Boston Cream Pie

This Boston Cream Pie is a classic cake – not a pie at all! It’s a lovely vanilla cake layered with fresh pastry cream and chocolate ganache – all from scratch!

This post is sponsored by Challenge Dairy, but all opinions are my own.

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie recipe

Boston Cream Pie has been around a long time. It originates in – you guessed it – Boston! And as the theory goes, it’s called a pie because at the time pie plates were more commonly used for cakes so it was actually baked in a pie plate and then layered like a cake. A pie that’s a cake!

And you might know that I’m a pretty big fan of the vanilla cake, pastry cream and chocolate ganache combination. I have several Boston Cream Pie inspired desserts, but so far didn’t have the actual classic cake! So today I am fixing that with my own rendition of the classic.

How do you make a Boston Cream Pie?

To get started with this cake, you’ll want to make the pastry cream. It’s a combination of egg yolks, sugar and milk that are thickened with cornstarch and cooked over the stove. At the end, you add a bit of butter and vanilla extract for flavor. It’s really not hard to make, but you do want to be sure it’s nice and thick.

Best Boston Cream Pie recipewhole Boston Cream Pie on wooden stand

Fun fact – the first time I ever made pastry cream was years ago (back before I started the blog) when a friend requested a Boston Cream Pie and I decided to attempt it. Let’s just say there was more filling that ended up on the cake plate than between the cake layers – ha! I still don’t really know what I did wrong, but you’d think I left out the cornstarch completely since it was so thin. I was afraid to make it again at the time, but now I’m a huge fan and love the stuff! So if you find it scary at first, just know you can totally master it!

Once the pastry cream is made, refrigerate it until cooled and thick. It can be made a couple days ahead, if needed.

Up next are the cake layers. Traditionally a sponge cake is used, but I opted for a more classic butter-based vanilla cake. It’s wonderfully moist and goes great with the pastry cream. And, of course I used my favorite Challenge Butter. Their butter is made the old-fashioned way, from fresh milk and cream at family-owned dairies. It goes from farm to fridge in just two days and contains no added hormones, artificial flavors or fillers – which I love! It’s such a creamy butter with great flavor that goes perfectly in this cake.

Boston Cream Pie slice with Challenge butter overhead viewBoston Cream Pie close up

Once the cakes and pastry cream are made, they are layered together and covered with a simple chocolate ganache. Just a combination of semi-sweet chocolate, cream and a little corn syrup. The corn syrup could potentially be left out or replaced with honey, but I do like to use it. It helps give the ganache a nice shine and give this cake it’s snazzy look.

The final cake is a delightful combination of moist cake, smooth pastry cream and dreamy chocolate! Such a classic cake that you’ll come back to over and over!

slice of pie on gold plate

You might also like:
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake
Boston Cream Pie Cookie Cups
No Bake Boston Cream Pie Cheesecake

Read transcript

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close up image of Boston Cream Pie slice

Boston Cream Pie

  • Author: Life Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 min, plus cooling time
  • Yield: 14-16 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Boston Cream Pie is a classic cake – not a pie at all! It’s a lovely vanilla cake layered with fresh pastry cream and chocolate ganache – all from scratch!



  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (155g) sugar
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups (480ml) milk
  • 2 tbsp (14g) salted Challenge Butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted Challenge Butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) milk


  • 6 oz (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream


1. To make the pastry cream, put the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and gently beat them together. Set aside.
2. Add the sugar, cornstarch and milk to a large saucepan and mix until smooth.
3. Cook, stirring continuously, over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and bubble.
4. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat. Be careful not to boil the mixture, you want to just simmer it a bit.
5. Add a little bit of milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk together, then add egg mixture to milk mixture. This process ensures that you don’t cook the egg yolks too quickly.
6. Place everything back in the pan and the pan back on the heat and bring to a light boil. Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. Don’t boil for longer than 2 minutes, or you can overcook it and it’ll actually break down, rather than get thicker.
7. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth, then pour into a bowl and cover with clear wrap pressed against the top so that it doesn’t get a film on top and set in the fridge to cool completely.
8. To make the cake layers, prepare two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
9. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
10. Add the butter, sugar and oil to and large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
11. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until completely combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
12. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
13. Add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter will look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
14. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
15. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
16. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
17. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove any domes from the tops of the cakes so they are flat.
18. Place first cake layer on a serving platter, then top with the pastry cream. If needed, give the pastry cream a good stir with a whisk to smooth it out before adding it to the cake
19. Add the second cake layer to the top of the cake.
20. To make the chocolate ganache, add the chocolate chips and corn syrup to a medium bowl.
21. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips and corn syrup. Allow to sit for 1-2 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
22. Pour the chocolate on top of the cake, in the center, then spread out towards the edges, letting some of the chocolate drip down the sides.
23. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Cake is best if eaten within 2-3 days and well covered.


