When you think of a two-tone cupcake, you probably picture a marble cupcake where two different colors or flavors of batter are swirled together. Wilton’s new Two-Tone Cupcake Inserts allow you to make a cupcake where just the center is a completely different flavor from the outside. The advantage to a two-tone cupcake like this one is that each flavor of cake will be stronger, since it isn’t “diluted” by swirling it into another batter. The finished cupcakes also have a very fun, unique look to them and definitely deliver a surprise to anyone who bites into one!
The insert is very similar to the insert for a checkerboard cake pan, where you can put different colors of batter into one pan to create checkerboard squares of color in the finished cake, but it is done on a much smaller scale here. You place the plastic insert into your muffin tray – you can get a whole set from Wilton or just use the muffin pans you have with the inserts alone – and fill the center and the outside separately with different colors/flavors of batter, then slide the insert out to use on another row of cupcakes. You don’t need to clean the insert between rows of cupcakes (each insert handles 3 cupcakes at a time) unless you want to change up the colors from row to row, in which case you can simply rinse it off. You remove the inserts completely before baking.
Filled cupcakes are probably my favorite kind of cupcake. Whether they’re Devil’s Food filled with vanilla cream, Red Velvet filled with cream cheese or Lemon Cupcakes filled with homemade lemon curd, I like them all because the filling adds more moisture and more flavor to a cupcake. I often make my own filled cupcakes, using an easy method where a small portion of the cake is cut out and replaced with filling. This method can be used with homemade cupcakes, store bought cupcakes or cake mix cupcakes. When I saw a product called FUN da-Middles from Betty Crocker on the cake mix aisle at my local market, I assumed that it was a cupcake mix that came with instructions for hollowing out and filling the cupcakes in much the same way I do. It turned out that these cake mixes included a filling that you add to the cake before baking, but still ends up forming a fluffy center.
I was intrigued and wanted to see if the Fun da-Middles actually worked, so I picked up a box of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream filling to give them a try.
The cake mix was a standard cake mix, with oil, eggs and water added to it, and was divided into muffin cups to fill them part way. The creamy filling came in a separate packet, and a blob a bit smaller than a tablespoon was squeezed into each of the muffin cups, then covered with the remaining cake batter. The cupcakes went into the oven and – to my surprised – came out with a soft, slightly gooey marshmallow center! The filling didn’t overcook, become too runny or migrate towards the edges of the cake.
I liked the marshmallow consistency of the filling in the finished cupcake. Before it was baked, it was a very thick but marshmallow-like paste. After baking, the consistency was like a soft marshmallow fluff. Marshmallows and marshmallow fluff typically don’t hold up well to baking, and will start to dissolve into the cake batter around them. The fact that these work makes me want to play with the concept some more at home. That said, the cake mix itself had very little flavor and the cupcakes were pretty bland overall, despite the creamy filling. The mix works and is worth picking up if you’re looking for a quick cake mix treat, but otherwise I’d still stick to homemade cupcakes with the homemade filling method.
This pan bakes up super cute cupcakes in two parts: the base and the top. The base has a shallow dish on one side that can be filled with the filling of your choice, The top of each cupcake is a swirling cone and the two pieces stack together to create an adorable double-sized cupcake made entirely of cake. You can frost the top portion of each cake cupcake to finish off your creations, but you’ll have some visually impressive desserts even if you don’t! The pan is made from heavy-duty cast aluminum and has a nonstick finish, so your cupcakes should pop right out without any need for cupcake wrappers. You won’t get quite as much filling in these as with the homemade filled cupcake method, but you will end up with a bigger cupcake and a great looking finished product.
Filled cupcakes seem like a challenging thing to make at home at first glance. With a regular cupcake, it’s easy to see how to put some frosting on top of the cake, but figuring out how to get the filling inside is not quite as obvious. Fortunately, it is easier than it looks to fill cupcakes and there is absolutely no reason not to make them at home. I use a paring knife to cut a small hole in the top of the cupcakes and create a big cavity to fill with cream. I even have done a step by step tutorial on how to make filled cupcakes to guide you through the process, and you can see a video of the process on my vampire cupcake post from Halloween.
Now, however, you can buy a little gadget that makes making filled cupcakes even easier. The Cupcake Corer is a tool that lets you remove the “core” of a cupcake with the push of a button – literally. The corer has a slightly sharp plastic edge that slides down into the cake, and when you pull the corer out, it takes the cake with it. It is more reliable than poking a pastry bag into the side of a cupcake and trying to squirt some filling inside (this method doesn’t leave you with much filling) and it is practically foolproof, which is great.
I still like the paring knife method, as it is very quick and you can easily control the size of the cavity to get as much filling into your cupcake as possible, and I’ll probably stick with it. That said, this little gadget is effective and makes a great little gift for a baker who hasn’t tried filling cupcakes before, or even for kids who like to bake if you don’t want them working with sharp knives while they make cupcakes.
A few years ago, I published a recipe for Vampire Cupcakes. I absolutely love these cupcakes as a Halloween treat and I make them every year. They’ve also been a big hit with Twilight fans, True Blood fans and anyone who likes vampires in general. They also inspired me to create other vampire treats for Halloween, like Vampire Cookies and even Vampire Pancakes. Nothing beats the original, however, so I put together a step-by-step video tutorial on how to make Vampire Cupcakes to walk you through the process!
The cupcakes are white cupcakes filled with an oozing “blood” filling. They are a fantastic dessert for any Halloween party and, if anything, taste even better than they look. The cupcakes alone are incredibly fluffy and tender, one of my favorite recipes. The full recipe can be found here on the original post. The recipe for the cupcakes is also included at the end of the video! Enjoy