Cupcakes with surprises inside are always more fun. Here are three (well, three and a half!) different methods to use to fill your cupcakes.
1. With a pastry bag
When you want to fill a cupcake with frosting, pastry cream or a citrus curd, a pastry bag fitted with a tip is fastest. All you have to do is gently insert the tip about ¾ inch into the cake, squeeze out a tablespoon or so of frosting and move on to the next cake. If you don’t have a pastry bag, cut a cone-shaped piece of cake from the tops of each cupcake. Add the frosting to a resealable plastic bag and trim off the corner to create a piping tip. Fill the holes in the cupcake and replace with the flat tops of the cupcakes before frosting.
2. Halve and spread
As long as you don’t bake the cakes in wrappers, you can halve the cupcakes crosswise (as you would a layer cake), spread the filling on the bottom half and top with the other half before frosting.
3. Before you bake
If you want to stuff your cakes with something other than frosting (like, say, an Oreo cookie, a caramel candy or a piece of a candy bar) fill your cupcake cups with half of the cake batter, add the filling and top with the remaining batter. You can also use this method to make two-toned cakes with different types of cake batter.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.