My good friend Eva, from Eva Bakes, and I thought it would be fun to tackle something off of our baking bucket lists together. We would both make the same thing, choosing our own recipe, and then post the results. First up? Boston cream pie. Funny, I think I have only made about 5 layer cakes in my whole life. Layer cakes to me are kind of fancy. I am more of a cookie/brownie kind of girl. But, I certainly have never turned cake down. I love a challenge.
So I got up early Saturday morning to tackle this multi-step cake. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t sleep well the night before and went back to sleep when I got up. Let me just say, making this cake with baby Alex was not an easy feat. He only took out the fire extinguisher, almost dumped a newly opened jar of cornstarch all over the floor, shook salt onto the table, spilled a glass of water, and put a cup of dog food into the dog’s water. Ugh, I think that was it. Given the circumstances, I think my cake came out pretty darn good.
Honestly, the cake really isn’t hard to make, it just takes a few steps. To make the cake, you need to separate eggs and beat them in separate bowls, finally folding them together with flour. While the cakes bake, you make the pastry cream on the stove. You then have some wait time for the cakes to cool and the pastry cream to set in the fridge. After assembling the cake, you make a quick chocolate frosting to pour over the cake. So, all easy…it just takes time. You know the hardest part? Transferring the finished cake from the cooling rack to the serving plate.
The verdict? I thought that cake was delicious. You have a spongy buttery cake, filled with smooth, vanilla scented pastry cream, topped with thick chocolate glaze. How bad could it be? (I love Ina!)
So, one down, so many more to go. Thanks for baking with me, Eva! I can’t wait to see your cake!
Foolproof Sponge Cake
½ cup (2 oz) cake flour
¼ cup (1 1/4oz) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 TBSP milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ tsp vanilla
3 large egg whites, room temp
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¾ cup (5 1/4oz) sugar – DIVIDED
3 large egg yolks, room temp
2 large eggs, room temp
Place oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350F. Grease and flour two 8in or 9in round cake pans (ATK recommends 9 in) and line with a circle of parchment. Grease the paper.
Whisk together the 2 flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter together on low until the butter is melted. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.
In a large bowl, whip 3 egg whites and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer, on med-low until foamy, ~ 1 minute. Increase speed to med-high and whip the egg whites until soft, billowy mounds form, ~ 1 minute. Gradually whip in 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 30 seconds. Continue to whip until until shiny and form soft peaks, ~ 1 to 3 minutes. Do NOT overbeat.
In a separate large bowl, whip the 3 yolks and 2 whole eggs with an electric mixer on med-high. Gradually add in the last 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 1 min. Continue to whip the mixture until very light in color and voluminous, ~ 4-6 minutes.
Gently pour the thick, yellow egg yolk mixture on top of the soft peaked egg white mixture. Sift the flour mixture on top of that. Now you have a white layer on the bottom, yellow yolk mixture in the middle and flour on top. Very gently, fold everything together with a rubber spatula, just until combined, ~ 12 folds. Pour the warm milk, in a steady stream, against the side of the bowl. Continue to fold until evenly combined and there are no streaks of flour, ~ 8 folds.
Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake until lightly brown and a toothpick in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, ~ 12-18 minutes. Do NOT rotate cakes while baking.
Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cakes and flip onto a parchment lined plate. Peel off the parchment bottom and flip the cakes right side up onto a wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely, about 2 hours.
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
½ cup (3.5 oz) sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch until pale yellow and thick, ~ 30 seconds.
Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to temper, then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick and glossy, ~ 1.5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the pastry cream into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly pressed onto the surface, to avoid skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, ~ 2 hours.
2/3 cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
½ tsp vanilla
Put all the ingredients into a medium bowl. Microwave, stopping frequently to whisk. Continue until all melted and smooth, ~ 1-2 minutes. Let the glaze cool, uncovered, until thick but still pourable, ~ 20 minutes.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment and place a wire rack on top. Place one of the cake layers on the rack. Spread the pastry cream on top of the cake, right to the edges. Place the other layer on top and press lightly to adhere.
Pour the chocolate glaze on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate uncovered, until the chocolate sets- at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Before serving, transfer to a serving plate/cake stand and let warm up to room temperature, 30 to 60 minutes.
Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book