. Set the cake pan on a cookie sheet and bake on lowest rack at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. It will rise above the edges of the pan and dome slightly. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert twice and let cool on a rack.

Filling – start this while the cake is cooking.

Put the milk and cream in a medium saucepan. Don’t turn on the heat yet.

In a bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk that into the milk, whisking until any lumps are gone. Whisk in the beaten egg yolks.
Turn the heat to medium. When the mixture gets hot, begin whisking constantly. Continue whisking over medium heat until mixture thickens – if you’re using a metal pan, this will probably take less than 5 minutes. When it starts to boil, reduce heat to a very gentle boil and continue whisking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Pour into a separate bowl. Dot the hot pudding with butter and lay a piece of parchment over the pudding so that a skin will not form. Let cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until you are ready to fill the cake.

Assemble Cake. Split cake and spoon filling into center. It starts out kind of thick and gloppy, but you will be able to distribute it evenly and it will settle and make a nice filling to this cake! So don’t worry too much over the gloppy appearance. It shouldn’t be lumpy, though.
If the cake is still warm, let it cool completely or put it in the refrigerator. Make the glaze.

For the glaze, place finely chopped chocolate in a small bowl or large (2 cup) glass measuring cup. Boil cream and corn syrup (or honey), pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour glaze on top of cake, smoothing it with a spatula.

** I used extra large eggs. If you only have large, you’ll need to half an egg. It’s not a big deal. Must crack the egg into a bowl, scoop out the yolk, put some of it with the other yolks and discard the rest. For the white, mix it with a fork and pour about half of it into the other whites. Just eyeball it. Doesn’t have to be precise.

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  1. says

    This looks like a Boston Cream Pie that I would like. For some reason I’m not such a fan of the traditional kind.
    You could call it “Perfect” Chocolate Boston Cream Pie. :-)

  2. Kristin says

    Hi Anna,

    This cake looks absolutley delicious! I can’t wait to make it myself but I was wondering something – your glaze is so nice and thick, how long did you wait to pour it on the cake? I would think it would be very liquid-y right away and would just drip down the cake instead of looking like it’s a frosting. Any tips would be much appreciated!


  3. says

    Hey, looks a bit like mine! Good stuff.
    Thanks for the shout out!

    Kristin, I do want to here Anna’s two cents worth, but with ganache, I have always made it and let it sit for an hour or so to thicken up, it is then perfect spreading consistency. So you could pour it over the can and let it drip down and that looks great, too. Let ganache sit half a day or whatever (out of the fridge) and it’s perfect for rolling in to truffles!

  4. says

    Anna, I made ganache a lot, it’s our go-to frosting (not to sweet and buttery, which is what Kevin doesn’t like), I’m going to try adding a little corn syrup next time to see what it’s like!

  5. says

    Kristin, I poured it on immediately after I made it. The way I did it, and this might be a little unorthodox but it works for me, is to pour the 1/3 cup cream into a big measuring cup (2 cup), add the honey, then microwave the cream/honey mixture for about 1 minute or just until it starts to boil. Depending on your microwave, it will probably take less than a minute to boil. Have your chopped chocolate ready, then quickly stir it into the scalding hot cream. Stir until it melts, then quickly pour the ganache on top before it starts to set. You can vary the consistency by using more/less cream and chocolate.

  6. Kristin says

    Thanks Anna, if it works for you, then I will definitely give it a try.

    Thanks for all the tips everybody!


  7. jacqie says

    i would have never thought of doing boston cream pie like this. by the picture alone, i can already tell you that this is my new favorite dessert!

  8. says

    i am totally with you on the egg yolks issue for the custard. i usually get stuck with a couple of egg whites that i wouldnt know what to do with .

  9. angie says

    Thank you so much for posting this pic! People were begining to think I was a loon! Lubys HAD this dessert with pecans on top…I KNEW IT

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