The only thing better than a cupcake is a cupcake infused with a surprise filling. And you don’t need to be an experienced baker to master this nifty technique. Filling or stuffing a cupcake is a great way to add a burst of flavor. Often unexpected, it’s always appreciated.Main Photo: Black Forest Cupcakes by Piday
Here are a few tips to get you started by guest writer & BakeSpace member Coconut & Lime:
Tip 1: Know Your Cake
Different cupcakes have different textures, and some are easier to fill than others. For example, filling a light and airy sponge cupcake is a breeze, while force-filling a dense pound cake is much more difficult. If filling a light textured cupcake, try using a pastry bag with a filling tip or a specially made “injector.” Simply insert the tip into the top of the baked, cooled cupcake and squeeze. For denser cupcakes or cupcakes in which you might want to see the filling peek out a bit (for example in a doughnut cupcake) the cone method works best. Use a small spoon, melon baller or corer to scoop out a small amount of the baked, cooled cupcake. Then add the filling, and replace the cake you scooped out to seal it in. If there is a lot of filling, you can skip the cap and just ice.
Tip 2: Know Your Filling
You want your filling to stay where you put it, and you definitely want to avoid making your cupcake soggy, or worse yet, leak through the liner. Most fillings work best when added after the cupcake has been baked. Thinner fillings like jelly work best in a denser cupcake because there is less space to fill. For light and fluffy cupcakes, thicker fillings like cream cheese frosting, preserves, ganache or peanut butter work fine. If you want to use a thin filling in a light cupcake, plan on serving shortly after they’re baked.
Tip 3: Use Fresh Fruit
Fillings do not have to be spreadable. In fact, I’ve made cupcakes with whole strawberries baked within. While you don’t want to drift into muffin territory, adding a single grape, strawberry, pitted cherry or blackberry is a fun way to incorporate some in-season fruit into your cupcake. If using a heavy fruit like strawberries, it’s best to use a thicker batter. First toss the fruit in a bit of flour – this will keep it from sinking to the bottom. Then fill the wells in the cupcake pan halfway, add the fruit to the center and then add the remaining batter. Bake as usual.
Tip 4: Make a Second Batter
Another interesting filling for cupcakes can be another type of dough. Fill the wells in the cupcake pan halfway, add a tablespoon of cookie or brownie dough, fudge or even another flavor of cake batter to the center of each cupcake, and then add the remaining batter. Bake as usual and you will end up with a flavor and texture contrast in the middle of your cupcake. A thicker batter will minimize the spread of the filling.
Tip 5: Take Your Time
Take care not to force the tip of your pastry bag or corer all the way through your cupcake. Just about 1/4-1/2 inch in is best. Any lower and you run the risk that your cupcake will break in two when you take a bite. You also don’t want to puncture the wrapper and make a sticky mess. Don’t try to force more stuffing into the cupcake then what fits naturally. An overstuffed cupcake will either crumble or squirt filling. Also take a minute and wipe the top of the cupcake off after filling. A level surface is easier to ice.
Special thanks to Rachel of Coconut & Lime.