Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie

I hate to waste food. HATE it. I will literally eat leftovers that are on the verge of spoiling, even things that I didn’t like very much in the first place, rather than throw them out. (Of course, my ideal solution to that problem is to make Jason eat them instead, but sometimes he outsmarts me and sticks me with leftover duty instead.)

So because I am apparently a child of the Great Depression, whenever I have ingredients left over from other projects, I try to find ways to use them in other recipes instead of throwing them out. This sometimes makes me feel like a virtuous food ninja, but sometimes it’s a little silly, like when I made several batches of Swiss meringue buttercream recently and was scrambling to find something to do with over a dozen egg yolks.

Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie |

I became a curd and pastry cream-making machine, cranking out my yolk-based desserts recipes rather than toss a few of the yolks. (Now, whether this is actually financially responsible is another question, since I ended up adding a bunch of butter, cream, sugar, and other expensive ingredients to my $.50-cent yolks…but that’s another blog post for another time.)

My original plan for the pastry cream was a crème brulee tart in puff pastry, which taught me a few important lessons: there is no easy way to brulee a tart top without burning the crust too, and anything you try is bound to either a) fail b) burn your fingers or c) probably both.

Back to the drawing board! I now had pastry cream languishing in my fridge, threatening to go bad, which was even more guilt-inducing than plain egg yolks. Finally, I hit on the idea of a Boston cream pie. Hallelujah, my pastry cream found a home at last!

Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie |

Boston cream pie should win some sort of award for Best Deceptive Name, Dessert Category. It is in fact not a pie at all, but rather a light yellow cake filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate glaze. It was invented in Boston, and is apparently the official dessert of Massachusetts, but as Wikipedia helpfully told me, “it is not  mass-produced in Boston.” So put the thought of mail-ordering those mass-produced Boston cream pies out of your pretty little head.

Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie |

Regular Boston cream pie is a little plain for my tastes, so I decided to add a few more flavors and make an Almond Joy version. The cake is based on a wonderfully soft and fluffy almond cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible. I know I talk about this book a lot, but that’s only because I think it’s so incredible—any self-respecting cake enthusiast needs it in her kitchen. Every recipe I’ve tried from the book works perfectly, and it’s the first resource I turn to any time I need to make a large tiered cake for a wedding or party.

Aaaanyhow, Beranbaum’s a genius, love her book, buy it, let’s move on. So the cake is a light, moist almond cake with both almond extract and ground almonds in the batter. The cream center is coconut-flavored, with plenty of shredded coconut in every bite. And the semi-sweet chocolate glaze brings them both together, with a handful of chopped almonds and some shredded coconut on top for good measure.

Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie |

I made and assembled the whole thing in the course of one afternoon, which is totally do-able work-wise, but might be a little ambitious considering the cooling time some of the components need. Nonetheless, it’s an easy cake to whip up and one that’s totally fancy enough to serve to company or as part of a special occasion! Birthday party cake for an Almond Joy lover, perhaps? The almond and coconut flavors really elevate the cake and make it seem more intricate and involved than it actually is, and the pastry cream in the center keeps the cake moist for days.

I shared it with friends, and after I dropped it off I got a text saying, “What did we DO to deserve this?!” Which admittedly could be read two ways, but they assured me they meant it as a compliment, and said it was one of the best desserts they’ve had in a long time.

Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie |

Check out A New Twist on Pies

by Elizabeth LaBau at

You may be wondering about the pie slideshow above—in just 2 weeks we’ll be celebrating Pi Day on March 14! is getting in the pie spirit and asked me to create a slideshow featuring some of my favorite pie recipes. In the spirit of Boston cream pie, I decided to choose recipes that put a twist on the usual pie standbys, and am featuring bars, cookies, push-pops, cookie pies, and other “pie-inspired” desserts. I’ll also have a few more pie and tart recipes in the next week or two, and would love for you to join me in celebrating Pi Day! In the meantime, here’s a cake in pie’s clothing for you to enjoy.

Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie
Cook time
Total time
This twist on a traditional Boston cream pie features a moist almond cake, coconut pastry cream, and thick layer of rich chocolate glaze!
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 10-12
For the Almond Cake:
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 5.5 oz (2/3 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5.75 oz (1⅔ cup) cake flour, sifted after measuring
  • 1.25 oz (1/3 cup) finely ground almonds or almond meal
  • 7 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp) baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 oz butter, at room temperature
For the Coconut Pastry Cream:
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1½ cups milk (preferably 2% or whole)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 5 oz heavy cream
To Make the Almond Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9x2-inch cake pan with a parchment round, and spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray. (If you only have 9x1-inch pans, use two of those instead, and divide the batter between them before baking.)
  2. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, a quarter of the sour cream, and the extracts, and whisk lightly until they’re blended.
  3. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until everything is well distributed. Add the softened butter and remaining sour cream, and mix on low speed until everything is combined. Raise the speed to medium, and beat for 90 seconds.
  4. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula, then begin beating again. Add the egg mixture gradually, beating well after each addition. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the sides, turn the cake out of the pan, and cool completely at room temperature. The cake can be made in advance and kept, well-wrapped in plastic, for several days in the refrigerator or for several weeks in the freezer.
To Make the Coconut Pastry Cream:
  1. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk them briefly to break them up. Combine the milk, sugar, salt, and corn starch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk everything together, until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve, and continue to whisk while the mixture heats up. Once it starts to bubble and thicken, remove it from the heat. Whisk the bowl of egg yolks while slowly streaming in about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture—this will help heat the egg yolks gently so that they don’t cook during the process.
  2. Now whisk the milk mixture while you pour the egg yolks into the saucepan. Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream thickens and has the texture of pudding. You may want to occasionally scrape the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula to prevent any scorching. Once thick, remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let the cream cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally so that the top doesn’t form a skin. If you want to make this in advance, pour it into a bowl or airtight container, press cling wrap right on top of the pastry cream, and refrigerate until chilled. Pastry cream can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Right before you are ready to assemble the cake, stir in the shredded coconut.
To Make the Glaze and Assemble the Cake:
  1. Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer and almost boils. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute to soften the chocolate. After a minute, gently whisk the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is shiny and smooth. Let it cool at room temperature, whisking occasionally, until it pours thickly from a spoon. You can press cling wrap to the top and refrigerate the bowl for 20-30 minutes to speed the cooling process. You want it thin enough to flow smoothly and drip down the sides of the cake, but thick enough to hold its shape.
  2. To assemble the cake, cut the almond cake in half with a sharp serrated knife. Spread the coconut pastry cream on the bottom of the cake, all the way to the edge. Add the top layer of cake. Pour the glaze on top of the cake, spreading it out to the edge and encouraging it to drip down with an offset spatula. While the glaze is still soft, sprinkle the top of the cake with extra almonds and coconut, if desired.
  3. Refrigerate the cake to set the glaze, for about 15 minutes, before serving. This cake keeps well and can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, but for the best taste and texture, bright it to room temperature before serving.
The almond cake recipes is adapted from the Golden Almond Cake in Rose Levy Berenbaum's excellent book The Cake Bible.


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by, who asked me to put together a slideshow of pie recipes. That’s it! The rest of the post, including my gushing about Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie, is all me. For more information, see my Affiliate and Advertising Policy.

64 Responses to Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie
  1. Cindy says:

    this pie/cake looks amazing! I’m a nut for Almond Joy anything (pun intended…always).

  2. The flavors of almond joys will forever be dear to my heart! I’ve decided it is a more of a curse than a blessing to be unable to throw food away … I’m eating half this batch of cookies in the name of frugality! (is that even a word?) I can’t think of a better home for that custard. And I can’t think of a better home for this cake than in my belly!

  3. I hate wasting food too. Sometimes I think I should gather LA food bloggers for a weekly smorgasbord where we just all bring our leftovers for a picnic. No shame, just bring all the randomness and eat it.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh my gosh, I would have so much to contribute! Brownie scraps and half-eaten pies, anyone? That could be such a fun (and random!) meal! Do you still do the Sunday meetups?

