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Shortcut Bavarian Cream {Vanilla Pudding Filling for Cakes}

Thanks for sharing!

This thick and stable vanilla pudding is perfect for filling cakes, eclairs, cream puffs, donuts and more. Using this shortcut gives you Bavarian cream style filling in just minutes!

mixing bowl with mixer beaters and fluffy vanilla pudding cake filling

Just three ingredients and a few minutes is all it takes to have a creamy and flavorful filling for all sorts of desserts. It is stable enough to not smoosh out between cake layers, or could easily be piped into donuts or eclairs.  It is perfectly creamy and could be made a variety of flavors if desired.

I have been really enjoying filling cakes lately.  Adding filling gives more fun textures and flavors to a cake.  It all started when I was testing cakes for my brother’s wedding.

Not only did I test different white cake recipes, I tested lots of frosting and filling combinations as well.  There was chocolate buttercream with raspberry filling.  It was good, but the cake wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

Then there was a different cake recipe filled with raspberry and Italian meringue buttercream. It was delicious with all of that fluffy frosting. I filled the second tier of that cake with homemade lemon curd and frosted it with the perfect summertime buttercream.

The final cake had two layers of lemon curd, one layer of raspberry filling and that perfect buttercream.  It was very well received by everyone, especially the wedding cake lovers in my family.

slice of white layer cake with vanilla pudding filling

It also made me convert to fillings. Now I want to fill all of the cakes! I love how it really adds a whole new dimension to the cake. Fillings give you the chance to add more flavors, textures and height too!

So when I was making my nephew’s cake, I couldn’t help but to fill it with something fun too! I was thinking fruits at first. Strawberries or blueberries would be fun, but my sister doesn’t like berries.

I thought about trying banana curd, but wasn’t sure how that would go over with the group. But it is on my short list of things to try one of these days!

My sister isn’t really a fan of chocolate either, so ganache was out as well.  What in earth should I use as a filling?

Then it hit me, vanilla pudding! It would add that texture difference and creamy goodness without risking using a flavor my sister or her husband wouldn’t like.

inside of white cake with shortcut bavarian cream pudding filling

The next problem was making sure the filling didn’t squeeze out when we cut the cake.  There is nothing worse than the cake not being stable enough to be cut!

So I stumbled upon the perfect solution, using whipping cream and instant pudding.  The cream would give the pudding body and the instant pudding would help make the whipped cream even more stable.

The instant pudding gets sprinkled into the cold whipping cream and it is whipped stiff with a hand mixer.  Then you can add milk a tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you want.

cake layer with frosting dam and shortcut bavarian cream

I wanted it to be really stable, so I kept it on the stiffer side. Plus that way it would stay in place as it is served.  It worked out just as I had envisioned.

Plus just think of all of the flavor combinations you could do just by picking a different flavor of pudding! Coconut, cheesecake, chocolate, pistachio, lemon… the options are almost limitless!

I will be sharing the white cake recipe I have been loving for layer cakes in a couple days, so stay tuned for that!

first slice of birthday cake served

Tips and Tricks:

Both whipping cream and instant pudding work better with cold temperatures. Make sure your cream is as cold as possible.

You can also pre-chill the bowl and your beaters, though that isn’t necessary.

Cakes filled with pudding are best stored in the refrigerator. Pull the cake out an hour or so before serving to let it come to room temperature and let the guests ooh and ah over your work!

This is stable enough you don’t really need a frosting dam to keep it in place, however I still like to use one to keep the outside frosting cleaner. I think it makes the crumb coat easier as well.

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 24 servings

Shortcut Bavarian Cream Cake Filling

glass bowl filled with vanilla pudding cake fililng

This thick and stable vanilla pudding is perfect for filling cakes, eclairs, cream puffs, donuts and more. Using this shortcut gives you Bavarian cream style filling in just minutes!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3.4 ounce box instant pudding
  • 3 Tablespoons milk (possibly a little more)


  1. Place cold whipping cream and instant pudding in a mixing bowl. Beat until stiff.
  2. Add the milk, a little at a time, beating between additions until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 19mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This thick and stable vanilla pudding is perfect for filling cakes, eclairs, cream puffs, donuts and more. Using this shortcut gives you Bavarian cream style filling in just minutes!

Thanks for sharing!


Sunday 22nd of May 2022

would this work as a filling for Boston cream pie


Sunday 22nd of May 2022

I don't see why not! I think that would be tasty!


Friday 25th of March 2022

Do you have recommendations to make this recipe with crushed pineapple?


Friday 25th of March 2022

I haven't tried it, but I would imagine you could stir it in. I would drain the liquid first and then fold it in.


Friday 30th of October 2020

Is it 1.5 cups of whipping cream? Or just 1/2? If 1.5 what is 1 3.4 ounces? It’s just 3.4 ounces? What’s the number 1 then? Why is so difficult understanding American measures?!


Sunday 8th of November 2020

I can see how that would be confusing. It is 1.5 cups of cream and a single 3.4 ounce box of pudding. I will try to clear that up in the recipe card.


Thursday 30th of July 2020

Hi there. I am doing a 2 tired cake for a baby shower each tier had 3 layers. Do you think this recipe would hold up well with stacking? Also,do you know the shelf life of the cream? The event is Saturday and I would like to assemble the cake on Friday. Thanks for your time


Saturday 1st of August 2020

It works great for stacking! Assembling the day ahead will be fine, just refrigerate it overnight.

Nicole McGee

Friday 19th of June 2020

I am so excited to use this idea! I'm making my son's bday cake. He requested a blackout cake but I'm cheating using a chocolate cake mix with espresso in place of water & melted butter for the oil. Now the custard filling will be chocolate pudding & whipped cream. I'll let you know how it turns out.


Thursday 2nd of July 2020

I hope you both love it, it sounds amazing!!!

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