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Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie

Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie has all the parts of the original, but with a fall twist. Salted caramel pastry cream sits between two layers of pumpkin sponge cake, then the cake is drizzled with chocolate glaze.

A slice of Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie on a white plate.

Boston cream pie is an American favorite, and you can see it not only in cake form, but also in cupcakes and doughnuts.

Why is it called Boston Cream Pie when it's really a cake? It dates back to the late 1800s, when cakes and pies were baked in the same pans.

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The first element of Boston Cream Pie is the cake layers. They are traditionally French-style sponge cakes, a slightly richer version of chiffon cake because they contain egg yolks in addition to egg whites. Some recipes also include butter or oil, but in this version, pumpkin replaces the butter.

The next element is the pastry cream. It's a staple at most bakeries for its numerous uses: Boston cream pies and other cakes, filling profiteroles and eclairs, layering into fruit tarts, etc. It can be flavored in countless ways. Combine it with whipped cream and it becomes Diplomat Cream, used in trifles, as a lighter pie filling, frosting strawberries or dipping fruit.

A whole Boston cream pie with chocolate glaze dripping down the side.

Finally, the chocolate glaze. Formally known as ganache, it's simple a mixture of chocolate and heavy cream. It's also another versatile bakery staple. Warm, it can be used to glaze cakes and other pastries. At room temperature, it can be whipped into frosting. And chilled, it can be scooped into truffles.


Make the pastry cream first. It will need a night in the fridge to set fully and be ready to use in the cake. You can use homemade or store-bought salted caramel sauce, but don't use caramel ice cream topping. It won't give the same flavor.

When preparing to make the cake, have all of your ingredients at room temperature. This will ensure the ingredients mix well. Don't overmix, or you'll have a tough, chewy cake instead of at tender, fluffy cake.

When assembling your cake, ensure the cakes are level but horizontally slicing off the "dome" of the baked cake. It's easiest to do this with a turntable.

When making the glaze, don't let your cream come to a boil. If it does, it won't combine with the chocolate for a smooth, glossy glaze. Drizzle it onto the center of the cake, and use an offset spatula to smooth it to the edges, letting it drip down the sides.

Because the glaze has only two ingredients, there's no masking cheap quality. Use the best-quality chocolate you can afford. Baking bars are preferable to baking chips, because baking chips have additional ingredients to help them keep their shape even when baked.


To make the pastry cream, you'll need a saucepan and a mixing bowl. A handheld mixer is helpful, but a whisk will do the trick if you don't have one. I find it easier to continuously hold the running mixer in place while drizzling in the hot liquid rather than whisking with one hand and pouring with the other.

The cake layers are baked in 10-inch pans. Most craft stores carry them in the baking section. You can use 9-inch pans if they have tall sides.


Prior to assembling, store the pastry cream in a container with a tight-fitting lid, with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

If you choose to chill the cake before glazing with ganache, you can wrap place the cake on a cake board or plate, and wrap it in plastic wrap.

After the cake is glazed, chill it uncovered just long enough for the ganache to set, then cover with plastic.

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, covered in plastic, for about 3 days.

A slice of Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie in front of the rest of the cake.

Top tips

Weigh your ingredients. It's much more accurate then measuring by volume, especially the flour. Kitchen scales don't have to be expensive! I also find it quicker to measure everything by weight into the

When separating eggs, use three bowls: break the egg, allow the white to drip into the first bowl. Place the yolk in the second bowl. Inspect the egg white for specks of yolk. If clean, transfer to the third bowl (the mixing bowl or measuring glass cup you'll be using to combine the whites with the half-and-half). Repeat breaking the eggs over the first bowl, placing the yolk in the second, and inspecting the white before adding it to the rest of the whites.

A slice of Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie.

Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chilling Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes

Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie has all the parts of the original, but with a fall twist using salted caramel pastry cream and pumpkin sponge cake.


For the salted caramel pastry cream

  • 2 cups (480 ml) half-and-half
  • ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz/100 g) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 g) salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz/55 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (5.25 oz/100 g) salted caramel sauce (not ice cream topping)

For the pumpkin cake layers

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) half-and-half, at room temperature
  • 3 ¾ cups (16 oz/455 g) cake flour
  • 2 2/4 cups (15.75 oz/445 g) sugar
  • ½ teaspoons (2.5 g) salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 oz/255 g) pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg

For the chocolate glaze

  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped


  1. Make the pastry cream: place the half-and-half in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to scalding and lower the heat to keep it hot.
  2. In a mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, beat together the cornstarch, sugar, salt and eggs just until smooth.
  3. While the mixer is running, very slowly drizzle a third of the hot half-and-half into the egg mixture. Mix until combined, then pour the egg/half-and-half mixture into the saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until thickened.
  5. Pour the pastry cream into a storage bowl, and whisk in the vanilla and unsalted butter until fully combined.
  6. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream, and let sit at room temperature to cool to room temperature.
  7. Once cooled, remove the plastic wrap, and whisk in the caramel sauce. Replace the plastic wrap directly on the surface, cover the storage bowl with a tight-fitting lid, and chill for 8 hours.
  8. Make the pumpkin cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray the bottom and sides of two 10-inch cake pans with nonstick spray.
  9. Place the egg whites in a small bowl. Stir in about a third of the half-and-half (a little less than half a cup).
  10. Measure the cake flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining half-and-half with the whole egg and the vanilla.
  11. Pour the half-and-half and yolk mixture into the dry ingredients, then add the pumpkin. Beat on low speed just until the dry ingredients are moistened, then beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, and while the mixer is running, drizzle in the egg white and half-and-half mixture. Mix until fully incorporated. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
  12. Bake the cakes for 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
  13. Once fully baked (the cakes will spring back when pressed lightly), remove the cakes from the oven, and invert the cakes onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper to cool to room temperature. If not assembling immediately, wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 1 day.
  14. When ready to assemble, level the cakes with a serrated knife. Place one cake on a board or cake stand. Spread the pastry cream on the cake. Top with second cake, pressing down lightly to secure the cake and force the pastry cream all the way to the edges of the cake.
  15. Make the ganache: place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring just to scalding. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.
  16. Pour over the cake. Use a spatula to gently push the glaze over the entire cake and let it drip down the sides.
  17. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 288Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 8g

I am not a certified nutritionist. This nutrition information is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only.

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Pumpkin season is here, and we are celebrating our love of pumpkin with #PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. All week-long 13 bloggers will be sharing over 40 pumpkin-filled recipes for all your Autumn celebrations, including breakfasts, baked goods, savory pumpkin recipes, desserts, and drinks.

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