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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Shortcut Bavarian Cream {Vanilla Pudding Filling for Cakes}

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.

As always: If you make this recipe–or any CWC recipes–let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram or Pinterest too—tag @carleecooks so I can see!  For more recipes and fun, like us on Facebook and follow along on Pinterest

pudding cake filling, easy cake filling, no cook cake filling
Yield: 24 servings
Author: Cooking With Carlee
Shortcut Bavarian Cream {Vanilla Pudding Filling for Cakes}

Shortcut Bavarian Cream {Vanilla Pudding Filling for Cakes}

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 MinTotal time: 5 Min


  • 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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Created using The Recipes Generator

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!


  1. This is a great idea! I actually make a pudding frosting for my cakes, especially sheet or snack cakes. I make it a little less stiff so that I can spead it on top. My husband loves what he calls "puddin' top cake" because it is not as sweet as buttercream frosting. You can use sugar free pudding too. Also I sometimes add a little adult type beverage such as kalua or hazelnut liquer.

    1. Now I want some puddin' top cake too! What a great idea to give it a little spike too!

  2. The pudding sounds delicious and perfect for a cake filling. I like your tips and tricks - I actually recently started adding those as well.

    1. Thank you! I love being able to share an extra couple tidbits when I can!

  3. What a great recipe for pudding. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday, we sure enjoyed your post!
    Miz Helen

  4. Hi Carlee, you're a genius! I really like the idea of a vanilla pudding cake filling. The smoothness would be a nice contrast against the cake and I imagine it woul go wonderfully with a citrus or chocolate flavoured cake... I'm not back in the kitchen yetm, but this is a filling I will be trying as soon as I am cake baking again.


    1. Now I want to make an orange or lemon cake and fill it! Great idea!

  5. Yummy! This Bavarian cream looks amazing. One of my favorite fillings to use. Thanks so much for sharing with us at the Whimsical Wednesdays Link Party!

    1. I have been having fun experimenting with different fillings lately, but this one was definitely a hit!

  6. No. Just no. Making a Creme pat is no more difficult and it’s not full of artificial crap that’s in the “pudding” EWW

    1. You'll have to send me your creme pat recipe, I'd love to try it! It's nice to have lots of options.

  7. HI, what frosting did you use for this cake?

    1. I used a variation of an american buttercream for this one.

  8. I definitely will be trying this on my next cake. Love easy and simple recipes. Thank you for sharing!

  9. I've made something very similar for years in my cream puffs and also use different flavors of pudding...pistachio, choc, lemon, etc. SO yummy!

    1. It would be perfect for cream puffs and all those flavors sound so good to fill them. Now I want to make a batch!

  10. Can't wait to try, thank you for sharing.

  11. 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.

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

  12. 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

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

  13. 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?!

    1. 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.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!