Parker House Boston Cream Pie

courtesy of Omni Parker House

Boston’s Parker House Hotel, currently named Omni Parker House, opened in October 1856. Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian was the original chef at Parker’s Restaurant. He created the wonderful confectionery delight  “Boston Cream Pie.” This dessert is still being served at Parker’s restaurant. Wouldn’t it be fun to enjoy some while seated at Table 40, where JFK proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier?

When the Parker House opened, chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings. I for one am very grateful that chef Sanzian envisioned a chocolate icing for his new dessert. This may have contributed to its quickly spreading popularity. Of course it has a few other great features! Boston Cream Pie is not a pie at all, but a two layer golden cake filled with pastry cream.

Here is the recipe for Parker House Boston Cream Pie. Enjoy!

Parker House Boston Cream Pie

Parker House Boston Cream Pie


    For Sponge Cake
  • 1/3 cup butter, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for pans
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Cream Filling
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • For Chocolate Icing
  • 1/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 7 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped


    For Sponge Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, and line with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and sprinkle with sugar, tapping out excess; set aside.
  2. Cream 1/3 cup butter; beat in 1 cup sugar. When this is well incorporated, beat in 1 egg until the mixture is very light.
  3. Sift together twice: 2 cups sifted cake flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Mix 3/4 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating them a few times, until all of both have been incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the two 8- or 9-inch greased cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven about 25 minutes, or until the cakes spring back from light finger pressure in the center.
  7. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes; then loosen the edges with a knife, and turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  8. For Cream Filling
  9. Beat 2 eggs lightly with a fork. Add them to a saucepan.
  10. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups scalded milk.
  11. Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture has boiled for 1 minute.
  12. Let cool slightly; stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon butter.
  13. Cool thoroughly.
  14. For Chocolate Icing
  15. In a small, heavy saucepan, add the cream and bring just to a boil; immediately remove from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate, stirring with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth.
  16. Use the Chocolate Icing while still warm.
  17. To Assemble
  18. Spread the Cream Filling between the cake layers.
  19. Top the cake with the Chocolate Icing. Note: If the Chocolate Icing has cooled, gently re-warm before using.

  • Christy King

    That sure looks good. I am never going to catch up with all the recipes I want to try!

  • Hi Christy, I too will never catch up! This is a recipe that my Mom found in the Boston Globe many years back. It really is excellent!
    Thanks for reading and commenting. Cheers! Carol

  • Emily Ensley

    Hello Carol – so happy to find your wonderful site while searching for the recipe of my childhood! Do you happen to know what year this one may have been published in the Globe? (My search of their archives brought up references between 1904 and 1979!) Thank you! Either way, looks like I need to bake one more…!

    • Hello Emily, Let’s see … I am now 69, my Mom found this sometime during my childhood, so that would have been the early 1950’s. I’m so glad that you were able to find this recipe, and hope it brings you some wonderful memories.

      I’m happy that you found our blog, and hope you will visit often.

      Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, and many blessings in the New Year.

      • Emily Ensley

        Sounds like this could very well the ‘the one!’ Thank you for responding, Carol. Yours is the first blog I’ve commented on!

        Wishing the same for you!

        • Hi Emily, Michele and I feel honored that you decided to comment. We are constantly trying to figure out how to best serve our readers, so feedback is great!
          Happy New Year!
          Carol & Michele

  • Pingback: Favorite Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake - Snippets of Inspiration()

  • Pingback: Old-Fashioned Cookie Favorites » Ahh The Simple Life()