Boston Cream Cupcakes

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Boston Cream Cupcakes are filled with luscious pastry cream and topped with rich chocolate ganache: a fun and fabulous homemade dessert for birthdays or any celebration.

boston cream cupcakes with ganache frosting

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: These chocolate-topped, cream-filled cupcakes go the extra mile. The cake is dense and moist with a sweet pastry cream filling. And the ganache on top is simple, but so elegant!

Update: We make these Boston Cream Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day every year. This year, I’ve updated the recipe with new tips and photos. 

pinterest button for boston cream cupcakes

How to Make Boston Cream Cupcakes

To make the moist chocolate cupcakes, you only need a hand whisk and a mixing bowl. Feel free to use a mixer if you like but it’s not necessary.

This cupcake recipe is a bit different from your classic recipe, however. The first step is to add boiling water to your chocolate and cocoa in a mixing bowl to melt the chocolate and dissolve the cocoa powder. Whisk well, and then be sure to refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes. The mixture has to cool before you add the eggs, or you risk cooking them!

making pastry cream steps

Pastry Cream Tips

If you haven’t made pastry cream before, it’s eaiser than you think and so delicious. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making the cream filling for your Boston Cream Cupcakes:

  • Once the milk mixture starts to boil it will start to thicken quickly, so keep an eye on your pot as you’re making the pastry cream. 
  • When you add 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to your eggs, you are “tempering” the mixture. This just means getting your eggs yolks warmed up so they don’t cook when added to the pan of hot milk.
  • When adding your tempered egg yolks to the hot milk, continually whisk so that the egg yolks keep moving and don’t cook or scramble.
  • When adding the butter and vanilla, whisk well until fully incorporated.
  • It’s important to cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap for storage. To do so, place the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream. This will help avoid a skin from forming on the surface of the pudding.
  • When making whipped cream, you only need to whip it into soft peaks. This means the whipped cream will be soft and pillowy. It will hold up and keep its shape without spreading out, but doesn’t need to be super stiff. 
  • The final step is to gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture. The mixture is fully mixed once all of the white streaks of whipped cream have disappeared and the mixture is a uniform light yellow color.
making chocolate ganache frosting

Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate ganache is a great back-pocket recipe for decorating cakes, cupcakes and cookies. It’s very fast and easy to make! Here are a few tips to help perfect your ganache:

  • Once you heat the cream and pour it over the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, let sit for 1-2 minutes. This will allow the hot cream to soften the chocolate prior to stirring. 
  • Then, when you stir, start in the center and stir in very small circular motions. As ganache starts to come together you can make larger circles. Mix until the ganache is smooth and uniform.
  • Before you decorate the cupcakes, the ganache should be at room temperature, but no cooler. 
  • Note that when you start to whip your ganache it will lighten a bit in color, this is normal.
filling chocoalte cupcakes with patry cream

Assembly Instructions

When your pastry cream, cupcakes and chocolate ganache are ready, you’re all set to assemble the cupcakes. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Using a cupcake plunger or a knife, core out a cavity in each cupcake. Keep the piece of cupcake you cored out. Don’t cut through the bottom of the cupcake if using a knife.
  2. Fill each cavity with pastry cream. I like to use a piping bag, but you can use a ziplock bag (cut the corner open). Or a spoon.
  3. Place the cored piece of cupcake on top of the pastry cream.
  4. Pipe whipped ganache onto each cupcake. Ganache is a tad thicker than buttercream so you may need to apply a bit more pressure when piping.
putting cupcake batter into a muffin tin

How to Store Letftover Cupcakes

Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. You can also freeze unfrosted, fully cooled treats in a freezer-safe container for up to six months. Defrost the cupcakes at room temperature for a few hours, then frost and enjoy!

sliced in half cream-filled cupcake

More Cupcake Recipes

Try these other hand-held desserts for St. Patrick’s Day or any day:

Boston Cream Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Boston Cream Cupcakes

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 49 minutes

Boston Cream Cupcakes with pastry cream and chocolate ganache are the perfect sweet treats for Saint Patrick's Day.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pastry Cream

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

Chocolate Ganache

  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup cream

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line standard-size muffin pan with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour boiling water over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.

Pastry Cream

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, flour and salt. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil. Cook for 2 minutes until thickened.
  2. Remove from stove. Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the hot mixture in the saucepan. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Transfer pudding mixture to a medium bowl. Cover with plastic; refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour or overnight.
  3. When pudding is chilled, whip cream to form soft peaks and gentle fold in to pudding. Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place half of the chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add remain chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted.
  2. Let ganache cool to room temperature, stirring often, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Beat it with a mixer on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes.

Notes

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake.

*I made the following high altitude adjustments: 2/3 cups granulated sugar and 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 401Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 204mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 35gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

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