Bakery-Style Bavarian Cream Filling

Bavarian Cream Filling Recipe

“…goes into everything from pastries to cupcakes, lending a smooth, creamy and almost vanilla pudding flavor.”

There was a bakery not too far from the house I grew up in.  It was a tiny, little old-school bakery with a charming elderly italian woman that could barely speak English.  For at least ten years, we smiled at each other, I pointed to what I wanted and she put it in a bag.  I consider it the best relationship I had with a woman until I met Angie.  I will never, ever, never, get over their raspberry filled doughnuts, which had the most amazing real raspberry filling (seeds and all) tucked into a perfectly fried doughnut.  What little money didn’t go into the video games at the local 7-Eleven, went into the pastries of Vitale’s Bakery.  But their doughnuts weren’t my only love affair.  They served an equally perfect cannoli, filled with a whipped bavarian cream that I’d scoop out on to my fingers and eat before finishing off what was left.  This Bavarian Cream filling is my ode to those memories.  It was used in our recent crepe cake and goes into everything from pastries to cupcakes, lending a smooth, creamy and almost vanilla pudding flavor.

Bavarian Cream Filling Ingredients

Yields:  About 2 Cups.  Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:   (organic is optional-we list what we use)
3/4 Cups organic heavy cream (30-40%)
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2/3 Cup cold water
3 egg yolks
1/2 Cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup organic low-fat milk
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Bavarian Cream Filling Directions

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Set in the refrigerator  until needed.  In a separate, small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin into 2/3 cup cold water and set aside to soak for 10 minutes. With a hand whisk, beat the egg yolks and the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl until the mixture turns pale yellow and has a thick, creamy texture.  Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring the milk and the vanilla to a boil, stirring on occasion to keep the milk from scorching to the bottom of the pan.  Once at a boil, remove from heat and slowly pour  2-3 Tbsp of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, stirring to combine thoroughly, then continue to slowly add the rest of the milk mixture. Stir to combine.   Place the bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water, creating a bain-marie.  The bowl is not to touch the water so use just enough water to boil without evaporating too quickly.  About 1/4″ is enough.  Whisk constantly (note: some have had problems at this stage.  Don’t whisk too aggressively.  It’s not like whipping egg whites into meringue.  You’re only aiding the thickening and getting the ingredients completely homogenous-use a spatula if you like instead of a whisk.) until the mixture starts to leave loose tracks behind the whisk.  The mixture is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and leave a definitive trail when you run your finger through it.

Bavarian Cream Filling Recipe

Gradually whisk (or stir with a spatula) in the dissolved gelatin then place the bowl over a large bowl of ice water (or a couple of bags of frozen corn if you forgot to buy ice like us). Make sure that the mixture is lump-free. Continue to stir vigorously until the cream starts to cool and thicken to a loose pudding-like consistency (it will still be pourable, not firm).  Gently fold in the whipped cream that you set in the refrigerator earlier, making sure to blend the mixture thoroughly. Chill until you’re ready to use as a cake filling or pastry filling.

Bavarian Cream Filling Home Made

This recipe will keep fresh in an airtight container for 1 week in the refrigerator.  It does not freeze well.  If chilled in the refrigerator, let stand for ten minutes at room temperature, then gently whisk for 10-20 seconds to smooth the texture before using.

28 responses on “Bakery-Style Bavarian Cream Filling

    • It’s what I had on hand (and usually do). You can use whole milk, 1%, etc. The whipped heavy cream is doing just about all of the work when it comes to the finished consistency. Take Care…Kevin.

  1. Are you stirring, whisking, how long for each?? I’m thinking I ruined it because it’s not thickening while on ice with me stirring to prevent lumps. … Have you ever doubled the recipe?? Maybe that’s where I messed it up??

    • Hey Marianne…at the point you have the mixture over ice, you should be stirring, not whisking. You should expect to stir for about 5 minutes until it thickens. I’ve never doubled the recipe and it’s been consistently fine…don’t see the issue in doubling unless the volume would require more stirring time. I’d suggest trying it in the original portions. I hope this helps…let me know if not and I’ll help figure it out. Kevin.

