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!
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.
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!
One year ago: Rocky Road Rice Krispies Treats
Two years ago: Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Four years ago: Guacamole
Six years ago: Homemade Pita Bread
Hi Hat Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 3 ounces (85.05 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup (28.67 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ¾ cup (177.75 ml) hot coffee
- ¾ cup (93.75 g) bread flour
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) salt
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) baking soda
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
- 1¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (62.5 ml) water
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) cream of tartar
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Coating:
- 12 ounces (340.2 g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 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.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I have been using this recipe for years. Always a hit. I have tried to find other chocolate cake/cupcake recipes and none can compare to this one. It’s my go-to chocolate cake or cupcake recipe. Thanks
These look amazing! Can I used semi-sweet chocolate chips for the chocolate dip, or is it important that I use a chopped chocolate bar?
I made the frosting twice and both times it turned out with undissolved sugar grains in it, making the texture quite grainy. I first though it was maybe I didn’t reach 160 degrees the first time, but the second time I did reach that temp and it was still grainy. Any suggestions?
Hi Julia, I would continue to whisk occasionally while it’s heating; they should dissolve, and especially so after beating with mixer.
Thank you, love trying out your recipes, my family loves them, especially the cone cupcakes! You and your family are so very wonderful to to see grow and thanks for share with us.
Hi, can the frosting be made chocolate? Ifeed so, how? The cupcakes are beautiful and I love your recipes!
Hi Toni, Yes, you could! This is my favorite chocolate frosting for cupcakes:
I’ve made this recipe so many times, it’s always a winner! The actual batter is not the usual kinda ingredients but it’s AMAZING, so bouncy and moist. And the topping just looks so professional! Before topping I cut a little of the cake out the centre and filled it with strawberry jelly. Definitely gonna be making them again and again, thanks for the recipe!
I just made the cupcakes and they came out great! However, I’m having a bit of trouble getting the frosting to become stiff. It’s really humid by me today, so I’m pretty sure that’s causing my problem. I was wondering if you thought it would be alright to put the frosting in the fridge for a while to see if that helps stiffen it up a bit. Thanks!
Hi Kaycee, The humidity could definitely be causing you problems, but yes, putting the frosting in the refrigerator can’t hurt!
Wanted to make these since the day they were published. Turned out better than I thought! Mimicked chocolate dipped soft serve perfectly – and they were so tasty. One thing I wondered about before making was what would I do with the leftover chocolate dip. So I cut up some marshmallows, chopped some toasted almonds and poured the left over chocolate on that to create a kind of bark and stuck it in the freezer. Then made a batch of BEB chocolate ice cream, mixed in the bark (which I broke up) and layered in some chocolate sauce for a fudgy swirl. It wasn’t a true Rocky Road… but it was some kind a good! Will definitely make these cupcakes again… great summer time dessert.
I followed the recipe to a “t” and the Hi Hat Cupcakes turned out perfect!! My family was so impressed! My only trouble was on my first few dips, the tips of the frosting lost their shape, so I put the cupcakes back in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to cool down a little bit more.
Sooo disappointing. The egg mixture never reached 160 (after over an hour, and using multiple thermometers to check the temperature), so at 150+ I decided to try to mix it. It didn’t get fluffy at all. I followed everything exactly and am an experienced baker/cook- what happened? Did anyone else get it to hit 160?
Help! It looked like the frosting was turning out beautifully – getting thick and stiff peaks were forming as I whisked over the simmering water and reached 160 degrees. But when I transferred the mixture to my stand mixer and began mixing it deflated and turned lava-like again. What happened? I allowed it mix for the full time, however it stayed molten. I was able to salvage it but returning it to the stove and bringing it back to 160 degrees while whisking and it eventually turned somewhat stiff again and i piped it straight from there. I’m confused?!
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!
Hi Margaret, Thank you! Yes, you could use coconut oil… enjoy!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Hi Kelly, I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be fine. Add at the end with the vanilla extract.
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?
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.
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???
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.
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
@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.
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!
Hi Michelle, can I use powder albumin instead of egg whites ?
Hi Natalie, I’m not sure that would work in this particular recipe, although I’ve never tried it.
Hi michelle! Can I use something else instead of the cream of tartar? It’s hard to find it in Italy. thanks :)
Hi Anny, I’m not sure of a good substitute, unfortunately. It usually helps the egg whites whip up and maintain their texture.
I was wondering what i could use as a substitute for cream of tartar, because we dont get it in india. :(
Unfortunately, I’m not sure of a good substitute :(
These look incredible, such an amazing idea – I’ll have to try and make them!
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!
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)?
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.
Love! I’ve made mini hi-hat cupcakes, but never full size ones, these looks fantastic!
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!!!!
i love all the frosting. they look great!
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.
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!
MMMMmmm all that frosting! I need to try that frosting recipe. These look prefect! Perfect shell!
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
These are gorgeous, love the hi-hat topping!
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 :)
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.
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.
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!
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 ?
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.
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?
Hi Amie, I’m not sure that the fluff will stay stiff enough; it tends to be a little droopy.
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.
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!
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!
Really Loveling Article sand Tips Good thank you for all of your hard work on this. This will be tried soon Thanks For Sharing
These came out perfectly!!
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!
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. :)
These look great! Can I substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil?
I too am wondering if coconut oil can be used instead of vegetable oil?
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.
Hi Patty, It should work, although I haven’t tried it with these particular cupcakes.
Hi Arlene, I think it should work, although I haven’t tried it on these cupcakes.
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!
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!
What a fun cupcake! They look perfect!
Absolutely Gorgeous! I am craving one…. eeekkkk
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!
I meant “these look fabulous!”
these look fabulous?
do you think the marshmallow frosting will freeze well?
Hi Rena, I don’t think it would.
I used a recipe that freezed the marshmallow like frosting (after piping on cupcakes) for 3 hours befor dipping, and I had complete sucess with the dipping. I refreezed them after dipping and they were fine afterwords, but had a light coat of moisture over the chocolate coating.
These look AMAZING!
These cupcakes leave me speechless. They’re just no words to express how I feel about them. Oh my. Life changing. How yummy.
Oh my goodness – these are like a work of art!! Definitely want to give them a try but also slightly intimidated :)
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.
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!
Wow! This is very impressive! I just love a persistent baker, so thank you for your research!
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.
I first saw these on Martha’s site… you did a wonderful job.
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!
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!
These are so neat!! Love the recipe!
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.
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!
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
Instead of bread flour,can i use all purpose flour? What are the proportion for conversion?
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)
Hi Val, I really do recommend using bread flour for these cupcakes, as it is key to their texture and structure.
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!
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).
I’ve always wanted to make these but have been so intimidated! I’m definitely trying your recipe soon!
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?
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.