A well-designed vanilla cream filling is essential to the success of any cake you intend to layer and stay put. With our simple instructions and fun video tutorial, you can put together this foolproof recipe in 20 minutes or less.
While you can always use frosting to layer a cake, our filling is much less sweet and more stable than the former. It’s especially delicious in our Boston cream pie!
But wait—this recipe is not limited to layering cake. Try pairing our vanilla cream filling with our mini cream puff pastries or strawberry crepes. You can also use the filling to layer in a trifle or pie. If you’re like our test kitchen staffers however, you get the most pleasure enjoying it straight from the bowl!
Vanilla Cream Filling Recipe
- 2 cups whole milk, divided
- 2 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin, 1 pkg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup whipping cream, very cold
- Dissolve gelatin in 3 Tbsp of milk in a small glass measuring cup then set aside. Place mixing bowl and whisk attachment from a stand mixer in the freezer.
- Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt to a medium-sized saucepan (off the heat) then whisk until combined and no lumps of cornstarch remain.
- Add egg yolks, whisk until combined then add the remaining whole milk. Whisk the mixture until completely smooth and everything has dissolved.
- Transfer the saucepan to the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly using a whisk until the liquid thickens and comes to a bubble. The sauce will first begin to thicken on the bottom of the pan where it is in contact with heat. You must continually remove the thickened sauce from the bottom of the pan or it will scorch. Don’t worry, just stir constantly, and don’t forget about the corners of the pan!
- Once the first bubble rises to the surface, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for exactly 1 minute, whisking vigorously and constantly.
- Remove sauce from the heat. Melt gelatin in the microwave for 15–20 seconds. You want it to be liquid but not hot. Whisk the vanilla and gelatin mixture into the hot sauce and stir until completely smooth and well combined. Transfer sauce to a medium-sized mixing bowl and place over another bowl filled with ice. Stir occasionally while whipping the cream.
- Remove the bowl and whisk from the freezer. Add the cold cream and attach to the stand mixer. Whip until stiff. Return cream to the refrigerator until needed. When the sauce over the ice begins to thicken and set, fold in the whipped cream.
- Return to refrigerator until needed.
You can have a filling made of frosting, but you cannot have a frosting made of filling!