October 23rd is National Boston Cream Pie Day!
A French chef named Sanzian invented Boston cream pie in 1856. He worked at the Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, which is also where the Parker House roll originated.
Although it is called a pie, Boston cream pie is actually a cake. It consists of two round layers of sponge cake with a thick vanilla custard filling. It is usually frosted with a chocolate glaze but it can also be topped with confectionary sugar. The dessert is served in wedges just like a pie. (Source)
I decided that instead of making a pie, I would make cupcakes!
Which leads me too…the week 4 challenge from Willow Bird Baking is…cupcakes! But not just any cupcake. The challenge was for us to make a cupcake, fill it, and frost it. And guess what? Boston Creme Pie cupcakes fit that description. Yup. It’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. And I would never kill a bird, because that would make me cry.
Anyways! I made the batter for the Boston Cream Pie, but baked it into cupcakes. Then I made a vanilla pastry cream for the filling. A rich chocolate glaze covers the top. Each cupcake is the perfect portion for a wonderful dessert!
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Recipe lightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Pastry Cream (filling):
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1. Make the cupcakes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a muffin pan*. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer on low-speed and add in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the butter has been added, let the mixer run on medium speed, until the mixer resembles pebbles (or large pieces of coarse sand). Turn the mixer back to low and add in the eggs, one at a time. Once combined, pour in the milk and add in the vanilla bean paste. Turn the mixer back to medium speed and let the batter mix for 2 minutes. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin pan, filling each 3/4 of the way full (I had a little batter- 2 or 3 tablespoons, left over). Be careful not to over-fill. Bake for 18-20 minutes in a preheated oven, or until the cupcakes test clean with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove cupcakes from the pan onto cooling racks, and let cool completely.
2. To make the pastry cream (filling):
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they are a light yellow. Whisk in the salt and cornstarch.
Once the milk is at a simmer, slowly pour 1/2 of the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Once this is well combined, add in the rest of the milk, continuing to whisk. Pour this combined mixture back into the saucepan on medium heat. Continue whisking until the mixture has thickened (this will take a couple of minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla bean paste. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream (this will prevent a “skin” from forming), and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. To make the chocolate glaze:
In a microwave safe bowl, combine all the ingredients. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the glaze rest a few minutes to cool and thicken.
4. To assemble the cupcakes:
Take a sharp knife and cut around the inside edge, angled towards the center, and remove a cone-shaped piece* from the top of the cupcake. Fill the cupcake with pastry cream. Trim the cut-out piece so that it is flat (instead of cone-shaped), and place it back on the cupcake (it might not sit flush- that is ok). Repeat this on all the remaining cupcakes. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack, which is sitting on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Spoon or pour the chocolate glaze over the tops of the cupcakes, letting the excess chocolate run down the sides. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to let the glaze set. Enjoy!
* I greased and floured my muffin pan as directed, however, I struggled to get the cupcakes to come out cleanly. My pan isn’t non-stick, so that might be my problem.
* I made the cone-shaped cut as directed and ended up with extra pastry cream. However, when Nick and I were eating the finished cupcakes, we both commented that it could use more filling. I think a more straight-down cut into the cupcakes would have enabled more pastry cream to be used. Please keep in mind that this is our personal preference. Also, I had plenty of glaze on each cupcake, yet had a lot remaining. I think you could make half of the glaze recipe and have enough. The extra glaze won’t go waste (!), but I had more than enough for the 12 cupcakes.
Made with love, not calories!