These buttery vanilla cupcakes are filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache. If you love the flavors of Boston cream, you’ll love these Boston cream cupcakes!
Growing up, I was the odd kid who was all sorts of indifferent about doughnuts. Actually, I leaned more toward dislike than indifference (that still holds to this day). Doughnuts never did much of anything for me. Count me out on the funnel cake train, as well. The one exception to my doughnut dislike was Boston cream. Now those doughnuts I would gobble up and look for seconds. Seriously, if you fill just about anything with pastry cream and top it with chocolate, chances are, I’m going to eat it. Quite a few years ago, I baked a Boston cream pie for my grandma to commemorate her 91st birthday (new, improved recipe here) and, needless to say, it was an enormous hit. I had no doubt that a cupcake version would be just as good, and I was right. You just can’t go wrong with pastry cream and chocolate!
I actually think that these Boston cream cupcakes are better than a traditional Boston cream pie. You know me and my preference for a large frosting to cake ratio in my cupcakes. Well, the same holds true when we’re talking about pastry cream inside of a cupcake. The higher the pastry cream to cake ratio, the happier my taste buds are.
These cupcakes start with a fabulous, buttery vanilla cake recipe. Once the cupcakes have cooled, the insides are hollowed out and filled to the brim with pastry cream, then the entire top of the cupcake is smothered in a chocolate ganache glaze. While these cupcakes involve three different components, they come together quite easily and are a cinch to assemble.
If you’re as big of a fan as I am of cupcakes, pastry cream and chocolate, you absolutely cannot go wrong with these babies.
Since I’m still not gaga over doughnuts, I’ll just eat a few more Boston cream cupcakes in the meantime!
Make the Pastry Cream: Heat the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 15 seconds.
When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is completely melted. Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed. Add the butter one piece at time and mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla extract, increase the speed to medium, and mix until light and fluffy and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through.
Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Glaze: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, chocolate and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Set the glaze aside to cool and thicken at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Assemble the Cupcakes: Using a paring knife, cut into the center of the cupcake at a 45-degree angle about ⅛-inch from the edge and cut all the way around. Remove the cone and cut away all but the top ¼ inch, leaving a small disk of cake.
Fill the inside of each cupcake with pastry cream and top with the disk of cake. Spoon the chocolate glaze over top of each cupcake, covering the top completely. Refrigerate the cupcakes until the glaze is set, about 10 minutes. The cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.
This recipe was originally published on September 26, 2013. The only adjustment made was serving size; the original recipe listed 12 cupcakes and in subsequent testings, I’ve found that the batter yields closer to 18 cupcakes.