  4. cakewhiz says:

    I am just like you…. absolutely hate wasting food. It drives me crazy when my little one doesn’t finish off his meals :S

    But anyways, this boston cream pie is divine. I usually make the classic boring version but this almond joy version looks drool-worthy! Pinned :D

    • Elizabeth says:

      I feel you! I wind up eating totally random things from my toddler’s tray because I don’t want to trash them…and then I realize I’m eating, like broccoli with graham crackers. (Spoiler alert: not so great.)

  5. I love love LOVEEEEE this cake!!!!!! True that, I hate wasting the leftovers too! I loveeeeeeeee the addition of almonds and coconuts!!!And topped off with that deliciouslyyyyyyyy shiny chocolate glaze! I am drooooling!

  6. I’m an Almond Joy lover, and a cake version looks awesome! And yes to The Cake Bible. It’s a must.

  7. Gah, this looks amazing. That filling is calling my name. Seriously, this is gorgeous. Pinned.

  8. Soooo my brother bought me the cake bible one year for Christmas, and I have been so horrible, and hardly looked at it. You’ve convinced me I need to pick that baby up! Also, this pie, or cake, or whatever it needs to be called…I am in so much love. That chocolate on top looks so rich and creamy and the custard? I just want to dive through my screen and take a huge bite!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh my gosh, Ari, pop that bad boy open! I admit that it looks a little dated, for sure, and the cake designs are pretty old-fashioned. But the recipes themselves are LEGIT! Definitely a good resource for a cake emergency.

  9. Ruut says:

    I absolutely love you right now. I mean, these recipes and pictures are so amazing! I wish that one day I’ll be as talented as you. :)

  10. This is crazy gorgeous looking!!! I sure wish I was your neighbor, so I could come visit and chat with some pie! I know how you feel about wasting food. It just kills me to throw food away!!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh my goodness, Jocelyn, we would have the BEST dinner parties (and block parties!) if we were neighbors! It would be, like, all desserts, and then one or two sad little salads. :) Move to LA already!

  11. Dude, I love a boston cream pie. I love that it has a funky name, I love that it’s full of pastry cream, and I love that you have upped the flavour ante on this one. To Boston, I say!

  12. This looks SO good. I just want to eat that filling by the spoonful!

  13. Danguole says:

    Must get Cake Bible!

    Also, all of my comments too need to be in bulleted form. So!

    -I love the suggestion above for a food-blogger leftovers smorgasbord. I NEED THIS. If this happens I’m moving to LA.
    -I hate wasting food too. Sometimes I want to instagram the things I eat just to not throw stuff out… It’s really something.
    -Your friends know they’re lucky and that’s awesome.
    -I bet if you looked, you could totally find common-ingredient threads throughout my blog. If I bought something for recipe X, you can bet it’s gonna show up in recipe Y. In a way it’s fun.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Um, why are you waiting for a food blogger party to move to LA? HELLO, I ALREADY LIVE HERE. I AM REASON ENOUGH.

      You should definitely instagram the weird ones! We could start a new hashtag and everything… riiiight after we make #whenenglishmajorsinstagram take off!

  14. Just saw this on TS! Absolutely gorgeous! Pinned

  15. This sounds absolutely amazing! I love your twist-using almond cake and coconut pastry cream.Pinned!:)

  16. I was looking through the comments and realized my first comment from last week didn’t go through! Let’s try this again ;) I can’t throw away food either – and it is more of a curse than blessing! I wish I had pastry cream needing to be used up! I can’t think of a better place for it than this cake and no better place for this cake than in my belly! LOVE the almond joy twist!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m glad you said something, Mary Frances! I looked through the spam comments and for some reason some of your recent ones got flagged and I never saw them. Not sure why–are you trying to peddle pills on people’s sites? :) Anyhow, I’ve freed them from comment purgatory and hopefully it will recognize you in the future. Thanks for stopping by, and for the sweet comment!

