Friday, June 10, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Boston Cream Pie

This is a favorite dessert at our house. Leighton loves custard. Jake loves cake. Alyssa loves chocolate. Zac . . . loves everything. And I love to bake. The flavors of this cake blend together so beautifully.  The delicate sponge cake and the thick vanilla custard are offset by the rich chocolate ganache. This is one of Leighton's favorite desserts, and probably his all-time favorite cake. That is the reason why I stood in my kitchen preparing this treat for his birthday just 4 days after birthing his youngest child. 

Yeah, it's that good.

Monday, while the kids were busy concocting their own cakes, Jake requested to make Boston cream pie for Tasty Tuesday. His requests soon turned into pleas to make his "favorite cake." And wouldn't you know, his desire was granted.

1. Beating the batter. (Should add that to our tongue twisters!)
2. Jake was very thorough while checking the amount of milk.
3. Once they eggs white were foamy, Jake said, "It looks like dish soap."
4. Yummy vanilla custard longing to be sandwiched between layers of cake.
5. Alyssa thought the mixer was TOO LOUD while on high speed.
6. Sifting the flour is always fun.
7. Marrying the foam and the batter.

I explained the process of meringue to the kids and the importance of folding the foamy egg whites into the batter. We talked about how incorporating the air into the mixture will cause the cake to be light and fluffy. Then I poured the batter into the cake pan.

"But, Mommy, I didn't get to try!"

"Alyssa, this is a very . . . special process."

"But, Mommy . . . I'm special."

"Yes, Baby, you are special. But not special enough to densify my sponge cake." 

No, of course I did not say that last part! Had I not already finished, I just may have let her try to fold in the delicate bubbles. It was the just sweetest thing and it broke my heart. Such a sweetie pie that girl of mine.

I didn't assemble the cake until after our bike ride since the custard needed to chill.  Leighton put the kids to bed, and I got busy making the ganache. While the cream was heating, I cut the cake and dumped on the custard. It didn't take long for the cream to boil, melt the chocolate, and pour it on the cake.

Now, we know that Boston cream pie is best eaten after chilling for several hours. The flavors blend and meld and change into something glorious. I always make it the day before we plan to devour it. Always. Except when we haven't tasted it in a while and we have no self control.

Then we sneak a piece.

Here we have sponge cake, custard, and ganache. It was good. It was not amazing. We know better. But that's the power of Boston cream pie. It didn't help that it was 100 degrees out and the custard and chocolate were melting and needed time to set.

Don't worry, the next day we were not disappointed.

Well, we were. But that's not the cake's fault. I used a different recipe this time. (Normally I use this one.) Why did I stray from a recipe that I love so much? Because it's good to branch out and try new things, to stay open-minded.

Oh, and because I was out of shortening.

Both recipe are good. It just depends on your personal taste.

If you like a light airy cake, use recipe A. If you like a denser cake, use recipe B. If you like a rich, thick chocolate, try A. If you like a milder (and cheaper) chocolate, use B. If you like custard, pick A or B because I think both are great.

See which recipe you like better. You might be surprised. I thought I'd like the fluffier cake, but the denser one holds up to the creaminess of the custard better. So, go ahead and try both recipes. After all, it is for the sake of research. 
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