Boston Cream Fail

This may very well be the worst looking cake I've ever made in my life.  There are so many things that went wrong with it, it just seemed doomed.
I've been a sad, sad cake.
I used a yellow cake mix, and like I have many times before, I had planned to use it to make two standard Boston Cream Pies, by splitting them, filling with vanilla custard and topping with chocolate glaze.

I started out with everything going well, with my eggs at room temperature and everything ready to go, including Rosie's stool so she could help me.

Unfortunately, a number of things went wrong...

1. The cakes rose too much with super high domes. Probably from using cheap "disposable" aluminum pans (based on my research on what went wrong), but that's a whole 'nother story.

2. I used 9" pans instead of 8" pans, and my layers came out much thinner than I'd expected. Amazing how much difference in layers that little 1" in pan size can make.

3. I decided to trim off the domes and make a four layer cake with thin layers, but after trimming and splitting the first cake, it began to fall apart, so I decided to keep the second cake intact and make three layers with a curved top, nice and pretty for the glaze to drip off...

4. When filling the cake, the layers started falling apart, and I had to piece the middle layer back together, mushing into the pudding as I went, and even after getting it stacked, had pieces crumbling off the edge.  This may have been due to the over rising. Oh well, I put it in the refrigerator to chill.

5. I tried a new recipe for glaze, as I needed something simple made out of cocoa powder, as I didn't have any chocolate chips or baking chocolate as called for in many recipes. The glaze I made was good, but the directions said to pour over the cake while still warm. I did, but it slid right off and made a big moat on the plate around the edge.

6. So I chilled it again, and then grabbed a spoon and scooped the glaze from around the edge of the plate back over the top of the cake and popped it back in the fridge.

7. Some time later that night, after I'd gone to sleep, hubby must have jostled it while it was in the refrigerator, and gotten the plate slightly tilted, because the next morning the cake looked like the Leaning Tower of Boston. It looked even when I put it in, but all that pudding and glaze really made it lean.

8. At some point during the next day, my five year old had gotten into the cake (I don't even remember her being in the kitchen on her own that long) and eaten all of the chocolate glaze off the top. After all the gooping it back on top, it had made a thick layer that peeled off like ganache, so luckily the whole cake wasn't gouged up. I made a quick  half batch of glaze and then poured that over to recover it.

And again...this is the sad result:
The Great Leaning Tower of Boston
This is what it looked like inside:

It looked a little better. Except for the broken up middle layer. And the reaaaalllly tall top layer. In fact, all the filling was down towards the bottom between two thin layers, and then that one thick layer without filling. But that was OK, it had chocolate :)

All in all, though, despite how it looked, it tasted delicious. Really delicious. So I guess the big, take-home lesson here is that it doesn't have to look good to taste good. Or pretty is as pretty does.

Oh, and yes, that's my sofa in the background. Cuz I was eating my cake in the family room...isn't that where you eat yours?


  1. Actually, it looks delicious!! I get wretchedly cranky whenever I have a cooking fail. I remember throwing some pizza dough across the room when I was a new bride and couldn't get it to roll out. I had a completely embarrassing tantrum! Really, though, you cannot go wrong when sugar and lots of yummy fat are involved. You just can't! I have this cookbook that suggests beginning the learning to cook process with the world of desserts, for this very reason.

    I never thought about using boxed mix for a Boston Cream Pie. That stuff is outrageously delicious. I just tried using a mix for Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and it worked like a charm. It was actually the cheap Aldi brand! Even better. I'm totally trying this. You're growing my "must make" list, Miracle Mommy! :)

  2. Thanks...but don't even pretend that looked good, lol, it still makes me laugh yet kinda grosses me out each time I look at the pictures.

    When I was young, one of the cake mix companies (Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker) made a packaged mix for Boston Cream Pie, with a small cake mix to make a one layer yellow cake that you then split, a packet of filling that you mixed with milk, and a packet of glaze that you mixed (I think) with water and poured on top. That was the first dessert that I made "all by my self" without my mom supervising, except for a preliminary review of the instructions.

    Over the years, I've eaten it from various bakeries and restaurants, and tried a few different recipes, most of which were pretty good or delicious, but I still kept trying to replicate the taste of that box mix from my childhood (that is no longer made). I finally got inspired to try a cake mix and fill it with Jello brand vanilla pudding, and that was it! Apparently I was craving crappy mass produced cake over gourmet bakery cake, lol. I also like to make the glaze with canned chocolate frosting that I heat and thin with just a spoon of milk or half & half, but had forgotten to buy some at the store.

    I have a handful of cake recipes that I make from scratch, but honestly, in most cases I really like cake mix cake!


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