Boston Cream Pie, although not a pie at all, has always been a combo I’ve loved. The mix of creamy, smooth vanilla custard layered between vanilla cake, and topped with velvety chocolate tastes like they always belong together. These Boston Cream Cupcakes are my mini version of the cake and start with a classic fluffy vanilla bean cupcake base that’s filled with vanilla bean pastry cream and topped with luscious chocolate ganache. The most delicious mix of classic vanilla and rich chocolate flavors.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
This is my go-to vanilla cake recipe. It’s soft, fluffy, and full of vanilla flavor. Vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste are both added to bring out the vanilla flavor and add those pretty vanilla bean specks. A combo of sour cream and buttermilk is added to the batter, making it perfectly moist and tender. Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled, the centers are scooped out to create a little well to fill up with pastry cream.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
A thick and creamy vanilla custard, which is essentially like a vanilla pudding. This one is made from scratch by combining egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and milk. It gets cooked on the stove over low heat until it becomes nice and thick then is finished off with a bit of butter creating a silky smooth custard. This classic vanilla pastry cream can be used in a number of different desserts including eclairs, tarts, cakes, or donut filling.
Rich, chocolatey ganache is made up of just 2 ingredients – heavy cream and chocolate. It can’t get any simpler than that! The cream is heated up and poured over the chocolate then stirred together after the mixture sits for about 5 minutes, allowing the heat from the cream to melt the chocolate. The ganache sets up as it cools down and becomes the perfect creamy piping consistency for your cupcakes.
Why You’ll Love These Cupcakes
- These are the perfect combination of vanilla and chocolate flavors
- A Moist and fluffy vanilla bean cupcake base
- A thick layer of vanilla pastry cream in the middle
- Creamy, rich 2-ingredient chocolate ganache to top it off!
- Cupcake Corer – This fun little tool comes in handy for filled cupcakes. It comes with two sizes of corers that have small teeth on the end that make it easy to carve into cupcakes, then a spring ejector pops the piece of cake out.
- Cookie Scoop – These scoops are a must-have for portioning doughs and batters. Perfect for getting consistent-sized cupcakes every time.
- Piping Tips – A good quality set of metal piping tips is great to have if you bake or decorate a lot. The star shape is a classic and I love that this set has so many sizes, for many different uses. For piping the ganache on these cupcakes, I used Ateco tip 846.
- Piping Bags – I always make sure I’ve got some disposable piping bags on hand. The 18” size is great to use for larger amounts (I used this size for the pastry cream and ganache) and the 12” ones are nice to have for smaller, more detailed piping.
Boston Cream Cupcake FAQs
What can I use to core the cupcakes if I don’t have a cupcake corer?
A cupcake corer is helpful but not totally necessary. An apple corer will do the same job but creates a slightly smaller hole. Just push the corer into the center of the cupcake then twist and pull up. A small pairing knife would work too by carefully cutting out the center and then scooping it out.
How can I cool the ganache faster?
If you’re making the ganache ahead of time you can let it sit at room temperature until it sets up, which could take a few hours. If you need to cool it more quickly, chill in the refrigerator and stir every 20-30 minutes just until the ganache is firm enough to pipe. Don’t leave the ganache in the fridge any longer than it needs to firm up, otherwise, it will be too stiff to pipe on the cupcakes.
Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time?
All the components can be made up to a few days ahead of time. I recommend waiting to fill and pipe the frosting on the cupcakes until the day of or the night before serving. The custard needs to stay refrigerated but the ganache and cupcakes should be stored in airtight containers at room temperature.
How should I store the cupcakes once they’re filled and frosted?
The finished cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 3 days. The ganache will become stiff in the fridge so you can pull the cupcakes out about 1 hour before serving to allow the ganache to soften a bit.
More Cakes & Cupcakes You’ll Love
- Tiramisu Cupcakes
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Carrot Snack Cake
- Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake
- Chocolate Pudding Cake
If you make this recipe and love it, be sure to leave a comment below. Happy baking!
Boston Cream Cupcakes
For the Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (155g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 ⅔ cup (190g) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature
- ½ cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (54g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons (14g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (242g) whole milk
- 1 ½ Tablespoons (21g) unsalted butter
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 12 ounces (240g) heavy cream
- 12 ounces (240g) semi-sweet chocolate
- Vanilla Bean Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy and light in color, about 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the eggs, vanilla, and vanilla bean paste, combining well after each addition. Scrape the bowl well with a rubber spatula then mix on high for about 1 minute until the mixture is smooth and light in color.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture and the sour cream to the bowl. Start the mixer on low speed and slowly stream in about half the buttermilk. Mix just until combined then scrape the bowl. Add the remaining flour and slowly stream in the remaining buttermilk with the mixer on low, just until combined. Scrape the bowl again and give the mixture a few final folds with a spatula to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Use a cookie scoop to divide the batter among the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back to the touch (or a toothpick comes out clean). The rim of the cupcakes should be slightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Vanilla Pastry Cream: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until well combined (the mixture should lighten in color). Slowly stream the milk into the egg mixture, while whisking.
- Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the pastry cream from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the butter. Place plastic wrap directly over the custard and refrigerate until chilled.
- Ganache: Place the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer over low heat, just until bubbles form around the edges. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and push down any chocolate that’s not covered. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Gently whisk together the ganache until it's fully combined and all the chocolate is melted.
- Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature until it thickens to a pipeable consistency.
- Assembly: Use a cupcake corer, apple corer, or even a knife to cut a hole in the center of the cooled cupcakes. Be sure to leave a small piece at the bottom of the hole, so you don’t cut all the way down to the cupcake wrapper. Discard the centers (or save to snack on).
- Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream and cut a small hole in the tip. Fill each cupcake center to the top with pastry cream. Fill another piping bag, fitted with a star tip, with the thickened ganache. Pipe a swirl of ganache on top of each cupcake. Serve right away and enjoy!
I’m the dessert lover, recipe developer, and content creator behind Sweet Kitchen Cravings. Here you’ll find classic yet special recipes that are sure to impress your loved ones!