Cake, it’s the universally loved sweet treat that is the perfect way to celebrate any occasion. While there are a ton of videos and tutorials on how to make beautiful, full-sized cakes, cupcakes also offer some unique ideas to bakers all over.
Cupcakes offer creative concepts like pull apart cakes, where all the cupcakes are organized and decorated in a certain way to create a bigger picture. Other designs feature multicolored, marbled cake, where each bit reveals a unique pattern. But, filled cupcakes are a trend that gains popularity as more bakers experiment with different filling types.
What is Filling Cupcakes?
A filled cupcake is, well, filled with delicious, sweet surprises. These stuffed baked goods are popular for events like gender reveals, themed birthdays, or even office occasions.
While these are fun ideas, the techniques can get tricky as the ingredients change. With so many different kinds of fillings, bakers might need to use extra tools or even some special baking methods. But, to figure out the best tools for the job, you must first know which ingredients you want to use as filling for your cupcakes!
What Ingredients Are Popular for Filling Cupcakes?
Even though cupcakes have been a tasty treat since the early 1900s, filled cupcakes were made famous by Hostess when they introduced their cream-filled, frosted snack cakes in the 1950s.
Since then, people have been perfecting their own stuffed cupcake recipes at home. But, there have been modifications and additions like fruit, candies, and jelly. Here are some of the most popular options for filling cupcakes at home:
The first pairing that comes to mind for any cake is icing! Icing is a great filling that can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Buy it at the store or make your own for the perfect flavor combo!
Another great thing about icing filling is that you can color it easily to fit any theme. Celebrate graduation by featuring the school colors, keep with the theme of a birthday party, or color-code your gender reveal party by dying the filler icing any color!
On top of all those benefits, icing is one of the easiest ingredients to use as filling. Simply fill a piping bag with your desired icing, insert the decorative tip into the top of the cake, and give it a generous squeeze! It’s important to make sure that there is enough icing inside to make your intentions known.
Pro tip: Funfetti cake mix can make it hard to see which color is supposed to fill the center of the cupcake if you don’t use enough icing. The colorful bits in the cake can mix with the icing and bring more colors into the mix.
If you are creating cakes for a summertime fling or just want a little bit lighter of a filling, fruit is the perfect option! Fruits like berries, peaches, and cherries can make for great fillers that pair beautifully with all kinds of cake and icing flavors. While there are endless possibilities with delectable fruit-filled cupcakes, here are some incredible flavor combinations to inspire you:
- Strawberry filling: Strawberries are a fruit that works with chocolate or vanilla cake flavors. You can use small portions of strawberries or create a strawberry sauce to inspire a fresh take on cake fillings. Pairing these flavors with buttercream, cream cheese, or even whipped cream can create delicious combinations sure to satisfy anyone!
- Peach filling: Peaches and cream give anyone a warm, homey feeling, but putting it inside of a cupcake adds a bit more sweetness to this classic flavor. This cupcake showcases a thick, sweet peach sauce in the center of a vanilla and peach cupcake. Then, top it off with a decadent mascarpone frosting for a perfect, creamy treat.
- Mixed berry filling: While it’s hard to use whole berries or even portions, a berry sauce is a delicious and easy filling. Combining blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries in a pot with some sugar heats the berries, so they soften. This way, they are easier to squish into a sauce. This sauce with buttercream icing and a simple cupcake recipe is a refreshing and tasty summertime combo!
- Cherry filling: Cherries are a wonderful addition to a myriad of baking recipes, and they are easy to use as cupcake fillers! Make your cherry sauce or use your favorite pie filling. If you decide to use pie filling, be sure to add this filling before cooking instead of after like the other fruit fillings. Pair this with a vanilla cake and vanilla ice cream for a unique treat!
Unlike the icing option, the process of filling a cupcake with fruit can take more time or more tools. One method that works great for these thicker fillings is to cut a small hole in the top of the cupcake and scoop out the middle. From there, take a spoon or piping bag, and fill each cupcake individually.
Another way to do this is to invest in a cupcake corer. This tool is great for taking out the center of your cakes. Again, use a bowl and spoon or cake decorating bag to fill your desired fruit in the center of your cakes. Replace the cut-off top and finish it off with some icing to cover up the damage, and you have a perfect fruit-filled cupcake.
Pro tip: Be sure to leave some space between your hollow center and the bottom of the cupcake! If you core it too close to the bottom, the filling can fall through and make a huge mess.
Everyone has a favorite candy. So, what could be better than filling a cupcake with your favorite candy bars or pieces? Chances are, no matter what kind of candy you want to use in your cupcakes, some flavors will complement it to create an amazing and unique dessert. Some flavor and candy combos that sound delicious are:
- Hershey’s Kisses: Even though Hershey’s Kisses come in a ton of variations, you can use pretty much any of them with chocolate cupcake batter. Fill your liners or tin with the batter, then push the Kiss into the cupcake until the batter covers the top. Once these treats bake, top it off with vanilla or chocolate icing for a perfect candy and cake delicacy.
