The Mysterious Origins Of The Boston Cream Pie

Despite the name, Boston cream pie is a traditional American cake that consists of two layers of sponge cake filled with a rich vanilla custard or pastry cream. The cake is finished off with a rich chocolate glaze, and some bakers choose to sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top. Today, there are many versions of the cake, some of them made with three layers, while others soak the cakes in rum syrup or sprinkle them with liqueur. You can find this dessert among Mashed's absolute best desserts in every state, and we're sure you can guess which state takes this cake.

Once prepared, this decadent treat is cut into wedges and served just like a pie. According to Cook's Info, Boston cream pie has been Massachusetts' official dessert since December 12, 1996. However, many people are still confused about the origins of Boston cream pie. Reader's Digest has us all wondering if it really was invented in Boston and why is it called a pie when it's obviously a cake and has no crust at all?

Origins of a cake that was baked in pie tins

It's believed that the cake was called a pie due to the fact that pie tins were more available and used more often than cake pans in the mid-19th century, so the first versions of the cake were probably baked in pie tins. A French chef named Sanzian is thought to be the inventor of Boston cream pie. In 1856, he was hired for the opening of the Parker House Hotel, where the cake was originally served. However, back then, the cake was known as Chocolate Cream Pie or Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie (via What's Cooking America). 

In 1882, Marion Harland published a recipe for Boston Cream Cakes in her "Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery." As years passed, this classic cake became wildly popular not just in Massachusetts, but throughout the country. Boston cream pie also became the one recipe that took Ina Garten six years to get right, but that's no reason to feel intimidated, and if you'd like to try your hand at one — here's the original Parker House recipe.