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Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

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These Boston cream pie cupcakes feature tender vanilla cake filled with fluffy pastry cream and topped with rich chocolate ganache. These are 10x easier to make than Boston Cream Pie.

a vanilla cupcake cut in half, and filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache.

I love making difficult recipes easier. Cakes are a risky proposition especially if you're entertaining. If your cake gets stuck, or you drop it on the ground (Been there done that), you are out of luck.

Cupcakes take some of the pressure off as even if you mess one up you've got 11 left. (And a tasty tester for yourself of course)!

I've broken the Boston cream pie cake down into its three essential parts to make these Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes.  If you love the cake, you'll really enjoy these cupcakes! They would also be the perfect Birthday treat for a fan of the traditional cake.

a boston cream pie cupcake topped with shiny chocolate ganache.


Why Do They Call it a Boston Cream Pie?

If you’ve ever had a Boston cream pie, you’ll know it’s not a pie at all, but a cake. Confusing right?! Stay with me! It was originally made by Chef Sanzian at Boston’s famous Parker House Hotel. His “pie” was inspired by The Washington Pie, which was also not a pie, but a cake! Let's delve into history to solve this pie/cake mystery. The curious names may be attributed to the fact that similar cakes were originally baked in pie pans, or because leftover cake pieces used to be wrapped in pie crusts and baked. And that my friends sounds like a dessert mash up dream come true. 

There are a few different theories, but one thing is for sure; Chef Sanzian’s creation of two layers of yellow cake, a pastry cream layer (custard is more commonly used now), and chocolate icing was an instant success!

What’s the Difference Between Boston and Bavarian Cream?

An easy way to tell these creams apart is a Boston cream filling  is most often found in combination with chocolate, while Bavarian cream is typically served with a fruit sauce or puree. Boston cream is also creamier than a Bavarian cream, which tends to be a bit more solid in texture. Bavarian cream is also more like a dessert in itself; consisting of custard with a gelatin setting agent.

a boston cream cupcake topped with chocolate ganache cut in half to reveal a pastry cream center.

Is Boston Cream the Same as Custard?

They are very similar. A custard is made with milk, eggs, and sugar. Depending on the consistency, or how much egg has been added, you can eat it by itself, bake it in a pie, or use it as a filling for pastries. I tested a spoonful (okay 2 spoonfuls), and it divine on its own. On the other hand, a pastry cream is a thick custard made with milk, eggs, sugar, and a thickening agent(most often cornstarch) that is used as a filling for eclairs, flans, and, of course, Boston cream pie cupcakes. The most noticeable difference between Boston Cream and custard is that custard consistency differs based on what you are making while pastry cream is usually always the same consistency. The simple answer is: while they are incredibly similar, Boston cream may be a form of custard, but isn’t a true custard itself.

How to Make Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

The cake combines butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and baking powder. After adding flour and buttermilk to the mixture, the batter is then baked in a cupcake tin (don’t forget the liners!)

For the filling, mix milk into beaten egg yolks. Then gradually add the milk mixture to the sugar, cornstarch, and salt that has been heated in a large saucepan. You need to add the egg and milk mixture slowly so the eggs don’t cook. We want dessert not breakfast! Boil, then place into an ice bath. An ice bath is simply a large bowl of ice water. This will immediately stop the cooking process.

Finally, my favorite part the ganache topping! Just place your chocolate chips in a large bowl, then heat heavy cream in a saucepan until it comes to a simmer. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips, cover , then stir until smooth. You’ll also need to cool the ganache in the fridge until it’s firmed to at least a tepid consistency. The ganache should mound slightly if you dip a spoon in ,and drizzle it back into the bowl. You want it to stay on your cupcake not run off.

Now comes the fun part! Fill your cupcakes with the pastry cream. An easy way to do this is to fill a pastry bag with the cream, then cut out the center of the cupcake using a cupcake corer (or knife).This ensures you get a good amount of filling in your cupcakes without creating a lot of mess. You can even place a bit of the scooped out core back in the cupcake after you’ve filled it, so the ganache is fully encased in the cake. It looks nicer this way. Or, you can always just eat them like me! Nomnomnom Finally, turn the cupcakes upside down and dip the top into the ganache. All done, time to eat and enjoy!

a boston cream pie cupcake on a white plate with gold edging with more cupcakes in the background.

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📖 Recipe

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes: Tender cupcakes filled with fluffy pastry cream and topped with rich chocolate ganache. Your favorite cake made 10x easier!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 48 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Servings: 12 Cupcakes
Calories: 516kcal

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For the Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

  • ¾ Cup Butter ,Softened
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • Cup Buttermilk

For The Pastry Cream

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 3 Cups Whole Milk
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • Cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For The Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 ⅓ Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
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For The Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in vanilla, eggs, and baking powder.
  • Gradually add flour and buttermilk a little at a time until just combined.
  • Fill prepared liners ¾ of the way full. Bake for 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.

For The Filling

  • In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks. Stir in milk until well combined.
  • In a large saucepan over medium low heat combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually whisk in milk.
  • Boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Immediately remove from heat.
  • Place sauce pan into an ice bath. Cool slightly and stir in vanilla.
  • When mixture has cooled a bit, stir in vanilla.

For The Chocolate Ganache

  • Place chocolate chips in a large bowl.
  • In a medium sauce pan, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips.
  • Cover for 5 minutes, and then stir until smooth.

Putting It All Together

  • Core out the center of each cupcake using a cupcake corer or knife. Fill each cupcake with pastry cream.
  • Dip into a generous amount of ganache. Allow to set for 30-60 minutes.


Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 220mg | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 935IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Tried this recipe? I want to see!Mention @BakingBeautyBlog or tag #BakingBeauty!

adapted via The Gracious Wife

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  1. Hello Krystle, amazing recipe you have shared in your blog. Thanks for sharing the recipe of Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. I will definitely try these cupcakes for my son's birthday party. Keep posting!

  2. I was drawn to these cupcakes when I saw them on Twitter. Having never had a Boston Cream Pie I was intrigued. They look delicious and I adore the pastry cream filling. I will be making these very soon. Pinned!