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Bavarian Cream And Boston Cream — Four Key Differences Between Them

It’s easy to get confused between Bavarian and Boston creams, after all, they are prepared similarly and they look alike too.

Truthfully, there are some very subtle differences between them, but there are four you should keep in mind when you want to know.

After all, you can find that there is a difference in the consistency of the cream, the ingredients used, and the type of flavor they have.

Bavarian Cream And Boston Cream — Four Key Differences Between Them

While they were invented a couple of centuries ago, these desserts are still popular in modern pastries. But, you don’t only need to access a high-end patisserie to find them.

In fact, you can use Bavarian and Boston creams in your own recipes.

Bavarian Cream — What Is It?

Contrary to its name, Bavarian cream is more of a custard than a cream. You can use it as its own dessert, or even combine it with some fruit purees or sauce. If you combine it with fruit, you’ll be guaranteed to find a great combination.

Raspberries and strawberries are a great combination, as are apricots. Try Bavarian cream with different fruits to find a combination that suits you.

As a mixture of gelatin, whipped, and heavy creams, the Bavarian cream is given its signature thick consistency. Due to the gelatin used, it has a jelly-like texture which allows it to be eaten solo. 

While the name “Bavarian” would have you believe that Bavarian cream has German or Austrian origins, it actually originated in France. While we don’t know when it was born, there’s a widely held belief that it was invented before Boston Cream.

Boston Cream — What Is It?

You’ll find that Boston cream is used as a popular filling in a variety of baked goods, from pastries and donuts to cakes. Boston cream has cornstarch in it, which works well as a setting agent, because of this it has a silk texture. 

Unlike Bavarian cream, you won’t be able to eat Boston cream solo, but it can taste wonderful when paired with some chocolate-based desserts.

Should you have a desire for some chocolate desserts, you shouldn’t hesitate to find yourself some Boston cream to combine it with.

Boston cream donuts are one of the most famous recipes that utilize Boston cream in its recipes. However, if you’re not a fan of donuts, then don’t worry.

You can find Boston cream pies and cakes all around, with Boston cream pie once classed as the Official Dessert of Massachusetts.

While Bavarian cream was originally from France, it was a French chef in Boston who established the recipe for Boston cream.

It comes as no surprise to know that because of the French links, many believe that Boston cream was made as a variation on its Bavarian cousin. It is through this that the confusion between them originated.

How Can You Tell The Difference?

While you may believe that it wouldn’t be too challenging to find the difference between Bavarian and Boston cream, it’s actually so much of a challenge that even patisserie chefs struggle. 

Both of these creams are similar, but each has its own subtle and unique characteristics that keep them apart. If you’re wondering how to tell the difference, take a look at the consistency.

Boston cream is a runnier version that you would only use as a filling for pastries. However, I’ve mentioned that Bavarian cream is more akin to custard and can be enjoyed as a solo dessert. 

But if you want to know specific differences that can make Bavarian cream evolve from Boston cream, please take a look at the four key differences between them.

Origins Of Bavarian And Boston Creams

Also known as Créme Bavarois, Bavarian cream originated from France and was rumored to be invented by Marie-Antoine Carême.

While the exact date is unknown, it’s rumored that this occurred back in the 19th century.

We know that it had to have been invented by then due to its appearance in the “Boston Cooking School” cookbook by D.A. Lincoln in the year 1884.

Meanwhile, the Boston cream was believed to have been invented by Augustine Francois Anezin in the year 1865. As a French chef based in Boston, the cream was named after its original birthplace in the United States.

Ingredients Used In Bavarian And Boston Creams

Ingredients Used In Bavarian And Boston Creams

While you may not be able to see the difference immediately by discovering the origins behind Bavarian and Boston creams, you can gain a better understanding by looking at the ingredients.

Bavarian cream is a mixture of perfectly combined ingredients. You need gelatin, heavy cream, whipped cream, vanilla beans, sugar, and eggs.

Once you have mixed all of these ingredients, you should store it in a refrigerator so that it can get the desired jelly-like consistency that it is famed for. 

Boston cream on the other hand is made with a mixture of cornstarch, milk, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. These combinations can create a silk-like cream utilized perfectly as a filling.

By seeing the ingredients, you can already observe some key differences. Boston cream utilizes cornstarch to create a thicker consistency, but Bavarian cream utilizes gelatin, heavy cream, and whipped cream to create its own dessert.

