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Best Cake Filling Recipes for Layer Cakes and Cupcakes

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A special filling can take your cake or cupcakes to the next level of deliciousness.  These easy to make fillings are sure to add both flavor and pizzazz to your next dessert!

collage of fabulous fillings for cakes and cupcakes.

A great way to add another layer of flavor to your cake or cupcakes is to add a fun filling.  That can give both contrast in color, texture and add a ton of yumminess to your final product. 

These recipes can take your cake recipes from good to great! They can make a cake mix cake feel like it came from an expensive bakery.

The only problem is which one to make first.

I think we all know by now I am a huge cake and frosting fan.  Bring on the good stuff!

Usually I stick to pretty simple recipes  and design. When testing recipes for my brother’s wedding cake, I thought I should experiment with doing something to take them to the next level.

So I made some lemon curd and used some seedless raspberry preserves between the cake layers to take the flavor to the next level. And boy did it ever!

Now I am hooked on filling every layer cake I bake.  Here are some great easy recipes to help take you knock your next dessert out of the park!

Tips for using fillings in your cakes and cupcakes

To fill a cupcake, cut a small circle in the top removing a cone or cylinder from the middle of the cupcake.  Add a small amount of filling.

You can either fill the entire center and just frost over the filling or remove the bottom of the removed piece of cake and replace the rest in the hole where it came from. That will give you a smooth surface to frost.

To fill between layers of a cake, pipe a border of American buttercream (or Swiss meringue buttercream or your favorite stiff frosting) around the outer rim of the cake. Spread filling in the middle, then place next layer on top.

Most fillings will cut better when chilled. They are less likely to squeeze out under the pressure of a knife if they are cold.

Using a sharp knife also helps keep the centers from oozing.

Easy Cake Filling Recipes

Chocolate and Creamy Filling Recipes

Creamy fillings, chocolate fillings, and caramel fillings for cake and cupcakes.

Using just a few ingredients you can have a thick pudding filling that holds up well to slicing. Plus you can make this shortcut Bavarian cream in a variety of flavors.

This delicious recipe lets you avoid separating egg yolks from the egg whites and you don’t need a double boiler. Just a bowl and a mixer will get you to a filling that is still worthy of a special occasion.

Think about chocolate, butterscotch, pistachio etc. For a scratch version of a vanilla custard cake filling, check out Of Batter & Dough’s recipe for homemade pastry cream. It is a great custard filling for tarts, donuts, cakes and more.

A layer of rich cream cinnamon caramel cajeta goodness would be fabulous in a cake. Keep the layer thin so it doesn’t spill out. Besides, it is super rich and flavorful so it won’t take much.

If you like the idea of a caramel filling, you may like dulce de leche. I made a batch of smooth dulce de leche from milk and sugar, it is easier than you would think.

Don’t worry if you prefer a bit of a jumpstart.  Chocolates and Chai has great instructions for making dulce de leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk.

For a big impression, check out the Flavor Bender’s caramel peanut butter nougat filling. I have made some of her recipes and they were all fabulous. One look at this makes me want to run to the kitchen!

Craving something rich and full of chocolate? Try putting a layer of ganache between your cakes or put a little in the center of a cupcake. Live Well Bake often will show you how to make ganache to use for anything you’d like.

Sweet and salty is always welcome on my plate. Homemade salted caramel from The Unlikely Baker would be a perfect filling for cake. It is sure to tickle your taste buds.

Fruity Cake Fillings

Fruity cake fillings like apple filling, pineapple filling, lemon curd, and more.

Luscious lemon curd is a perfect filling for all kinds of sweet treats.  My super simple recipe for lemon curd is made in the microwave for a quick and easy lemon filling.

You just need simple ingredients like lemon juice, sugar, eggs and butter and a large heatproof bowl and you are in business! It is also fabulous on cheesecake, swirled into yogurt or could be beat into cream cheese for a stiffer creamier filling.

For a stunning citrus curd, easy blood orange curd is a great option. It almost takes like a creamsicle with vanilla cake and frosting. Not to mention the beautiful coral color adds visual interest as well.

Maybe lime curd is more your style. Flavor the moments has a great stove top recipe for you.

Fruit curds aren’t limited to citrus. Baked by an Introvert shared a wonderful pineapple curd recipe that is screaming my name.

If you want some texture in your pineapple filling, try the pineapple filling from my Haleakala cake. It is easy to make and I have used it for a variety of sweets since then.

A good jar of preserves can be all you need to make a tasty filling, make sure pipe a border of your favorite frosting around the edge of your cake layer first.

You can also put a thin layer of buttercream under the preserves too. Imagine a tasty raspberry cake filling comingling with your favorite chocolate or vanilla frosting recipe.

Apple pie filling makes a fabulous cake filling. Just run a knife through it to make the chunks smaller.

Imagine it with a spice cake! Practical Self Reliance shows you how to can apple pie filling so you can be ready any time.

So now that we have the fillings under control, it is time to pick out a cake recipe. White cake and yellow cake lend themselves well to almost any kind of filling

You can even use fillings for fluffy angel food cake if you would like. Lemon cake and chocolate cake are also good options.

You will also want a firmer frosting for the top of the cake and to spread on the sides of the cake. You can use everything from a decorator’s cream cheese frosting to an classic chocolate frosting to keep everything together and pretty.

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Sunday 20th of October 2019

These are all delicious and wonderful suggestions! Thank you.


Monday 4th of November 2019

Don't they make you want to bake a fun cake?! I know I'm ready to get one in the oven!