Just like there are all sorts of chocolate chip cookies, there are all sorts of chocolate cupcakes. I just don’t have nearly that many recipes for chocolate cupcakes here on the blog, at least as compared to my chocolate chip cookie recipes (which are legion). I think it’s mostly because I tend to think of cupcakes as kind of “trendy,” what with all of the cupcakes-only shops that popped up all over New York City for a while, and had people queueing around the block (for the record, I never once even considered waiting in line for food like that). But gluten free hi-hat cupcakes are just too impressive to ignore, what with the deep, rich chocolate cupcake topped with a stiff marshmallow fluff-style frosting, coated in a chocolate shell.
Even though you have to break out the candy thermometer for the frosting (c’mon, you’re gonna need one for a few of the fillings in Classic Snacks anyway!), these impressive little chocolate cupcakes are actually rather easy. Especially when you consider making the chocolate cupcakes themselves ahead of time. They have to be completely cool by the time you frost them (or the frosting will melt), so it’s just good common sense to make them ahead. The frosting is super easy, and will make a marshmallow-lover out of even those who swear up and down that they don’t even like marshmallows but that’s usually because all they know of the confection is the super-spongy ones that come in a bag.
Hi-hat cupcakes are basically the soft-serve ice cream dip tops of the cupcake world. And the stiff frosting is light as a feather, but still stable enough to turn upside down and dip in the melted chocolate shell. How Mister Softee manages to dip a soft-serve cone in a chocolate shell without losing the whole of the ice cream will remain one of life’s great mysteries, at least to moi. But gluten free hi-hat cupcakes? These I can do.
First, make the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.
In a small, heat-safe bowl, place the chopped chocolate and butter. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Set aside to cool briefly. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted chocolate and butter, then the sour cream, eggs and vanilla, mixing until just combined after each addition. The batter will be thick. Fill the prepared wells of the muffin tin 2/3 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Place all of the frosting ingredients in a small, heat-safe bowl and whisk to combine well. Place over a small pot of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water and that there is enough water in the pot to simmer for at least 4 minutes. Clip a candy/deep fry thermometer to the side of the bowl and cook until the mixture reaches 160°F (about 4 minutes). If it seems that the temperature of the mixture is rising very slowly, cover the bowl with the lid of the pot, as it sits over the simmering water. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer. Beat on medium-high heat until the mixture holds a very stiff peak (about 7 minutes).
Assemble the cupcakes. Transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large open piping tip (about 1/2-inch in diameter). Pipe a spiral about 2-inches high on the top of each cooled cupcake, and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator to cool while you make the chocolate shell. Place the chocolate shell ingredients in a small, but deep, heat-safe bowl, and place over a small pot of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate and oil are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be thin. Working quickly, dip each frosted cupcake straight down into the chocolate shell by holding the bottom of the cupcake and covering as much of the frosting with the shell as possible. Lift the cupcake straight out of the melted chocolate shell and invert onto a wire rack. Allow to stand at room temperature, or refrigerate, until set (about 20 minutes—less in the refrigerator).