    • Hi Nancy….no, organic is optional. We list what we use. I typically make a note of that. You’ve reminded me that I should update the post to let our readers know. Thanks!

    • Hi Jamie, Bavarian cream cannot be baked. It would break down in the process. It’s to be piped or applied in some manner after the baking of your cake or pastry….specifically once the cake has completely cooled. King cakes vary depending on world regions, but I assume you’re ether baking a French King cake, which usually uses frangipane as a filling, or a Gulf Coast King cake (traditional around this time of year in the Gulf Coast of the U.S., around lent). The latter is typically covered in a simple sugar icing. If you are baking a Gulf Coast King cake, then I don’t think you need bavarian cream. If you’re baking a French King cake, then it would replace the frangipane (I assume) and be piped into the puff pastry layers after the cake has cooled. I have never personally made a King cake of any sort, though I’ve eaten a few. I’d be at a loss to give any meaningful advice on how to incorporate bavarian cream into the recipe, but would be happy to take a look at the recipe if it will help you. Good luck! Kevin

  2. Pingback: Vanilla Bavarian Cream | TheFamilyFeed·

  3. Well, mine is runny. Now that I’ve read the other comments I can see why. Ugh. I whisk it while it was over ice. So it won’t thicken up in the fridge? Even though it has gelatin in it? I had planned on putting it in cream puffs.

    • Hi Debbie…well, you might be alright and likely are. Whisking isn’t going to ruin the cream..stirring (with a thin blade spatula) as it cools is a preferred method for me, not a rule. Some argue it cools the cream faster to whisk. Don’t panic if you haven’t folded in the whipped cream yet. The cream is slightly runny up to that point. The key is to whisk/stir the cream over ice until you start to see a distinct trail behind the whisk or spatula. At that point, test it by dipping a spoon into the cream, running your thumb across the back of the spoon: if it leaves a distinct track, it’s ready. But, it will still be a pourable liquid. If you feel it isn’t quite thick enough after you’ve worked it over the bowl of ice for a bit (be patient!), you can set it in the fridge, but I’ve never had that be necessary. Once the whipped cream is folded in, you have a finished product. Let me know your results. Good luck!

  4. okay, so no idea what I did wrong (and I bake a lot, and have been told I should do it professionally, so I generally know what I’m doing!) but this is my first time making bavarian cream. Okay, so when whisking in the bowl over the pot I had to vigorously whisk it so it would even do anything other than stay liquidy & even then it was foamy, and I think the bottom was still liquid – is that what we’re looking for? (pot was simmering, not boiling & not touching the bowl) but I was at that for over 15-20 minutes! Then I put it in the bowl over ice (frozen peas!) & it seemed to be thickening up – and then all of a sudden it separated again & became completely liquidy! Like didn’t even stick to the spoon liquidy! (and again, I stirred for like 10 minutes or more, I’d say from start to finish I was at this almost an hour not 15 minutes from what the recipe says!). Ugh! No clue what happened.

    • Hi Heather. What did the egg yolk and sugar mixture look like before you added it to the hot milk? Was it thin or did have some volume? And was it a pale yellow or did it have streaks in it? Also, did you get as far as adding the gelatin?

  5. the egg mixture was pale yellow & thicker. When the milk & eggs were being whisked in the bowl over the pot of water, it was liquidy for the most part, and foamy on the top. the more I whisked – really hard! It got more foamy & less liquidy but there was still liquid on the bottom, the streaks from the whisk were only there b/c of the foam, not b/c it was “thick” if that makes sense! the directions say “Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to leave loose tracks behind the whisk.” so I’m not sure if that means it gets thicker, or foamy…as both would leave tracks (as mine did with the foam – but I had to whisk really fast/hard to get it to that place!). Then I added the gelatin when I could see a trail with my finger in the foam. once it broke down over ice & became liquidy (after a LONG time of stirring), i gave up, added the whip cream & put it in the fridge :) The next day it had actually thickened up, and when I stirred it, it became more like a thick pudding – but I don’t think it’s thick enough to use as a filling…I ended up making a chocolate strawberry trifle with it instead! Is it supposed to be more like a thick cream – like stiff peaked whipping cream, or pudding-like? Thanks for you quick responses by the way & interest in helping me figure out what happened!

