Most filled cupcakes use ingredients that degrade when exposed to heat, such as whipped cream or frosting. To keep these fillings intact, you must pipe them into a baked and cooled cupcake. Some fillings are more stable, however. You can place them in the pan or wrapper before you bake and produce filled cupcakes using fewer steps. It's a simple way to make an impressive dessert.
Keeping it Fresh
Fresh or cooked fruit adds a tangy treat to the center of your cupcakes. Choose any relatively firm fruit, such as bananas or apples. Chop the fruit into small pieces, pour a little cupcake batter into the bottom of the wrapper, and then place the fruit on top. Finish filling the wrapper with batter and bake as usual. For juicier fruits like cherries or peaches, cook the pieces with a little cornstarch and sugar to thicken before adding them to your cupcake. As a shortcut, you can even use prepared pie filing.
How the Cookie Crumbles
Cookies and other baked goods can be a pleasant surprise when you find them in the middle of your cupcake. You can use sandwich cookies, pieces of cheesecake, brownie bites, gingersnaps and many other sweet treats. Just make sure you fill the cupcake wrapper halfway with batter before adding the filling. Avoid allowing the cookies or other baked goods to touch the sides or bottom of the wrapper, since this might cause your cupcake to fall apart when you remove it from the pan.
Candy makes a sweet cupcake even better. You can include many different kinds in the middle of your baked goods, but chocolates such as kisses or peanut butter cups work particularly well. Marshmallows in the middle of chocolate cupcakes produce a s'more-like treat, while caramels make for a gooey center. Most candies are relatively heavy, so it's best to fill the cupcake wrapper most of the way with batter, and then place the candy on top. As the batter cooks, the candy sinks through to the middle, making the perfect filling.
Pudding Packs a Punch
Most pudding cupcakes get their filling after they're baked, but it is possible to add pudding to the batter. To keep the filling stable, you need to wrap it, however. “Bake It in a Cupcake” recommends spooning the pudding into pre-baked miniature pie shells sized to fit in the middle of the cupcake. Pour a tablespoon of batter into the bottom of the wrapper, and then add a cooled pie shell full of pudding. Add another tablespoon of batter to cover and bake the cupcake according to your recipe. These treats can be a little fragile, so it's best to cool them completely before eating.
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