Monday, September 5, 2011

Late on Labor Day: Boston Cream Pie Cake for Club Baked

I had pretty much figured out by last weekend that baking this go-around's recipe for Club Baked wasn't going to happen in a timely fashion.  If you haven't already figured it out, Club Baked is a group of baker/bloggers that is baking their way through the book Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, owners of Baked NYC (and brilliant cookbook authors.)  On the 1st and 15th of each month, we all publish a blog post discussing our baking experience (and hopefully sharing photos of said experience) with a chosen recipe from Baked Explorations; all of us in the group own the book.  There is a different "host" each time, and that host chooses the recipe and shares the recipe for the rest of the world in his/her blog post.

We were supposed to publish our blog posts about this time's recipe, Boston Cream Pie Cake, on September 1st.  I knew it wasn't going to work for me.......that day was the first day of school, and the first day back to work for me, since I am employed as a special education aide at an elementary school.  The last days of August were a little crazy, and I figured I'd get around to making the recipe over the long Labor Day weekend.  On Friday night, my mom called and asked if she and my dad could come out to visit with my family and take us out to dinner sometime during the weekend, as we had not seen each other in a while.  This was the perfect opportunity to actually make the cake, instead of just thinking about it or planning to get to it...I'd make the cake and we could all have it as our dessert after our dinner out with my parents on Labor Day.

On Sunday, I made the pastry cream(s).  All of the Boston Cream Pie recipes that I've come across have pretty much been the same.......two layers of yellow sponge cake with a vanilla pastry cream in the middle, then chocolate ganache poured over the top.  However, with the recipe from Baked Explorations, the baker turns part of the pastry cream into chocolate pastry cream.  When the cake is assembled, it goes cake, chocolate pastry cream, cake, vanilla pastry cream, cake, chocolate pastry cream, cake, chocolate ganache.  I debated whether I wanted to go this route......did I really want to mess around with two types of pastry cream?  Did I really want to work with four layers of cake?  Ultimately, I decided to make the recipe exactly as written.

And therein lies the rub.  This morning, I had a heck of a time with the milk sponge cake.  The cake batter seemed very odd to me.....very foamy and runny, and I doubted each layer would rise to the height necessary for me to be able to cut each cake into two layers.  I was right.  When my cakes came out of the oven, they were very flat and fairly dense.  I turned them out of the cake pans when cool enough, and they were only a quarter of an inch tall!  Knowing I wasn't going to use it, I tasted a corner of the cake and not only did it feel like a sponge, but it tasted like one, too!  Not much flavor at all.....I'd read that a lot of the other baker/bloggers had had difficulty with the cake and/or didn't like the texture or taste, so I pulled out one of my Nigella cookbooks and made new cakes using the recipe for Victoria Sponge.  I'd followed this recipe before to make Boston Cream Pie at least once before, so I knew it would turn out much better than this first attempt.  Sure enough, these cakes had a lighter, softer texture and much more flavor.  Here is my cake (I made 8 inch squares instead of rounds, 'cuz I'm cool like that) before the ganache.....

and after the ganache was poured.....

Here's what the sliced cake looked like.  I'm glad I ended up going with both types of pastry cream.  I had to quickly grab my camera to capture those two beautiful drips of chocolate ganache glaze oozing so prettily down the cake!

So, all in all, I am glad I made this, but in the future I will likely use the pastry cream and chocolate glaze recipe components, but rely on Nigella's tried and true Victoria Sponge for the cake.  I'm an experienced baker and it takes a lot to frustrate me, but that first cake did it and I don't expect to want to give it another try.

This recipe was hosted by Brooke's Bountiful Kitchen.


  1. That layer of vanilla custard with the chocolate ganache dripping down is very tempting! I am gonna try a different cake recipe next time since I thought the cake texture was odd. So in love with the vanilla cream though. Glad you made it...mine was late too.

  2. Love the photo of the cake slice with those delicious drips of ganache! Good call on making a different cake recipe. Definitely thought the Baked version was off. I too was hesitant about making the chocolate pastry cream. Glad I did though as both types of pastry turned out to be my favorites parts of this recipe. And it's nice you had your family to help you eat it all up!

  3. Good call on the sponge cake! That was the only downside to an otherwise amazing cake. I'll have to try it again with Nigella's Victoria Sponge!

    PS--beautiful drips!!

  4. Your nice, thick layers of pastry cream look very tasty! But I agree with you that first cake was enough, even though it was yummy I also don't expect try this again.