Boston Cream Pie
Dessert - Musings

Why Is It Called Boston Cream PIE?

Last updated on May 19, 2019 by Liza Hawkins

How it was first coined Boston Cream Pie remains an enigma, but one thing’s for certain: this dessert’s absolutely delicious.

Classic Boston Cream Pie with chocolate ganache.

Today happens to be National Boston Cream Pie Day, in case you didn’t already know.

This is one of my favorite desserts, hands down, in all the different modern forms: cupcakes, donuts, mini cakes, etc.


From chocolate ganache as a frosting and the simple yellow sponge cake layers, to the creamy vanilla custard filling, what’s not to love?

My parents are big fans too, and Boston Cream Pie happens to be their wedding cake—a memory that’s extra special since this year marks forty years of marriage for them!

Mini Boston Cream Pie cakes.


Why is it called Boston Cream PIE?

The question I’ve always had in the back of my mind every time I order a slice: 

“Why is it called Boston Cream PIE?”

I mean, we’re talking about a dessert that’s essentially a simple layered cake with custard spread in the middle.

Nothing about that screams “PIE!” It doesn’t even *look* like a pie.

It’s totally a cake. A cake with at least two layers.

And for someone like me who shudders at the thought of a thick slathering of icing, this ganache-covered beauty is perfection.

And the custard, pudding, creamy vanilla-y inside?

Is it dessert time yet?

A brief and potentially inaccurate history lesson.

I decided to browse good ole Google to see if I could glean why this fabulous cake concoction has forever been branded a pie, and here some speculations I found—who knows if they’re true, but it’s better than nothing!

  • In the olden days (think New England colonies), families only used pie tins to bake. When this dessert was first crafted—as a pudding pie cakeit was made in a pie tin.
  • A New York newspaper first ran the recipe as “Pudding Pie Cake” back in 1855.
  • Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian was credited for creating the first Boston Cream Pie in 1856 at the Parker House Hotel.

Of the three, I’m inclined to believe the last one to be most true.

Or at least most believable.

Oh, who knows.

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

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