Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Hi-Hat Cupcakes | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

I have been trying to make hi-hat cupcakes for the better part of a year. Seriously.

They are such beautiful cupcakes with their big swirls and chocolate coating, but have been totally elusive to me. I’ve tried countless versions and just couldn’t get the right consistency for the frosting so that it stood tall and didn’t droop into a puddle once it was dipped in the chocolate. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when these came to fruition last weekend… finally!

Hi-Hat Cupcakes | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

There are three key components to hi-hat cupcakes:

1) Chocolate cupcakes (I used my all-time favorite recipe, naturally);

2) A stiff marshmallow frosting; and

3) A magic shell-like chocolate coating.

Hi-Hat Cupcakes | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

These cupcakes always remind me of going to the local soft serve stand as a kid; one of their most popular options was the chocolate-dipped cone. If you replace the cupcake bottom with a cake cone, it’s exactly what those treats looked like.

There’s no better feeling than conquering something that has give you fits, am I right? These fantastic cupcakes were well worth all of the failed attempts; practice makes perfect, as my mom would say!

If you like chocolate, marshmallow frosting and pretty things, you have to make these!

Hi-Hat Cupcakes | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

One year ago: Rocky Road Rice Krispies Treats
Two years ago: Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Four years ago: Guacamole
Five years ago: Traditional Hummus
Six years ago: Homemade Pita Bread

Hi Hat Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Chocolate cupcakes with a marshmallow frosting and dipped
in a hard chocolate coating.

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup hot coffee
¾ cup bread flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
1¼ cups granulated sugar
3 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Coating:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

5. Make the Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk until sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 to 16 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

6. Transfer the frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round decorating tip (I used an Ateco #808 tip). Pipe a high swirl of frosting onto the top of each cupcake. Transfer the cupcakes to a baking sheet and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate coating.

7. Make the Chocolate Coating: Combine the chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a small (deep) bowl, and cool to room temperature.

8. Holding each cupcake by its bottom, quickly dip each cupcake into the chocolate to coat the frosting, and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes stand at room temperature 15 minutes, then refrigerate for 30 minutes uncovered. Place in a covered container and refrigerate 2 additional hours before serving. Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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84 Responses to “Hi-Hat Cupcakes”

  1. Anna on May 21, 2014 at 12:16 am

    I’ve never heard of Hi-Hats, but these look amazing! Reminds me of Mallomars. Do they have to be refrigerated to hold up, or do you think they could stand to be room temp after the initial setting?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 21st, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Hi Anna, Once these were set, they were left out for about 3 to 4 hours and never started to droop, so I would say if you want to take them out of the refrigerator to serve they would be fine for maybe a half day, but I would do any long-term storage in the refrigerator.

      Reply

  2. amanda @ fake ginger on May 21, 2014 at 1:07 am

    I’ve always wanted to make these but have been so intimidated! I’m definitely trying your recipe soon!

    Reply

  3. Dylan on May 21, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Hello, i’m a really big fan of your site! I’ve made like 4 different recipes of yours in a week (brownie, 2 cookies, and your cheddar bay biscuits this morning!) and they have all been really successful! Just wondering tho, i only have a cupcake mold that fits 6, is it okay to bake this in batches or should i just halve the recipe? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 21st, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Hi Dylan, I think that should be fine, although you might find that your second batch doesn’t rise quite as high as the first since the leavening agents won’t be as active when they hit the oven (I’ve had this happen when baking cake layers in batches before).

      Reply

  4. valery on May 21, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Hi michelle,
    Instead of bread flour,can i use all purpose flour? What are the proportion for conversion?
    Val

    Reply

    • Margaret Smith on May 21st, 2014 at 7:13 am

      I personally don’t think you should because the bread flour makes the cupcake become moist, and it also helps the cupcake from falling apart. The second time I made these the were delicious but the all fell apart. ( I used all-purpose)

      Reply

    • Michelle on May 21st, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Hi Val, I really do recommend using bread flour for these cupcakes, as it is key to their texture and structure.

