Smooth and decadent Boston Cream Poke Cake is the ultimate dessert indulgence. One slice of this creamy cake will simply never be enough!
If I had to choose between cake and any other dessert, I would always choose cake. Poke cakes also happen to hold a special place in my heart. These unique and fun cakes are always so moist and delicious! Whether you are craving a sweet and refreshing jello poke cake or this rich and creamy Boston Cream Poke Cake, you have come to the right place!
Poke cakes have been showing up at my family celebrations for as long as I can remember. I love how many different ways you can customize and enhance the flavors of a poke cake. This easy Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake recipe is a simple and creative way to turn an ordinary yellow cake into a masterpiece dessert!
BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE INGREDIENTS
Vanilla Cake Mix- Any brand of vanilla cake mix will work for this recipe. Be sure to make sure you also have all the necessary ingredients listed on the back of the box to prepare the cake! If you can’t find vanilla cake mix, yellow cake or butter cake mix will work too.
Vanilla Pudding- This Boston cream pudding poke cake recipe calls for some vanilla pudding to soak into the sponge cake and pastry cream to top it. Some recipes I’ve seen online only use vanilla pudding, but I think you don’t get the right taste doing this. Just make sure you get instant pudding mix, NOT cook and serve.
Pastry Cream- Traditionally, Boston Cream Pie has a layer of pastry cream between the cake. Pastry cream is kind of like a less sweet vanilla pudding and it’s awesome. You can double the pastry cream recipe and omit the pudding if you prefer a more traditional Boston Cream pie taste. Personally, I like the combination of vanilla pudding and pastry cream. It’s the perfect pairing for this cake.
Chocolate Chips- One 8-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips will be needed for the ganache topping. If you wanted to take a time-saving shortcut and use a container of chocolate frosting, you could definitely do that too! No shame in the baking game!
HOW TO MAKE THIS BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE
Though the preparation for each layer of this cake may seem like a lot, it will all be worth it in the end!
STEP ONE: Prepare the vanilla cake by following the directions on the back of the cake mix box for a 9×13 dish. While the cake is cooking, prepare the vanilla pudding, pastry cream topping, and chocolate ganache as directed below. Once the cake is baked remove it from the oven. While still warm, poke small holes evenly over the top of the cake with the end of a wooden spoon down to the bottom of the pan.
STEP THREE: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and egg yolks and then set that aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Over medium heat, whisk the milk mixture into the saucepan, combine all the ingredients and cook it until it thickens and bubbles. Now remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, allowing the wrap to touch the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming on top. Place it in the fridge.
STEP FOUR: To a medium bowl, add the chocolate and corn syrup. Heat the cream in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes until it boils. You can also heat it in a small saucepan if you prefer. Slowly pour the heated cream over the top of the chocolate and allow it to sit and melt the chocolate for two minutes. Stir the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate is fully is melted. Whisk the chocolate until it is shiny and smooth. Now cover the ganache in plastic wrap and leave it on the counter.
STEP FIVE: Spread the vanilla pudding mix directly over the cake, allowing it to enter the holes you have poked. Now spread the pastry cream over the vanilla pudding layer. Refrigerate the cake for an hour to allow the vanilla pudding and pastry cream time to set.
STEP SIX: Spoon dollops of chocolate ganache over the pastry cream. Then gently spread the ganache over the cake with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or even overnight. Cut into 12 squares, serve and enjoy!
CAN YOU FREEZE BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE?
If you find that you have leftovers of this rich dessert you can easily freeze it to make it last a little longer. This dessert needs to be kept chilled anyways when you aren’t serving it, so it fares just as well in the freezer. Just make sure to keep it in an airtight container and allow it to defrost for a bit prior to serving!
WHAT IS BOSTON CREAM FILLING MADE OF?
Boston cream is a simple vanilla custard made with egg yolks, milk, sugar, and cornstarch. It gets its flavor from vanilla extract. This custard is cooked over the stove and gets its thickness from the addition of the cornstarch.
You can find this delicious custard piped into donuts and layered into traditional Boston cream pies. This poke cake Boston cream pie recipe uses vanilla instant pudding so that those flavors can seep into the sponge cake and incorporate the creamy sweet custard effect throughout the cake itself!
WHY IS IT CALLED BOSTON CREAM PIE WHEN IT’S A CAKE?
Back when this classic dessert was first invented, most cakes and pies were baked in the same circular pie pans. Because cake pans as we know them today were not as readily available, cakes and pies mostly shared the same recognizable shape.
With Boston Cream Pie being cut into triangles and served just like a slice of pie, it’s easy to assume that cake and pie were used interchangeably to describe most desserts in those days.
THESE THESE OTHER CAKE RECIPES
- Strawberries and Cream Poke Cake
- No Bake Boston Cream Pie
- Caramel Apple Poke Cake
- Tropical Poke Cake
- Snicker Poke Cake
- 1 box vanilla cake mix plus ingredients to prepare
- 3.1 ounces instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 cups cold milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Prepare cake according to package directions. Pour into the prepared baking dish and cook according to the package for a 9×13 pan. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven.
- While the cake is cooking, prepare the vanilla pudding. Place pudding mix and 2 cups milk into a bowl. Whisk for 2 minutes until the pudding starts to thicken. Place in the fridge.
- Next, make the pastry cream. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks. To a medium saucepan add the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to combine and place over medium heat. Pour milk mixture into the saucepan while whisking. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Remove from the heat and whisk in vanilla. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface. (This will prevent a skin from forming on top.) Place in the fridge.
- Now it's time to make the ganache. Add the chocolate and corn syrup to a mixing bowl. Heat the cream in the microwave for 1.5 minutes until boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let that sit for 2 minutes. Then whisk the chocolate until shiny and smooth. (It will look broken and weird, just keep whisking.) Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter.
- Once the cake is out of the oven, use a fork or the back of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the warm cake. Spread the vanilla pudding over the cake. Spread the pastry cream over the pudding. Chill for 1 hour.
- Add dollops of ganache frosting on top of the pastry cream. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to gently spread the frosting over the top of the cake to the edges of the pan. Chill for 1 hour, up to overnight. Cut into 12 slices and serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If you prefer, you can heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it just begins to boil. Stir often to prevent scalding.
- You can double the pastry cream recipe and omit the pudding if you prefer a more traditional Boston Cream pie taste. I like the combination of vanilla pudding and pastry cream. (In contrast, I think ALL vanilla pudding is too sweet and you don’t get the same taste as the classic cake.)
- If you can’t find vanilla cake mix, you can use butter cake or yellow cake mix instead.