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Have you ever craved a classic Boston Cream Pie but felt overwhelmed by the idea of making a full-sized cake? This mini Boston Cream Pie recipe is your answer! Perfectly scaled down for one or two servings, this delightful dessert packs all the flavors of the traditional version into a smaller, more manageable size. With a moist vanilla sponge, creamy vanilla pastry cream, and smooth chocolate ganache, it’s a delightful treat that’s easy to make and perfect for sharing or treating yourself.

Explore our selection of exquisite small cake recipes, perfect for serving one or two. Enjoy the rich Italian Cream Cake, savor the sweet and tangy Pineapple Upside Down Cake, indulge in the decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake, enjoy the moist and milky Tres Leches Cake, and delight in the vibrant and velvety Red Velvet Cake.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  1. Perfectly Portioned: Just right for one or two, this mini Boston Cream Pie eliminates the worry of too many leftovers while still satisfying your dessert craving.
  2. Effortlessly Simple: From the light sponge cake to the smooth ganache, each part of this mini cake recipe is laid out in easy-to-follow steps, making the process enjoyable and stress-free.
  3. Delightfully Delicious: Despite its simplicity, this mini dessert delivers big on flavor. The combination of moist cake, creamy filling, and rich chocolate is sure to please your palate.
  4. Elegant and Impressive: This petite treat looks as fancy as its full-sized counterpart, making it perfect for special occasions or when you want to impress someone special.
a boston cream pie on a cake stand. The cake is cut in half.

What Is A Boston Cream Pie?

Boston Cream Pie, a classic dessert with a rich history, dates back to the 1800s when both cakes and pies were baked in the same pie plates, giving rise to its unique name. Originating from the Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, now the Omni Parker House Hotel, this dessert has been a staple since 1856.

Our mini version of this iconic treat stands out by preserving the traditional flavors—luscious vanilla pastry cream sandwiched between soft sponge cake, all topped with a glossy chocolate glaze—in a perfectly-sized portion for one or two. It offers the full experience of this historic dessert in a more personal and manageable size, making it a special addition to your dessert repertoire.

Ingredients

cream, chocolate, cornstarch eggs, sugar, milk, flour, vanilla and butter on a wooden cutting board.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this small Boston Cream Pie recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

For the Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière):

  • Egg Yolk: Essential for thickening the cream and providing structure.
  • Sugar: Adds necessary sweetness to the pastry cream.
  • Cornstarch: Chosen over flour for its superior thickening properties in cream fillings.
  • Milk: Whole milk is recommended for its rich flavor and full body in the cream.
  • Vanilla: Imparts a delightful flavor.
  • Butter: Salted butter enhances the cream’s richness.

For the Cake:

  • Butter: Use 4 tablespoons of salted butter, with a bit extra for greasing the ramekins.
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar is perfect.
  • Egg Whites: Incorporate the leftover egg white from the pastry cream plus one more. Use leftover egg yolk in a mini German Chocolate Cake, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Banana Bread.
  • Vanilla: Adds flavor.
  • Heavy Cream: Preferred over whole milk for a lighter, sponge-like cake. Substitute with half and half (equal parts whole milk and heavy cream) if needed. We use heavy cream in many of our single serving and small batch recipes. Consider using any extra in a mini French Silk Pie or a small batch of Apple Scones.
  • Self-Rising Flour: This flour already includes salt and baking powder. If you don’t have it on hand, you can quickly make your own. Mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt to yield about a cup of self-rising flour. For this Boston Cream Pie recipe, you’ll need just 1/2 cup. Store any leftover homemade self-rising flour in a zip-top bag or airtight container for future use. Consider using the remaining flour to make a small White Cake or Two Chocolate Cupcakes.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

  • Chocolate Chips: Choose from semi-sweet (preferred), milk, or dark chocolate. Got extra chocolate chips? Use them in a Single Serve Chocolate Chip Cookie or Chocolate Pudding.
  • Heavy Cream: Essential for the right consistency; avoid substituting with half and half, whole milk, or other liquids.