      Reply

  5. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 21, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Those ‘hats’ of frosting that are solid enough to dip are an epic feat! And I can only imagine how long you tried to nail the recipe and thanks for persevering because these are gorgeous! I would love to try one! Pinned

    Reply

  6. Maxine on May 21, 2014 at 3:49 am

    These look so delicious! Your recipes are always fabulous. I think if you had a bakery, I would go crazy with all the incredible options!

    Reply

  7. Mir on May 21, 2014 at 6:40 am

    You must be a very patient and determined person! These are so beautiful, and I can see the hard work that went into making them perfect. That photo off the cross-section of cupcake…wow.

    Reply

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on May 21, 2014 at 6:43 am

    These are so neat!! Love the recipe!

    Reply

  9. Carrie on May 21, 2014 at 6:47 am

    These look absolutely amazing. I really can’t wait for my exams to be over so i can give this recipe a try! Thankyou so much for putting it up!

    Reply

  10. Dana on May 21, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I really want to try these cupcakes, but they just scare me! I’ll have to be brave, though. My boy is taking treats to his classmates for their end-of-the-year party and I just need them to be these! Yours are gorgeous!

    Reply

  11. Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion on May 21, 2014 at 7:35 am

    I first saw these on Martha’s site… you did a wonderful job.

    Reply

  12. Nora on May 21, 2014 at 7:56 am

    These look great. You mentioned swirled dipped soft serve ice cream cones. Have you thought about baking the cupcakes in ice cream cones? Very easy and pretty spectacular presentation.

    Reply

  13. Vickie S. on May 21, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Wow! This is very impressive! I just love a persistent baker, so thank you for your research!

    Reply

  14. joan on May 21, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Beautiful and amazing! These have been on my bucket list for a while. I have fears that the frosting would fall off right into the chocolate coating though…….I guess I will just have to get my courage up and hope for the best.

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 21st, 2014 at 9:46 am

      That happened to me in some of my first attempts, but this frosting held up wonderfully well. Two keys – make sure you cool the chocolate coating to room temperature, and dip quickly!

      Reply

  15. Leah on May 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Oh my goodness – these are like a work of art!! Definitely want to give them a try but also slightly intimidated :)

    Reply

  16. Laura @ Raise Your Garden on May 21, 2014 at 8:58 am

    These cupcakes leave me speechless. They’re just no words to express how I feel about them. Oh my. Life changing. How yummy.

    Reply

  17. Lauren on May 21, 2014 at 9:03 am

    These look AMAZING!

    Reply

  18. Rena on May 21, 2014 at 9:04 am

    these look fabulous?
    do you think the marshmallow frosting will freeze well?
    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 21st, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Hi Rena, I don’t think it would.

      Reply

  19. Rena on May 21, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I meant “these look fabulous!”

    Reply

  20. WendyM on May 21, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I have wanted to make these for at least 5 years! Every time I read recipe reviews they sounded disastrous! So excited to finally give them a try! Thanks!

    Reply

  21. Reshana on May 21, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Absolutely Gorgeous! I am craving one…. eeekkkk

    Reply

  22. Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction on May 21, 2014 at 9:35 am

    What a fun cupcake! They look perfect!

    Reply

  23. Cate @ Chez CateyLou on May 21, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I’ve never heard of a Hi-Hat cupcake! I love these – they are so cool looking. They look just like a dip cone – that was always my dad’s go to order when we got ice cream. so fun!

    Reply

  24. AndreaL on May 21, 2014 at 9:42 am

    OMG – thank you for all of your hard work on this. This will be tried soon :) I have a bakery that makes them but instead of marshmallow filling they have a chocolate mousse-like filling. The possibilities are endless. This has made my day!

    Reply

  25. Arlene on May 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

    These look great! Can I substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil?

