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How To: Make Vanilla Pastry Cream, and What To Do With It

I’m going to push you one step further with your cake baking. You know that yummy cream that is inside doughnuts, the center of cream puffs and even the filling for that fantastic bakery fresh cakes? That’s pastry cream. And it’s easy to make. Even if you aren’t quite ready to give up the box cake mix, take the leap in dressing it up, super fancy, to make all those cake calories totally worth it. Pastry cream brings your cake way past the next level on to the "Did you really make this? Really? It’s amazing" level that you may have doubted you would ever reach. But you will. I believe in you.

Stop filling your cakes with frosting. Frosting is for the outside of the cake. Pastry cream is delicious and you should put this on your cake bakin' TO DO list. It’s easy, you’ll thank me with a big slice of yummy cake.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

ย 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs, plus one extra yolk

2 tbs flour

2 tsp vanilla extract

Step One:

In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring the cream to a slight simmer, removing from heat when bubbles start to form around the edges. You don’t want to boil you cream, just heat it.

Step Two:

In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and yolk, and flour until well combined and slightly frothy.


Step Three:

While continuing to whisk the egg mixture, add the cream about 1 tbs at a time. This is called tempering and basically, it’s a way to avoid turning your pastry cream into scrambled eggs. Once your have added about half the cream a tbs at a time, pour the rest in slowly and whisk until well combined.

Step Four:

Return the pastry cream to the stove and stir over medium heat until it comes to a low simmer. Continue to whisk until thickened, between 5 and 10 minutes. The cream should leave a track when you drag the whisk through it.

Step Five:

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. This needs to cool before putting into a piping bag, a cake or your mouth. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it to the surface of the cream. This will avoid that gross skin that used to grow on top of the homemade pudding your grandma used to make when it sat in the fridge too long.

For the raspberries, I put the pastry cream into a piping bag and piped them into the middle of raspberries. As if I needed another reason to eat raspberries. Or pastry cream.

This makes 2 cups, enough to fill between two layers. The cake I made last week was three layers of white cake so I doubled the recipe.

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chinmayie @ love food eat October 4, 2011 um 6:38 am



Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen October 5, 2011 um 1:35 am

hmm…. YUM! Should try to make this… Hope I succeed.


Jaxie October 5, 2011 um 7:08 pm

You will do fine! It is actually really simple and totally worth the extra work, and the extra dishes =)


Zo @ Two Spoons October 5, 2011 um 4:45 pm

These are so adorable…would be perfect for a dinner party or potluck! Can’t wait until raspberries are in season where I am (soooon…I’m in the Southern Hemisphere).


Jaxie October 5, 2011 um 7:03 pm

They just went out of season here! I love them and I can’t wait to have them back. Frozen just isn’t the same. We do get to have strawberries in season in California 10 months of the year, so I guess I’m lucky with those =)


Russell at Chasing Delicious October 6, 2011 um 4:57 pm

I love pastry cream. I love using it in all sorts of new things but I’ve never thought of filling raspberries. What a scrumptious idea! I am going to have to try this quickly before they go out of season.


Jaxie October 7, 2011 um 10:08 am

Thanks! Once the raspberries are gone, there are always strawberries =)


Nevine @ Tableya October 9, 2011 um 4:42 am

I had no idea it was that simple. Thanks a lot:)


foodie @ tastingspot October 9, 2011 um 7:14 pm

nice idea… will give it a try


kankana October 11, 2011 um 11:56 am

That is such a fantastic idea ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s quick and we can use variety of fruits !


Shinee September 15, 2012 um 7:41 pm

I’m going to try this recipe when I make the cake for my older brother’s birthday. Instead of using regular old buttercream frosting, I wanted to fill the layers with something different.. And because he loves the vanilla pastry cream filling in donuts, I wanted to try this instead of buttercream frosting.

Just a quick question. Once you’ve reached the cooling stage, how long should it cool before I can use it to fill the layers? Like overnight or just an hour or two?

Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚


Jackie September 16, 2012 um 11:57 am

Just until it cools off, about 2 hours should do it. I love this as a cake filling, I hope you do to!


Hayley October 26, 2012 um 10:11 pm

Do you think this would work using coconut milk instead of heavy cream? I"m always looking for ways to convert things into dairy free for a friend of mine, but my tastebuds refuse to use soy.
I might just have to make this with cream though and eat it all myself… ๐Ÿ˜‰


Jackie October 27, 2012 um 11:47 am

That’s an interesting idea! I’d love to know, coconut milk is my favorite milk substitute. I’ve never tried it so I have no idea how it would work.


Hayley October 27, 2012 um 6:01 pm

I did red velvet cupcakes, filled with chili chocolate ganache (with coconut milk) and whipped coconut cream vanilla bean topping, all dairy free!
Next on the list is the coconut milk pastry cream. I found a brand (Western Family Organics) that’s pretty thick out of the can, even after shaking it. And it contains 11g fat per 1/4 cup, so I think that should work. I’ll let you know how the experiment goes!


Jackie October 28, 2012 um 2:37 pm

That sounds awesome! Let me know if you get a good coconut milk pastry cream, it sounds great ๐Ÿ™‚


Super Simple Batman Cake with Free Printable Templates October 31, 2012 um 1:13 am

[…] First step, bake the cakes. Let cool completely. Make whatever filling you plan to use. I like the fudge, as listed above, or pastry cream.ย  […]


Renata January 19, 2013 um 1:37 pm

I would like to try this recipe, just a quick question, how long does the pastry cream last? I want to make a birthday cake for my 3 year old and was wondering if i can make it a day before and it would still be alright for next 2-3 days so we can finish the whole cake ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks


Jackie January 19, 2013 um 3:05 pm

That sound fine. Two to three days ahead of time should be good.


Peggy Bryan January 15, 2014 um 6:21 pm

This sounds very easy and delicious! l will be trying it tomorrow


Christine April 20, 2014 um 6:58 am

I do not understand. The final mixture is yellow, but the pastry cream is white.


Aidsha April 30, 2014 um 1:16 pm

How long can the cake stay without refrigeration once its filled?


p.lakshman October 16, 2014 um 8:21 am

so good


Arlene March 10, 2016 um 1:00 am

I wanted to use this as a cupcake frosting, is this thick enough?


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