Recipe Variations

This recipe is wonderfully adaptable. Here are some variations to try:

  • Lemon or Orange Zest Cake: Incorporate a half-teaspoon of lemon or orange zest into the cake batter. This citrusy version brings a refreshing tang.
  • Raspberry or Strawberry Cream: Fold a few fresh raspberries or strawberries into the pastry cream and top with a berry compote for added fruitiness.
  • Toasted Pecan or Hazelnut Topping: Sprinkle the ganache with chopped toasted pecans or hazelnuts for texture. This nutty variation is great for adding an extra layer of flavor and texture to the classic dessert.
  • Spiced Cake: Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the cake batter for a warm, spiced flavor.
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How To Make A Boston Cream Pie

These step-by-step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make a mini Boston Cream Pie. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

How to Make Pastry Cream: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Prepare the Egg Yolk: Begin by whisking the egg yolk in a small bowl and set it aside.
one egg yolk in a clear bowl on a granite counter.
  1. Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients: In a 1-quart saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, and milk until smooth.
  2. Cook the Mixture: Place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly as the mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Keep whisking for an additional minute to ensure an even consistency.
thickened milk, cornstarch, and sugar in a small saucepan.
  1. Temper the Egg Yolk: To temper, gradually introduce the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk. Start by adding 1 teaspoon of the hot mixture into the egg yolk, whisking continuously. Slowly add the rest, teaspoon by teaspoon, to avoid cooking the egg. This process gently increases the egg’s temperature without scrambling it.
tempering an egg in a small glass bowl.
  1. Combine and Cook: Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Bring it to a light boil, stirring constantly, and let it cook for one minute.
cooked pastry cream in a small saucepan.
  1. Finish with Butter and Vanilla: Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
a small clear bowl filled with pastry cream.

How to Make the Cake

  1. Preheat Oven: Start by heating your oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
  2. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, use an electric hand mixer on medium speed to beat together the butter, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add Flour: Gently mix in the self-rising flour for a few seconds, just until it’s incorporated.
  4. Incorporate Cream: Add the cream to the mixture and blend until smooth.
  5. Prepare Ramekins: Evenly divide the batter between two lightly buttered 10-ounce ramekins.
cake batter in two small ramekins.
  1. Bake the Cake: Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of each cake; it should come out clean.
  2. Cooling Process: After baking, let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile, check the pastry cream in the fridge. About 20 minutes before assembly, take out the pastry cream. If it’s too thick or cold, it might not spread well.
  3. Release Cakes from Ramekins: Once cooled, use a thin knife to loosen the edges of the cakes from the ramekins.
  4. Level the Cakes (Optional): If the cakes have domed tops, you can level them with a sharp knife for a flat surface, which helps when layering with pastry cream and adding the second cake layer.
trimming a cake top with a sharp knife on a wire rack.

Assembling the Cake: Simple Steps

  1. Start with the First Layer: Place one layer of the cooled cake on your serving plate.
one cake layer on a small cake stand.
  1. Add Pastry Cream: Spread the chilled and thickened pastry cream evenly over this first cake layer.
pastry cream on top of one cake layer.
  1. Top with Second Layer: Carefully place the second cake layer on top of the pastry cream and gently press down to secure it.
  2. Chill Before Ganache: Put the assembled cake in the refrigerator while you prepare the chocolate ganache. This chilling step helps the layers to set and makes the final ganache topping easier to apply.
a boston cream pie without the chocolate ganache.

How to Make the Chocolate Ganache: Step-by Step

  1. Prepare Chocolate: Begin by placing the chocolate chips in a small bowl.
chocolate chips in a small clear bowl.
  1. Heat the Cream: In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat until it gently simmers. Alternatively, you can heat the cream in the microwave, but be cautious to avoid letting it boil over. Watch it closely until it starts to bubble.
  2. Combine Cream and Chocolate: Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. This resting period allows the chocolate to melt smoothly and the cream’s temperature to lower. If you whisk too soon while the cream is still very hot, the ganache might become gritty.
chocolate chips and warmed cream in a small clear glass bowl.
  1. Stir Gently: After allowing time for the chocolate to melt, stir the cream and chocolate chips together slowly to create a smooth ganache.
melted chocolate in a small glass bowl.
  1. Top the Cake: Pour the finished ganache over the top of your chilled cake, spreading it to the edges for a beautiful, glossy finish.
pouring ganache over the top of a boston cream pie.

