If you want to add outstanding flavor and creative flair to your baked goods, it's important to know how to fill cupcakes. Adding a filling is a simple process that can completely transform your dessert. Use this guide to learn the most useful techniques for how to fill a cupcake and to gain inspiration for the best cupcake fillings.
- 🥄 Tools to add filling to cupcakes
- 1. Apple Corer
- 2. Paring Knife
- 3. Piping Bag without tip
- 4. Piping bag with tip
- 5. Spoon
- 6. Small Measuring Spoon eg. teaspoon
- 7. Mini Ice Cream Scoop
- 8. Hands
- 🍫 Best Fillings for cupcakes
- 1. Nutella
- 2. Chocolate
- 3. Jam or Fruit Filling
- 4. Lemon curd
- 5. Biscoff spread, Peanut butter, Hazelnut butter
- 6. Apple Pie filling
- 7. Roasted Nuts
- 8. Cream Cheese Frosting
- 9. Caramel
- 10. Buttercream
- 11. Whipped cream
- 👩🍳 How to fill cupcake liners?
- 👩🍳 How to fill cupcakes before baking?
- ❓ Filling Cupcakes FAQs
- 🧁 Filled Cupcake recipes
- More baking guides
- How to fill Cupcakes
🥄 Tools to add filling to cupcakes
Filled cupcakes are in a class of their own. They might seem too complicated for a home baker, but learning how to make cupcakes with a filling is much simpler than you might think. There are several tools that can make filling cupcakes easier, but there are also a number of factors to consider when determining the best way to fill cupcakes for different situations.
Be sure to consider the thickness of your filling, the size of your cupcakes, and your cupcake decorating vision for the finished product when deciding on how to put filling into cupcakes.
1. Apple Corer
To uniformly remove the center from the cupcake, an apple corer can be a great choice. It's efficient and will make the holes on each cupcake the same size. If your cupcake is delicate or mini-size, this option may not work for you.
How to use it?
To use an apple corer to hollow a cupcake, simply press it straight down over the center of the cupcake. Gently press down ½ to ¾ of the way into the cupcake. Then you can simply lift it out for a perfectly cut cupcake.
2. Paring Knife
A small paring knife comes in handy when coring the cupcakes and preparing them to fill. The pointy end can easily maneuver around to remove the center of the cupcake before placing the filling inside.
How to use it?
How to core cupcakes without a corer? To remove the center of a cupcake with a paring knife, place the knife at a 45-degree angle and cut a cone out of the center of the cupcake. The cone should only go about halfway into the cupcake. Cutting too deeply into the cupcake can damage the structure and cause the filling to escape from the bottom. Once you remove the cone, you can choose to replace it after adding the filling.
3. Piping Bag without tip
Piping bags are a classic tool to answer your question about how to add filling to a cupcake. They're easy to come by and make the process very simple. You can simply snip off the end of the pastry bag and fill the cupcakes with your choice of delicious fillings. This is the best way in my view how to fill cupcakes with frosting or even whipped cream without making a mess.
How to use it?
To use a piping bag to fill cupcakes, simply place the filling into a pastry bag. Press the filling towards the tip into a downward motion to remove air. Snip off the very end of the bag. The filling should be able to flow through easily when you apply pressure. This is how to fill cupcakes without a tip, or use a small round nozzle tip, if desired.
4. Piping bag with tip
Wondering how to fill cupcakes with fruit filling? This will be your go-to method. For thinner fillings such as lemon curd, you might choose a piping tip such as the Ateco Bismark Tip or a small round tip. You can also buy a cupcake filling injector to use as your cupcake filler.
In either case, these tips can gently go right through the top of the cupcake and fill it with your desired filling while keeping the outside of the cupcake intact. This works especially well for small cupcakes that have too small of a surface area to core and fill.
How to use it?
First, you must cut the piping bag and put the injector tip in place. Then, fill the bag with your desired filling. It can be helpful to set the bag into a tall glass, tip side down. You can then prop the bag open over the sides of the glass and free up your hands.
Pour or scrape your filling into the bag and it's ready to use. Filling a cupcake by injection is simple. Just press the tip straight down into the center and gently press to fill the cupcake to the filling. Pull the tip straight up and out of the top when done.
Using a teaspoon can be messier than a piping bag, but it can be a great option for how to put filling in cupcakes when it comes to extra thick fillings. Some fillings, such as cookie dough or peanut butter, can not only be difficult to pipe but could also cause a piping bag to burst if overfilled.
