Monday, May 23, 2011

Boston Creme Pie

It was my birthday the other day. I made my own birthday cake.

That's right. For the past couple of years, I have requested to make my own cake. My daughter tells me that's just wrong, I can't make my own cake. However, I am a cake snob. I don't like grocery store cakes and bakery cakes tend to get right pricey. So, I make my own. That means I get to choose the kind of cake I get and generally, I know I will like how it tastes. Granted, if my husband volunteered to make me a cake (which he has before), I would let him. I also have many friends who I would let make my cake. At this point though, based off of all of our busy lives, it's just easiest to make my own.

The past two years, this is the cake I've requested. Growing up, my mom would always make her chocolate cake. Boston Creme Pie has replaced that cake though, thanks to the layer of pudding in the middle (those who know me well, know I am a total sucker for pudding) and a rich bittersweet chocolate ganache on the top. The only downfall is that it doesn't serve as many people as a traditional three layer cake because of it's size. I tend to cut these pieces much larger than a chocolate cake because overall, it isn't as sweet or as rich.

Boston Creme Pie
from my mom (who got it maybe from Betty Crocker cookbook) plus a few adaptions of my own

Chiffon Cake
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 c sugar, divided
2 1/4 c sifted cake flour
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 c milk, divided
1 1/2 t vanilla

Beat egg whites until frothy to soft peaks stage (easiest to use a rotary beater---my large kitchenaid doesn't beat just two egg whites very well). Gradually beat in 1/2 c sugar. Continue beating until very stiff and glossy. Set aside. In a bowl of a mixer, blend flour, 1 c sugar baking powder and salt. Add oil, 1/2 c milk, and vanilla. Beat one minute at medium speed. Add remaining milk and egg yolks. Beat another minute, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Fold in beaten egg whites. Divide batter evenly between two greased, floured 9" round pans or split between 12 cupcakes and 1 greased, floured 9" pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 - 35 minutes for round pan and 17 - 20 minutes for cupcakes.

Pudding Filling
1/2 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/2 t salt
2 c milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 T butter
2 t vanilla

While the cake bakes, make the pudding filling. Mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in meat. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil one minute, continuing to stir constantly. Remove from heat and slowly stir in 1/2 of hot mixture into the egg yolk in a heat proof bowl or measuring cup. Blend egg mixture into remaining hot mixture in saucepan. Boil one additional minute. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla, stirring to combine. Push pudding through a sieve to prevent any lumps (like any egg whites that may have ended up with the yolks). Cool, stirring occasionally.

Chocolate Ganache
1/4 c heavy cream
2 T water
2 T sugar
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into large chunks

Once the cake and pudding has cooled, prepared the chocolate ganache. Bring the cream, water, and sugar to a full boil. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Stir with a whisk to melt chocolate. Allow to cool slightly so it can pour in a thick ribbon.

To assemble cake: Cut the 9" round cake in half. Top bottom half with about 3/4 of the pudding (you can use it all if you want, but I only use about 3/4 of the pudding. I eat the rest of the pudding plain). Put top half on the pudding layer. Pour the ganache over the top, smoothing with an offset spatula. If you are so inclined, you can attempt to drizzle the ganache down the sides of the cake as well. (I usually only drizzle accidentally).

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