Truthfully, you may become more confused by their similarities if you change your Bavarian and Boston creams for a vegan audience. However, this is typically easier done for the Boston cream when compared to the Bavarian cream.

Vegan Alternatives

If you were to make Boston cream vegan, you would only need to find a few key ingredients from your local supermarket. Along with some minor differences, Boston cream doesn’t need too many variations from its core ingredients.

Instead of using eggs, you can use plant-based milk, either plain or vanilla. While soy milk is recommended, it doesn’t matter which type you use, so long as it is vegan milk.

Then, mix it with some flour, neutral oil such as canola oil, some vanilla extract, lemon juice, and some sugar. Once you add these, you will have your own vegan Boston cream available for use.

However vegan Bavarian cream is more complicated due to its use of recipes from animals. Gelatin is a key ingredient in the original recipe, as are the creams and eggs.

By looking at the ingredients utilized for the vegan variations of this recipe, you can understand where the confusion lies.

You need to use unsweetened plant-based milk, cornstarch, vanilla beans, some vegan margarine, some white sugar, and a hint of turmeric. The turmeric is mostly needed to give the Bavarian cream its signature yellowish color.

As you can see, with the use of cornstarch in both of these recipes, it’s impossible to find the difference between the vegan editions of Boston and Bavarian cream. 

Texture And Differences 

Utilizing the ingredients of Bavarian cream, you will discover that it has a thick texture that can be used as its own dessert. The dense consistency separates it from its Boston cousin, which is primarily used as a filling.

Boston cream is, after all, not nearly as heavy as its Bavarian cousin. While the cornstarch will thicken the consistency of the cream, it will never be utilized as a solo dessert. In fact, it is better to be used to fill pastries and other baked goods.

Uses Of Cream In A Dessert

Upon refrigerating your Bavarian cream, it’s ready to be served with any fruit-based dessert of your choice. Any sweet fruits will work, such as strawberry, raspberry, or even apricot.

Along with utilizing it with these, you can use it as a filling for Bavarian cream donuts and other such pastries of your choice. 

If you were to get a Bavarian cream donut in America, you’ll find that it won’t follow the original recipe. It is closer in relation to Boston cream than Bavarian cream and is a major factor in why so many confuse the two with one another. 

After all, if you look at the Boston cream donut, you’ll see that this cream isn’t only used there, but in other pastries too. Both the Boston cream cake and the Boston cream pie are incredibly popular desserts around the United States.

Are Boston And Bavarian Cream The Same?

Both vegan editions of Boston and Bavarian cream can be easily confused by their ingredients, that’s not to say you wouldn’t get confused with their original editions.

Boston and Bavarian cream are similar to one another in appearance, but once you look closer, you will see there are some differences between them.

Bavarian cream is closer to custard while Boston cream is suitable for filling pastries. Thus, Bavarian cream can be enjoyed as a solo dessert, while you would never serve Boston cream alone without being inside a baked item. 

Due to the custard-like texture, Bavarian cream is both thick and dense due to its utilization of gelatin to set it. Meanwhile, Boston cream is runnier and creamier due to how it uses cornstarch in its original recipe.

You would also not serve these creams with the same type of dessert. Bavarian cream is a wonderful accompaniment to fruit-based desserts, while Boston cream would be better suited to chocolate-based recipes.

Therefore, you should know that Boston and Bavarian creams are completely different from one another. If you have a vegan recipe, however, they are almost identical depending on how they’re prepared.

After all, the differences were already subtle.

No, what makes Bavarian cream distinct is its use of creams, both heavy and whipped, and gelatin. However, these ingredients are completely animal-based and so need to be replaced when they’re used in a vegan recipe.

It also means that it will be more closely related to its Boston cousin, but it will still maintain a great taste.

Should you have Bavarian and Boston cream, you should remember that they are both versatile.

These ingredients can change depending on your own personal preference, so you should also experiment with your own takes on these recipes.

After all, you’ve already seen how easy it is to make a vegan version of these desserts, so you could easily replicate a dairy-free variation or even a gluten-free variant.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, now that you have read this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how you can differentiate Boston and Bavarian creams from one another.

Both of these versions of cream have been used for over two centuries, and it’s very difficult to tell one another apart without understanding these four key differences between them.

When you use them for a recipe, you should understand the differences between them so you can best incorporate them into your chosen desserts.

If you make your own vegan variations, remember that it is more difficult to tell them apart, so always keep note of the texture and how you plan to use these creams.

Jess Smith