National Boston Cream Pie Day arrives on October 23. If you’ve never heard of Boston cream pie before, it’s a yellow butter cake, filled with custard or cream and topped with chocolate glaze. (Yum!) Now, we know what you’re thinking: Why is it called a pie, when it’s actually a cake?
History of National Boston Cream Pie Day
Well, when the Boston cream pie was first invented, cakes and pies were baked with the same kinds of pans, and even the words were used interchangeably. As a result, the Boston cream pie kept its old-fashioned name, in addition to its delicious flavor. It was first invented in 1856, by an Armenian-French chef named Sanzian. At the time, chocolate frosting was a fairly new idea, so the delicious dessert took the world by storm. And to this day, it remains a popular menu selection. It’s even the official dessert of Massachusetts! So get your fork at the ready—let’s eat! Back then the dish consisted of French butter sponge cake filled with thick custard and brushed with a rum syrup. The same custard overlaid with toasted sliced almonds coated the sides, while chocolate fondant topped it all off. While other custard cakes may have existed at that time, baking chocolate as a coating was a new process, making it unique and a popular choice on the menu. According to the website, What’s Cooking America,: “Cooks in New England and Pennsylvania Dutch regions were known for their cakes and pies and the dividing line between them was very thin. This cake was probably called a pie because in the mid-19th century, pie tins were more common than cake pans. The first versions might have been baked in pie tins. Boston Cream Pie is a remake of the early American”Pudding-cake pie.”
National Boston Cream Pie Day timeline
French chef Sanzian invents the Boston cream pie for The Parker House Hotel (now the Omni Parker House Hotel) in, ummm, Boston.
Massachusetts names the Boston cream pie as the official “state dessert.” A civics class from Norton High School sponsored the bill. The pie beat out other candidates, including the toll- house cookie and Indian pudding.
Students at Southern New Hampshire University created the world’s largest Boston Cream Pie — measuring 10 feet wide and 1.5 feet high
Author Robert Cox publishes the definitive history of New England pie making. Discover the “revolutionary” roots of the Boston cream pie.
National Boston Cream Pie Day FAQs
Is Boston cream pie a cake?
Why, yes. It’s a yellow butter cake, filled with custard or cream and topped with chocolate glaze.
Why do we refer to Boston cream pie as pie?
This cake was probably called a pie because in the mid-19th century, pie tins were more common than cake pans. The first versions might have been baked in pie tins.
What are Boston’s other signature foods?
Clam chowder, lobster rolls, oysters, baked beans, fish and chips, and the Fenway Frank — for hungry Red Sox fans.
National Boston Cream Pie Day Activities
Bake your own
If you’re someone who loves to bake, then this is the perfect opportunity to give a delicious dessert a try. If you’re trying it for the first time, or if you’re improving on an old favorite, baking your own Boston cream pie is the perfect way to celebrate.
Throw a Boston cream party
Invite your fellow cake enthusiasts to join you in celebrating Massachusetts’ official dessert. Bring along other Boston-themed foods as well — such as clam chowder, lobster, and Sam Adams beer (if your guests are of age). And if you really want to give it that revolutionary vibe, invite your guests to party in period-style clothing!
Go to Boston
Well, what better place to get an authentic Boston cream pie than in its official birthplace? And while you’re there, check out some of the other excellent experiences that Boston has to offer.
Why We Love National Boston Cream Pie Day
The recipe is so simple — you really only need three ingredients — and yet there's something about the combination of chocolate, cake, and custard that's so comforting and tasty. Not only that, but the simplicity of the ingredients gives you a lot of room to experiment. How many ways can you jazz up a Boston cream pie?
It’s got a rich history
Boston has always been a rich cultural hub. It was the site of some of the most important events in the Revolutionary War, and has continued to be the birthplace of American traditions ever since. With every bite of a Boston cream pie, you are continuing a tradition of wicked Bostonian trend-setting and innovation that's 260 years strong.
Let us eat cake
You don't really need an excuse to eat cake — but it's handy to have one sometimes. So go ahead and treat yourself.
National Boston Cream Pie Day dates