How to use it?
To fill a cupcake using a spoon, start with a spoon size that makes sense with your cupcakes. Mini cupcakes will require a smaller spoon than jumbo cupcakes, for example. To use this tool, simply scoop the filling into a separate container and stir to ensure it's well mixed. Then, spoon the filling directly into your hollowed cupcake.
6. Small Measuring Spoon eg. teaspoon
A measuring spoon such as a teaspoon is a great way to get a precise amount of filling into your cupcake. If you've been wondering how to fill cupcakes with pudding, this might just be your best bet. A measuring spoon is an excellent choice for most fillings, but it can have drawbacks, such as being a little messy, especially with thick fillings. Take your time and spoon carefully into the center of your cupcake.
How to use it?
To fill cupcakes with a measuring spoon, simply remove the center from your cupcake using your preferred method. Scoop a spoonful of your filling into the measuring spoon and pour it into your cupcake.
7. Mini Ice Cream Scoop
A mini scoop is an excellent tool to help you evenly and efficiently fill a cupcake. There are scoop sizes that hold 1 tablespoon of filling which depending on the size of your cupcakes, could be perfect. Ice cream scoops are great for firm fillings such as vanilla buttercream or ice cream.
How to use it?
To fill your cupcakes using a mini ice cream scoop, scoop out your filling and place it into your hollowed cupcake. Depending on the size of your cupcakes and filling type, you may choose to use an offset spatula to level the filling before adding it to your cupcake.
Sometimes your hands will be the most efficient way to add your favorite filling. If you're adding chocolate chip cookie bits, candies, or sprinkles, and you need to know how to stuff cupcakes full of those delicious goodies, it might just be easier to use your hands.
How to use it?
Using your hands to fill cupcakes is simple. For sanitary purposes, remove your desired filling from its package if you are not using the entire package. Place the separated amount into a bowl, and then use your fingers to pick up the desired amount and add to your hollowed cupcake.
🍫 Best Fillings for cupcakes
There are so many delicious cupcake filling ideas to choose from. This gives you an opportunity to get creative and utilize your knowledge of compatible flavor combinations.
For those who want moist chocolate cupcakes with additional decadence in every bite, my Nutella cupcakes are the ultimate hazelnut and chocolate flavor cupcake recipe.
How to fill cupcakes with Nutella?
To fill cupcakes with Nutella, it can be helpful to gently warm the Nutella in the microwave to make it slightly runnier and easy to work with. Cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake and fill it with Nutella. You can use a spoon or a piping bag, as I did in my recipe.
Chocolate ganache can be a decadent surprise to festive holiday treats like my Christmas Tree Cupcakes.
Alternatively, melted chocolate allows you to add extra gooey goodness to each cupcake. You can experiment with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and even white chocolate, depending on the flavor profile you're going for, however, it is best to make the chocolate thinner with some cream and prepare the chocolate ganache.
How to fill cupcakes with Chocolate?
When adding chocolate to the center of a cupcake, first, you'll remove a portion of the cupcake top. Then, you can use a piping bag to fill the center with chocolate. Before adding cupcake frosting, however, you may want to chill the cupcakes for a few minutes to allow the chocolate ganache to set.
3. Jam or Fruit Filling
Jams and fruit fillings are fresh and flavorful ways to enhance your cupcakes. A fruit filling, as I used for my Strawberry Filled Cupcakes, adds the perfect boost of sweetness and true fruit flavor.
How to fill cupcakes with jam or fruit filling?
To fill cupcakes with jam or fruit filling, you can choose to either use an injector or hollow out the center. Both of these methods work well with these filling. If you're using an injector, simply place the tip halfway into the center and gently inject 1-2 tablespoons into the cupcake.
If you're using a hollowed cupcake, a measuring spoon is an excellent choice. It's helpful to place the total amount of jam or filling into a bowl and gently mix it up so it's easier to spoon. Then, scoop the amount into the cupcakes. Replace the cupcake tops and frost as desired.
4. Lemon curd
A burst of fresh flavor, such as lemon curd, can take a cupcake to the next level, like in my deliciously sweet and tart Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes.
How to fill cupcakes with lemon curd?
