This easy Boston cream pie recipe might be made with a boxed cake mix, but it tastes just as good as the bakery version, with a rich chocolate glaze and creamy vanilla custard in the middle!
Pin this recipe now to save it for laterPin Recipe
Boston cream pie really has more in common with chocolate cake than it does with a chocolate cream pie, but even without a flaky pastry crust or whipped cream topping, this is a dessert that has a lot going for it.
Our Boston cream pie is tender and soft, with a rich pudding filling that you will want to eat with a spoon before it even makes it to the pie. But the best thing about this cake is how incredibly easy it is to make.
The secret? Boxed cake mix and packaged vanilla pudding.
Easy Boston Cream Pie Recipe
I love simple desserts, especially when it comes to cakes. I don’t always have time to make cakes and pies from scratch, but I still believe that homemade is best. So what do I do? I take some shortcuts! I use boxed cake mixes to help me save a little time and still get that homemade taste I am looking for.
Yellow cake mix is my go-to for making this easy Boston cream pie recipe, but you can also use white cake mix. Both work well, I just like how yellow cake is richer and a little more dense.
You may notice that I use an extra egg in my cake mix compared to the box directions. I find this really helps with the texture of the cake and makes it more like a bakery-style Boston cream pie. Whole milk also is great for making the cake extra rich and decadent. (Learn more tricks for making boxed cake mix taste homemade!)
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Cake mix – You need one box of yellow cake mix for this recipe. The box should be a 15.25 ounce box, which is the standard size.
- Whole milk – Be sure to use whole milk rather than skim milk or water to make the cake mix. Whole milk really makes the cake taste homemade. It also makes the pudding nice and rich!
- Melted butter – Use unsalted butter, as the cake mix likely has salt already mixed in.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding – Regular vanilla or French vanilla—it’s up to you!
- Dark chocolate chips – Look for mini chocolate chips, which melt faster in the hot cream.
- Heavy cream
Chill the cake well before pouring the chocolate glaze over the top. When the cake is cold, the glaze will set faster and have a smoother look. Be sure to let the glaze drip down the sides a little bit, too.
How to Make Boston Cream Pie with Boxed Cake Mix
- Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to 350ºF and prepare two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray.
- Make the cake batter: Mix the boxed cake mix with the whole milk, eggs, and melted butter.
- Bake the cakes: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool.
- Trim the cakes: Once the cakes have cooled, carefully cut the tops off of the cakes to level them.
- Make the pudding: Whisk the pudding mix with the cold milk until it’s thick and creamy.
- Assemble the cake: Spread the pudding on one of the cakes, then place the second cake on top, making a pudding cake sandwich. Refrigerate the cake while you make the chocolate glaze.
- Make the chocolate glaze: Pour the mini chocolate chips into a bowl and pour the hot heavy cream over the chips. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Glaze the cake: Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, spreading it so it drips over the sides.
- Slice and serve: Refrigerate the cake until you are ready to slice and serve.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are my favorite ways to switch up the classic Boston cream pie. It is always fun to play around with a classic dessert like this!
- Use chocolate cake mix for a richer, even more chocolatey cake.
- Use chocolate pudding for a chocolate Boston cream pie recipe.
- Add fresh fruit on top of the pudding to make a fruity Boston cream pie.
- Use sugar-free cake and sugar-free pudding to make a delicious sugar-free Boston cream pie.
How to Store Boston Cream Pie
Once the Boston cream pie is assembled, it needs to be refrigerated. The pudding needs to be kept cold or it will spoil. It will also slice more easily when nice and cold.
Boston cream pie filling is made with vanilla pudding. It can be made with homemade vanilla custard as well but essentially, it is always a pudding!
The two are actually the same. Boston cream pie is technically a cake so it is sometimes called Boston cream cake. No matter what you call this delicious dessert, it is fantastic!
Boston cream pie is made with yellow cake. Yellow cake is made with whole eggs, while white cake is made with just egg whites. The extra yolks give the cake its yellow color and richer taste.
Boston Cream Pie with Boxed Cake Mix
- 1 15.25 oz box of vanilla cake mix
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 eggs
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- 1 ¼ cup cold whole milk
- 1 3.4 oz box of vanilla instant pudding
- 1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9 inch cake pans.
- Make the cake batter by whisking the cake mix, whole milk and eggs together until smooth. Slowly whisk in the butter.
- Pour the cake batter into the two greased cake pans then bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean, with no stick batter.
- Let the cakes cool.
- Once the cakes have cooled, gently cut the top off of each cake to make them level. You can discard (or eat) the cake tops.
- Make the vanilla pudding by whisking the cold milk and instant pudding together. The pudding will start to get thick right away. Cover and refrigerate the pudding until you are ready to use it.
- Once the cakes are cooled, pop them out of the pans. Place one of the cakes on a cake board or large plate.
- Scoop the cold vanilla pudding over the top of the cake on the plate, making it as even as possible.
- Place the second cake on top of the pudding covered cake.
- Place the mini dark chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl.
- Pour the heavy cream in a second, microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Keep an eye on the cream as it heats to make sure it doesn’t bubble over in the microwave.
- Pour the hot heavy cream over the mini chocolate chips and let sit for one minute.
- Whisk the chocolate into the cream until smooth.
- Pour the smooth chocolate glaze over the cake, covering the top and letting it drip down the sides a little bit.
- Place the cake in the fridge until you are ready to slice and serve!