Is there a mixture I can place in cupcakes before baking that will have a creamy consistency similar to the filling in Twinkies? Most fillings I've tried dissolve during baking, leaving an unappetizing air space in the cupcake. I don't like the idea of adding the filling after baking. —F.T., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Our Test Kitchen has made a number of fillings that are smooth and creamy like the filling in Twinkies. These fillings are typically made with vegetable shortening and are added after baking. You could try filling cupcakes with one of these mixtures before baking, but the filling will likely dissolve as it bakes and leave you disappointed. It's easy, though, to add fillings after baking. Insert a small pastry tip into a pastry or plastic bag, then fill the bag with cream filling. Insert the tip halfway into the center of each cupcake and fill with a small amount of the cream mixture. Or, using a sharp knife, cut a 1-in. circle about an inch deep in each cupcake top. Carefully remove the tops and set aside. Spoon or pipe filling into cupcakes and replace tops. If you still prefer to add a filling before baking, you may want to try one that's more suitable, such as jelly or preserves, a chocolate kiss or a peanut butter cup. We've also tried a cream cheese filling with success. Check out our Cream-Filled Cupcakes recipe on the Taste of Home Recipe Finder.