Gluten Free Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Gluten Free Hi-Hat Cupcakes

A close up of inside chocolate cupcake on white surface

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.

Gluten Free Hi-Hat Cupcakes - Step by Step

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 on white surface

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.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 16 cupcakes


Chocolate Cupcakes
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, chopped

1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (200 g) sugar

2/3 cup (150 g) sour cream, at room temperature (can also use Greek-style plain yogurt)

2 eggs (120 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Stiff 7-Minute Frosting
2 cups (400 g) sugar

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 egg whites (120 g)

5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) lukewarm water

Chocolate Shell
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (56 g) virgin coconut oil


  • 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).

  • Adapted from Cooking Everything, as selected by you from my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest Board.



P.S. Which Gluten-Free on a Shoestring cookbooks do you have? There are 3, and soon to be 4!

Comments are closed.

  • Bethany
    September 15, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Made these yesterday – had a few little problems, but overall..the final product was delicious! My cupcakes came out rather dry (but with the marshmallow, I couldn’t really complain). I had to let them set up in the fridge quite a while before dipping as the chocolate shell made the marshmallow ooze off. They didn’t stand up to the 2″ of frosting I gobbed on. The frosting was AMAZING! I think I might do these again with just the marshmallow, and skip the shell. The three components, all in one bite…fabulous! Not too sweet, not too bitter. Just wonderful with a cup of Ruby Pu’er tea before bed. Thanks!

    • September 16, 2014 at 7:45 AM

      Hi, Bethany, if your cupcakes were dry, I would always look first at any substitutions you may have made, as the cupcakes made as written are not at all dry. My guess it was either your flour blend, or measuring ingredients (always measure by weight!). As far as the frosting, if it didn’t hold up, it sounds like you either didn’t cook the frosting to 160°F, or did not whip it for long enough.

  • Beth
    September 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Can you freeze these after they are all finished?

    • Beth
      September 15, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      Does anyone know ?????

      • September 16, 2014 at 7:42 AM

        You can’t freeze them after they are frosted, no, Beth. 7-minute frosting is not freezer-friendly. Sorry! You can definitely freeze the cupcakes themselves, though, and then defrost them, then frost and glaze them.

        • Beth
          September 16, 2014 at 12:16 PM


  • Kat
    September 10, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    These look wonderful. I love your recipes and cookbooks so much I just preordered your next book. Waiting till April is going to be very hard for me.
    Thank you for everything.

    • September 16, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      Thank you so much, Kat. That is so kind of you to say, and if it’s any consolation it’s going to be hard for me to wait, too! And I will definitely share some preview recipes from the new book early next year. :)

  • karen
    September 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    I have never understood the fascination with cupcakes myself because there are much more exciting desserts to eat but these ones look fantastic due to that yummy looking frosting! I am definitely making these this weekend :)

    • September 16, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      I agree, Karen, that cupcakes need some jazzing up to create more excitement. :)

  • Lucy
    September 10, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    I need to invest in a good candy thermometer! Recommendations?
    Now Nicole, I’m one of those people who dislikes marshmallows but will try anything at least once :)
    I had planned on making jam filled cupcakes today, maybe the bases for these as well then my girls can ice them tomorrow…
    When the strike is over, the teachers will most likely ask what did you do over the break? Answer….Bake!
    Calgary had 11 cm of snow last night…burrrrr and more coming tonight…yikes!

    • September 10, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Hi, Lucy! Yes, the type of candy/deep fry thermometer I like best is the kind that has a centimeter or so of metal below the thermometer bulb, so you can rest it on the bottom of the pan without getting a reading of the pan, rather than the contents of the pan. Here is the one I have from Polder, and it’s the best I’ve ever had.
      So, since you’re not a marshmallow-lover, there are marshmallow-type fillings/frostings that are stabilized with gelatin which tend to be stiffer, and those that are stabilized with egg whites (like this stiff 7-minute frosting) which are really akin to marshmallow fluff. Either one, when homemade, is nothing like store-bought marshmallows!

  • Jennifer S.
    September 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    freakin’ awesome!!!! Absolutely love this!!! So excited to try these!
    I have to say that I was a little nervous last week when I made the oreo cakesters. But I survived and the candy thermometer did not break (I have nightmares about this people)!

    • September 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      Nightmares about the thermometer breaking, Jennifer? I hadn’t even considered that, to be honest! Glad things went off without a hitch. :)

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