What’s the Best Way to Fill Cupcakes

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How do you make a cupcake even better? You fill them, of course!

How do you make a cupcake even better? You fill them, of course!

There are few things in the world of baking more pleasing than cupcakes. Humble and sweet, what could be better than a cupcake? A filled cupcake! Fill them with icing, jam, or cream. Anything. We can all agree that the only way to make cupcakes better is by filling them!

You might think that filling a cupcake is beyond your baking skills. What if you overfill it? How do you even get something inside your cupcake? Don’t worry, it’s a really simple thing to do, no matter what level of baking mastery you are at. Just follow these simple steps.

Choose the filling!

Choosing the right filling is important. Think about what flavor of cupcakes you’re dealing with and choose a filling that complements them. There are lots you can choose from, such as ice cream, chocolate, fruit, jam, buttercream, and lemon curd. Lemon curd is a versatile choice as it can be added prior to the baking process or after.

Learn about the best ice cream maker for non-dairy ice cream here. You might also like this post on the pressure canners for home canning, which will allow you to can your own jams!

Bake your cupcakes.

For a top secret tip on baking perfect cupcakes, see this post on ice cream scoops that will have you baking like a pro.And remember to weigh your ingredients. Here are the best scales. 

If you’re filling your cupcakes after you bake them, the first step is allowing your cupcakes to reach room temperature. If they’re too warm, your filling is going to be affected. Generally, it will melt and make the cupcake soggy and undesirable. Take a break and let them cool for an hour.

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Pre-bake filling methods.

You can fill your cupcakes before or after baking. It's easy as pie!

You can fill your cupcakes before or after baking. It’s easy as pie!

If you want to fill your cupcakes prior to baking, you’ll need a filling that won’t deteriorate or dissolve in the oven. Chocolates and cream cheese based fillings are the best options. Peanut butter cups or chocolate chips are also a great addition.

Melt chocolate the right way. Here are the best double boilers for the job. 

Once you’ve chosen your desired filling, spoon the cupcake batter into the dish until it’s about half filled. Add your filling in on top, then fill the rest of the batter in over the filling. Remember to always leave enough room for the batter to expand, otherwise it will overflow and spread about the baking tray.

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Post-bake filling methods.

There’s a few ways you can insert your filling to the cupcake. It’s just a matter of finding the right method for you. The chosen filling also determines the filling method. Thick or chunky fillings won’t fit through a pastry bag so, for things like a fruit or ice cream, you’ll need to use the cone-top method.

Insert a paring knife into the top part and angle it towards the center of the cupcake. Cut out a circular hole in the top of your cupcake, removing the cone shape. You want to make a little cavity in the cake inside which you can place a spoon of your chosen filling. Don’t fill it all the way to the top though, as you’ll want to place the lid, so to speak, back on top. Remove the bottom of the cone and place the top back on top of the filling. This is why it’s important not to fill the cupcake right to the top.

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The other method of filling cupcakes, used for thinner fillings, is done with a pastry bag. The bag has a narrow tip attached to the end where the filling is squeezed out. Penetrate the tip about an inch into the cupcake and squeeze around two teaspoons of the filling into the cake.

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Don’t go overboard on the filling, as tempting as it may be. You might want to do a few test runs on the less beautiful cupcakes, as there’s always a couple of ugly ducklings in the batch.

The Grand Finale.

To complete the job, it always looks good to frost your cupcakes. Not only does this add another level of flavor, but also conceals the hole you’ve made in the surface when filling the cupcakes. Top your cakes with sprinkles or a cherry (see some great cherry pitters here) and voila! You now have delicious, pretty, and filled cupcakes.

As you can see, filling cupcakes is nowhere near as complicated as you might have thought. Anyone can achieve brilliance in cupcake baking as long as you select the right fillings to match your batter and don’t over-fill!

Need crystallized ginger for your next cupcake batch?  Learn how to crystallize ginger without sugar.

Do you love baking as much as I do? Read about the best rimmed baking sheets and great springform pans for cheesecake! If you sometimes make a mess in your self-cleaning oven, you’ll also want to read this post about oven cleaners.

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Randy H. and Kristin A.