Easy Beginner’s Sponge Cake & Boston Cream Pie

If you've never made a sponge cake, this is a fantastic recipe to start your baking adventure. It is also a good base in our Boston Cream Pie recipe because it doesn't require any tricky folding or separating of eggs usually required for making a good sponge cake.

Baking the batter in two pans eliminated the need to slice a single cake horizontally before adding the filling. Another simple step for this classic cake is making cooked pastry cream. Our cooked pastry cream is an eggless version of the classic, allowing it to be simpler to make for beginners. The addition of butter adds richness to the cream and also assists with the cooled texture. The black sea salt is optional, but it helps impart an eggy flavor to the custard. We added corn syrup to a chocolate truffle ganache for a smooth chocolate glaze that’s extra shiny and dramatic.

Beginner’s Sponge Cake & Boston Cream Pie

Pastry Cream
1/3 cup (80 gr) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (40 gr) Panhandle Milling All-purpose Flour
¼ tsp. black* salt (black salt is optional)
2 cups (480 ml) evaporated milk
4 Tbsp. (60 gr) butter
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract

1 ½ cups (7 1/2 ounces) Panhandle Milling all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¾ teaspoon table salt
¾ cup whole milk
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine


For the Pastry Cream:

  • Whisk together sugar, flour, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  • Add evaporated milk; whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat while whisking until it starts to thicken – this should take about 1 – 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and let it boil 10 minutes, still whisking; then remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
  • Strain pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl if desired.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the cream’s surface to prevent skin from forming. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  • Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Just before using, whisk until smooth.

For the Cake:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit . Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and cover to keep warm.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar at high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Remove mixer bowl from stand. Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
  • Working quickly, divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until tops are light brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.
    • Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool completely in pan, about 2 hours. Run a small plastic knife around the edge of pans, then invert cakes onto a wire rack. Carefully remove parchment, then reinvert cakes.

To Assemble:

  • Place one cake round on a large plate. Whisk pastry cream briefly, then spoon onto the center of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread evenly to cake edge. Place the second layer on the pastry cream, bottom side up, making sure layers line up correctly. Press lightly on top of the cake to level. Refrigerate cake while preparing glaze.

For the Glaze:

  • Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk gently until smooth, 30 seconds. Let stand, occasionally whisking, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
    • Pour glaze onto the center of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread glaze to the cake’s edge, letting excess drip decoratively down sides. Chill finished cake 3 hours before slicing. Cake may be made up to 24 hours before serving.

For a four layer version of this classic dessert, simply double the recipe and bake 4 layers instead of two!