Ina's Boston Cream Pie


Recipe excerpted from Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten. Ina's decadent twist on Boston Cream Pie involves soaking the cake in an orange juice-Grand Marnier syrup, so we love it even more than the classic.

Boston Cream Pie
Photo: Carson Downing
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
1, 9-inch cake


For Pastry Cream:

  • 1 ½ cup whole milk

  • 5 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

  • 1 teaspoon Cognac or brandy

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Cake:

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 6 tablespoon (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 ½ cup sugar

For Soak:

  • cup freshly squeezed orange juice

  • cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

For Chocolate Glaze:

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • 1 ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips (7 1/2 ounces)

  • 2 ounce good-quality bittersweet chocolate, (such as Lindt), broken into pieces

  • 2 tablespoon light corn syrup

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules


For Pastry Cream:

  1. Scald the milk* in a medium saucepan. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high 4 minutes, until very thick. Reduce the speed to low and add the cornstarch.

  2. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to thicken. When the custard starts to clump on the bottom of the pan, stir constantly with a whisk to keep the custard smooth. (Don't beat it.) Cook over low until the custard is very thick (like pudding). If you lift some custard with the whisk, it should fall back onto itself in a ribbon.

  3. Remove from heat, stir in the butter, heavy cream, Grand Marnier, Cognac, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Cool 15 minutes. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard (not the bowl) and refrigerate until very cold, 1 to 2 hours.

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, butter and flour the pans, and tap out the excess flour.

  2. Scald the milk* and butter in a small saucepan over medium. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and orange zest, cover pan, and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high about 4 minutes or until thick and light yellow and the mixture falls back onto itself in a ribbon. By hand, first whisk in the warm milk mixture and then slowly whisk in the flour mixture. (Don't overmix.) Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and top springs back when lightly touched. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a baking rack, flipping them so the top sides are up. Cool cakes to room temperature.

For Soak:

  1. Combine orange juice and sugar in a small (8-inch) saute pan and heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add Grand Marnier; set aside.

For Chocolate Glaze:

  1. Combine the heavy cream, semisweet chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate, corn syrup, vanilla, and coffee granules in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, just until chocolates melt. Remove from heat; set aside 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is thick enough to fall back on itself in a ribbon.

To Assemble:

  1. Cut both cakes in half horizontally. Place the bottom of one cake on a flat plate, cut side up. Brush it with a third of the soak. Spread a third of the pastry cream on the cake. Place cake's top on the cream, cut side down, and repeat brushing with a third of the soak and a third of the pastry cream. Place the bottom of the second cake on top, cut side up. Repeat the brushing with remaining third of soak and remaining third of pastry cream. Place the second cake's top on the cream, cut side down. Pour the chocolate glaze on the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Set aside for 1 hour or until the chocolate sets. Cut into wedges and serve. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator. Serves 8.


To scald milk, heat it to just below the boiling point. There will be small bubbles around the edge of the milk. Don't let it boil.


The pastry cream and cakes can be made ahead and refrigerated separately, but prepare the glaze and assemble 1 hour before serving. Don't refrigerate the assembled cake before serving or beads of condensation will form on top.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

830 Calories
37g Fat
119g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 830
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 246mg 82%
Sodium 379mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 119g 43%
Total Sugars 92g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 5.4mg 27%
Calcium 190mg 15%
Iron 3.3mg 18%
Potassium 344mg 7%
Fatty acids, total trans 1g
Folate, total 78.6mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.7mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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