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Easy Pudding Cake Filling

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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 layered white 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.

Round cake with buttercream frosting dam around the edge and creamy vanilla pudding filling in the middle.

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!

This filling goes wonderfully with our favorite white cake recipe. The combination makes for an extra special dessert.

first slice of birthday cake served showing layers of white cake, buttercream, and pudding cake filling.

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.

Does a cake with pudding filling need to be refrigerated?

Yes, because of the dairy in the filling it is best to refrigerate a cake that is filled with pudding. Store it under a dome or in another airtight container to keep it from drying out.

For another simple creamy recipe that uses instant pudding as its secret weapon, try making eclair cake. It has layers of fluffy pudding, graham crackers, and fudge icing in a tasty no bake dessert.

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

glass bowl filled with vanilla pudding cake fililng

Shortcut Pudding Cake Filling

Servings: 24 servings
Author: Carlee
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!
4.53 from 100 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


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


  • Place cold whipping cream and instant pudding in a mixing bowl. Beat until stiff.
    1½ cups heavy whipping cream, 3.4 ounce box instant pudding
  • Add the milk, a little at a time, beating between additions until you reach your desired consistency.
    3 Tablespoons milk
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 57kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 19mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.53 from 100 votes (99 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Friday 21st of June 2024

Can you pipe with this recipe? I’m thinking about making an Elmo cake for my nieces birthday. Wondering if I can use this with food colouring and pipe his fur on the cake?


Saturday 22nd of June 2024

It probably has enough body to be piped. However, I am not sure how it would hold up over time as I haven't tried it. If you do, please let me know how it goes!


Tuesday 11th of June 2024

Can you add mascarpone to this recipe?


Tuesday 11th of June 2024

I don't see why not. That sounds delicious!


Tuesday 20th of June 2023

I was going to make a banana cream cheesecake and the receipe called for bavarian cream topping which was made with whipping cream and knox gelatin and eggs you think that this bavarian cream topping would be similar to what the other receipe was asking for ..I was just trying to find an easier way to make the cream for the topping


Tuesday 20th of June 2023

It should be similar and much easier to make!


Wednesday 24th of May 2023

My filling turned grainy when i mixed heavy whipping cream and pudding mix. Could you please suggest how to fix it? I tried adding 2 tbsp milk to make it smoother but didn’t help.


Wednesday 5th of June 2024

@Carlee, I did this a bit differently, I mixed the powder with milk first I used instant pudding and followed the instructions but with a bit less milk then called for then I made the whipped cream and folded in what I thought looked and tasted good. Just don’t add too much milk when making the pudding and not too much whipped cream so it’s stable.


Wednesday 24th of May 2023

That's strange, I haven't had that happen. I wonder if it was getting to the point of being overbeaten? If the cream was starting to turn into butter it could have got grainy and more milk wouldn't help that.

Nancy Kane

Saturday 13th of May 2023

So happy to find this recipe after searching for quite a bit for a filling recipe for a cake using jello pudding mix!!