    Reply

    • Patty on May 21st, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      I too am wondering if coconut oil can be used instead of vegetable oil?

      Reply

      • Kerry on May 21st, 2014 at 12:23 pm

        I’ve made Magic Shell sauce using just chocolate chips and coconut oil. Because coconut oil is only a liquid at 75 degrees F (and above), I imagine that it will work if the room where the cupcakes are is kept cool enough.

        Reply

      • Michelle on May 22nd, 2014 at 10:18 pm

        Hi Patty, It should work, although I haven’t tried it with these particular cupcakes.

        Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Arlene, I think it should work, although I haven’t tried it on these cupcakes.

      Reply

  26. marcie on May 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Congrats on a successful cupcake! This looks delicious with that big, puffy swirl of marshmallow frosting! I’ve never had a hi-hat cupcake, and can’t wait to try one. :)

    Reply

  27. Kelly on May 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I’ve been looking for a hi-hat cupcake recipe for a while and these look truly amazing! Can’t wait to bake them myself!

    Reply

  28. Zainab on May 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

    These came out perfectly!!

    Reply

  29. unaiza Naaz on May 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Hi
    Really Loveling Article sand Tips Good thank you for all of your hard work on this. This will be tried soon Thanks For Sharing

    Reply

  30. Lori on May 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I absolutely love your chocolate cupcake recipe, which is now my go-to recipe every time someone wants chocolate! I have been wanting to attempt the hi-hat, and now thanks to you I will try them…they are gorgeous! Love your recipes and site!

    Reply

  31. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie on May 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Wow these truly are perfectly beautiful! I have been wanting to make high hat cupcakes for a long time as well but am convinced the frosting will fall off when I dip them haha. I will have to get up the nerve to try them soon!

    Reply

  32. Jules on May 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    These are my favorite cupcakes but I’ve never had a recipe till now! Thank you so much. I’m going to be making these REALLY soon.

    Reply

  33. Amie on May 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Would you recommend replacing the marshmallow frosting with a jar of marshmallow fluff? Or should I just commit and make the frosting recipe because of too many unknowns using the fluff?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Hi Amie, I’m not sure that the fluff will stay stiff enough; it tends to be a little droopy.

      Reply

  34. Humairah on May 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Michelle , is there any possible way I could adapt marshmallow fluff
    To use for this frosting ?? I know it’s a long shot but is there any hope ?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Hi Humairah, I’m not aware of a way to use marshmallow fluff in the actual frosting, since you’re essentially making a stiff homemade marshmallow frosting.

      Reply

  35. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance on May 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, yes, yes, and yes! I was going to say, chocolate and coconut oil makes a perfect shell but you seem to have conquered the magic shell!

    Reply

  36. Baby June on May 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Wow, those are so cute! And it sounds like they would’ve tasted amazing too. I’ll have to try that using your tips soon.

    Reply

  37. Judith Audinis on May 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Thank u for sharing you recipes this is the 3rd cup cake of your that I have made all wrer fab. My marshmallow frosting didn’t stay nice and high like yours can u take a guess,As to what I did wrong should i whisk for a little longer next time ? The cup still look very nice just not so high but oh my soooooo good :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Hi Judith, You just want to be sure to whisk long enough so that the frosting holds stiff peaks when you lift the beater out of the bowl.

      Reply

  38. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on May 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    These are gorgeous, love the hi-hat topping!

    Reply

  39. Christina on May 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Can share what is the weight in grams for the following:
    3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    ¾ cup hot coffee
    ¾ cup bread flour
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
    Thank you.

    Reply

  40. Christina on May 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm
  41. tahnycooks on May 22, 2014 at 7:16 am

    MMMMmmm all that frosting! I need to try that frosting recipe. These look prefect! Perfect shell!

    Reply

  42. kelly @ livelovepasta on May 22, 2014 at 9:26 am

    These are so impressive! I’ve toyed with the idea of hi-hat cupcakes for…3+ years but am too intimidated to try. This recipe looks great!

