If you’ve been looking for a way to step up your weekend breakfast routine, you should definitely dive headfirst into my Bavarian Cream Donut recipe! These crispy, golden orbs of fried brioche envelop hidden treasure troves of velvety, vanilla-infused Bavarian cream filling that ooze out seductively with each bite. 🤤
A few years back, after a disappointing run to an alliterative national donut chain, I decided to take matters into my own hands and learn the skills needed to make brioche donuts at home. From old-fashioned sour cream donuts to baked donuts, two-bite mini donuts to giant, fist-sized filled donuts, I’m basically halfway to opening my own doughnut shop!
This Bavarian cream doughnut recipe is my newest addition to the pink bakery box, and I’m pretty certain you’re going to love it! Featuring fluffy, tender fried brioche dough that’s rolled in sugar until it sparkles and a lusciously rich vanilla-scented Bavarian cream donut filling, these sweet morning pastries are the epitome of breakfast decadence.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Bavarian Cream Donuts Recipe
If you’re still wondering whether this cream-filled donut recipe is for you, let me regale you with tales of its excellence. These Bavarian donuts are:
- Decadent & Indulgent: These white cream-filled donuts are the epitome of indulgence, offering a luxurious experience that satisfies your sweetest cravings. With each bite, you'll experience a luxurious escape into a world of creamy, vanilla-infused bliss.
- Tender & Creamy: Prepare to be enchanted by the juxtaposition of textures in these delightful Bavarian-filled donuts. The brioche exterior delicately yields to reveal a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth donut filling that's both tender and sumptuous.
- Made With Only 11 Simple Ingredients: Simplicity meets sophistication in this recipe. Crafted with just 11 straightforward ingredients, my Bavarian cream-filled donuts prove that gourmet indulgence can be achieved with ease. Using little more than pantry staples to a touch of finesse, this recipe demystifies the art of crafting picture-perfect, fluffy clouds of breakfast deliciousness at home.
As I mentioned earlier, this recipe for Bavarian donuts is made with just 11 simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Active Dry Yeast - If you store your yeast in the freezer, it tends to last long beyond the expiration date. Just make sure you proof it as indicated in step 1 before using it in this recipe to make sure it’s still good.
- Large Eggs + Egg Yolks - Make sure to separate your eggs while they’re still cold from the fridge to prevent the yolks from breaking. (If you need a way to use up the extra whites, try making one of my favorite macaron recipes next!)
- Palm or Canola Oil - These are my two favorite frying oils, but any neutral-flavored high smoke-point oil (e.g. peanut, grapeseed, avocado, or vegetable oil) will also work.
- Gelatin - This is a key element in creating the perfect consistency and stability for the Bavarian cream. You’re welcome to use either sheets or powder, so long as it’s unflavored.
- Vanilla Extract - For adding warmth and richness to the cream filling. Feel free to swap in an equal amount of vanilla paste, or use about half as much ground vanilla bean.
- Whole Milk - Make sure you’re opting for a minimum of 4% milkfat for the best, creamiest mouthfeel.
- Heavy Whipping Cream - You can use slightly lighter “whipping cream” so long as it has a minimum of 30% milkfat. Alternatively, you can try swapping in a dairy-free substitute like coconut cream or vegan whipping cream.
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
- Flavored Bavarian Cream - From coffee or chocolate bavarian cream to blackberry or strawberry bavarian cream and everything between, there are tons of flavorful ways to move beyond the bounds of vanilla’s rich warmth.
- Dairy-Free - While I haven’t tried it myself, my kitchen intuition leads be to believe you can make a dairy-free Bavarian cream filling for donuts by swapping in a full-fat creamy plant-based milk (e.g. canned coconut milk or oat milk) and a vegan whipping cream alternative. You can also easily swap in vegan butter for regular butter in the brioche!
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
📖 How to Make Bavarian Cream Filled Donuts: Step-by-Step Instructions
Before you get too intimidated by these lengthy instructions, remember that the work of making Bavarian cream-filled brioche donuts is broken up over the course of 2 days. Here’s how it’s done:
Make Brioche Donuts
Step 1: Knead Dough. Mix together ingredients and knead, before adding salt and room temperature butter one tablespoon at a time.
Step 2: Continue kneading with the dough hook for another 5-8 minutes until the dough looks smooth and glossy and check for the window pane test.
Step 3: Shape & second rise. After the dough has rested overnight, it’s time to start shaping! Divide your dough using a sharp knife or a bench scraper into even pieces.
Step 4: Let the dough sit undisturbed in a warm spot to proof until they have doubled in size for about 1.5 -2 hours.
Step 5: Fry time! Fry the doughnut for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown before removing from the oil with a slotted spoon and placing on a cooling rack.