- Sprinkle filling: Sprinkle-filled cupcakes bring all the fun of a pinata to your personal cake. Use any flavor of cake and icing and fill them with themed sprinkles to bring a splash of creativity and fun to any occasion. For these, stick to the technique of coring the middle of your cupcakes and replacing the top, then swirl icing on the top to finish it off!
- Candy bar filling: Filling a cupcake with your favorite candy bar is a delectable way to treat yourself and a great way to use extra candy from holidays like Halloween or Easter. Use your favorite cake batter to fill a cupcake liner and put your desired candy inside. Cover with some more batter and bake! Buttercream or whipped frosting is the perfect way to top off your cupcakes.
While you can use some filling methods after baking, most of these candy recipes will have you put your candy in prior to baking. This creates a warm, gooey center and even some neat designs!
Pro tip: Use the sprinkle method to fill your cupcakes with M&Ms! These small chocolate candies will give the same effect as the sprinkle pinata cupcakes do, but you may have to cut the core a little bigger.
Cream-filled cupcakes take a gooey center to the extreme! These decadent creations take inspiration from many other creamy desserts, and these cupcakes are sure to encourage anyone to indulge in their sweetness. Some incredible combinations include:
- Hostess-inspired: If you are craving a classic cupcake, try making the at-home version of the famous, cream-filled, hostess cupcake. After you bake the chocolate cupcakes, core the center and add marshmallow filling. Recover the cupcake top, and frost with a delicious chocolate frosting and white spiral design!
- Ganache filling: If you are a death-by-chocolate kind of person, you will adore the ganache-filled cupcakes. This rich, silky filling is a perfect pairing for any cake or icing but is wonderful with chocolate cake and dark chocolate icing. When it comes to this creamy filler, it’s best to core the center and fill.
- Boston cream pie filling: If you are looking for a moist, light cake with a rich filling and frosting, look no further than the Boston cream cupcake. This custard-like filling is a consistency that works best with the icing method. Simply put the cream in a decorating bag with a piping tip, poke it in the top of the cupcake, and squeeze. Top it off with a delicious chocolate ganache to complete the cake.
Since these fillings are slightly similar to the other ones covered so far, a lot of the methods for filling the cupcakes are the same.
Pro tip: These cupcakes need to be completely cool before filling with any creams. If the cupcakes are too warm, then the cream can be runny and ruin the desired consistency.
Jelly & Jam
If you like the idea of using a fruit-flavored filling but don’t have the time or ability to make your own sauce, use a jelly or jam! There are plenty of flavor combinations to create an amazing cupcake, and it is a simple filling to work with. Some delicious combinations using jelly are:
- Jelly filling with peanut butter: Even though this combination sounds strange, peanut butter and jelly is a well-known combo! By filling a vanilla cupcake with grape jelly and topping it off with a peanut butter frosting, you can easily complete this unique twist on the original PB&J.
- Pomegranate jam: If you are looking for a cupcake that satisfies your sweet and tart cravings, then pomegranate-filled cupcakes are perfect for those flavors. After baking and cooling vanilla cupcakes, core the center to fill the center with the purple jam. Frost this treat with meringue buttercream to give it a fluffy finish.
Pro tip: Substitute pomegranate jam for raspberry, strawberry, or even blueberry to make your favorite fruit-flavored snack cake! Vanilla cake flavors pair well with jellies to make a sweet and tart treat.
Caramel is a favorite of many for a variety of desserts like cookies, cakes, and candies. There are plenty of ways to use the delicious caramel flavor in your cupcakes. If you decide to fill your cupcakes with caramel, know that you can switch up the recipes to make several types of cake designs.
Use a vanilla or chocolate cake to house your caramel filling. Top it off with either caramel buttercream frosting or vanilla frosting with a salted caramel drizzle for an extra flourish.
How to Fill Cupcakes: The Three Filling Methods
Even though we’ve gone over the various methods used for different filling types and consistencies, let’s touch on the basics. There are three basic methods for filling:
- Coring: This requires either using a coring tool or just a spoon or knife to remove the top and center of the cupcake. After you fill your cupcake, replace the top and cover the imperfections with icing.
- Piping: This simple method is perfect for fillings like icing or custard. Fill a cake decorating bag with your filling of choice, and place the tip into the top of the cupcake. From there, gently, but not scarcely, squeeze the filling into the cake.
- Baking: For some solid fillings like candy bars or chunks of chocolate, it’s best to place the filling directly into the batter before baking. These dense fillers will hold their shape throughout the baking process.
To Top it Off
With so many flavors, textures, and combinations to choose from, there is a filled cupcake for even the pickiest eater. No matter if you are preparing these small desserts for a birthday, special occasion, or just because you want to, these cake treats are the perfect way to celebrate any event that may come up.
Whether you want to use candies, fruits or jellies, or creamy fillings, you know which methods work best for you and which will give you the best outcome for your hard work. You know all the best methods to fill a cupcake, so go, create your bite-sized masterpiece!