Essentials: How To Fill Cupcakes

Clearly I make a lot of cupcakes; adorable, portable and always a crowd favorite, another reason to love cupcakes is that they are pretty simple to bake and decorate. I’m kind of lacking in the patience department, so it’s much easier for me to pipe frosting onto a cupcake than onto a full-size cake.

I’ve also become a big fan of filling my cupcakes with a little somethin’-somethin’. Whether it’s lemon curd, ganache or chocolate chip cookie dough, people (and I) really enjoy biting into a surprise center.

I’ve filled a lot of cupcakes and have tried a bunch of methods for achieving that perfectly filled center. I find that actually removing a piece from the center of the cake rather than using a filling tip without removing any cake actually works better. After hollowing an absolute ton of cupcakes with a paring knife, I knew there had to be an easier way and trust me, there is.

If you are an apple lover, you may already have this little tool in your gadget drawer. A basic apple corer does a fabulous job hollowing out the cupcake evenly and with a perfect cylinder hole for filling. Those of us that are OCD and require perfect circles in our life will especially appreciate this. Those of you that aren’t, appreciate it anyway! Oh, and no need to point out my extremely pale fingers. I’m fully aware that I am on the verge of blending in with the white board!

Essential Product Info

OXO Apple Corer available through Amazon and many retail stores.

How To

  • Gently push the apple corer into the center of your cupcake, rotate the corer slightly and pull the corer out of the cupcake.
  • Push the small cake round out of the corer and repeat this process with all the cupcakes. Be sure not to go all the way down to the bottom of the cupcake, this can cause your filling to seep through the liner.
  • Once your cupcakes have been hollowed, pipe in your favorite filling and top with your favorite frosting.

48 Responses to “Essentials: How To Fill Cupcakes”

  1. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking — March 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

    What a great idea! I usually use a knife to core the cupcakes for filling; never thought of using my apple corer. Thanks for the tip :)


  2. Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc — March 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

    This is such an awesome tip. I have a phobia of filling cupcakes with stuff or decorating them with frost. That is probably why I always end up making muffins instead. However, after your tutorial, I might just end up making one soon!


  3. Amanda — March 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I LOVE this idea! I make cupcakes all of the time for my kids, but never thought to fill them with fun – plus, YES I do have that handy little gadget. :) Thanks for sharing!! :)


    • Diana — September 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      You can always do it even easier by putting you filling in a restaurant type clean ketchup or mustard squeeze bottle and using the pointed end poked into the top of the cupcake, gently squeeze in the filling like pudding, Bavarian cream etc. Wilton sells this type of bottle in different sizes. I found my at the dollartree.

  4. Vimitha — March 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Thats a very essential tip… Thanks for sharing…


  5. Shannon Albrecht — March 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Awesome tip!!! Thanks!! Oh and I’m right there with you for my own personal pasty-ness right now…my feet are SO not sandal ready! =}


  6. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — March 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Great tip! I almost never make filled cupcakes, but I’m feeling inspired to give them another shot :)


  7. Love the apple corer tip! Especially since I have an apple corer and never use it for apples. Another good way to add a surprise to a cupcake is to add a walnut sized piece of cookie dough right on top of the cupcake batter before baking. You end up with a baked cookie in the center of the cupcake (the cookie sinks by itself during baking)!


  8. Nicole — March 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Any ideas what to do with the bits of cake you core out?


    • elizabeth zeitlin — March 24, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      Scamper into your pantry and eat ’em before your children catch you!

    • Karli — March 26, 2011 at 9:47 am

      As I haven’t tried this yet I’m not sure how much cake you would have left… but one of my crafty friends mixes leftover cake with leftover icing and rolls them into balls, chills them, and eats them as little mini treats!

    • Hazel @ TastyPursuits — March 28, 2011 at 12:34 am

      I just love your suggestion Elizabeth! :)

    • Karen Bristow — October 24, 2012 at 7:06 am

      I stick them back on top of the filled hole where they came from, this helps to hold up the frosting and saves wasting them. Or you could collect a lot and make cake pops out of them.

    • Sandra Meers — December 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Besides eating the yummy centers, which has is own rewards and obvious itfalls, I save various cake types to grind into crumbs or making deep-fried icecream… and since you didn’t eat he scraps to begin with, pour on the chocolate sauce… oh, so yummy!!
      Have fun,

  9. Cassie @ Bake Your Day — March 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I love tools that are multi-purpose, great tip!! :)


  10. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — March 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I use a small melon ball tool for the same purpose; if I’m filling, I want some real room for that filling!


  11. Jaime {sophistimom} — March 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Great tip, Jamie. I’ve always used a melon baller, but I think I like your method better.


  12. Brian @ A Thought For Food — March 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Oh this is a dangerous little tip you’re sharing… my waist will not be happy with me.


  13. AManda — March 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Great tips~ I have never done it and would love to try! :)

    Or you could just make me some. Just sayin.



  14. Double Dipped Life — March 24, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Fabulous tip! Now I have to go out and get an apple corer!


  15. Looks like I need to go buy and apple corer now! Love this tip!


  16. Laura — March 24, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I used to work at a cupcake shop and this is exactly how we cored cupcakes! It can be difficult when the cupcakes are fresh – freezing them first makes coring much easier and once they’re thawed you’ll never know the difference.:)


  17. Michelle — March 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Williams-Sonoma sells a cupcake corer for just five bucks.


  18. Anita Menon — March 25, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Excellent tip. It would have never crossed my mind and I have an un used apple corer in my kitchen drawer right now !



