Sunday, October 14, 2012
Happy Sunday! Today brings an "out of the box" type of Wedding Cake. This one was for a small family occasion with only 11 people in attendance. The theme was Mexican Fiesta but the cake was a nod to the Southern background of the family as well.
For some a white buttercream or fondant covered cake just isn't what they had in mind for their wedding day. In this instance, the Boston Creme Pie, is a family favorite and a treat that is not had too often so it was the perfect choice for this day.
I had to do some research to find out why this dessert, which is clearly a cake, is called a pie. Turns out that in the mid Nineteenth Century there were a whole lot more pie tins than cake pans around so many cakes were baked in pie tins instead. The Parker House Hotel in Boston is credited with the creation of this amazing dessert and still makes and serves it to this day, even though the hotel is now part of the Omni line.
Somehow this became one of those Southern Desserts that is so popular along with "Ice Box Cake" but it's not so well known out here in California. I have had Boston Creme Pies several times in my life because it was my Dad's favorite. Raised in Tennessee it was something his Aunt made from time to time. So over the years this yellow cake filled with vanilla pudding and topped off with ganache appeared from time to time on our table but I had never made one, until now.
It's a standard vanilla cake recipe but with an extra egg added to firm up the texture a bit. Even if you don't make homemade vanilla pudding you can use the box instant kind. It doesn't taste as rich but it works in a pinch. Homemade vanilla pudding isn't the easiest thing for a beginning cook to make but it's worth the hassle. Lastly is ganache. That is a 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream recipe. Just break up the chocolate, I like to use dark chocolate, and then pour over the heated cream. Let that melt for about 30 seconds and then stir till smooth and glossy. It will be too runny to pour over the cake at this point. You will need to let it cool down and thicken up for at least 20 minutes before you can pour it over. The recipe I have literally says: bake a cake, split and fill with vanilla pudding and top with a chocolate sauce like ganache. Yup, that simple.
Now traveling with this is dicey. I only had about a 40 minute drive but I decided to put a skewer down the middle of the top to hold this cake together for the trip. With the filling being such a soft filling it would be natural for the cake to start to slide. Using the skewer holds the top to the bottom until you arrive at the venue. When you pull the skewer out just swirl the ganache to make a little point on top for decoration.
The soft filling also makes this cake a challenge to cut. This is what I do. I cut the first slice and then insert the guests fork on one side as I cut the other side to form a wedge shape. Then the fork makes a good reinforcement for laying the cake onto the plate. The fork ends up under the cake slice and the slice is all in one piece. Keep working your way around the cake in this fashion until the very last slice. As you cut that last wedge into two pieces another hand with a fork is a handy thing to have. So you end up with a fork on each side of the big wedge and then when you cut in between them you just let the two slices fall onto the forks for serving.
After a spicy dinner of chile rellenos, beans, rice, salsa, quesadillas and Mexican casserole, the Boston Creme Pie was a cooling creamy treat at the end of the night. It was a fun celebration and we are very happy to have been included.
Next week is a fun cake...a Game Box Birthday Cake! I'm keeping which game it is a secret until next Sunday!