Hi-Hat Cupcakes

2 Dec

Ever since my good friend and trained pastry chef, Mimi, started making Hi-Hat Cupcakes, I’ve been wanting to try these out for myself. What’s not to love about chocolate cake topped with a two-inch layer of Italian meringue then dipped in chocolate? A dinner invitation and a request to bring dessert presented the perfect opportunity to bake these beautiful cupcakes.

I found a recipe on MarthaStewart.com which is based on a recipe from the book Cupcakes! by Elinor Kivans and France Ruffen. Making the cupcake batter seemed easy enough, however the results proved otherwise. I’m not sure if I over beat the butter and sugar, or if there was something off with my measurements (I swear I followed the directions to the tee), but the cupcakes were a disaster. The cupcakes sunk in the middle and the cake was so fragile that every single one that I tried to take out of the pan fell apart. As for the flavor: meh. I ended up having to throw them out — what a waste of good ingredients.

I wasn’t about to give up so I turned to the always-reliable The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and found their recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes. The recipe was very straightforward and didn’t even require the use of an electric mixer. Since I had to make sure the cupcakes would be fit for consumption (wink, wink), I tried one, pre-icing. In a word: incredible. The cakes have a deep, dark chocolate flavor and nice crumb that were reminiscent of Hostess Ding Dongs and Hostess Cupcakes, but in a better, higher-quality ingredients kind of way.

Can you guess which one is the ATK cupcake?

Next, it was on to the meringue, marshmallow-like frosting. It was relatively easy to make, although it ended up being a little grainy.  Next time, the key will be to ensure the sugar is thoroughly dissolved before whipping the egg white mixture into stiff peak oblivion. And although I’m not yet an expert at wielding a pastry bag, the mounds of shiny white fluff atop the chocolate cupcakes were a thing of beauty despite my lack of piping finesse.

The chocolate coating was the final nail in the calorie coffin and covered all of my piping iniquities. I read a number of comments on MarthaStewart.com in which bakers lost their frosting tops as they dipped the cupcakes into the chocolate. With this in mind, I kept the iced cupcakes in the refrigerator a bit longer than the recipe prescribes (approximately 30 minutes) and that seemed to do the trick. While I noticed that the icing mounds shifted a bit once they hit the warm chocolate, the cupcakes stayed intact.

While you wouldn’t want to eat these cupcakes everyday — they are so decadent — I will definitely make these again. I think my dining companions would also agree.

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