  19. Katrina — March 25, 2011 at 7:01 am

    This certainly is essential, and I’m so glad you’ve shown me how to do this. Thanks :)


  20. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — March 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

    This is such a great idea! I filled cupcakes once with a little cheese spreader. It felt like spackling. Still worked, but not the most convenient ;)


  21. The Italian Dish — March 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    What a great tip! Love this!


  22. Jessica — March 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    What a great idea! I have always used the filling tip, and it is just never enough filling! This looks like a much better method. Thanks!


  23. Lian — March 26, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I really need to start filling my cupcakes with something! an apple cutter is a good tip, too bad I don’t own one… I’ll have to just use a small knife or something. and by the way your cupcakes look super perfect!


  24. Hazel @ TastyPursuits — March 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Fantastic tip, especially since I fall in the “perfect little circles” OCD category.


  25. Tammy — April 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I never fill my cupcakes..not sure why but I think I’ve always been a bit nervous about it. lol But after reading this post and see how easy it is to do this using an apple corer, I am going to make cupcakes this weekend and fill them with some lovely chocolate ganache! Thank you!!


  26. Virginia — April 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I have been looking all evening for way to fill cupcakes and I knew I didn’t want to put the filling in the middle then bake. I had seen previously on a show people using a tool to p
    hollow out the middle of the cupcake and needless to say I haven’t had any luck in finding it until now..who’d a thought and apple corer!! Thanks so much! Do have one quetion (I am new at all of this) I am wanting to fil chocolate cupcakes with a cream cheese filling. Can I make them a day before they are served and the filling be ok or do I need to refidgerate or make on the day of serving them?
    Thanks so much again for the tip!!


  27. Jamieanne — April 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    What an awesome idea, I can’t believe I only just found this post, even though I follow every update on your blog! I do have an apple corer and now I’ll have to make a batch of cupcakes just to try out this method! Thanks for the tip! :)


  28. Holly — June 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I love this – I can’t wait to fill away – I am currently baking the cakes all 80 plus some extra for my sister’s baby shower…and oh so cute customized toppers! Carrot Cake CC with carmel filling then my fav. Red Velvet CC with a cherry filling…the best part – both will have the delicious mouth watering cream cheese frosting…. Thank you for your how to steps!


  29. gail — June 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    i’m making my first attempt at filled cupcakes this weekend and was googling techniques for hollowing out the cake. this is simply genius! my fresh strawberry fillinf and i thank you.


  30. Niki — August 11, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Love the great tips and ideas!!


  31. Gaby — October 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Thanks!! I’m really trying to make perfect cupcakes but it’s so difficult!


  32. Jane — November 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I’ve tried a small paring knife and a melon baller, and I have to say, the apple corer is the tool that provides most consistent results. And the little ‘tunnel’ that it makes is perfect for a piping bag. The cupcakes are easiest to core when cold (I stick them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes). If they are just cool, they are moist, and just stick to the corer. I use the end of a chopstick to push out any stuck cake.

    Once you get started filling cupcakes, you get so creative with them!


  33. Chellie — April 10, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I recently found a new — even easier way to fill cupcakes and thought I would share. Instead of scooping out the middle just fill an icing bag with your filling and push it in to the center and squeeze your filling in. Just use a large opening tip on the icing bag.
    I used the technique in some cupcakes a while back and it was great. Here’s a link to the post where I showed how I did it…
    This is not my original idea — but the link I’m posting has a link to the site where I found the idea.


  34. shellie — August 16, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Can’t you use a Wilton number 230 as well? I don’t have an apple corer, and it seems like it would be too big of a hole that it makes. It is a very good idea though. :)


    • Jamie — August 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks, I think you could use anything of a similar size to make the hole. Thanks for stopping by.


  35. Rose — October 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Love the idea of the apple corer to set the stage for a filling. My question is..what kind of fillings? Can you use regular icing -like cream cheese icing? Also, can this be done a day after the muffins have been baked? You can tell I’m a novice at this….


    • Jamie — October 31, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      You can fill the cupcakes with anything you like. Any icing, fruit filling, pudding. Also you should be fine to fill them the next day after baking. I hope this helps.


  36. RHONDA — June 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    I used a knife the first time I filled. This time I’ll use the apple corer.  I am making yellow cupcakes filled with chocolate fudge, like you use for ice cream, and topped with whipped peanut butter buttercream frosting.  


    • Jamie — June 13, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Your cupcakes sound great, Rhonda! I hope it all goes well!

  37. Ravonda — March 10, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Love your site and recipes.  I haven’t tried anything that didn’t work well for me.  I have a fun challenge for you: I remember a cupcake mix that was available for a few years and discontinued (late ’80’s maybe) that had a vanilla custard filling baked inside (Boston Cream Pie style), rather than piped in after.  You prepared the cupcake batter and the custard batter, then assembled by spooning in some batter, then a spoon of custard, and topping with more batter. There was also a packet including for a chocolate glaze. They were great and seemed less messy and time consuming. These days I always bake from scratch, but wonder if  a recipe like this could be developed. Seems baking wouldn’t hurt a custard – maybe the consistencies of cupcake batter and custard might need tweaking  


  38. Ravonda — March 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Update after searching online:  looks like the cupcakes with the custard filling baked in that I remembered were a Pillsbury product called Pudding Pockets. 


    • Jamie — March 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Sounds amazing, Ravonda! Thank you for your thoughts!

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