Although the pastry cream can be made a couple days ahead and the cake layers can be made a day ahead, I recommend putting the cake together within a couple hours of serving so the chocolate is fresh.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 479
  • Sugar: 39.1 g
  • Sodium: 132 mg
  • Fat: 23.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57.7 g
  • Protein: 10.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 135.2 mg

Keywords: boston cream pie, boston cream pie recipe, boston cream pie cake


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collage of Boston Cream Pie

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Recipe rating

  1. Jenny

    Nice cake, turned out well. The custard was nice and thick (though it squished out a bit when cutting) and the cake nicely moist and fluffy. Instead of cutting off the dome, instead i gently pressed down with a plate which had the added bonus of leaving a shallow depression to hold more filling. 
    Only thing i would change is using better quality chocolate for the ganache.

  2. Colleen

    Incredible flavor! Rave reviews from my office party. Everything went absolutely perfectly except that it was raw in the middle after 25 mins at 350F, I ended up baking it for 40 mins with foil wrapped around the pans so that the rest of the cake didn’t burn. The edges came out dry and they fell off when I inverted the cakes. In the end, I saved the cake and it was delicious just not as attractive as pictured with the sides crumbled off. I baked the cakes on convection. Perhaps this cake cannot be baked using convection?

  3. Happy Wife

    My sweet husband made me this for Mother’s Day.  It was absolutely delicious!  And his even looked like your finished pie/cake.  My whole family enjoyed this so much.  Thank you for this lovely recipe.

  4. Karen

    I’m sorry but I am very disappointed in this recipe. There was way to much baking soda and the custard never hardened. It was like soup. You need to go over this recipe again. Thank Goodness I had enough time to make another one from a different recipe.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m sorry you weren’t happy with the result, but I really do have full confidence in the recipe. I’ve made this pastry cream many many times for many different recipes and it’s always fine. It may have been undercooked or had some other issue for you.

    2. Mercy

      Hi, you mentioned baking soda, but Lindsay’s recipe very clearly says baking powder. The very thought of 3 teaspoons of baking soda should have warned you that you had read wrong, that much baking soda is almost lethal for any recipe. But that amount of baking powder would be harmless and not bedetected. Hope this helps.

  5. Emily

    I’d like to try and modify this recipe for cupcakes, do you think it would work all right?  Mostly asking re. the pastry cream…I was hoping to core the cupcake and fill the center.  Will the cream be soft enough to pipe into the center?

  6. Kim

    I used to make the “boxed” version of the Boston Cream Pie as a kid. Now I make it from scratch. Made this yesterday. I wasn’t sure my pastry cream would thicken up enough to cut the cake but It did. I had used 1 % milk and removed it from the stove when it was fairly thick (almost like Mayo). My husband didn’t want to wait until today to eat it so I did put it together last night. it did take quite a few hours in the refrigerator for the pastry cream to thicken and would have been even better if I left it overnight (made it late in the afternoon). But it still held up pretty good to cut the cake. The only question I have is about the amount of butter in the pastry cream – It says 2 tablespoons but the weight is for 1 tablespoon. I love that you provide the weights of your ingredients as that is how I bake. If I were to measure my flour by volume it would typically be 140-145g per cup as we live in a dry climate. Most sites say one cup weighs 130g so that is what I use for a cup weight unless the recipe specifies the weight. The cake was perfect!!

    1. Lindsay

      Milk chocolate is going to give you a thinner ganache, so you might want to reduce the amount of cream a little.

  7. Nancy Connell

    I made this cake for our birthday celebration at work. It was a big hit! Everyone said it was delicious. I think I must have done something wrong with the ganache though. It soaked into the cake. Wasn’t shiny and pretty like yours. It still tasted great, but what should I have done differently to keep the ganache from soaking in.

    1. Lindsay

      Hard to say from a distance but it sounds like it could have been a little thin. Maybe too much cream was added? Or are you sure you used semi-sweet chocolate? Other chocolates, like milk chocolate, would make a thinner ganache.

      I’m glad everyone enjoyed it!

  8. Tabitha Pippin

    Can I make this a few days before a party and just keep it in the fridge? I’m making it for a friend’s birthday but i’m going to be out of town the day of the party

    1. Lindsay

      Technically, you could make it ahead. Because this cake is not frosted though, it’s going to dry out more quickly in the fridge. If it were me, I would probably only make it a day ahead, but you could stretch it to two if you really had to.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12