May 9, 2022

Easy Faux Boston Cream Pie (including a Ganache Recipe)

This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! You can read CFO's full disclosure here.

I wanted an easy dessert to take to dinner at my in-laws' house for Mother's Day yesterday, and I spotted Ina Garten's Boston Cream Pie recipe on my Pinterest Desserts board. But I didn't feel like making pastry cream or even a new cake recipe, so I improvised an easier pseudo-Boston Cream Pie.

I started with my favorite yellow cake recipe from Michelle Lopez's excellent book, Weeknight Baking, which I baked in two 8-inch round cake pans.

I whipped up a package of organic Vanilla Instant Pudding using whole milk to use as the cake filling. It's nowhere near as pretty as a good pastry cream, and actually not as delicious either. But it's still pretty darn good. 

And then I made the chocolate ganache (recipe below). Nothing was difficult, and you could even use a yellow cake mix if you didn't want to make a cake from scratch. The hardest part was the assembly, and that was mostly because I didn't let the ganache cool quite enough so it was a little too thin when I poured it on. (My kitchen was pretty warm, so trust your senses rather than the time.)

Here's a step-by-step process for clarity:

Easy Faux Boston Cream Pie
Serves 8-12

1. Make your favorite yellow cake in two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. Bake according to directions and let cool completely.

2. Make a package of instant vanilla pudding. Use whole milk for the best consistency and let chill for at least one hour.

3. Make a simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup cold water. Bring to a boil, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes to reduce the amount of liquid. Let cool. (Note: Simple syrup is just a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, so you could easily make more and save the extra to sweeten iced tea or coffee.)

4. Approximately two hours before serving time, make the ganache (recipe follows). Let cool for 20-40 minutes, until the mixture is slightly thickened and falls in ribbons.

5. To assemble the cake, use a long serrated knife to split each cake round in two to create four layers. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter, cut side up. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the cake with simple syrup. Spread one-third of the vanilla pudding over the cake. Repeat with two additional cake layers. Place the final cake layer on top of the last layer of vanilla pudding cut side down. Slowly pour the ganache over the cake, allowing the chocolate to drip down the sides. If you made an 8-inch cake, you will have enough ganache to fully cover the sides if you wish (though you might need to use an offset spatula to push the ganache off the top in some directions). Let the chocolate set at room temperature for an hour before serving. 

Store leftovers in the fridge. Since my cake stand didn't come with a cover, I use a large mixing bowl turned upside down to cover my cakes. (Plastic wrap would stick to the chocolate and ruin the look but would work also.)

Chocolate Ganache
Makes enough to cover one 8 or 9-inch layer cake
Adapted from Ina Garten's Boston Cream Pie recipe

3/4 cup heavy cream
7 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate*
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate*
2 tablespoons of corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules optional**

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler, or a medium heatproof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water. Once the chocolate starts to melt, stir until the chocolate is half-melted. Remove the bowl from heat and stir until all of the chocolate is melted and the ingredients have combined into a smooth mixture. Set aside and stir occasionally until it cools enough to thicken slightly and falls in ribbons.

*I really like Guittard chocolate. I always have their chips and wafers on hand - they are high-quality and free from peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten. Best of all, their chocolate is fair-trade certified, which is no small thing - according to the U.S. government, over 1.5 million children work in dangerous conditions on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. And Guittard chips are widely available, including at Target!

**If you don't want to taste any coffee in the ganache, use a scant 1/4 teaspoon. Use the full 1/2 teaspoon if you don't mind a hint of coffee.

No comments: