unwrapping the cupcakeEvery Friday I answer one of our readers' questions about cupcakes. Whether it's about how to make the best buttercream frosting or where to find cute cupcake-pan liners, it's all within my domain. So email me at allison AT crossfitnyc DOT com (with "Ask Allison" in the subject line) and I'll be happy to answer your questions!

OK, now on to this week's question:

Q: What’s the best way to fill a cupcake? Is it to put the filling in a pastry bag, plunge it in the top of the cake and squeeze? I’m afraid to try this as I don’t want to ruin a good bunch of cupcakes. What if the cake is kind of dense? Thanks! --Suzy

First off, Suzy, I have to ask if you've ever heard the expression, "If you want to make an omelette, you've got to break some eggs"? Well, the same thing applies here: if you want to make a great filled cupcake, you've got to be willing to experiment with different filling methodologies (and a few ruined but still yummy cupcakes) until you find the one that works for you.

As you say, the density of the particular cake recipe you choose, along with the type of filling you choose, can make certain methods work better than others. A raspberry filling would be more easily squeezable into a light and fluffy angel's food cupcake than a thick, heavy chocolate ganache would fit into a dense chocolate pound-cake-style cupcake. For a ganache, I'd take the cone method that chockylit uses: she takes a sharp knife and cuts an upside-down cone shape out of the top of the cupcake, spoons in her filling and then puts the cone back on top. She's got tons of recipes of her site using that cone method, and you can find them here.

Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

I've found plenty of other filled-cupcake recipes by a simple google search such as this one from Martha Stewart (and check this Flickr set of how that recipe bakes up), the jam-filled "Lamington cupcake," or this chocolate cupcake filled with dulce de leche.

What's fascinating, though, if you search long enough, is you can even find filled cupcake recipes where the filling is baked right in, like this recipe from JustJenn. Ingenious!

Depending on how particular you are in how the finished product looks (as opposed to simply how it tastes) may determine which style(s) you like best.

But if the cupcakes are for a special occasion, I strongly suggest playing around and "breaking a few eggs" along the way until you find what works best for you.

I've blogged a bunch of filled-cupcake photos below for inspiration. Let us know how it turns out for you!


Anonymous said…
I'm in trouble now....I just found your blog...I'm drooling from all the cupcake options...
I'll be checking in daily...
Wendy said…
I have a giveaway on my blog for a cupcake shaped cake pan... can I share that here?

Great blog! I've been here before, but it's been awhile. Feels great to be back, reading through your posts, but mostly looking at the wonderful photos of so many marvelous cupcakes!