Have you ever had a Boston Cream Pie? This New England classic is a combination of yellow sponge cake layers with vanilla custard in between and then covered with a chocolate glaze. It is the best of two favorite desserts, cake and custard.
Around since the mid-1800’s, this dessert is literally a piece of American history. The title most likely came about because pie tins were more common than cake pans in the early days when this dessert was being made.
When I was looking for a gluten-free version to try, I found this recipe from the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cookbook. If you are new to gluten-free cooking and baking, it is wise to start practicing with tested gluten-free recipes rather than adapting a regular recipe. A few successes under your belt and you’ll be confident enough to try anything!
Gluten-free cakes differ significantly from those made with regular wheat-based flours. Gluten-free flours do not have the same lift and structure as regular wheat flour so the batter will be a bit looser and the layers will be thinner than you are used to.
The addition of almond flour in this recipe adds a lot of flavor and a texture similar to whole wheat. I was delighted with the airiness of the cake and I’m sure you will be too.
When I was cooking the custard, I was swept back in time to my childhood. It smelled just like the tapioca pudding my mother used to make me as a special treat and I fell in love with it all over again. Smooth and creamy with the aroma of vanilla wafting through the room, I could almost hear her voice talking to me, telling me about her day. It was a sweet moment in my busy week.
The glaze couldn’t be easier. Just throw all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl (I used a Pyrex measuring cup) and zap them in the microwave. Then a little whisking and the clumpy mess becomes a smooth, shiny chocolate glaze. I love the little miracles that happen every day in the kitchen.
Have fun recreating this New England classic Boston Cream Pie and who knows, maybe it will become a family favorite that you pass down through your family’s generations!
Happy Chocolate Monday and have a wonderful week!!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments and leave a star rating, I love hearing from you!
Ingredients needed for Boston Cream Pie:
- Cake: almond flour, flour (gluten free if needed) baking powder,
- Salt, sugar, water, butter, eggs, vanilla
- Custard: whole milk, sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, butter, vanilla
- Glaze: dark chocolate, butter, light corn syrup
Salts vary dramatically by manufacturer. 1 tablespoon of Crystal Diamond Kosher salt weighs 8 grams, Morton’s Kosher is 16 grams and table salt weighs 18 grams for 1 tablespoon. I strongly recommend Crystal Diamond Kosher salt (in the red box) for use in your cooking and baking. It is generally considered the industry standard and is my personal favorite.
How to make Boston Cream Pie:
- Make the Cake Layers: Mix together the almond flour, flour blend, baking powder, and salt and set aside; beat the sugar, water, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla together, then slowly add the flour mixture beating for 2 minutes
- Divide the batter between two buttered round cake pans and bake at 350°F for 27 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean; cool 15 minutes on a wire rack, flip them out of the pans and invert them on the racks to finish cooling completely
- Make the Custard: Whisk together the milk, sugar, yolks, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan until smooth; bring to a boil whisking constantly and cook 1 minute or until thickened and it coats the back of a spoon
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth; transfer to a bowl, press a piece plastic over the surface to keep a skin from forming and refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours
- Make the Glaze: In a microwavable bowl, combine the glaze ingredients and cook on High for 30 seconds and repeat until the chocolate is melted, then whisk until fully melted and smooth
- To Assemble: Place one of the cake layers rounded side down on a cake platter, whisk the custard until smooth and slightly warmed up, then spread evenly on the cake layer all the way to the edges
- Top with the second layer, rounded side up and slowly pour the chocolate glaze in the center of the cake and using a spatula, nudge the glaze to cover the top and drip down the sides; smooth the top and let the glaze solidify slightly before cutting with a serrated knife – wipe the blade with a damp cloth between each cut
If you want to make gluten-free baking simple, mix up a big batch of a neutral-flavored flour blend and store it in an airtight container. I have mine in a plastic bucket that I bought from King Arthur Flour. Then whenever the mood strikes us, we can bake to our heart’s content, creating delicious treats for our families or just for ourself!
