Birthday Boy’s Spirited Boston Cream Pie


Happy heavenly birthday William


It’s Your Day

loved being home

Your life was cut short too soon, but you lived fuller than most.  You cultivated a beautiful diverse garden filled with people far and wide who still love and remember you. They reach out every day, but especially at this time to surround me with the kind of love and appreciation you showed them. Happy birthday my boy. You are loved and missed by so many.

This recipe is adapted from the Joy of Baking. I love this web site for its detailed recipe instructions, weight measurements and videos. Besides angel food cake with strawberries another of William’s favorite desserts was Boston Cream Pie. I fancied this one up with a white chocolate swirl and gave it a touch of Will Keys spirit in the chocolate glaze.

The recipe is designed to make 12 cupcakes, but I chose to make a 6-inch round cake plus 6 cupcakes from the batter. I think William would have eaten the whole cake himself.


Vanilla Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, room temperature

Pastry Cream:

2 large (35 grams) egg yolks

3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons (20 grams) firmly packed cornstarch (corn flour)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup (240 ml) whole (full fat) milk

1/2 tablespoon (6 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:

4 ounces (120 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or liquid glucose or golden syrup)

1 tablespoon Jack Daniels

White Chocolate Swirl:

2 squares white chocolate


Heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and lightly butter 12 muffin cups, or spray with a non stick baking vegetable spray. (I did 6 cupcakes and a 6-inch round cake)

In bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Then, with the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Using a level ice-cream scoopful, fill 6 muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake just comes out clean. Spoon remaining batter into the 6-inch round pan. Bake 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.


Pastry Cream: In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk the  egg yolks with the sugar. Add the cornstarch (corn flour) and salt and mix until you have a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk just to boiling (the milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling (pour through strainer if necessary). Pour the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, keep whisking the mixture for another 30 – 60 seconds or until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until firm. The pastry cream can be stored for up to 3 days. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed. (I pressed my through a sieve to get it extra smooth and creamy.)

Chocolate Glaze: Melt the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat, stir in the Jack Daniels, and let cool until it thickens slightly (to pouring consistency).

2 white chocolate squares, melted


Assemble: Place the pastry cream in a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1 cm) plain tip. Fill each cupcake with the pastry cream by inserting the pastry tip into the top of each cupcake and squeezing just until you start to see cracks in the top of the cupcake. Then pour about 1-2 tablespoons of the chocolate glaze onto the center of each cupcake, letting it drip down the sides. Drizzle with some melted white chocolate and swirl with the end of a toothpick. Let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for an hour or two, or until the chocolate glaze dries. The cupcakes can then be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Bring to room temperature before serving. (I zapped a cold cupcake for 15 seconds in the microwave and it was heavenly)

For the cake: slice it in half horizontally and place bottom half on serving plate. Top with remaining pastry cream. Place second cake layer on top. Spoon remaining glaze and white chocolate over the top; swirl it.

Makes 12 cupcakes or a 6-inch cake and 6 cupcakes



33 thoughts on “Birthday Boy’s Spirited Boston Cream Pie

  1. There is nothing more beautiful than the love of a mother for her son, no matter where they are. Sending hugs to all. Happy Birthday William

  2. Happy Birthday, William. We think about you quite a bit, and you are always in our prayers.

  3. Happy Birthday to Will in heaven where his every day now is so wonderfully blessed. I have a feeling he’s enjoying watching his Mama celebrate him, thinking of him, honoring him so perfectly so often. What two beautiful people I have now met and love thanks to your sharing his and your story. ❤ Thank you to the both of you. Happy Birthday, Will!

    • oh the kindness of strangers reaching out and bringing people together. I guess we can thank Min along with William for making the Rainbow-Keys family connection ❤

  4. William did live his life to the fullest and I have learned through his example. I see my kids passions and I let them pursue them just as William did. There are many instances when I see William shine through Cole. He was a great role model for him. Miss him dearly.

  5. Do you think William and his Uncle Charlie are betting on horses in heaven?
    Loved the pictures of our beautiful boy and he definitely lived life to the
    fullest as his Uncle did!
    As always candles were lighted for them both at church today.
    Although he left us way to soon, we will all continue to celebrate his beautiful spirit.
    Love you, Auntie EV ❤️

  6. You’re all in my thoughts today. Heading to the bench later for some “Will time”. Big hugs mama…<3

  7. May the Lord continue to fill your heart with grace every moment every day. You give so much to so many with joy.
    Wayne’s Birthday is Tuesday and coincidentally his fav is Boston Creme Pie. Even went to the Omni in Boston to enjoy the “original” so, I shall give yours a try . ♥️

  8. I read this a few days ago Lisa and couldn’t comment on my I-Phone. This recipe looks incredible. I can’t imagine your loss, so I will only say that I am thinking and praying for you at this time.

  9. My dear Lisa – I’ve been out of town for a few weeks and am still catching on email, so I’m a bit behind. I loved this post, and your tribute to Will, and the Boston cream pie! That was the “cake” I always asked my mom for on my birthday growing up (either that, or cream puffs!). So I was immediately drawn to your recipe and story. I remember my Corey’s 30th very well…and it seems impossible that his next milestone will be his 40th, in January (coincidentally on the 23rd, like Will). Sending you love and prayers as I KNOW how much you miss your boy!! Hugs to you dear friend!

    • I very much enjoy watching your travels…so good for the soul all that outdoor activity. And when a recipe brings back childhood memories well that is good for the soul, too ❤ Thanks for catching up with me

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