Boston Cream Pi

Every year since college I have helped to organize a Pi Day celebration at my workplace. For those of you not in the know, pi is the the term mathematicians use to refer to the ratio of a circle's diameter to its circumference. Since the value of pi is approximately 3.14, dorks like me all over the world celebrate Pi Day on March 14th. (I could blame my high school math teachers for starting me on this path, but it's a tradition I've proudly carried on myself for over a decade, so I guess it's mostly my fault.)

The best (and tastiest!) way to celebrate Pi Day is to bake a pie. This year I settled on a Boston cream pie. As is often the case with my cooking adventures, I had never made one before, and I wasn't going to use a recipe. I think it makes things more fun that way. Actually, I kept things pretty simple. Here are my ingredients:

Yellow cake mix (I used this, but any kind will do)
1 box vanilla pudding, prepared
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 8oz bag chocolate chips

I prepared and baked the cake mix as directed, using 8" round cake tins. When they came out of the oven I let them cool and then sliced the rounded tops off so I was left with two flat disks of cake.

While the cake was cooling I started on the pudding. I used french vanilla, but the color was exactly the same as the cake, so next time I will use plain vanilla. Again, I made this according to the instructions on the box, but NOT the pudding instructions. I used the pie instructions so it would be a little thicker.

When the pudding was set and the cake was cooled and sliced I started my assembly. I stacked my cakes so that the top (sliced) side faced down. I did this mostly so the top of the cake would be as smooth as possible so the ganache would look pretty. I only used about half of the pudding here, but don't worry, I found a home for it later.

Next up was the ganache, the only part I was truly worried about. Ganache is just a fancy chocolate frosting made with cream and chocolate. I filled a saucepan with water, stuck it on the stove on high, and put a glass bowl on top. Voila, makeshift double-boiler. The cream went into the bowl, and I stirred it every 20-30 seconds or so until it was really hot. I used my pinkie to test the temp and figured it was good when it was rather hot to the touch. It wasn't boiling yet, though. At this point I took the bowl off of the double-boiler and poured my chocolate chips into the bowl. I let it sit by itself for a few minutes to give the chocolate a chance to heat up a little, and then I started whisking it to finish the melting. When I was done the ganache was thicker than chocolate syrup, but runnier than a traditional frosting would be. Then I put the ganache on the cake. I covered just the top and let it drip down the sides. I think it gives a nice effect.

Chocolate Ganache on Foodista

Since it was Pi Day I cut out a paper template and sifted some powdered sugar on top in the shape of the pi symbol.

And remember the leftover pudding? Well there was leftover ganache, too. I mixed half of the ganache with the pudding to make some awesomely tasty chocolate pudding, and I used the rest for some hot chocolate.

For the nutrition info and to see how to make some healthy substitutions for this recipe check out my note on Facebook here.


  1. Great recipe. Wasn't this the one that got you a marriage proposal?

  2. Yes, this would be that cake.

  3. Meg, I love it.


  4. Ever come across a cappuccino pie for the caffeine freaks like me?

  5. Hmm, I don't think I've ever seen one before. I might be able to dream something up, though.

  6. I know today isn't Pi Day, but I don't care. I'm going to make this anyway! Thanks so much for this fun idea! :)


  7. Well I see this is an older post...but the picture caught my eye (from one baker to another) Just stopping by to wish you a great day and hello from a fellow Dream Team 2011 member!




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