Crème Brûlée Boston Cream Pie

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
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Yield: 8 to 10 servings

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What kind of hybrid is this? A delicious one! Classic Boston Cream Pie is golden cake, filled with pastry cream or pudding, and topped with chocolate icing. This cake reverses the order of things, putting the chocolate icing inside, and the pudding on top. A delicately crunchy layer of caramelized sugar completes the picture.

This cake is best served shortly after the sugar on top is caramelized. To prepare ahead and serve later, make the cake up through topping it with the pudding. Cover and refrigerate. Prior to serving, remove the cake from the fridge, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, long enough to soften the chocolate filling. Apply the caramelized sugar topping just before serving.

Follow our step-by-step photos for making this cake at our blog, Flourish.

Crème Brûlée Boston Cream Pie

star rating (8) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Published: 02/01/2010

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Filling

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but good
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

Topping

  • 1 small (regular - not large) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup coarse white sparkling sugar

Tips from our bakers

  • To make caramelized sugar without a chef's torch, combine 1 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons water in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat till the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 3 minutes, without stirring. Remove the cover, and continue to boil, swirling the pan regularly to prevent "hot spots." If you need to stir, make sure your spatula has been rinsed clean; you don't want to introduce any undissolved sugar crystals into the syrup at this point. When the syrup is a light-to-medium golden brown, remove it from the heat, and pour it onto a piece of parchment, or onto a lightly greased pan. Allow it to cool completely, then break it into pieces. Placing it in a plastic bag and whacking it with a heavy saucepan or rolling pin works well.

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" round pan; or line with parchment, and grease the parchment.

2) Beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt till thick and lightened in color.

3) Combine the butter and milk, and heat till the butter melts and the milk is very hot. Stir the milk to help the butter along. A microwave works well here.

4) Add the flour to the egg mixture alternately with the milk/butter, beating gently just till everything is combined.

5) Pour the thin batter into the prepared pan.

6) Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the middle springs back when touched lightly, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

7) Remove the cake from the oven, allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack.

8) When the cake is completely cool, cut it in half around its circumference, to make a top and bottom half. Put one layer, cut side up, on a serving plate.

9) Make the filling: Place the chocolate chips, corn syrup, vanilla, espresso powder, and cream into a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or into a medium saucepan.

10) Heat the mixture till it's very hot; the cream will start to form bubbles. Remove from the heat, and stir until smooth. Beat in the confectioners' sugar.

11) Pour the chocolate filling over the bottom half of the cake. Center the other half of the cake atop the filling.

12) Make the pudding according to the directions on the box, reducing the milk to 1 1/4 cups, and adding 1 teaspoon vanilla.

13) Spread the thickened pudding over the top of the cake. Sprinkle evenly with the coarse sugar.

14) Run a chef's torch back and forth over the surface of the cake to caramelize the sugar. It won't form a solid sheet of caramelized sugar, but will simply become brown and crackly looking.

15) Serve immediately.

16) Looking for a nice final touch atop your cake — without using a chef's torch? Make caramelized sugar, crack it into tiny pieces, and sprinkle on top of the cake. See our tip at right for the details.

Yield: about 8 to 10 servings.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 04/15/2013
  • Henry6512 from Lansdowne, PA
  • The cake is very thin. I made two layers, instead of splitting one. The cake was tasty. It was refrigerated because of the "frosting", which took away from the overall flavor and made the middle chocolate layer too hard. We used the pastry cream recipe suggested and it was fabulous! Because I made two layers, I used the leftover pastry cream with more whipped cream to frost the sides.
  • star rating 05/24/2010
  • Allison from Chantilly, Virginia
  • I made this using the pastry cream recipe mentioned above and the sugar syrup chips. Fantastic! The cake was much thinner than I expected, but it is a good balance between all the flavors. The pastry cream spread more than I anticipated, I am not sure if that was because the cake was not refrigerated long or because I included the whipped cream. Delicious, regardless of the cosmetic issues!
  • star rating 02/18/2010
  • Eric from Littleton, CO
  • Well, this looks fantastic but I could not get it to work. I made the cake three times and every time it fell in the middle while baking. My baking powder is good, oven temp is spot on and used weights for ingredients. I don't know what I was doing wrong but after three attempts at the cake, I gave up. I made from scratch pastry cream for the topping while it was baking and that turned out great. Unfortunately, most of that went to waste as well; lots of wasted ingredients. :-(
    We are sad about the results as well. Please consider calling our Baker's Hotline to problem solve the cake part of this dessert (802-649-3717). Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 02/16/2010
  • Lina from NJ
  • What a great recipe that's easy to make but tastes stunning! I certainly plan to make this again and if I have the time I might try making my own custard/pudding from scratch as suggested in the comments, but even in its original format the recipe is still something quite unique.
  • 02/05/2010
  • Peter from NYC
  • The topping ingredients 1 1/2 cups milk, but line #12 in the recipe has 1 1/4 cups what is it ???
    You boil the milk to reuce it to 1 1/4 cups. Mary@ KAF
  • star rating 02/02/2010
  • Betty from Jacksonville,FL
  • This is a great recipe, but I was deflated when I read all the "from scratch" ingredients and then ended up with vanilla pudding MIX! If I wanted a mix, I could get the whole thing from Betty Crocker. Keep up the good recipes, but when you make a scratch cake,even the filling should be from scratch.
    Thanks for your suggestion. For those who like a 100% from scratch recipe, try the pastry cream in the Mere Trifle recipe. Irene @ KAF
  • 02/02/2010
  • N. G. from Scottsdale, AZ
  • Looks light a great cake, but I would like to make my own bakers custard instead of using the vanilla pudding. I hate using box stuff. Do you have a "scratch recipe" for bakers custard?
    There is a recipe for Pastry Cream in this recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/a-mere-trifle-recipe Frank @ KAF.
  • star rating 02/01/2010
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