Dear Barbara: I love filled cupcakes, like Hostess cupcakes used to be. I have found several recipes for filling, but every time I try, they sort of explode, if you know what I mean. How do you get them filled without having them fall apart? — Kate from Lodi
Dear Kate: I’m smiling because I have had that happen to me many times! I finally realized that I was trying to get too much filling into that little cupcake! I never fill them until the next day. Fresh out of the oven cupcakes want to crumble too easily. The best way I have found is to take a pastry bag with a smooth, round tip (not too big), and make three holes instead of one big hole. I fill from the top because it just seems easier. You have a larger surface and the liner holds the cupcake together. Insert the pastry tip only as deep as the tip is. Squeeze the filling very gently and pull up as you squeeze the pastry bag. As soon as you see the filling, stop! Do this three times across the top of the cupcake. If you get a little too much spilling out over the top, wipe it off. Then you can frost them and it will cover the holes from the pastry tip.
They now sell little plastic cupcake cutters that will do the labor intensive part for you. It neatly removes a space in the center of the cupcake so that it is easier to fill. I still do it the “old fashioned” way because I don’t make the number of cup cakes as I did in the past.
I’m really glad you are trying this. I think people love to bite into a cupcake and get that little surprise inside!
Dear Barbara: I always seem to have salad leftover from dinners. If I put it in the refrigerator it gets all limp and no one wants to eat it. Is there any way to save leftover salad? — Joyce from Lodi
Dear Joyce: If you frequently have left over salad, my first suggestion would be to serve the dressing on the side. If you add the dressing before you serve it, and then try to save the salad, it will get soggy no matter what you try. If you don’t dress it before serving, and you don’t have a lot of wet ingredients, cover it with a paper towel and then cover it in plastic wrap. Try to use it in just one or two days and it should be OK.
Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and city.