Boston Cream Pie Birthday











This year my son was turning 12 and his request for a dessert was a Boston Cream Pie.  I thought it was kind of out there and not sure he had tasted one before but his sister and I were ready to oblige.  Of course since his b-day is in the summer it’s always a very busy day and when you factor in all the other things such as camp drop shuttling and family in town there never seems to be enough time for a scratch b-day cake… especially a Boston Cream Pie.  Also I’m not sure why it’s called a pie.  It is clearly a cake.


Thankfully I found a recipe that makes the cake with a few shortcuts.  I would usually avoid a birthday cake mix at all costs, however I found an organic, all natural mix by Immaculate Baking Company (no chemicals, additives, GMO’s) at Whole Foods.  That wasn’t my only shortcut however.  No time to do the scratch cream this recipe calls for vanilla pudding.  Believe it or not my son hasn’t had vanilla pudding.  Funny, but pudding just doesn’t seem to come up the way it did in the 70’s in my childhood.  It also means since he’s not a big Boston Cream Pie connoisseur, the pudding would certainly suffice and be yummy and new to him.

My daughter and I had a great time making and assembling the layers.  We did use high quality dark chocolate for the frosting.  No need to short cut there.  And I must say it was pretty impressive looking, and very tasty.

Funny thing was my son didn’t recognize it as what he had asked for.  When he saw it he said “Wow, that looks great.  What kind of cake is that?”  Huh?  Apparently after some discussion what he was really wanting was a chocolate cream pie, as in a true pie with a crust and chocolate meringue.  Of well.  Now he has another new favorite dessert to add to his repertoire and now we’ll have to make a chocolate cream pie so he realizes the difference.

Here’s the Recipe I found and made from Taste of

Boston Cream Pie

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. + cooling Bake: 30 min.
MAKES: 6-8 servings


  • 1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water


  1. Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
  2. Bake at 350° for 28-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing cake from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Stir in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve a thick glaze; set aside.
  5. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with pudding. Top with the second cake layer. Spoon chocolate glaze over the top, allowing it to drip down sides of cake. Refrigerate until serving.  




Happy 8 and 48, with Single Layer Cake Recipe

Well she’s not a baby anymore.  I can’t believe my daughter is 8.  Turning 8 also coincided with finally being 48 inches.  I say “finally” because she has been waiting for that height.  48 inches opens many doors to kids, such as the slide at the community pool, a host of carnival rides and being able to drive an indoor go cart.  This is what she wanted to do to celebrate her day.  That and making a birthday cake of course.

I went to my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that I’ve had for 20 plus years and found this recipe for a Busy Day Cake (aren’t they all?).  This was a super easy single layer cake that was perfect for last minute making and decorating.  We omitted the broiled coconut topping and went with a classic buttercream frosting.  Which of course we needed multiple colors.  The birthday girl and brother did it all by themselves.  They did a lovely and tasty job.


Busy Day Cake

Makes 8 servings

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cups sugar

2 teasponns baking powder

2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl combine flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add milk, butter, egg and vanilla.  Beat on low speed with electric mixture till combined.  Beat on medium speed for additional 1 minute.  Pour batter into greased and floured 8 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pan.

Bake in 350F oven for 25 to 390 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove cake from pan.  Cool thoroughly, then frost and decorate.




Happy 6th Birthday – with Mac and Cheese Recipe

My daughter turned 6 over the weekend.  She celebrated by having two friends over for dinner and a sleep-over.  My daughter, being my daughter, had lots of opinions regarding her menu.  She wanted to serve “macaroni with cheese”, veggies with dips, lemonade, peace sign pretzels (found at Whole Foods) and a double layer lemon cake.  I say macaroni and cheese in quotes because sometimes it’s penne with gruyere or shells with white cheddar or a mix of left-over pasta and what I have on hand cheeses.  However I’ve made “macaroni and cheese” for some kid guests, who will not touch it if it doesn’t look like “the box” version.  So I consulted recipes for one that seemed the most orange and box looking.  I decided on one from my Real Simple Cooking app with a few changes and omissions (no jalapeno peppers, thanks).  Funny my daughter said it was the best recipe yet.  I think the secret ingredient is the mustard.  I wonder if mixed with the dried fake cheese is mustard powder?  See recipe below…

mac and cheese - the real deal

1 lb elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard

1/2 pound extra sharp cheese, grated, 2 cups

1/4 cup parmesan, grated

Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions. Drain well, return to pot and set aside.

In a medium sausepan melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour to make a paste.

Whisk in milk and heat to boiling.(careful not to over boil)

Add the mustard and cheeses and whisk until smooth.

Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and toss. Heat to warn through if necessary.


(Much to my daughter’s chagrin there was a roast chicken at her birthday dinner as my husband is not eating cheese and one of her guest’s doesn’t like mac and cheese either.  She got over it and no one starved.)


I have no idea where the lemon cake idea came to her.  If I made a lemon cake it’s been pound cake or lemon bread, but not double layer, that I can remember.  I cruised my cookbooks and the internet and found a few options.  I combined a few ideas and I must say it was quite yummy.  The cake had one half cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice which gave it a nice lemon flavor.  The frosting was a simple whipped cream and confectioner’s sugar mixture.  Then the filling between the layers was two parts cream frosting mixed with one part lemon curd.  The lemon curd was not homemade but a favorite from Trader Joe’s.  The girls had a lovely time decorating it.  I took a few photos of before the decor.  It could’ve been decorated with fresh or sugar flowers, but that’s not what makes a six year old smile.  My daughter chose a beach and peace sign theme, so there was beach sand of colored sugar, ocean of clue colored pearls, plastic retro surfers, sugar peace signs and the most ridiculous candle you’ve ever seen.  She was so excited to find the candle at our favorite cake decorating store (Cake Art in San Rafael), after seeing it at a friend’s party (who bought it on eBay!)  It shoots a flame (I blinked and missed a photo op) then spins around lighting candles and playing Happy Birthday.  The music is like a baby toy – high pitched and annoying.   When it wouldn’t stop, my husband had to cut a wire inside.

My husband is usually in charge of breakfast on the weekends, so my daughter put her birthday order in with him too – waffles with berries and whipped cream.  The girls were happy and I got to use some of the extra cream I’d whipped the night before.  However one girl said how she liked to spray “the can” in her mouth.  My daughter tried to explain there was no can.  Not sure her friend believed her.