To inject a cupcake with lemon curd, attach a piping tip to your piping bag. Fill the piping bag with lemon curd and press the tip halfway into the cupcake. Gently press to fill the cupcake with the desired amount of lemon curd, stopping if it begins to seep out the top around the piping tip. For hollowed cupcakes, a spoon may work best for filling. Simply fill the center, replace the cupcake top and decorate as you wish.
5. Biscoff spread, Peanut butter, Hazelnut butter
Nut butters make excellent choices for filling, and don't forget about cookie butters too! My Biscoff Cupcakes are a spiced cookie butter lover's dream.
How to fill cupcakes with Biscoff spread?
The best method to fill a cupcake with biscoff spread is to use a piping bag fit with a round tip. Typically it's very soft, but if your spread is firm, you may want to warm it for 30 seconds in the microwave prior to piping. Remove the top of the cupcake with a paring knife, or use your preferred method. Then use the prepared bag to pipe the cupcakes full of the spread. Replace the top of the cupcake if you wish and decorate as desired.
6. Apple Pie filling
You may not think of it often, but pie filling can make a warm, delicious cupcake filling. Especially in spiced cupcake recipes, using apple pie filling can be a wonderful surprise for your guests. Be sure to cut the apple pieces into small, bite-sized pieces so they fit into the center of your cupcakes as I do in my Apple Pie cupcakes.
How to fill cupcakes with apple pie filling?
To fill cupcakes with apple pie filling, you'll need to first hollow out the center of the cupcake using an apple corer or paring knife. Pie filling is often thick and chunky.
The best tool to fill cupcakes with apple pie filling is a spoon. This will allow you to use chunkier pieces, and include the sauce as well. You may find it useful to use the back of your spoon to gently press the pie filling into a flat layer. Once filled, you may frost the cupcakes to your liking.
7. Roasted Nuts
Most recipes that incorporate roasted nuts either fold them into the batter or into the frosting. Try filling your cupcakes with roasted nuts for a more concentrated flavor and a wonderfully contrasting texture.
How to fill cupcakes with roasted nuts?
To fill cupcakes with roasted nuts, you'll need to hollow out the center of the cupcake with an apple corer or a paring knife. For nuts, you may find it useful to use a measuring spoon or your hands so that you can have a precise amount in each cupcake. You can then trim the cupcake top and replace it before frosting the cupcake.
8. Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream cheese frosting can be the perfect filling for carrot cake cupcakes, strawberry cupcakes, and other cupcakes that are complemented by cream cheese flavor.
How to fill cupcakes with cream cheese frosting?
Cream cheese frosting is best added to the center of a cupcake by piping. You can use a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip or simply snip off the end. Hollow out the cupcakes, pipe the frosting into the cupcakes, then decorate as desired.
If you love rich desserts, try adding some luscious homemade caramel to your cupcakes like in my Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes, an extra tasty treat.
How to fill cupcakes with caramel?
Some caramel is thicker, while others are runny. If you're using a runny sauce, injecting the caramel is the best filling method. If you have a thicker caramel sauce, however, you may find it useful to gently warm the caramel before scooping it into your hollowed cupcakes using a measuring spoon or soup spoon.
Classic buttercream is another excellent filling. Instead of just piping it on top of the cupcakes, why not inject the middle to get extra frosting in every bite?
How to fill cupcakes with buttercream?
To fill cupcakes with buttercream, you can hollow a cupcake and pipe it in. Gently smooth it out with an offset spatula, then decorate as desired.
11. Whipped cream
Whipped cream can be a wonderful light and fluffy addition to your cupcakes and would go super well with fruity frostings.
How to fill cupcakes with whipped cream?
To fill cupcakes with whipped cream, you can hollow a cupcake and pipe the whipped cream in, then decorate with the frosting of your choice.
👩🍳 How to fill cupcake liners?
Whether you're going to fill the cupcakes or not, you'll want to make sure you're filling your cupcake liners evenly with batter. This will ensure an even and consistent bake throughout the entire batch.
Using an ice cream or large cookie scoop is helpful to make sure you scoop a consistent amount of cupcake batter into each cupcake liner. I also love to use piping bags to fill cupcake liners as they ensure a really neat surface on the muffin tin without the batter going all over the place.
But how much do you fill cupcake liners? This depends on the recipe and how much baking powder the recipe has so typically you will want to follow the recommendation in the recipe. Most recipes recommend filling the cupcake liners ⅔ of the way full to make sure there is enough batter to create a tall and fluffy cupcake but not so much that your cupcakes overflow when they rise in the oven. For standard cupcakes, each liner should have about 3 tablespoons of cupcake batter.