Step 6: Coat in Sugar: Place your fried doughnuts in a wide, small bowl filled with sugar. Roll freshly fried doughnuts in sugar before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.
Make Bavarian Cream Filling
Step 1: Bloom Gelatin. Add gelatin, cold water, and vanilla extract together - allow to sit for a few minutes while you start the crème anglaise.
Step 2: Whisk yolks and sugar. Add granulated sugar and egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until you reach a pale yellow color.
Step 3: Temper milk & make gelatin base. Add milk and heat in a bain-marie until you’ve reached no more than 180F.
Step 4: Chill. Strain and allow the mixture to cool in an ice bath in the fridge, then whisk vigorously until smooth.
Step 5: Add whipped cream. Whip cream to medium peaks. Fold whipped cream into the base until smooth. If the mixture is too thin, set in the fridge to further firm.
Fill the center of the doughnut until it feels heavy. Enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Mind your water temps. Yeast likes a nice warm (but not too hot!) bath to get started, whereas gelatin prefers a downright frosty one.
- Watch the dough, not the clock. Of all the things I’ve learned since I started baking bread and other yeasted goods, this is by far the best one. Different factors can play into how quickly your dough rises — ambient temperature and humidity in the room that you’re proofing, the temperature of the water you proof the yeast in, and even the altitude at which you’re proofing the dough. So, while setting a timer of when to check your dough is a good idea, don’t be discouraged if it isn’t ready exactly in the timeframe that mine was. Your dough is happy and well-risen when a small indent made with your finger slowly returns to its original place. If it springs back immediately, it needs a longer proof.
- Grab a frying thermometer. Unless you have a fancy deep fryer that helps you heat your oil precisely, you’re going to need a thermometer to tell you when it’s time to start frying your doughnuts. 340 is the golden number. If it’s too low, the dough will become waterlogged with oil, and if it’s too hot, the dough balls will brown before the center of the dough is cooked all the way through.
- Don’t overcrowd the oil. Each time you add some of your dough to the oil, the temperature will drop slightly. As discussed above, you don’t want to lower the temperature too drastically! Also, since the dough is rather soft, it’ll have a tendency to glom onto other pieces if there are too many bits floating about. Head on over to my guide for choosing the right oil to fry donuts for more information!
💭 Recipe FAQs
Freshly made Bavarian cream donuts are at their prime within the first day or two. That's when they're at their peak of softness and creamy dreaminess. If you plan to gobble them up within that two-day window, just keep them in an airtight container at room temperature.
However, if life gets in the way and you need to store them longer – say, up to a week – then it's a good idea to pop them in the fridge. The cool temperature helps keep that delightful Bavarian cream fresh and safe to eat.
At its core, Bavarian cream is a luscious custard-like dessert that's been elevated to dessert stardom. The result is something akin to a luxurious cloud of creamy goodness.
It's not too sweet, has a hint of vanilla, and is incredibly versatile. You can enjoy it as a filling for pastries like those fabulous Bavarian cream donuts, use it to layer cakes, or even savor it on its own in all its creamy glory on a slice of chocolate chip brioche.
Crafted by seamlessly folding whipped cream into a velvety, vanilla-infused custard, Bavarian cream strikes a balance between lightness and rich flavor. This culinary gem, known for its subtlety and restrained sweetness, often takes center stage as a sought-after pastry filling or an exquisite addition to elegant desserts.
Now, let's talk about custard – the timeless classic in the realm of creamy indulgence. With its silken texture and comforting, rich taste, custard graces a multitude of classic desserts, from the grandeur of crème brûlée to the simplicity of rice pudding.
And then there's Boston cream, the charismatic contender in this trio of delights. It's a unique dessert that stars creamy vanilla pastry cream (a close relative of custard) sandwiched between layers of tender vanilla sponge cake, all crowned with a glossy cascade of chocolate ganache.