Final Step: Chilling the Cake

After adding the ganache, refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour. This allows it to firm up sufficiently for easy slicing. Ensuring the cake is properly chilled is key to achieving clean, neat slices and maintaining the integrity of each delicious layer.

Expert Tips

  1. Room Temperature Eggs: For both the pastry cream and cake, use eggs at room temperature. This helps the pastry cream cook more efficiently and makes the cake lighter and fluffier.
  2. Grease Ramekins Well: Generously apply softened butter to the ramekins before adding the cake batter. This step is crucial for ensuring the cakes can be easily and cleanly released after baking.
  3. Use the Right Size Ramekins: The ideal ramekins for this recipe are two 10-ounce ones, measuring about 4 inches in diameter and 1 ¾ inches in height. If the ramekins are larger, your cake layers will be thinner and bake more quickly. Conversely, smaller ramekins will produce thicker layers and require longer baking times.
  4. Alternative Baking Dish Option: A 5×5-inch baking dish is also a suitable alternative. With this size, you’ll create one single layer of cake, which you can then cut in half to form two layers.
  5. Continuous Whisking of Pastry Cream: When preparing the pastry cream, constant whisking is essential. Never leave it unattended on the stove. Continuous whisking promotes even thickening and prevents the formation of lumps.
a slice of boston cream pie on a plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover Boston Cream Pie?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Can I make a Boston Cream Pie in advance?

Yes, you can prepare each component a day ahead and assemble before serving. Keep in mind that if the chocolate ganache is prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, it will become firm. A great tip is to make the ganache closer to serving time, and then apply it to the cake. This way, the ganache will maintain its smooth and glossy consistency, enhancing the overall appeal of your dessert.

What if my ganache is too runny?

Let it cool and thicken a bit before pouring over the cake.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you’ve tried this Mini Boston Cream Pie or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

If you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Mini Boston Cream Pie

5 from 8 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Chill: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
This Mini Boston Cream Pie is actually not a pie at all. It consists of two light vanilla cake layers separated by glorious vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache. This mini cake is a smaller version of the classic recipe and is the perfect size for serving one or two people.

Ingredients  

For the Pastry Cream

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ tablespoon salted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter , melted
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup self-rising flour (See note below)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
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Instructions 

Make the Pastry Cream

  • Prepare the Egg Yolk: Begin by whisking the egg yolk in a small bowl and set it aside.
  • Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients: In a 1-quart saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, and milk until smooth.
  • Cook the Mixture: Place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly as the mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Keep whisking for an additional minute to ensure an even consistency.
  • Temper the Egg Yolk: To temper, gradually introduce the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk. Start by adding 1 teaspoon of the hot mixture into the egg yolk, whisking continuously. Slowly add the rest, teaspoon by teaspoon, to avoid cooking the egg. This process gently increases the egg's temperature without scrambling it.
  • Combine and Cook: Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Bring it to a light boil, stirring constantly, and let it cook for one minute.
  • Finish with Butter and Vanilla: Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
  • Chill the Pastry Cream: Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use as filling. This step ensures the cream is well-set and easy to work with.

Make the Cake

  • Preheat Oven: Start by heating your oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
  • Mix Wet Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, use an electric hand mixer on medium speed to beat together the butter, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add Flour: Gently mix in the self-rising flour for a few seconds, just until it's incorporated.
  • Incorporate Cream: Add the cream to the mixture and blend until smooth.
  • Prepare Ramekins: Evenly divide the batter between two 10-ounce ramekins.
  • Bake the Cake: Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of each cake; it should come out clean.
  • Cooling Process: After baking, let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile, check the pastry cream in the fridge. About 20 minutes before assembly, take out the pastry cream. If it's too thick or cold, it might not spread well.
  • Release Cakes from Ramekins: Once cooled, use a thin knife to loosen the edges of the cakes from the ramekins.
  • Level the Cakes (Optional): If the cakes have domed tops, you can level them with a sharp knife for a flat surface, which helps when layering with pastry cream and adding the second cake layer.

