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. 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.

Chocolate Boston Cream Pie

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.

UPDATE: This is a time consuming recipe, but it’s not exactly difficult. I have revised it slightly over the years. For the cake, I use the chiffon recipe below, but you can use any good 1 layer chocolate cake recipe. A trick I use for splitting cakes is to put a long metal skewer through the cake, then guide a knife through the cake sideways, using the skewer as a level base.

chocolate boston cream pie

The filling can also be changed, but I like this one since it’s made in one saucepan and makes just enough for the cake.

chocolate boston cream pie

And I really love the chocolate ganache even though traditional Boston Cream Pie is topped with chocolate icing.

Chocolate Boston Cream Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I make this recipe with a handheld electric mixer and a few bowls. It has a few different parts to it, but it's actually pretty easy. The cake is a light textured chocolate sponge and the pastry cream is a fairly simple one that can be made all in one metal saucepan. I make the whole cake with a scraper and a handheld electric mixer. There's really no need for a stand mixer here.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Chocolate Sponge Cake:
  • 6 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (100 grams)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (170 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 extra large eggs, separated
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Vanilla Filling:
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 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
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x2 inch cake pan and put a round of parchment on the bottom to prevent sticking.
  2. Combine boiling water and cocoa powder in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together the cake flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the oil and stir with a heavy duty scraper so that it coats the flour, then add the egg yolks, vanilla and cooled cocoa mixture. Stir with the scraper until well mixed, but don't use the electric mixer yet, the point being to keep your beaters clean for the egg whites.
  5. In another bowl, using your electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Set the whites aside, then go ahead and beat the flour/cocoa mixture on medium speed for about a minute or just until well blended. With a heavy duty scraper, fold in the whites 1/3 at a time.
  6. Pour into pan. Set the cake pan on a cookie sheet and bake on lowest rack at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert twice and let cool on a rack.
  7. Filling: Off heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a 3 quart metal saucepan. Using a heavy duty heat proof scraper and a whisk, whisk in the egg yolks, scraping any of the mixture out of the corners of the pan with the scraper. Gradually whisk in milk, scraping as you go, then gradually whisk in the cream.
  8. Set mixture over medium heat and begin whisking (and scraping if you need to) until mixture boils and thickens. if you’re using a metal pan, this will probably take less than 5 minutes. When it starts to boil, continue whisking for for 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour into a separate bowl. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. 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.
  9. Assemble Cake. Split cake and spoon filling into center spreading it evenly.
  10. 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.



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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. says

    Looks great. I love Boston Cream Pie. I need to try the chocolate version.

  10. 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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