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- 8-inch round cake pans
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Rubber spatulas
- Wire cooling racks
- Heavy saucepan
- Serving platter
- Offset spatula
- Serrated knife
You can adjust any baking recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams per cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour left in the cup. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Do this for each flour blend you use. Commercial blends such as Pamela’s All-Purpose Artisan Blend, Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the products haven’t changed and are still safe to consume.
Boston Cream Pie (Gluten-Free)
Boston Cream Pie is everything you dream of in every bite! This New England classic is a combination of yellow sponge cake layers with vanilla custard in between and then covered with a chocolate glaze. I added some almond flour for interest and texture. Almond flour (made from finely ground almonds) contains zinc, a mineral that helps us taste and smell. No wonder this cake tastes so good!
- 1-3/4 cups (168g) almond flour
- 1-1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour or my Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend (see Note below for link)
- 2 tsp (8g) gluten-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227g) water
- 1/2 cup (113g) butter, melted
- 3 (150g) large eggs
- 2 tsp (9g) pure vanilla or vanilla paste
- 1-1/4 cups (284g) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 2 egg yolks (28g)
- 2 tbsp (14g) cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp (14g) butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp (5g) pure vanilla or vanilla paste
- 4 oz (113g) gluten-free dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 tbsp (42g) butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp (20g) light corn syrup
- Heat oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter 2 (8-inch; 20 cm) round cake pans.
- Make the Cake Layers: In medium bowl, mix almond flour, flour blend, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In large bowl, beat the sugar, water, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla with a stand or hand mixer on low speed 1 minute. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on medium speed 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between pans. Use an offset spatula to smooth the tops.
- Bake 27 to 30 minutes or until golden on top, the cake pulls away from the sides, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes, then invert cakes and flip back right side up to finish cooling on the rack. Cool completely.
- The cake layers can be made a day ahead. Once thoroughly cooled, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate. Return to cool room temperature before assembling cake.
- Make the Custard: While the cakes are cooling, in a heavy 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan, whisk together the milk, sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute or until thickened and mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove from the heat; whisk in the butter pieces and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl (aluminum will help it cool faster), cover surface of custard with plastic wrap (press it onto the surface to keep a skin from forming). Refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours.
- The custard can also be made a day ahead. Press plastic wrap on the surface and top the bowl with another piece of plastic wrap to seal it. Let it sit at room temperature about 20 minutes before proceeding so it will be easier to spread.
- Make the Glaze: When you are ready to assemble the cake, make the glaze. In a small microwavable bowl, combine all the glaze ingredients and cook uncovered on High for 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- To Assemble: Place one cake layer onto a serving platter rounded side down. Whisk the custard to smooth consistency. Let it warm up a little so it will be easier to work with. Spread it evenly on top of first layer, making sure it goes all the way to the edges. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Slowly pour glaze in the center of the cake, and using an offset spatula, nudge the glaze to cover, encouraging it to drip down the sides. Smooth the top.
- Let the glaze solidify slightly before cutting the cake. Slice the cake gently with a serrated knife for the best results, wiping the blade with a damp cloth between each cut. See the recipe for make-ahead information.
Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
You can adjust any recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams per cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup without a spout until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour left in the cup. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Do this for each flour blend you use. Commercial blends such as Pamela's, Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the products haven’t
changed and are still safe to consume.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 318Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is calculated by online tools and is merely an estimate.
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Is it possible to replace the almond flour with more gluten free flour mix? I can’t tolerate nut flours
Hi Joseph – You absolutely can replace the almond meal with additional GF flour blend. The almond meal does give the cake a little more structure and protein, so a flour like millet or sorghum would be a better choice than a straight rice flour. As long as the total weight is the same, most GF flours are fairly interchangeable. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out. Fingers crossed for the perfect dessert for you!
My husband does not like cake (it’s really the frosting), but he does like Boston Cream Pie.
Funny the way that works Katrina! But if he likes Boston Cream Pie, at least he has very good taste in cakes! 😉
Brian @ A Thought For Food
Oh my gosh… this looks great! I was so surprised by how much I liked a gf cake (had no idea it would be that good). And thank you so much for your sweet words!!!
You’re welcome Brian! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous; of course I had to direct readers over to your site to see them!