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Preparing Cupcakes for Filling & Frosting

Cupcakes are just plain little cakes until they’re filled or frosted, or, better yet, both filled and frosted. Before embellishing with a filling or frosting, make sure that your cupcakes have cooled completely to room temperature. Warm cupcakes are very delicate in texture, making them riskier to handle, and the slightest amount of heat can soften or melt the filling or frosting.

  • COOLING   Before filling or frosting your cupcakes, make sure that they are completely cooled so that they don’t melt the filling or frosting. Whether in or out of the muffin pan, the best way to cool your cupcakes is on a wire rack, which allows air to circulate all around them so that they cool in the minimum amount of time.

  • SPLITTING   To split a cupcake into layers for sandwiching a filling, use a paring knife and cut the cupcake in half horizontally. Use 
a gentle sawing motion, holding the knife parallel to the work surface so that the cut is perfectly level. For the best appearance, match the cupcake tops with their respective bottoms. 

  • HOLLOWING   A cupcake may be hollowed or cored to create a space for filling. Using a paring knife inserted at an angle and a gentle sawing motion, rotate the cupcake, trimming out a cone-shaped piece about 11⁄2 inches in diameter and about 1 inch deep. Discard the cores or keep them for nibbling.

Adapted from Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen, 2008).