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Bavarian Cream vs. Boston Cream: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 5, 2023
Bavarian cream, a dessert made with custard and whipped cream, is often flavored and used as a filling or molded; Boston cream, typically used in donuts and pies, is a custard filling and is chocolate glazed when used in pies.

Key Differences

Bavarian cream, also known as Crème Bavaroise, is a dessert that originated in France but is named after the Bavarian region in Germany. Bavarian cream is made by combining cooked egg custard with gelatin and then blending this mixture with whipped cream. It can be flavored with various ingredients like vanilla, liquor, or pureed fruit. On the other hand, Boston cream is prominently known for its role in the iconic Boston cream pie, and despite its name, it's essentially a cake rather than a pie.
While Bavarian cream can be molded and served on its own, it is also utilized as a filling for cakes, pastries, and various other dessert items, often exhibiting a light and airy texture due to the whipped cream. Boston cream, conversely, does not contain gelatin or whipped cream and has a smoother, denser custard-like consistency. Boston cream, most recognized as the filling in Boston cream pie, is also famously used in doughnuts, providing a rich, creamy center.
The Bavarian cream's versatile nature lends itself to be used in various ways in desserts, often being flavored with different ingredients like fruit purees, liqueurs, and other flavorings. Boston cream is somewhat more straightforward and is typically prepared with a vanilla flavor profile. Its smooth and rich texture complements the chocolate glaze that tops a Boston cream pie, providing a harmonious balance between the sweet, creamy, and chocolatey flavors.
Interestingly, while both Bavarian cream and Boston cream are utilized as fillings, they are each characteristically distinct and typically found in different types of desserts. Bavarian cream can be found in elegant, layered desserts or molded into standalone treats, showcasing its light and mousse-like consistency. Boston cream, on its flip side, is often encountered in more straightforward, classic American desserts like pies and doughnuts, wherein its velvety, custardy texture shines.
In conclusion, Bavarian cream and Boston cream, while similar in their application as dessert fillings or components, distinctly vary in their composition, texture, and utilization in various culinary creations. Bavarian cream tends to be lighter and can be variously flavored, while Boston cream maintains a classic, custard-like consistency and is often paired with chocolate.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredients

Custard, gelatin, and whipped cream.
Custard made with eggs, sugar, and milk.


Light and airy.
Smooth and creamy.


Can be flavored with various ingredients.
Typically vanilla-flavored.

Common Uses

Used in a variety of desserts, can be molded.
Notably used in Boston cream pie and donuts.


Originated in France, named after Bavaria, Germany.
Associated with American desserts.

Bavarian Cream and Boston Cream Definitions

Bavarian Cream

Bavarian cream, sometimes simply referred to as "Bavarian," may be layered in elaborate dessert preparations.
The multi-layered dessert featured alternating tiers of sponge cake and strawberry Bavarian cream.

Boston Cream

Boston cream is often associated with the iconic American dessert known as Boston cream pie.
On her birthday, she always requested a homemade Boston cream pie from her grandmother.

Bavarian Cream

Bavarian cream is a dessert made by combining custard and whipped cream, often stabilized with gelatin.
She molded the Bavarian cream into a heart shape for Valentine's Day dessert.

Boston Cream

Boston cream provides a rich, vanilla custard element in various pastries, notably without any fruit or liqueur flavorings.
The croissant was filled with Boston cream, providing a straightforward yet delightful vanilla flavor.

Bavarian Cream

Bavarian cream can be utilized as a light, airy filling for pastries and cakes.
The baker filled the eclairs with a lush, vanilla-flavored Bavarian cream.

Boston Cream

Boston cream is a custard filling commonly utilized in pies and doughnuts.
The doughnut shop offers both chocolate-frosted and plain doughnuts filled with Boston cream.

Bavarian Cream

Bavarian cream is often flavored with various additions like fruit purees or liqueurs.
The chef created a raspberry Bavarian cream by incorporating a fresh raspberry puree.

Boston Cream

Boston cream, known for its smooth texture, is made without the inclusion of gelatin and whipped cream.
Despite its dense consistency, the Boston cream in the pie provided a soft, creamy contrast to the firm chocolate on top.

Bavarian Cream

Bavarian cream might be used as a standalone dessert, especially when molded into shapes.
For the event, individual Bavarian cream desserts were molded into small stars.

Boston Cream

Boston cream typically pairs a vanilla-flavored custard with a chocolate glaze or topping in various desserts.
The Boston cream pie consisted of sponge cake layers filled with vanilla custard and topped with a glossy chocolate glaze.


What is the texture of Boston cream like?

Boston cream has a smooth, creamy, custard-like texture.

Is Boston cream always made with vanilla flavoring?

While it's commonly made with vanilla, variations might exist, though traditional Boston cream is vanilla-flavored.

What is Bavarian cream made of?

Bavarian cream is made of custard, whipped cream, and often gelatin.

Is Bavarian cream the same as whipped cream?

No, Bavarian cream combines whipped cream with custard and gelatin, offering a different texture and flavor.

Can you buy pre-made Boston cream?

Yes, pre-made Boston cream can be purchased in some grocery stores and bakeries.

What desserts commonly feature Bavarian cream?

Bavarian cream is often used in trifles, charlottes, and as a filling for cream puffs and éclairs.

How is Boston cream typically used?

Boston cream is famously used as a filling in Boston cream pie and doughnuts.

Does Boston cream contain chocolate?

Boston cream itself does not contain chocolate but is often paired with chocolate glaze in desserts.

Is Bavarian cream suitable for molding?

Yes, Bavarian cream can be molded into various shapes due to its gelatin content.

Is Boston cream vegan?

Traditional Boston cream is not vegan as it contains eggs and milk, but vegan versions can be made.

Can Bavarian cream be used as a cake filling?

Yes, Bavarian cream is commonly used as a filling for cakes and pastries.

Can you freeze Bavarian cream?

Bavarian cream can be frozen, but it may affect its texture upon thawing.

Is Bavarian cream gluten-free?

Bavarian cream can be gluten-free, but always check recipes or labels to be sure.

Is Boston cream pie actually a pie?

No, despite its name, Boston cream pie is technically a cake.

Can Boston cream be used in eclairs?

Yes, Boston cream is a popular filling choice for eclairs.

Can Bavarian cream be flavored?

Yes, Bavarian cream can be flavored with various ingredients like fruit purees and liqueurs.

What is the origin of Boston cream pie?

Boston cream pie was created in the 19th century in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Is there a difference between custard and Boston cream?

Yes, Boston cream is a type of custard, but it has its own specific preparation and usage, often paired with chocolate.

Can Bavarian cream be made without alcohol?

Yes, Bavarian cream can be made without alcohol and still be flavored in various ways.

Is Bavarian cream served chilled?

Yes, Bavarian cream is typically chilled and served cold.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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