    Reply

  43. Anne's Scribbles and Doodles on May 22, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Wow. These looks so delicious. It’s almost 11:00 pm from where I am and my craving isn’t good. Not good at all. Hahaha.

    Reply

  44. dina on May 22, 2014 at 10:57 am

    i love all the frosting. they look great!

    Reply

  45. April on May 22, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    These look amazing! I was reluctant to click on the recipe since I try to keep the kids eating pretty healthy (ie. no dyes, and most marshmallows from the store have blue dye) but then I saw the ingredient list and everything passes muster! Can’t wait to wow the kids with these, THANKS!!!!

    Reply

  46. Tracy on May 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Love! I’ve made mini hi-hat cupcakes, but never full size ones, these looks fantastic!

    Reply

  47. Melissa on May 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    would i have to make any changes to the ingredients/temp if i wanted to make the cupcakes into a cake (say, in a 9×13 pan)?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Hi Melissa, You would need to double the recipe for a 9×13-inch pan. No change to the temperature, but you will probably need to bake it for a bit longer.

      Reply

  48. Marlene on May 22, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I’ve been trying to ignore these cupcakes. I can’t! Last summer I suddenly ‘discovered’ the Dairy Queen that’s not too far from where I live, and what did I buy there, over and over, but chocolate dipped soft serve cones. I confess, it’s my guilty pleasure. And now I keep thinking about these cupcakes!

    Reply

  49. Fashionable F00d on May 23, 2014 at 9:23 am

    These look incredible, such an amazing idea – I’ll have to try and make them!

    Reply

  50. swetha_13 on May 24, 2014 at 7:31 am

    hi michelle,
    I was wondering what i could use as a substitute for cream of tartar, because we dont get it in india. :(

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 26th, 2014 at 11:31 am

      Unfortunately, I’m not sure of a good substitute :(

      Reply

  51. anny on May 25, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Hi michelle! Can I use something else instead of the cream of tartar? It’s hard to find it in Italy. thanks :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 26th, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Hi Anny, I’m not sure of a good substitute, unfortunately. It usually helps the egg whites whip up and maintain their texture.

      Reply

  52. Natalie on May 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Michelle, can I use powder albumin instead of egg whites ?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 26th, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Hi Natalie, I’m not sure that would work in this particular recipe, although I’ve never tried it.

      Reply

  53. Kaylie on May 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I’ve tried these but they didn’t turn out quite as tall as yours did. I am in another country though so maybe the altitude? They do taste great. I’ve also tried your triple chocolate mousse cake and Oreo Rice Krispie squares. Every recipe worked great and anyone who tried them loved it!

    Reply

  54. Anne on May 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    @Swetha and Anny- I’ve never tried this myself but I’ve read that you can substitute an equal amount of lemon juice or white vinegar for cream of tartar.

    Reply

  55. Kaylie on May 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

    This recipe wa great for cupcakes but I also used it to make cake!! Same recipe, frosting in the middle (between layers) and chocolate on top!! Was great

    Reply

  56. Mallary on May 31, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I tried to make this frosting 3 different times. Each time it looks stiff in the mixer and goes on the cupcake stiff but then it starts to sink quickly. What am I doing wrong???

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 3rd, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Mallary, If it starts to sink as soon as you put it on the cupcake, it’s either not stiff enough to start with, or the room is way too hot.

      Reply

  57. Avra-Sha Faohla on June 2, 2014 at 1:12 am

    So, I just made these and loved them! I don’t have cream of tartar, though, and I don’t have a candy thermometer. I considered using lemon juice or vinegar in place of the cream of tartar but decided not to risk changing the flavor. So I just left it out. Then for the temperature issue, I just left it on the double boiler for a really long time and hoped it was good enough. I think my frosting was not quite as stiff as yours, because I did have some problems with the shape collapsing a little when I dipped it, but it mostly stayed! Mine weren’t quite as beautiful as yours, but they still looked pretty good. Thank you for sharing!