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Bavarian Cream Donut Recipe
- Piping Tip & Bag
- Slotted Spoon
- ¾ Cup (175 g) Warm Water
- ¼ Cup (50 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Active dry yeast
- 3 ¾ Cup (500 g) All-Purpose flour
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ⅓ Cup + 1 Tbsp (100 g) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 2 liters Palm or Canola oil, for frying
- Granulated Sugar , for coating fried doughnuts
- 1 Tablespoon (11 g) Gelatin
- ⅓ Cup (75 g) Cold Water
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 4 Egg Yolks
- ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon (65 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup (250) Whole Milk
- 1 Cup (250 g) Heavy Whipping Cream
- Mix together the warm water, sugar and yeast together in your stand mixer’s mixing bowl. Let this mixture rest undisturbed for 5-10 minutes until you start to see bubbles start to form on the surface.¾ Cup Warm Water, ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar, 1 teaspoon Active dry yeast
- Add your flour, and eggs to the active yeast mixture using the paddle attachment. After one minute of mixing on medium speed, the ingredients should be well combined. At this point, switch to using the dough hook attachment and knead for 6-8 minutes before adding salt and butter one tablespoon at a time. Continue kneading with the dough hook for another 5-8 minutes until the dough looks smooth and glossy and you notice that the dough is not sticking to the sides of the bowl and has passed the window pane test (shown in the video in this recipe card). This means that your dough has been well developed and we can stop mixing.3 ¾ Cup All-Purpose flour, 3 Large Eggs, 1 ¼ teaspoon Salt, ⅓ Cup + 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and allow to proof for 1.5 to 2 hours covered in plastic wrap. You’re looking for the dough to have about doubled in size before moving on to the next step. If your kitchen tends to run quite cold, try to find a warm spot to leave the dough for this resting period. Then, remove the plastic wrap, and degas the dough by punching it down before recovering and placing in the fridge overnight. This overnight rest of about 12-14 hours is essential in order to develop flavor as the dough continues to ferment slowly within low temperatures.
- After the dough has rested overnight – it’s time to start shaping! Divide your dough using a sharp knife or a bench scraper into 65 gram even pieces. Gently degas each piece by pressing on top of the ball with the heel of your hand before forming into a tight boule. Place each piece of dough onto a parchment lined baking tray where the parchment has been lightly sprayed with baking spray and cover with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed ( so the plastic wrap doesn't stick to the dough). Let the dough sit undisturbed in a warm spot to proof until they have doubled in size for about 1.5-2 hours.
- Approximately twenty minutes before the doughnuts have finished their final proof, it’s time to start heating your frying oil! Grab a large Dutch oven or your preferred container for frying. Add the oil, ensuring that you have at least 3 inches of height from the bottom of the Dutch oven to the top of the oil. Turning the stove on medium high, heat the oil to 340° F. Place your sugar in a bowl to the side of your frying station along with a plate/cooling rack lined with paper towels.2 liters Palm or Canola oil
- I always do a “test” doughnut before moving on to the remaining doughnuts. Fry the test doughnut for 2-3 minutes on each side before removing from the oil with a slotted spoon and placing on a cooling rack lined with paper towels. Then, coat in sugar before letting cool completely. You can also check for doneness by taking an internal temperature of the doughnuts - they should reach an internal temperature of about 185°F when they're fully cooked through! Continue this process by gently dropping three to four pieces of proofed dough into the oil at a time, making sure not to crowd the doughnuts too much! Make sure to check the temperature of the oil after each batch, in case you need to reheat the oil back to 340° F.Granulated Sugar
- Add gelatin, cold water, and vanilla extract together - allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes while you start the creme anglaise.1 Tablespoon Gelatin, ⅓ Cup Cold Water, 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- Add the granulated sugar and egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until you reach a pale yellow color.4 Egg Yolks, ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- Add warmed milk to egg mixture and heat ingredients gently over a bain-marie until you’ve reached no more than 180°F - take off the heat and add gelatin mixture, whisking until completely combined before passing through a mesh strainer.1 Cup Whole Milk
- Allow the mixture to cool in an ice bath in the fridge for about 45 minutes until the base has thickened, but is not fully set.
- Whip heavy cream to medium peaks then fold the whipped cream into the base until the cream is smooth. If it looks a bit lumpy, that's completely fine - just continue whisking by hand or an electric mixture until it is smooth. Place the cream in the fridge where it will continue to thicken. Before using the bavarian cream, whisk vigorously again to ensure that you have an extra smooth texture!1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- Fill a piping bag with your bavarian cream. Pierce the doughnut with a piping tip then fill the center of the doughnut with the bavarian cream. You did it - enjoy!
- Eat ‘em while they’re fresh! Technically, you can store doughnuts in an air-tight container in a dry, cool space for up to three days. This being said, I would highly recommend baking and enjoying these bavarian cream doughnuts rather promptly after frying! Doughnuts are best straight from the fryer as they can dry out quite quickly.
- Don’t forget to proof your yeast. If the yeast/water/sugar mixture doesn’t start bubbling and foaming within 10-15 minutes, your yeast is dead. Don’t make the mistake of forging ahead anyway; the brioche dough will end up hard as a rock.
- DON’T skip the overnight rest. The dough continues to ferment slowly overnight within the low temperatures, which is essential to developing flavor.
- Use a thermometer to consistently check the oil’s temperature. It can rise and lower as you move through the frying process. Keep a close eye on the temperature to ensure it stays at 345ºF for even and consistent doughnuts.
- Be prepared before you start frying! After the second rise, this recipe moves quickly, so have your thermometer, a plate lined with paper towels, and your sugar coating ready before you begin frying.