I have an issue with Boston Cream Pie.
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Boston Cream Pie.
But it is NOT pie.
It is, unequivocally, cake. Cake on the bottom, creamy vanilla custard in the middle, cake on the top, and chocolate ganache all over. Right? Where’s the question? Why is this called PIE? THIS is pie:
So maybe I’m a stickler for word choice. This gets me in trouble with Rick a lot because I like to tell him to stop being so nit-picky about semantics and he’s all like “WHATEVER word freak!” And I’m like, “but it’s different.” And he’s like, “No, it’s the same!” But it’s different. Like Boston Cream Pie – it’s not pie, it’s cake. Same difference?
Several times I’ve almost been compelled to petition my state rep to legislate the use of certain words. See, “insurance” and “bank” can only be used by certain regulated entities. Well, I’m not suggesting that the words “pie” and “cake” be legislated but the word “resort” should be. Have you ever driven up the Lake Huron coast? Srsly, there are “beach resorts” up and down the lake, and I. am. sorry. but none of them are even close to what I would call a “resort.” No pool, no spa, no tiki bar, no concierge… Three little cabins and a firepit do not a resort make.
THIS is a resort:
Ahh… San Pedro, Belize… resorts on resorts for miles… Jeez, it’s not even December and I’m already delving back into my Caribbean photos from last spring? Oh boy.
Anyway, this weekend I made a Thanksgiving-inspired cake that’s a lot like Boston Cream Pie – cake, creamy filling, chocolate ganache.
But because it uses pumpkin, I think it tends a tad bit more toward the pie end of the scale than straight-up Boston Cream Pie. No? Okay, whatever, it’s a cake. A gorgeous 4-layer chocolate chip pumpkin cake filled with light & creamy autumn-spice Swiss meringue buttercream, drenched in semi-sweet chocolate ganache.
I made a 6″ cake and 6 cupcakes.
Chocolate-chip Pumpkin Cake slightly adapted from this one from Allrecipes.
1 boxed cake mix (white or yellow)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each: cloves, nutmeg, powdered ginger
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Here’s my secret to creating the perfectly-textured cake from a boxed mix: use room-temp eggs (sit in the shells for 10-15 minutes in warm water) and blend all the liquid ingredients for a minute or so with a hand mixer. Then blend the wet ingredients (in this case, pumpkin included) into the dry mix (with the spices whisked in) for a minute & a half. Fold in the chocolate chips at the end.
Divide batter evenly between 2 – 8″ round pans (or 2-6″ pans and 6-7 cupcakes). Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or more until a toothpick comes out with a bit of melted chocolate & a few crumbs sticking to it, but no wet cake batter. I check it frequently in the last 10 minutes so as not to overbake.
Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin, sharp knife (non-serrated) around the edge of the cake in the pan and then overturn to remove. Cool completely on a wire rack. Then slice the rounded top of one of the layers (eat the scraps as a means of quality control) and then carefully & evenly slice each layer in half to create 4 layers. Stack with a thick layer of Autumn-spice Swiss Meringue Buttercream (already shared this one here) betwen the layers. Save the one rounded top half for the very top. Chill for a few minutes before topping the whole stack with a thick coating of chocolate ganache & a few messy frosting stars (I don’t have the heart to throw good frosting down the drain).
Here’s my fail-safe version of ganache:
Simple Microwave Chocolate Ganache
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk (I always use skim because it’s the only milk we ever have)
1 tsp vegetable oil (to make up for the lack of fat in the milk)
Put all the ingredients into a heavy glass bowl or pyrex measuring cup. Melt on high for 20 seconds, whisk lightly, and nuke for another 20 seconds if necessary – which it probably IS NOT. The milk will heat up to a perfectly warm enough temp to slowly melt the chocolate with only20-30 seconds in the microwave. Just be a little patient with it. Then cool for a few minutes in the fridge to set up to a little thicker consistency. Cool the stacked cake at the same time, and when you pour on the ganache it will set nicely and not run all over the counter.
This got rave reviews at the office, regardless of whether it’s cake or pie. But maybe I’ll take it upon myself to create a scale or spectrum of desserts ranging from the classic pumpkin pie on one end and wedding cake on the other. Input? This might take a while…