Boston Cream Pie

Pie? Cake? Pie-cake cake-pie?


Ugh… not donut.

A Boston Cream Pie is a wonderful, cream filled, chocolate covered cake, masquerading under the moniker “pie”. I was determined to avoid them as a child, due to a strong dislike for the custard found in the center of a Tim Hortons Boston Cream Donut. I just thought it tasted “weird”, which I’m pretty sure was 7-year-old-me code for “not sugary enough”. I think I had expected it to taste like frosting.

It didn’t help that the “weird” custard had a tendency to ooze everywhere when you bit into the donut.

Considering my new-found affinity for Boston Cream Pie, (Courtesy of Trevor loving them and demanding I make one) if adult me tried a Tim Hortons Boston Cream for the first time today, there’s a good chance that I would actually like it. But strong nostalgic memories associated with certain foods, positive or negative, have a tendency to die hard.

Similarly, it wouldn’t matter what fantasmic things Tim Hortons concocted, new or revised, Trevor will never willingly go there.

I suddenly hits me that not all of you may be familiar with the Tim Hortons establishment.

It’s like Dunkin Donuts except it’s EVERYWHERE the way Starbucks is, and it also somehow became a symbol of Canada. Most Canadians will fight you to the death that the coffee there is the best stuff you can get even though it actually tastes like bitter coffee beans.

Don’t hate me Canada for saying so. Large brown paper cups of Timmys helped me graduate from university, with a sugar topped chocolate chip muffin almost always next to it. Is it a wonderful stand-by? Of course. And it’s not that I hate it, because I do like it. But it’s not the best.

Trevor would actually probably fight other Canadians to death that their coffee is the most vile thing out there.

He hates the place because he worked there for 3 years. ANY extended fast food sort of job will having you hating the product. The smell of a Timmys still makes him shudder, even after living outside of Canada for almost 4 years.

But it’s okay, I can cheer him up now with Boston Cream Pies, as they ended up being a lot easier to make than I originally expected, and a lot tastier than my childhood mind would have me believe.

Boston Cream Pie

Adapted from


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 2 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Place whipped egg whites into the bowl with the egg yolk mixture and fold in. Gently pour the batter into a 9-inch greased spring-form pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert the pan onto a wire rack, loosen and remove the ring, then remjove the pan bottom. Cool completely.
  3. Pastry Cream: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy (the ribbon stage). Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk constantly while slowly adding in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
  4. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until clearly thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (Custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)
  6. Ganache: In a medium saucepan, heat the cream just to a boil. In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for one minute. Stir until all chocolate is melted.
  7. Assembly: Cut the cooled cake in half horizontally, making two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate or board, and spread with the pastry cream, leaving a inch border (the pastry cream will ooze out to the edges with the weight of the second layer). Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Store in refrigerator.

13 thoughts on “Boston Cream Pie

  1. I’m with you. A proud Canadian that doesn’t like Tim Horton’s at all. If my kids didn’t love timbits so much Tim Hortons’ would be dead to me. This pie looks pretty yummy though. :)

    • haha fully agree with amanda. we canadians like our coffee strong and delicious and full-bodied and roasty… tim hortons’ NEVER did it for me.
      i much prefer my kicking horse ‘kick ass’ coffee. it’s unbo.
      as is your lovely post and scrumptious photography!!! gahhh x

  2. I love Boston Cream Pie–welcome to the club! Me and my mom are both huge fans. And it was cool to get some background info on Tim Horton’s. I had heard of its popularity, but have never had the chance to visit one.

  3. Pingback: - 11 Homemade Pie Recipes

  4. I think your negative remarks on a Canadian restaurant and its coffee were not necessary for you to post your recepie, bad taste on your part for whatever reason.

    • I agree with Anonymous. Timmy’s coffee is the best, and I certainly would not trade it for Starbucks which has very chicory-type coffees – truly bitter. Too bad some do not have good taste!

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