How to fill cupcakes

A hidden centre can elevate a simple cupcake into a crowd pleaser. We share a simple technique for how to fill your cupcakes without using a cupcake corer.

Once you try filling cupcakes at home, you’ll realise just how easy it is and you won’t be able to resist trying out all the tempting filling combinations around.

Coring a cupcake means to remove a little piece of sponge and a filling is then piped or carefully spooned into the centre, the idea being that when you bite into the cupcake, you’ll get that extra surprise of a sweet centre.  

How to core and fill a cupcake

Follow our step-by-step guide to coring a cupcake:

  1. Cool sponges are essential to this technique. Allow your cupcake sponges to cool completely in their tins. Turning them out onto a wire rack after 10 minutes will help to speed up the cooling process. Coring a cupcake sponge while it is still warm is asking for trouble, as it will be too soft and is likely to fall into crumbs.
  2. Take a small sharp knife, like a paring knife, and cut a square into the sponge. Angle the tip of the knife slightly down towards the centre of the cupcake. This will make it easier to remove a piece of sponge. Apple corers or melon ballers also work well, just twist the apple corer into the middle of the sponge to remove a piece or use the scoop of the melon baller to dig a hole in the centre of the cupcake. We like to use the knife technique as the hole can be made more generous than with an apple corer and the piece of sponge left is perfectly neat, unlike with a melon baller.
  3. Once you’ve cut a square of sponge, carefully pull it out of the centre of the cupcake to leave a hole. The hole left should be about three quarters of the way down the sponge, you don’t want to core all the way through… a mess all down their shirt would be the wrong kind of surprise for your guests!
  4. Using a piping bag with a medium-sized nozzle attached, fill your cupcake to the top of the hollow with jam, buttercream, cream, custard or your desired filling.
  5. In our bakeries, we sometimes pipe in two different fillings, one on top of the other, so leave room if you wish to double up on flavours.
  6. Trim the piece of sponge you cut away to create a little lid. Replace this on top of the cupcake. This isn’t essential, but we like to do it this way to encase the filling completely in the sponge base. We don’t want to spoil the surprise…
  7. Apply frosting to the top of your cupcakes with a palette knife or pipe it on using a piping bag.


    Filling suggestions for cupcakes:

    Buttercream frosting

    Cream cheese frosting

    Whipped cream

    Custard frosting

    Mascarpone frosting

    Italian or Swiss meringue frosting

    Fresh fruit, delicious in small pieces with fresh cream or custard

    Cooked fruit, rhubarb and custard cupcakes are a favourite of ours

    Jam, marmalade or curd

    Fruit compote

    Nutella spread

    Biscoff spread

    Chocolate spread

    Chocolate mousse

    Quick-setting puddings, e.g. butterscotch, chocolate, caramel

    Peanut butter

    Dulce de leche, add a sprinkle of sea salt for salted caramel

    Marshmallow Fluff, delicious stirred into cream cheese frosting too

    Cinnamon or chai-infused custard

    Cookie dough

    Candy bar filling, crush your favourite chocolate bar and mix generous pieces with chocolate buttercream frosting or hide individual mini chocolate bars in the centre of the sponge  


    Our favourite fillings for cupcakes:

    Strawberry jam, fresh strawberry pieces and custard

    Whole raspberries and vanilla buttercream

    Smooth peanut butter and grape jam (American grape jelly, if you can find it)

    Raspberry jam and almond mascarpone frosting

    White chocolate mint ganache and chocolate buttercream frosting

    rv ice

    And if you want to get really crazy with a dessert mash-up, there’s ICE CREAM filled cupcakes…

    Get everything prepared and be sure to work quickly or your ice cream will turn into a puddle.

    As you want the ice cream serving to be around 1-2 tablespoons per cupcake, use a paring knife to cut a generous sized hole.

    Cut a block of ice cream into pieces and put in the centre of each cupcake, or spoon the ice cream in. It goes without say that the cupcake sponges should be completely cold to avoid a meltdown.

    Once your cupcakes are stuffed with ice cream, cover with a trimmed down piece of sponge and freeze for a few hours.

    Once you’re ready to serve your ice cream filled cupcakes, prepare your frostings and any sprinkles and decorate before serving straight away.

    You can serve immediately without freezing too, but it’s best to serve these to your guests in small batches to keep the ice cream firm.

    This recipe works well with chocolate cupcake sponge, vanilla ice cream and rainbow sprinkles.

    You can top with strawberry sauce, a cherry and a chocolate flake for a mini cupcake sundae!