  17. This cake looks amazing! It makes me laugh to hear someone talk about forcing down food so it doesn’t go to waste. I’m not into it, but my mom will gag down anything to avoid throwing it out. Especially if she’s on a penny pinching kick.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hah, me and your mom know what’s up. :) Seriously, though, it’s not like I’m super-frugal in all other aspects of life, so I don’t know why this particular thing bothers me so much. Must be a remnant of my childhood being forced to clean my plate!

  18. I want to face plant in that filling. WOW.

    I always mean to use the egg yolks. Then I realize it’s been a week and I haven’t. Sigh.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Do it, Dorothy, do it! Seriously, though, that happens to me all the time, despite my best intentions. Pretty sure that’s what the hashtag #foodbloggerproblems was invented for. :)

  19. Johlene says:

    I thought I commented on this post already but it seems I haven´t.. Love Boston Cream Pie and I love the way you presented it! I´m in love with that 1st photo.. incredible!! Happy week for you chica!! Xx

    • Elizabeth says:

      Sorry Johlene–I think I’m having problems with my spam filter, a few other folks have mentioned their comments not going through either! I appreciate your coming back again–you are the sweetest. Happy week to you too!

  20. marcie says:

    I love Almond Joys and Boston Cream Pie so this is the best of both worlds for me! It’s just stunning. :)

  21. I agree, I totally hate wasting food, too. I usually offer to pack my husband’s lunch for him (he thinks I’m just being nice), but then stick all the leftovers in a salad or sandwich in his lunch. Mua ha ha.

    But THIS is pretty much the best use of leftover ingredients I’ve ever seen. Because coconut makes anything better, even as something as already amazing as Boston Creme Pie. Wow, girl.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha, a steal leftover packer! I like your moves! Next time you have a bunch of leftover egg yolks, you should pack your husband a Boston cream pie for lunch. :)

  22. I hate it when good food goes to waste to ahhh :–( Especially if it is pastry cream what we’re talking about!
    This cake looks heavenly. Girl, I do love me some plain Boston Cream Pie, but your Almond Joy version sounds like 34748954 times cooler!

  23. OK, so we love Boston Cream Pie – mostly in donut form, BUT the part of this post I love? That you try to force feed your husband leftovers. Me too! ;) Great minds, you know?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Boston cream pie doughnuts? I’m listening! That sounds deeeelicious. And really, what are husbands for if not to eat the things the rest of us really don’t want to choke down? :)

  24. Dina says:

    great version of boston cream!

  25. Like Boston cream pie,its presentation is awesome.

  26. Oh wow, I love everything about this cake! It’s gorgeous. Plus almond joy + boston cream = heaven. :)

  27. HAHA I am totally the same way!!! But I am sure you never get any complaints when your leftovers turn into this! This looks absolutely delicious!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha, Jason knows better than to complain about anything! (That sounded more ominous than it was intended…but you know what I mean!) Leftover lovers unite!

  28. Oh my gosh, I’m totally the same about wasting food! My husband thinks I’m crazy for the things I put back in the fridge. Mmm, love this take on Boston Cream Pie. That filling looks SO GOOD!!!

  29. Medeja says:

    This cake looks super delicious! The cream..chocolate ganache.. I can almost imagine the taste :D

  30. Shelby says:

    I just found you on pinterest! Happy find :) I am sharing this recipe with my daughter in law who is also a fan of almond joy. I’m definitely going to be reading more of your blog. Gorgeous photos!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks so much, Shelby! I think I actually remember you from years ago–did you used to bake with Tuesdays with Dorie? I had a different blog then, so you probably don’t remember me, but your blog name is very memorable! Thanks for the kind words, I’m excited to check out your blog too!

  31. […] Gloria.  I still can’t get over how many layers are going on in these bars!   5. Almond Joy Boston Cream Pie from Sugar Hero.  Yep, for reals.    Hope you all had a great week!  Looking forward to this […]

  32. Send me some sugar free and some with sugar in it please

    You’ll stuff I got from a friend of mine look so goodbye

  33. […] Joy. I’m more of a Reese’s gal myself, but the cake looked delicious! Recipe can be found here. (Mom just discovered Sugarhero, and she’s in […]

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