Since I am a home based baker, I can’t sell items that require refrigeration. Because of that, I generally skip trying recipes that require such until we get around to the holidays. C’mon, who doesn’t love a Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake on the family Thanksgiving dessert table… but that’s a post for another time. I am also not a big fan of finished food products that are overly messy. I don’t eat ribs, my wings better be boneless and come with a fork, and a filling should only be on the inside of a cake – not squishing out from between the tiers.
That means I’m out when it comes to Boston Cream Pie. I actually like the taste, but the custard filling prevents me from selling it, and then there is that whole mess factor that comes with the exposed sides. I picture my toddler eating it with his hands, and I literally shudder (I thank God he doesn’t like spaghetti sauce!). So when I came across a recipe for Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes this week, I just had to try it. I still won’t be able to add these to Sweet By Design’s menu, but hey, this one is for me.
The traditional custard filling that tends to creep out of the sides of the cake version is safely hidden inside a cupcake. This is achieved by filling a pastry bag with a round tip (I just used a standard coupler, but a Wilton 1A, 2A, 10 or 12 tip, or a cannoli tip would work too), and piping thick vanilla pudding neatly inside the handheld dessert. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still using a fork!
I chose to dip the tops of the cupcakes into the ganache instead of drizzling or spreading the chocolate onto the cupcake for two reasons. First, there isn’t another utensil to clean, and second, it’s a lot faster in my opinion – when I spread or drizzle chocolate I tend to take my time so every little line or swipe of the spatula is perfectly placed. To dip the cupcake, dunk the top into the melted ganache, twist, and lift up at an angle. This will leave a sheet of chocolate coming off the low end; I just turned the cupcake right side up in that direction to get the chocolate on top. If you wanted to at this point, you could gently shake the cupcake or lightly tap it on the counter to smooth out the chocolate like you would royal icing on a sugar cookie.
When piping the filling into the cupcake, go slow the first few times so you know when to stop – it doesn’t take a lot to have a blowout. In the picture below of the inside of a cupcake, you can see I only got the tip about half of the way down in that one (and sadly, I wanted more filling when I ate it). So make sure to really jam the piping tip down into the cupcake as this filling will not spread any deeper than the starting point of the tip. I filled some just below the level of the cupcake top and some over the top. It’s no big deal… you could add a little more if you wanted to the former, and just wipe off the excess if you get the cupcake too full. I didn’t bother to go back and fill the low ones to the top. They just got a little extra chocolate during the dipping process.
This recipe is adapted from one on foodnetwork.com courtesy of Sandra Lee. Her show features recipes using pre-made ingredients to make something new. That being said, you could make the cake and pudding all from scratch if you wanted. The original recipe calls for only 12 cupcakes made from a mix. A mix is going to give you closer to 24, so I doubled the ingredients for the filling. I figured, use them all, right? Unless you have plans for those other 12 cupcakes? It also called for a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top of the chocolate frosting. I omitted that because, in my opinion, the recipe doesn’t need any extra sweetness, and I have never seen a Boston Cream Pie with powdered sugar on top. Not here in my neck of the woods, and not on by BFF, Google (it’s not a Texas Cream Pie, so I figured I should check).
Also, a note on the ganache. Most of the time in cake decorating I use dark chocolate ganache in a 2:1 ratio for fillings, under fondant, or as a chocolate drizzle. That means there is twice as much chocolate as cream, and it is the same ratio you would use to make chocolate truffle (again, another post). It sets up relatively firm, and because of the sugars in the chocolate, the ganache can be left out at room temperature. This recipe though uses less chocolate of the semi-sweet variety - a 1.5:1 ratio. So the frosting will be softer than a traditional ganache because of the additional cream and the type of chocolate used. It had a peanut butter consistency instead of the firmer truffle texture, so if you are looking for that in another recipe... here you go. Enough of Pastry 101, bring on the cupcakes!
Click on the recipe title below for a PDF version.
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from a foodnetwork.com recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee
Yield: 24 cupcakes
24 pre-baked and cooled vanilla cupcakes
2 ½ Cups cold milk
2 - 3.4 oz boxes vanilla instant pudding mix
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 Cup heavy cream
12 oz semisweet chocolate morsels
Combine milk, pudding mix, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer for 2 minutes or until thick. Place pudding in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Spoon chilled pudding into a pastry bag fitted with a medium size round tip. Insert the tip into the top of the cupcakes and squeeze a couple of tablespoons of filling into each one.
Heat cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges, or heat in the microwave. Remove from heat, add chocolate to the pan, and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Spoon or drizzle glaze over cupcakes, or dunk the tops into the glaze. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour, before serving. Store any leftover cupcakes in refrigerator.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for other dessert recipes you would like to see me try out.
We have been a “Dave Ramsey” family for a few years now. And I’m not going to lie - it is not easy. In fact, there are times when it is really hard to not get exactly what I want; when I want it (I swear a different pair of peep toe pumps call my name every time I walk through Macys). If I blow the budget on those cute shoes though, will we be in a panic at the end of the month when the water bill comes in? Not if I plan ahead and have an allotment for clothes in our monthly budget!
It is so worth it when we stay on budget for several months in a row. We see our finances headed in the right direction, and we can plan for the future. Hosting a wedding reception or other big party is no different. You need a game plan that will see you through several weeks or months of expenditures so you don’t spend your honeymoon with buyer’s remorse.
There are several wedding web sites and magazines that can suggest how to divide up your wedding budget, and regardless of what the number is, you need to be candid with all of your event vendors about how much you have to spend on their particular service. Uncomfortable as it may be, this part of the conversation needs to happen very early so we can tailor our service to you.
As a baker, it is extremely difficult to have a bride not provide a budget, light up as she describes her perfect dream cake, and then deflate when she realizes she had no idea it was way out of her price range. Or even worse is the all too common email with a picture and only one sentence asking, “How much would you charge for this”. That is really a loaded question, because the picture sent is not generally the final product the client wants – the picture will be of a 6 tier cake that serves 250 but there will only be 75 guests at the wedding, or the picture looks like a sugar masterpiece on the outside but the materials were only used to make the photo pop off that glossy magazine page and are actually inedible (please don’t eat glitter, sure it’s non-toxic, but so is glue! Use it on fake tiers only). Or the client really wants a small round cake, but only sends a picture of a 3D / carved cake out of curiosity and is then discouraged about the price of the cake they didn’t even want. Giving a vendor both your budget and your vision for their service will allow them to get creative and design a dream look that is in the correct price range for you.
Maybe you haven’t priced custom cakes in a while. Believe it or not, that’s normal - after all, these are typically special occasion desserts for milestones in life, not something you purchase every time someone at the office has a birthday. Your baker will tell you if your budget is unrealistically low which will give you the opportunity to do a little research and decide if you want to increase your budget or seek another vendor for that service.
I recommend you have an open conversation with all your wedding vendors and inform them of your price range upfront along with your design wishes. If everyone is on the same page from the beginning, your baker will be able to offer a couple of options with varying detail so you can decide on your dream cake from an assortment of designs that are all within the budget.
Hi! I'm Melisa
I am the owner, baker, designer, decorator and all around 'one woman show' of Sweet By Design, a home based, custom cake bakery which is located just outside of Dallas, Texas. I hope to shed a little light on the wedding and event industry and make your day a little sweeter!
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