Let’s Bake a Cake and Have Fun With the Filling!

It’s still nasty cold outside. And as I’ve said before, one of the best ways to cope with cold weather is to do a little baking throughout the week. The oven heat helps warm the house and the intoxicating aromas help warm the heart.

That said, we’ve been on a cake-kick lately. Layer cakes, actually. And we’ve had a lot of fun exploring all the possibilities there are for unique fillings. The outside frosting is wonderful, but there’s not a lot of surprise in it.

But filling. That’s a different story. Filling is hidden, so you’re in complete control of the element of surprise. To illustrate what I mean, and to get your creative juices flowing, take a look at these ideas for cake fillings that I found on the always inspiring site, DIYS (www.diys.com):

CREAM CHEESE. Sure, no big revelation here. But try sweetening it with any fruit-flavored jam next time. Then spread it between chocolate cake layers. (Because chocolate and cherry go so well together, consider cherry jam.) There’s a nice change for you.

ORANGE OR LEMON CURD. A jar of this little gem can add wonderful sparkle between the layers of a yellow or white cake. And then consider covering the entire cake with a corresponding cream cheese frosting. Yum.

BLUEBERRY, CHERRY, OR APPLE PIE FILLING. Why not? Yellow, chocolate, or spice cake would be delicious with these fillings.

MELTED CHOCOLATE CHIPS WITH CHOPPED MALTED MILK BALLS. Melt together 1 ¼ cup butter, 1 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons milk. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and stir in 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. After this mixture cools, fold in 1 cup chopped malted milk balls. This is an amazing filling for any chocolate cake recipe. And you can substitute any of your favorite candies; we also like TWIXT bars, SNICKER bars, and REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS for this. Experiment. You can’t make a mistake with this.

TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS. Oh my goodness, this is fun. Toast approximately a half a bag of marshmallows over your stove (be careful not to let them drip on your burner). Set aside to cool. Then with scissors, cut them into small pieces. Fold these into any frosting—butter cream, cream cheese, chocolate, etc. It doesn’t matter. This is a show-stopping filling because it is such a surprise, flavor- and texture-wise.

SUGAR OR OREO COOKIES AND PUDDING. If you ever have any leftover sugar or Oreo® cookies (or any cookies, for that matter), roughly chop them and fold them into any flavor pudding. Then spread that between your cake layers. Folks won’t know what hit ‘em!

NUTELLA®. Chop some nuts and mix them into the Nutella, then spread that between the layers of a chocolate cake. This is a very quick and easy way to get a cake iced in no time flat.

WHITE FUDGE AND WHIPPED CREAM. Make your favorite white fudge recipe and before it sets up, fold in some whipped cream (let unsweetened because the fudge is highly sweet) and chopped pretzels. This makes a divine filling for white and yellow cakes. Very classy.

CLOUD NINE FROSTING. Finally, our own suggestion. My cookbook (Everyday Gourmet) co-author, Jeanne Wolfley, introduced me to this when we were working on the DESSERTS section of our book. We call it Cloud 9 Frosting. This is addictive. In a medium bowl, mix an 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese with ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a dash of salt. Then whip 2 cups of heavy cream until stiff. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. This makes a divine cake filling. But it also pipes well so it’s perfect for decorating cupcakes, too.

Now in closing, we’d love to hear from you as to any clever ideas you have around cake fillings. Our sense is, the sky’s the limit. Imagination’s on our side and since it’s so cold out, let’s bake a cake and have fun with the filling (like with this yellow cake and orange curd filling)!

  •   www.weather.com
  •   www.wickedgoodkitchen.com
  •   www.justpo.st.com
  •   www.pinterest.com
  •   www.diys.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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