Peppermint Hi-Hat Cupcakes

June 10, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 18 cupcakes
Author Notes

A hi-hat cupcake is topped with a fluffy mound of airy 7-minute frosting, then dunked in a thin chocolate cold-snap glaze, which firms up on the outside. This thin shell shatters to reveal the supersoft frosting—in this case, peppermint. It all sits atop my favorite cake of all time: my devil's food cake, which is especially delicious when made with black cocoa powder. These are fancy cupcakes, and they always dress to impress.

Adapted from The Fearless Baker. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

Bake It Up a Notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she'll help take our baking game to the next level, teaching us all the need-to-know tips and techniques and pointing out all the mistakes to avoid along the way. Today, cupcakes galore—the very funnest dessert! —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Peppermint Hi-Hat Cupcakes
  • Devil’s Food Cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup (63 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably black cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) boiling water
  • 2/3 cup (153 grams) whole milk
  • 9 tablespoons (128 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (295 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (113 grams), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (<1 gram) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) finely chopped milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (105 grams) coconut oil, melted
  • Peppermint 7-Minute Frosting
  • 5 large egg whites (180 grams)
  • 2 cups (398 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon (<1 gram) cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract
  • 3 or 4 drops red food coloring
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners (you’ll need to line 18 cavities total) or grease each cavity lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Place the cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa and let sit for 15 seconds. Then add the milk and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the bowl well, then add the vanilla and mix on low speed to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add one-third of the mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed to combine. Add half of the cocoa/milk mixture and mix to incorporate. Repeat, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients, until both are fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between the prepared pans, filling each cavity about three-quarters full. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run an offset spatula gently all around and remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Make the glaze: Combine the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water. (The bowl shouldn’t touch the water!) Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully melted and combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  7. Make the frosting: Combine the egg whites, sugar, water, and cream of tartar in the metal bowl of an electric stand mixer. Place the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water) and heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly warm to the touch (if you want to check with an instant-read thermometer, it should register about 140°F/60°C), 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer) and whip on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy and holds medium peaks, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the peppermint and vanilla extracts and food coloring (if using) and mix to combine. Transfer the frosting to a disposable pastry bag fitted with a plain tip about ½ inch wide, or just cut a ½-inch opening in the tip of the bag.
  9. Frost the cupcakes: Pipe a tall spiral of frosting onto each cupcake, starting at the edge and working around the cupcake. After you’ve piped frosting all around the edge, let the frosting start to build upward once you reach the place where you started and continue building the spiral upward, layer by layer, until it’s about 3 inches tall. When you’ve nearly finished piping, release the pressure on the bag and pull it away, giving the spiral a nicely curled tip. Chill the frosted cupcakes for 20 to 30 minutes. (Don’t skip this! The cupcakes need to be cold so the glaze can set quickly.)
  10. Glaze the cupcakes: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set a wire cooling rack on top. Transfer the cooled chocolate glaze to a tall container, such as a liquid measuring cup. (This makes for easier dipping; be sure the opening of the container is wide enough to easily dip the cupcakes.)
  11. Hold each cupcake upside down and dunk it deep enough into the chocolate glaze to fully cover the frosting. Let any excess glaze drip off; because the cupcakes are cold, the glaze should start to set fairly quickly. Set the glazed cupcake on the wire rack to set completely. If necessary, chill the cupcakes to set the glaze (chill for up to 6 hours) before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

1 Review

Keela S. December 18, 2021
I made these yesterday for a holiday party and they are fabulous! Everyone loved them. My only suggestion would be to make sure the icing is cool before icing the cupcakes, mine was still a bit warm and when I piped it and it drooped a bit before they could fully chill in the fridge. Still gorgeous, still delicious!