    Just a couple questions: how long did you double boil it before it reached 160 degrees? I’d like to know an approximate time for next time I make these so I don’t leave them on unnecessarily long! Also, do you think the fact that my frosting wasn’t as stiff as yours was because I left out the cream of tartar, or is it more likely that I simply didn’t whisk it long enough?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 3rd, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Avra, It took a little time to get to 160 degrees, maybe 10 minutes or so. The cream of tartar is important in whipping up stiff peaks, so that could definitely have been it.

      Reply

  58. Kelly on June 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I have a question about the frosting, can food color be added and if so, at what point? Thanks so much for the recipe, I can’t wait to try these!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 10th, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Hi Kelly, I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be fine. Add at the end with the vanilla extract.

      Reply

  59. Michelle on August 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    This is the best hi-hat recipe! It’s easy and it came out great. Super smooth and delicious! Everyone who tries it thinks it’s to die for including me! Thanks for publishing!

    Reply

  60. Neph on August 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I have just made these and they worked. I had never heard of them before and it was my first attempt at making the topping and pipping. Over the moon. :-) Thank you and I love your blog.

    Reply

  61. Nifer Hoehn on September 30, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Just made these for my 10 year-old’s birthday and they were amazing! Thanks for the recipe, I don’t think I’ve ever seen his eyes so big as when he saw them and I had a lot of fun making them. Definitely have to dip them in the chocolate quickly at the end!

    Reply

  62. Rose on October 28, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Dear Michelle,
    First I should say I’m glad to see your amazing website and also find you as a nice artist. I really appreciate you and admire you for working hard. I had bookmarked your site to use your wonderful and perfect recipes but frankly, I forgot using it and always looked for the favorite recipes on Google till yesterday when Saba, my 8-year-old daughter told me that she wanted kind of chocolate cupcake. That time I remembered your site cause I had found many cupcake recipes on it. As I opened the page I saw this inviting hi-hat cupcake and I told myself: ” that’s it. This is exactly what I want. An attractive one while yummy.” You know for the kids, the look, coloring, design and decoration are so important as the taste. So I started to make it while Saba was at school. It was really delicious as I ate a hot one after getting out of oven at once cause the smell of chocolate and coffee was making me crazy. When she came home and opened the door I took it in front of her eyes and she screamed for joy. Also when Mr. husband came home I welcomed him with one of these fantastic cupcakes beside a cup of white coffee and he also was surprised by the taste. I appreciate you again and again for all perfect recipes you put on your site.
    Anyway, apart from my long boring description I had some problems with the frosting and also coating that caused I could not form them as you’ve done. I didn’t have tartar cream handy so I substituted white vinegar for it and I guess because of that my frosting wasn’t as stiff as I expected. The swirls didn’t become so nice. Also I had problem with getting mixture 160 degrees F and after at least 25 minutes over the boiling water it had not changed yet. I mean it didn’t reach higher temperature and it didn’t even simmer while the egg whites were cooking and becoming stiff. So I sifted the stiff egg whites out from the mixture and beat the mixture for about 25-30 minutes. It got stiff but not as it should be. And another problem was with melting chocolate. It melted over the boiling water. I waited for 20 minutes and I stirred it a lot but it wouldn’t become as smooth as I expected so I added some cocoa powder and some hot coffee as your cake’s recipe had said to coat the frosting :) . Well I hope you have a piece of advice to give me!!
    Sorry for the boring story but I was surprised to tell you how much my family got glad with your fine recipe.
    Rose

    Reply

  63. Margaret Smith on November 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Michelle! Could you use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil for the coating? Congrats on you on you baby. Glad to know he’ll have a sweet tooth!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 16th, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Hi Margaret, Thank you! Yes, you could use coconut oil… enjoy!

      Reply

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