    • It sounds like you may have whisked a little too aggressively, which I’ll take responsibility for. When I look at my own directions, I can see that I don’t specify that well. It’s not like whipping up egg whites…just a steady, even whisk to thicken the egg and milk mixture. I’ll make that note on the site. Letting it cool overnight was a smart move and I’m really glad you were able to put it to use. The final consistency isn’t as thick as a whipped’s more pudding-like. I’m glad to help…once you dial this recipe in, it’s one of the most useful you’ll have at your disposal. Anything I can do, let me know. Thanks….Kevin.

  6. Hi, is it ok if i didn’t beat the eggwhitesuntil they were stiff? I think i got it all wrong.. What should i do in case i also put less of the gelatin? Can i just cook another one and add it to the finished product? Thanks, hoping for your reply asap

    • Hi Jennifer. There are no egg whites in this recipe so I’m not sure how to answer. The yolks however are beaten until thick, pale and creamy. As for the gelatin, it all has to be added to the water at once and allowed to soak as directed. I hope this helps. Good luck.

  7. Some gelatin requires boiling water. Doesn’t this affect the thickening? I don’t use instant but is there and instant gelatin and what does the comparison between the two mean to this recipe? Thanks.

    • Hi and Happy Holidays. For this recipe, I use the original Knox “gelatine” (or similar-anything with one simple ingredient-gelatin), and it doesn’t require boiling; just 10 minutes to soak in cold water. Instant gelatin is typically mixed with other fine particle ingredients like sugar as it expands quickly and can form lumps-I don’t recommend it for this recipe (and have actually never used it) as its main advantage, time savings, isn’t necessary. You have other steps to move on to during the 10 minutes of soak. In short, use a basic gelatin and you’ll be fine. I hope that helps. Best…Kevin.

  8. I am also having trouble with it thickening. i did not over whisk it, I made sure my egg yolks were pale and thick in texture, but once I put the milk and vanilla mixture in, it did not thicken past what it was. I was softly whisking/stirring over the boiling/simmering water for 30 minutes and all it did was reduce. it never thickened… I decided to just take it off and put the gelatin in and put it on the ice to see if that helped. yep it didn’t. it is still as liquidy as when I put the milk in. I don’t really know what I did wrong. any ideas?

    • Hi Robyn…great timing. I’m in Germany this week, really missing home and needed company! (it’s early here) It sounds like you went through the steps correctly. Is there any chance you added all of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture at once or maybe added too much hot milk to temper the yolks before adding in the rest? You shouldn’t have had to heat/stir it for anywhere near 30 minutes. It should have started to leave slight tracks behind the whisk (or spatula) after 10 minutes-ish or less. You were early in the steps so that’s the only point I can see where the issue was likely to develop.

      • I very well could have added too much milk into the egg yolks at first. I added three tbsp then slowly added the rest while I stirred it in. I folded in my whipping cream and am going to let it sit overnight, let’s see if it does anything. I might be making another batch tomorrow morning! Thanks for your quick response. Oh what do you mean I was early in some steps?

      • No..I meant that you were early on in the steps (doing them correctly as far as I can tell), so that’s why I’m guessing it was the point at which you ran into trouble (adding the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture). It might gel up overnight….never tried that so let’s see. 3 Tbsp isn’t much though, but try a little less next time and really make sure that the mixture is combined thoroughly before adding in the rest of the hot milk (stirring slowly as you do). Good luck and let me know what happens or if you need more help.