How cute are these gluten free witch’s hat cupcakes? The BEST chocolate cupcake and a towering swirl of marshmallow dipped in chocolate makes these not only cute, but incredibly yummy!!
Okay, this is the deal. I think I’ve found my new favorite cupcake EVER!!!! That’s a pretty bold statement to make, but seriously these are the BEST cupcakes I think I’ve ever had! It most likely has to do with the marshmallow meringue because I’m a sucker for marshmallow anything. But the cake itself, combined with the marshmallow, and then the chocolate dip? I can’t stand it, they are so good!!
WHAT ARE HI HAT CUPCAKES?
Hi hat cupcakes have been around for a long time. They are usually made of a chocolate cupcake topped with a very high swirl of meringue that’s been dipped in a chocolate coating.
I’ve made hi hat cupcakes before, but this recipe blows them all out of the water. The meringue is more like the silkiest marshmallow ever, and that chocolate dip is perfectly smooth and chocolatey! One bite will have you pledging your undying love for these cupcakes😍
HOW TO MAKE HI HAT CUPCAKES
The chocolate cupcake base is from my gluten free triple chocolate cupcakes. I could actually eat the cupcake by itself, that’s how good it is! That’s not something I can usually say because frosting has always been my favorite part of a cupcake.
Marshmallow meringue is simply a Swiss meringue buttercream minus the butter! It begins by whisking egg whites and sugar over a double boiler (a bowl set over a pot of simmering water) until the sugar has dissolved. A stand mixer, such as a Kitchenaid (affiliate link), really helps with making meringue. Add a little cream of tartar (used to stabilize the egg whites) and vanilla and whip the mixture to stiff peaks. I also added a little green gel food coloring.
Pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes in a dramatically high swirl (they aren’t called hi hat cupcakes for nothing) and let that set. Melt semi-sweet chocolate with canola oil (which is basically magic shell) and hold the cupcakes upside down to dip them in the chocolate. You’d think the meringue would fall off, but it miraculously stays put in all its glory.
HOW DO I MAKE THE BRIM OF THE HAT?
For years I always had this idea that hi hat cupcakes would be so great for Halloween. They’re almost there as a witch’s hat, but just need the brim. The perfect brim came in the form of fondant! Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Maybe because all these cool colors and tiny packages weren’t offered years ago.
Here are the little fondant packages I used, which I got from my local A.C. Moore. They’re cheap (about $2 each) and just the right amount so there’s no waste.
You’d think making a large circle of fondant and piping the meringue on top would be the way to go. But if we’re gonna be tipping these cupcakes upside down and we’re nervous about it already, having something else to fall into the vat of chocolate isn’t going to cut it.
First, roll out a piece of fondant and cut it with a large circle cutter (mine was a 3 1/2-inch round English muffin ring), and then cut a smaller circle out of the middle. If you don’t have cookie cutters or biscuit cutters (or English muffin rings), you can always use different size drinking glasses.
Take the larger ring, or “brim” and cut a slit so that you can wrap it around the cupcake. Remove the cupcakes from the fridge. I found the best time to wrap the fondant around them is when they have some condensation beading up. A few moments after coming out of the fridge is perfect. Pinch the fondant together with your fingers where it’s been cut. Then go around the cupcake and gently press into the chocolate to adhere it to the cupcake.
I like to then use my fingers and go around the brim and pinch the edges. This thins out the fondant and creates movement in the brim. There are fondant tools for this as well, but it’s just as easy to use your fingers.
HOW DO I STORE THESE CUPCAKES?
The cupcakes do best in the refrigerator to set the chocolate and to keep them fresh. I eat them right out of the fridge, but if you don’t like a cold cupcake give them about 10 minutes before digging in! They’ll keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, IF they last that long!! When Scott is home, no sweets last that long in this house!
You are going to fall in LOVE with these cupcakes!! They’re perfect for Halloween, but you can always leave the fondant off and make them for any day of the year.
Gluten Free Witch’s Hat Cupcakes
MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE FROSTING
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 24 ounces (680 g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable oil or canola oil
- assorted fondant colors
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
- Prepare and bake cupcakes as per recipe instructions. Allow to cool.
FOR THE MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE:
- Make sure your bowl and utensils (whip attachment) are very clean! You can take a paper towel with a little bit of white vinegar or lemon juice and wipe both the bowl and whip with this to make sure they are truly clean and there is no greasy residue (grease will inhibit the egg whites from reaching stiff peaks). Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer over a double boiler (a saucepan with about one inch of simmering water). Don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
- Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (about 160 on a thermometer) or when you rub a bit of the mixture between two fingers and feel no sugar crystals. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the bowl and place it on the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the mixture, gradually increasing the speed to high, until medium peaks (mixture will have increased in volume, but is not yet stiff or shiny).
- Add cream of tartar and vanilla extract (and any food coloring, if using–NOT oil-based) and continue to whip at high speed until stiff peaks (the mixture will hold a peak straight up) and the meringue is very shiny.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (tip 1A) with the meringue. Pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes in a very high swirl.
- Refrigerate cupcakes for about 30 minutes.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE DIP:
- While the cupcakes are chilling, melt the chocolate and canola oil in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (the same double boiler used for the meringue). When completely melted and smooth, pour into a deep container to allow enough room for cupcakes to be dipped straight up and down.
- Allow the chocolate dip to cool slightly before dipping the cupcakes.
TO DIP THE CUPCAKES:
- Remove the cupcakes from the fridge and, holding the cupcake near the top at the wrapper, turn it upside down and dip straight down into the chocolate to completely cover the cake to the wrapper. Pull it straight out and allow excess chocolate to fall back into container before turning right side up. Don't tap on the side of the container as you may risk the meringue falling in.
- Place the dipped cupcake onto a baking sheet and continue until all the cupcakes are dipped.
- Put the cupcakes back in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes while preparing the fondant.
TO MAKE THE FONDANT BRIMS:
- Roll out each color of fondant into a circle about ⅛ inch thick. Cut two circles, one larger than the other, and use the outside "ring" as the brim. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in each ring.
- Remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator and wrap the fondant "brims" around each cupcake, pressing together the cut ends to seal. Gently press the brims against the chocolate to stick it to the cupcake (this should stick very easily when the cupcakes are just out of the fridge and condensation is forming). Otherwise, you may need to brush the bottom of the chocolate gently with a little water.
- Using your thumb and forefinger, gently squeeze the brim around the cupcake at the edges to thin it out and create movement.
- Store cupcakes in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Adapted from Jennifer Shea’s The Perfect Cupcake class on Bluprint.