👩🍳 How to fill cupcakes before baking?
You now know how to make filled cupcakes after the cupcakes are done baking, but in some cases, you may want to add a filling before your cupcakes bake. This method comes with some risk because you have less control over what the filling does while it's baking in the oven.
So how do you fill a cupcake before it even has its structure? If you choose this route, your choice of filling is very important. You'll need to make sure the filling won't melt out of the cupcake or lose its structure in the oven. Sprinkles, chocolate chips, and marshmallow fluff are not the best options for this method as they might melt fully or not melt at all.
Instead, use relatively thick or solid fillings like thick jams, cream cheese, cookie pieces, roasted nuts, or even cinnamon sugar. Just as when you fill the cupcakes after baking, make sure that the filling complements the flavor of the cake mix.
It's easy to learn how to make a filled cupcake when you're just working with batter. To fill your cupcakes before baking, scoop the wet cupcake batter into the liners until just under half full. Then, add your filling right in the middle of each cupcake and spoon the rest of the batter on top of the filling.
From this point, bake as normal, but keep in mind when it comes time to check the doneness of the cupcakes, you will be poking your toothpick directly into the filling.
❓ Filling Cupcakes FAQs
When you fill cupcakes, it's best to fill them when they are completely cooled - don't skip this step. A cooled cupcake is a firm cupcake. Warm cupcakes have less structure and may crumble more when you hollow them.
Storing cupcakes depends on the filling and frosting eg. leftover cupcakes with dairy filling, such as custard or cream, should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For more information read my how to store and freeze cupcakes baking guide.
It's important to know how much to fill cupcakes. If you’ve hollowed out the cupcake, it’s ideal to add 1-2 tablespoons of filling to the center. If you overfill the cupcake, it may overflow at the top and mix with the frosting the cupcake will be topped with. When you’re replacing the top after filling, you want to leave space so that when you put it back on, the filling doesn’t squish out the sides.
Filled cupcakes can get soggy if they are filled with something very liquidy. It's important to learn how to make cupcakes with filling that doesn't ruin the texture of the cupcake. In general, thicker fillings perform better in filled cupcakes. Choosing ganache over pudding for example, will still give you a delicious chocolate center, but is less likely to make the cupcake soggy. Jam can also be better than fruit puree because of its thickness. Filling cupcakes with whipped cream, Nutella, Peanut butter, etc. are all safe choices.
There are many tools and techniques to help you fill cupcakes without making a mess when you're learning how to put filling in a cupcake. Most importantly, you must not rush the process. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, consider your options to hollow out and fill your cupcake, and chose the best tool to fill them eg. a small measuring spoon or piping bag.
🧁 Filled Cupcake recipes
More baking guides
How to fill Cupcakes
- 4 Cupcakes
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Top 5 tools to fill cupcakes
- Apple corer - To use an apple corer to hollow a cupcake, simply press it straight down over the center of the cupcake. Gently press down ½ to ¾ of the way into the cupcake. Then, simply lift it out
- Paring knife - This is the best way to core cupcakes without a corer. To remove the center of a cupcake with a paring knife, place the knife at a 45-degree angle and cut a cone out of the center of the cupcake. The cone should only go about halfway into the cupcake. Once you remove the cone, you can choose to replace it after adding the filling.
- Piping bag without tip - Simply place the filling into a pastry bag. Press the filling towards the tip into a downward motion to remove air. Snip off the very end of the bag. The filling should be able to flow through easily when you apply pressure.
- Piping bag with tip - First, you must cut the piping bag and put the tip in place. Then, fill the bag with your desired filling. It can be helpful to set the bag into a tall glass, tip side down. Just press the tip straight down into the center of your cupcakes and gently press the filling out of the bag.
- Small measuring spoon - To fill cupcakes with a measuring spoon, simply remove the center from your cupcake using your preferred method. Scoop a spoonful of your filling into the measuring spoon and pour it into your cupcake.
10 Best Cupcake Fillings
- Chocolate ganache
- Jam or fruit filling
- Lemon curd
- Biscoff spread, Peanut butter, Hazelnut butter
- Apple Pie filling
- Roasted Nuts
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Buttercream or Whipped cream
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