Saturday, October 8, 2011

Boston Cream Pie

Yesterday was my husband's 40th birthday. Oddly enough, he and I share the same birthday (day, not year, thankfully... heehee...).  Most years, we are both just too lazy to plan anything and go out for a nice dinner. This year, we weren't able to get a sitter, being Thanksgiving weekend. And since it was his 40th, I figured the onus was on me to make something decent for dinner. 

Lucky for me, Jerome's cousin Isabelle is here visiting from France, and she was nice enough to offer to prepare dinner. Which meant I only did the cake - meaning that I could keep Logan home with us for the day to spend a bit more time with him before baby #2 arrives.

I chose to make this cake because (1) though we don't have donuts very often, Jerome's absolute favourite is a Boston cream donut and; (2) though he has no recollection of this, I made this cake sometime in the past 5-10 years and he loved it. Lucky for me, he doesn't remember this in the slightest, and thought I had hunted down this recipe specifically for his 40th.

The recipe sounds all long and complicated, but it's actually not that hard to make. Although I very rarely use cake and pastry flour, I did in this recipe, as I was afraid that it would otherwise affect the texture of the cake, which is supposed to be light and fluffy.  Good thing Isabelle was here, as the first time I poured the cake mixture into the pan she marveled at how few ingredients were in the recipe... wondering how a cake could have no flour... oops... good thing she's inquisitive, or I'd have had to make it twice...

Instead of vanilla extract, I used vanilla bean in the filling (mmm... the stuff we still have from Tahiti that is dwindling over time...). I probably used about a 2-inch piece, scraping the seeds into the milk mixture and then leaving the piece in there while boiling everything together. I chose to use homogenized milk in the filling, as I figured it'd give a richer texture/flavour (and since we already had some in the fridge for Logan).

For the glaze, I messed up a little bit. I used 2 tbsp. corn syrup, to get rid of some old corn syrup that has been sitting in my cupboard for years (ever since I gave up using corn syrup, since discovering healthier options, such as brown rice syrup and agave syrup - both of which can be purchased in health food stores if you can't find them in your grocery store).  

I then used 1 tbsp. of agave syrup. However, it completely slipped my mind that agave syrup is sweeter than sugar while making this substitution. And I've just learned in googling that corn syrup is actually less sweet than sugar (who'd have thunk?). In any case, end result is that the glaze was way sweeter than I'd have wanted (though still ok with the rest of the cake, but I wouldn't want to make it like this again). Not sure what I'd do next time, as I'm afraid that reducing the amount of syrup overall might affect the texture of the glaze. So maybe I'd just do it with corn syrup next time, even though I'm now fully against ever using it again... Anyways, given that I make this every 5-10 years, it's not something I need to figure out just yet...

I love, love, love the texture of this glaze. It's super easy to ice the cake, as you just dump the glaze over top and let it run all over. And it firms up into a fondant-looking icing that just looks beautiful. This may just become my go-to cake icing (for the one or so cakes that I make per year). 

To cut the cake in half, you can do it gently with a knife. Or, alternatively, you can take a piece of dental floss, wrap it around the cake, cross the ends, and then pull then continue pulling the ends to have it slice through the cake. Warning from past experience: do not do this with mint-flavoured dental floss, unless you have a mint flavoured cake... otherwise you will have an unwanted mint flavoured cake. 

It's been ages since I made this cake and I had forgotten quite how yummy it is. The cream in the centre is particularly tasty and I'm sure the use of real vanilla bean and homogenized milk have lots to do with that. So if at all possible, I'd recommend you try to use both.

3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C granulated sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 C cake flour

1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C flour
1 1/2 C milk (I used homogenized milk)
6 large egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean)
pinch of salt

1/2 C granulated sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. water
4 oz. (4 squares) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 120g of dark chocolate chips)

Unfortunately, our camera battery died just as we lit the candles,
so I couldn't get any pictures of Jerome with his cake...

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.  Line with waxed paper. (I used a springform pan, which made it super easy to get the cake out of, since you can just snap the edges off - I also didn't bother with the waxed paper, but made sure the pan was well greased. And I just slid a knife under the bottom of the pan to get it out easily.). 

2.  Beat together egg yolks and vanilla at medium speed until blended.  Beat in half of sugar until very thick and pale.

3.  Using clean, dry beaters, beat together egg whites and salt at medium speed until very soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in remaining sugar until stiff, but not dry, peaks form.

4.  Folk yolk mixture gently into whites.  Gently fold flour into mixture.  Do not overmix.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

5.  Bake cake until top springs back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes.  Loosen cake by running a metal spatula around sides of pan.  Invert cake into a wire rack.  Remove pan, leaving waxed paper on cake.  Turn cake right-side up.  Cool completely on rack.

6.  Meanwhile, prepare filling.  In a saucepan, mix together sugar and flour.  Gradually whisk in milk, then egg yolks, vanilla and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Strain through a sieve into a bowl (I skipped this) . Press plastic wrap on surface.  Chill for 30 minutes.

7.  Using a serrated knife, cut cake horizontally in half.  Carefully remove waxed paper.  Place bottom layer on a serving plate.  Spread evenly with filling.  Top with remaining cake layer.

8.  To prepare glaze, in a saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate; let stand for 1 minute.  Whisk until smooth.  Gradually pour glaze over cake, allowing it to drip over sides.  Let stand until glaze sets.

Must be stored in refrigerator. 

Makes 8 servings. (I'd say more like 12)

Happy birthday honey :) Hope you enjoyed it.


Ashley said...

i'm wondering... what would you do for the glaze? should i go out and buy corn syrup? we have agave here, but you said you weren't sure if it would be enough to give it the right texture. also, do you think by replacing the eggs it'll ruin the cake recipe? i was considering using apple sauce or egg replacer. thoughts?

i am going to make this tomorrow for eric's birthday. it's like the new birthday cake, haha.

Food for Thought Linds said...

I think I would go out and buy corn syrup for the glaze, only because I'd be afraid that the texture wouldn't work perfectly. Though Heidi would probably say just use agave - she uses it all the time. If you do use agave, let me know how it works out. Also, pretty sure the cake would work ok with egg replacer. Probably with applesauce too... let me know what you do and if it works out.