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Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Article first published as Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes on Blogcritics.

Cupcakes are still quite the trend, aren't they? Well, I don't think this trend is ending anytime soon... especially when the sky's the limit for cupcake flavors! Take for instance Boston Cream Pie. It's not exactly a pie but rather a cake. When it comes to cupcakes, pretty much any cake can be adapted in cupcake form. These Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes are a delicious example. Tender cake filled with sweet pastry cream is crowned with a rich chocolate ganache. What's not to love?

I'm not going to lie, these are time consuming to make, but they are definitely worth the effort! The recipe will open your eyes up to some different techniques so you'll definitely learn something and eat your cake too. For one, most cakes start out by creaming butter and sugar together, followed by adding the liquid ingredients and then the dry ingredients. When making these cupcakes, the reverse is done. Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar are combined first and butter is slowly introduced to create coarse crumbs. To pull the batter together, eggs, milk and vanilla join in. As a result of this reverse-creaming method, you'll have a tender crumb cake that can hold it's own up to the creamy pastry cream.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Pastry Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of table salt
4 teaspoons conrnstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold & cut into 2 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened but slightly cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the pastry cream:

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk the mixture is pale yellow and thick.

When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl and refrigerate, with plastic wrap pressed flush against its surface, until cold and set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

For the cupcakes:

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with paper baking cups and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar on low speed. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, 1 at time, and mix until fully combined. Add the milk and vanilla, increase the speed to medium, and mix until the batter is light, fluffy and free of lumps.

Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze:
Cook the cream, corn syrup, chocolate, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside and allow to thicken for 30 minutes.

To assemble:
Insert a small knife at a 45 degree angle about 1/8 inch from the edge of each cupcake and cut all the way around, remove a cone of cake. Cut away all but the top 1/4 inch of the cone; leaving only a small disk of cake which will be used to top the cupcake.

Fill each cupcake with 2 tablespoons of pastry cream and top with the disk of cake.

Carefully top each filled cupcake with a 1-2 tablespoons of the chocolate glaze. Refrigerate until just set, about 10 minutes.


40 comments

  1. Those are the BEST looking cupcakes I've seen in long time.!!

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  2. These look amazing! This would be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon... Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Yum! I can't wait to make them. What type of cupcake pan do you use that makes the sides of the cupcakes so straight?

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  4. I always wondered what they meant by food looking decadent but this one qualifies for "decadent". It is gorgeous and alluring and I want one.

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  5. These cupcakes are beautiful! What kind of pan did you bake them in to get such high straight sides?

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  6. Thanks all for your comments! :) Anonymous/Debbie - I used a standard cake pan with standard liners. As for why they baked up straight as they did, it might have to do with the batter. The crumb itself was tender yet slightly dense since, it involved a reverse creaming technique. That's the only thing I can think of as to why they baked up like that!

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  7. Genius idea! Boston Cream Pie is my absolute favorite dessert, and to have them in cupcake form is amazing! More portion control... or well, lack there of because I think I would eat them all to easily if they were in this mini form! =)

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  8. hat a cute idea! I love Boston cream pie and these look delicious.

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  9. So beautiful and delicious! They are simply perfect! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

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  10. what kind of cupcake liners did you use and you said a regular cupcake/muffin pan?
    Thanks

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  11. Hi Cindy, Here's my response (same as comment #6): I used a standard cupcake/muffin pan with standard liners. As for why they baked up straight as they did, it might have to do with the batter. The crumb itself was tender yet slightly dense since, it involved a reverse creaming technique. That's the only thing I can think of as to why they baked up like that!

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  12. So, looking at the photo, how did you fill them and get them back in the paper liners?

    Thanks

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  13. So, did you do all the filling and put ganache on while they are still in the liners?

    Thanks

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  14. Cindy - I baked the cupcakes in the liners, cooled them and cored the middles out to fill. After filling, I topped them with the cake that was cored out and spooned the ganache over the top. The liners were never removed since they were baked in them.

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  15. Cindy - please review the recipe above as it outlines how I prepared and assembled the cupcakes.

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  16. Joelen,
    Thanks so much for the info; I am making these in a couple days for a party...my daughter is off to grad school in Boston!

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  17. I just made the cream filling and put it in the refrigerator. I whisked it until it was thick and glossy but it was still lumpy and separated. Is that correct? I was afraid to leave it on the pan longer that it might get runny.

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  18. Mel, the pastry cream filling should be smooth. Was the cream warm enough to melt the butter when you added it? That's my only idea why it would still be lumpy/separated...

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  19. Does anyone know if this recipe makes 1 dozen?

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  20. These are adorable! I am linking up to these on my blog, andminimore.wordpress.com. Full credit goes to you of course, but let me know if for any reason you want me to remove it. I love these, and definitely plan on making them!

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  21. Do you think this recipe could be altered to be made smaller in a mini muffin pan?

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  22. How many cupcakes did this recipe make?

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  23. @Jacquie about 24 I made them and ended up with 21

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  24. Thanks Anonymous!... Jacquie, I had just barely 24 but if you wanted the cupcakes to 'crown' a bit more, I would say the recipe makes about 18-21 cupcakes.

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  25. {Previous} Anonymous - You can certainly make these in a mini muffin pan... however the bake time will be much shorter, so bake for 12-15 minutes instead. The only other thing to note is that you won't get too much filling in a mini muffin so you can probably make a half recipe for that. Hope this helps!

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  26. Can the creme be piped into the cupcakes instead of cutting them, I wonder?

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  27. Hi Liz! I've found the cream was a little too thick for me to just pipe into the cupcakes... but if you add a little more milk to thin the cream out, you can get a great consistency to pipe right in. Hope this helps!

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  28. I have these in the oven right now and just finished whipping up the filling. I'm brining them to a gettogether tomorrow night - I think they'll be a huge hit! oh the pastry filling looks divine!

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  29. I am going to make these cupcakes soon, my oldest son loves Boston Cream Pie.

    Oh, an apple corer will work to get the center out of the cupcake just perfectly.

    Thanks ~

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  30. I love the way the picture shows the straight sides. Has anyone else made them with the same results

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  31. I made these today and they came out PERFECT! They were a hit with my neighbors. Thanks for the recipe!

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  32. do i have to use the cornsyrup? is there an alternitive? could i just not use it?

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  33. Cani substitute cream for milk in the pastry cream? If so, how much milk?

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  34. These are such beautiful and delicious looking cupcakes!!
    I'd definitely like to make them
    Pinned

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  35. Curious if I could use a cupcake filling tip like wilton #230
    like the following clip...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9cb-ekf0Gk

    thank you!!

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