Assembling the Cake

  • Start with the First Layer: Place one layer of the cooled cake on your serving plate.
  • Add Pastry Cream: Spread the chilled and thickened pastry cream evenly over this first cake layer.
  • Top with Second Layer: Carefully place the second cake layer on top of the pastry cream and gently press down to secure it.
  • Chill Before Ganache: Put the assembled cake in the refrigerator while you prepare the chocolate ganache. This chilling step helps the layers to set and makes the final ganache topping easier to apply.

Make the Chocolate Ganache

  • Prepare Chocolate: Begin by placing the chocolate chips in a small bowl.
  • Heat the Cream: In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat until it gently simmers. Alternatively, you can heat the cream in the microwave, but be cautious to avoid letting it boil over. Watch it closely until it starts to bubble.
  • Combine Cream and Chocolate: Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. This resting period allows the chocolate to melt smoothly and the cream's temperature to lower. If you whisk too soon while the cream is still very hot, the ganache might become gritty.
  • Stir Gently: After allowing time for the chocolate to melt, stir the cream and chocolate chips together slowly to create a smooth ganache.
  • Top the Cake: Pour the finished ganache over the top of your chilled cake, spreading it to the edges for a beautiful, glossy finish.
  • Chill the Cake: After adding the ganache, refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour. This allows it to firm up sufficiently for easy slicing. Ensuring the cake is properly chilled is key to achieving clean, neat slices and maintaining the integrity of each delicious layer.

Video

Notes

Expert Tips
Room Temperature Eggs: Always use eggs at room temperature for both the pastry cream and the cake. This helps the cream to cook more efficiently and results in a lighter, more easily rising cake.
Grease Ramekins Properly: Before adding your cake batter, generously grease the ramekins with softened butter. This step is essential to ensure your cakes release smoothly from the ramekins after baking.
Use the Right Size Ramekins: The ideal ramekins for this recipe are two 10-ounce ones, measuring about 4 inches in diameter and 1 ¾ inches in height. If the ramekins are larger, your cake layers will be thinner and bake more quickly. Conversely, smaller ramekins will produce thicker layers and require longer baking times.
Alternative Baking Dish Option: A 5×5-inch baking dish is also a suitable alternative. With this size, you’ll create one single layer of cake, which you can then cut in half to form two square layers.
Constant Attention to Pastry Cream: When cooking the pastry cream, continuous whisking is critical. Never leave it unattended on the stove. This constant motion ensures even thickening of the cream and prevents lump formation.
 
Making Your Own Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour is a convenient blend of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. If you don’t have it in your pantry, you can easily make it yourself. Here’s a simple recipe that makes about one cup of self-rising flour:
Combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
For this Mini Boston Cream Pie recipe, you’ll need just ½ cup of this homemade self-rising flour. Store any remaining flour in a zip-top bag or an airtight container for future use.
This homemade version is a quick and easy substitute, ensuring you can still enjoy baking your cake without needing to run to the store for a special ingredient.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 446kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 124mg, Sodium: 168mg, Potassium: 178mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 948IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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8 Comments

  1. Jean Guarino says:

    This made a lovely birthday cake for my husband and me. Excellent step by step instructions, the resulting cake was tender and delicious. As a native Bostonian I’ve had many Boston cream pies and was happy that mine was every bit as good as others I’ve had and better than many. I love small dessert recipes, I can treat us to a yummy home baked treat and not have leftovers for days.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you so much, Jean. I’m so happy to know you and your husband enjoyed the dessert. I appreciate your feedback.

  2. Dave Dodrill says:

    My wife made it, and it’s as good as it looks, folks. The cake, the chocolate, the filling: all came out perfectly.

  3. Michele says:

    I made this today for my 35th anniversary. The ganache came out very very thin, I added 1/4 cup more melted choc. Chips.

  4. Maureen says:

    Can u double for a little larger cake ?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes.

  5. Kimberly Hashagen says:

    Can you use almond milk in the pastry cream?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Kimberly, I haven’t used almond milk as a substitute for cow’s milk in the pastry cream but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. The lower fat content in the almond milk might make the cream a bit thinner, so keep that in mind when you are making it.