Baking Friends

Posted on Posted in Baking

Mmmmm!  Mini Boston cream pies!  I didn’t set out to make them, but I saw a recipe and it called out to me.  What else can you do when a recipe yells your name?!  🙂


This all started when a friend asked for my Carrot Cake recipe.  The past few years I’ve used one from Southern Living because

  1. I used to live in the South in my 20’s
  2. I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately for my 20’s
  3. Southerners bake like no one else
  4. Southern Living’s recipes are always a hit


I drafted an email to my friend and included a link to Southern Living’s Carrot Cake recipe.  I was ready to hit “send” when I started wondering,


What happened to my original Carrot Cake recipe?

It’s gotta be in my recipe binder!!!

Huh…when’s the last time I saw that binder?  

[Insert fruitless search of the kitchen.]

Do I even own that binder any more???

[Insert desperate scanning of various bookshelves.  No luck.  Still stuck.]

Once I started looking up recipes online, did I toss the binder?

[Insert accusatory thoughts of one of the kids swiping the binder for something they needed.]

[Replace thoughts of binder theft by children with much more likely scenario of ME grabbing the binder and repurposing it in a crazed moment for some kid-related request that I had completely forgotten about but Had To Be Done Tomorrow.]


After what became a crazy-girl search, I found my recipe binder.  HALLELUJAH!

As I flipped through the pages, I was engulfed with a tsunami of memories—recipes I hadn’t made in years; people I’d long lost touch with who had been kind enough to share their baking secrets; not to mention notes—in my own handwriting!  Finding my long-forgotten recipe binder was an intoxicating mix of visiting with old friends; savoring love letters from a very romantic college boyfriend; with even a few parts social commentary on the changing trends in American diets.  (Ah, the 1990’s!  The days when our diets were low in fat and high in Cool Whip.  Though I wonder what today’s version of the Better than Tom Selleck  Cake would be called…)


I did find my go-to Carrot Cake recipe.  The recipe was from a friend, Debbie Caponi, who I worked with at Procter and Gamble.  I remember her being a passionate baker.  (I also recall that I once housesat for her and her laundry room was on the second floor, conveniently located near the bedrooms, which I thought made a ton of sense.)



I also found a Kahlua Cake recipe that I was introduced to when I moved to California in the late 1990’s.  Baked in a Bundt pan, this cake was a frequent party-goer because it was unbelievably moist and delicious AND it was so easy to make–just start with a box of yellow cake mix; add Kahlua, a coffee flavored liquor,  and a few other ingredients.  I started reminiscing about this yummy cake and decided to bake one for my cousin’s birthday.  For purely historical reasons, I baked one for my family to see if it was as good as I remembered.  It was!  🙂


Oh yeah, those mini Boston Cream Pies!  As I was making the Kahlua Cake, I noticed a recipe for them on the box of the Pillsbury Yellow Cake Mix box—they were so cute!  (I’m a sucker for cute.)

A quick scan revealed they were pretty easy to make:  bake yellow cupcakes; split ’em horizontally; add some vanilla cream filling; and put some chocolate on top.  I was so curious about the filling—heavy whipping cream, milk, vanilla and vanilla instant pudding?—I just had to make them.  So I did and wow!  YUMMMY!  My son and daughter gave them our highest possible family rating of “5-stars” which is especially impressive since my kids rarely like the same thing!


boston cream pie


Here’s the recipe for Mini Boston Cream Pies from the back of the cake mix box.  (I searched for it on Pillsbury’s website, but couldn’t find the exact version that was on the box.)

My pies look different from the picture on the box because:

  1. I wanted more oomph in the filling so I increased the vanilla and added some powdered sugar.  I also refrigerated the filling before spreading it on the split cupcakes.
  2. I didn’t have a tub of chocolate frosting on hand, so I used some Hershey’s Chocolate Ice Cream topping.  I warmed the chocolate and poured it on top which created the “melty” look.  This resulted in a “nice contrast in textures and temperatures” said my 14-year old son, who like many kids, grew up watching the Food Network.
  3. I added sprinkles on top. I went with Wilton’s pearlized white sprinkles  (jimmies to you Midwesterners) because I like how they shimmer in the light.


In celebration of being reunited with my recipe binder, that evening there were two desserts—one very tried and true Kahlua Cake and one new kid on the block, Mini Boston Cream Pies.   I didn’t want to create a Sophie’s choice for my kids, so I did the only responsible thing:  we enjoyed the yummy-as-ever Kahlua Cake as an appetizer, and then followed dinner with delicious Mini Boston Cream Pies.  Ah, summer!