I'm not going to even come up with some clever anecdote to start this post with today because, let's be honest, few things are better than mini food. And since these Boston cream pies are pretty much the epitome of adorable vittles, we're just going to dive right in.
I made these cuties a few weeks back for a brunch I was catering with an "around the world" theme. While they might not seem very ethnic (because they're not) I included them in the menu alongside desserts like coconut lychee fruit rice pudding, and flan de leche as an homage to good ole' American cuisine. Who doesn't love Boston cream pie? Like, really.
The three components of this lovely dessert are cake, pastry cream, and chocolate glaze. I went with a yellow cake mix for the base and used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen for the pastry cream and glaze (recipes below). If you're feeling baking-adventurous, a basic yellow sponge cake recipe will work well for the base. Or, if you're on the other side of the spectrum, chilled vanilla pudding will work in place of the pastry cream. I will however, forbid you to use anything but the glaze recipe below. Its it delicious. It is decadent. It is pretty. The end.
Spoon heaping tablespoonfuls of yellow cake batter into the wells of a greased mini muffin pan. Bake for about 8 minutes (check after 6, darker pans bake more quickly). Remove from pans and let cool completely.
Using a serrated knife, slice the curved dome off of each muffin/cupcake. If I call these muffins can I justify eating more?
Make your pastry cream, let cool and then spoon into a pastry bag or even a large ziplock bag. Snip off the end and squeeze a nice little dollop of the cream on ½ of the cake rounds.
Place the remaining ½ of the cake rounds on the tops of the cream to create a little sandwich. Adorable, no?
Make the glaze and transfer into a squeeze bottle if you have one and top each cake with the glaze. If you don't have a squeeze bottle you can just spoon it onto the tops, but for the sake of these ending up pretty you might want to splurge and buy one.
Plus, squeezing warm chocolate onto cake might be one of life's choicest activities. Second only to eating these.
Bite-Sized Boston Cream Pies
- 1 yellow cake mix prepared as directed on box
- 1 ⅓ cups heavy cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup 2 ⅓ ounces sugar
- Pinch salt
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 2 pieces
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the pastry cream:
- Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl, then whisk in the cornstarch until pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
- Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg mixture to temper, then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, about 1½ minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, press plastic wrap directly on the surface, and refrigerate until chilled and set, about 2 hours.
For the Glaze:
- Microwave all of the ingredients together, whisking often, until melted and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Let the glaze cool, uncovered, until it is thickened but pourable, about 20 minutes.
For the Cake:
- Prepare cake mix according to directions on the box. Spoon heaping tablespoonfuls into the wells of greased mini muffin pans. Bake for about 8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert on a baking rack and let cool completely.
- With a serrated knife, cut the curved dome off the top of each muffin.
- Spoon chilled pastry cream into a pastry bag or ziplock bag and snip of the end. Squeeze a dollop of cream onto ½ of the trimmed cakes. Place the remaining cakes on top of the cream to create a sandwich.
- Transfer glaze into a squeeze bottle or use a spoon to top each sandwich with the glaze.