Hi-Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

Inside of a high hat cupcake

I have been eyeing these Hi-hat cupcakes on Pinterest for so long now, that I had to make them sooner than later. They are essentially choclate cupcakes with a frosting and dipped in melted chcolate, like your Mc Swirl in Mc Donalds.They looked daunting. What if the fluffy white meringue on top which gets dipped in the chocolate just melts away? What if the chocolate doesnt hold and starts dripping? What if the entire frosting collapses and settles in a puddle on the cupcake? It would be an epic bake-fail, but curiousity got the better of me and I made these. And beleive it or not, they are super easy! I watched a couple videos about making the frosting and then adapted a Martha Stewart recipe to make mine.

High Hat cupcake

Droolworthy chocolates

Hi-Hat Cupcakes!

What you will need :

For the cupcakes

  •  2 cups maida
  •  ¾ cup cocoa powder
  •  1 tablespoon baking powder
  •  ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •  a pinch of salt
  •  1 and ½ cup castor sugar
  •  2 eggs
  •  8 tablespoon melted butter (I use Amul)
  •  1 cup plain yoghurt
  •  ½ cup warm milk
  •  1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  •  1 and ½ cup chocolate chips

Ingredients for chocolate cupcakes

  1.  Mix the flour + baking powder + baking soda + cocoa powder + salt. Sift it so that it gets aerated and there are no chunks of baking powder or soda.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk butter till pale and add sugar. Mix well.
  3. Then add the eggs, one at a time and whisk into the butter.
  4. Mix in the yoghurt and vanilla.
  5. Now with a rubber spatula fold in the dry ingredients and the milk in two additions. Always start and end with the dry ingredients.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 180C for 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, line a muffin pan with paper liners. Drop the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes till a skewer inserted in the centre comes clean.
  8. Let it cool in the pan and then on a wire grill completely before frosting.

Chocolate chip cupcakes

For the meringue frosting

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 and ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Making meringue

  1. In a large heatproof bowl, mix all the ingredients and whisk with a manual whisk or a hand held blender till it forms soft peaks.
  2. In another vessel, heat water till it simmers.
  3. Put this bowl with egg whites on the vessel over the stove/ gas. Whisk continuously till it forms stiff peaks and the temperature of the egg whites goes upto 70 degrees C on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, keep it whisking on the simmering water for 10 minutes, it reaches about that temperature and then egg whites are safe to be consumed.
  4. Then remove from heat and keep whisking till it cools down considerably and frosting thickens.
  5. Do not stop whisking in the entire process or egg whites will curdle.
  6. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a big round nozzle.

For the chocolate coating

  • 2 cups chopped chocolate
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

How to proceed:

  1. Combine chopped chocolate and oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat it in bursts of 20 seconds, whisking in between, till all chocolate is melted. Alternately, you can heat it over double boiler.
  2. Let it cool to room temperature.
  3. If the chocolate hardens by the time you are ready to dip, heat it in microwave for 30 seconds and it will be liquid.

Chocolate dripping

ASSEMBLY

  1. Now the cupcakes are ready to be frosted and dipped.
  2. Frost a high pile of the meringue frosting on each of the cupcakes. Refrigerate for a couple of minutes before dipping in chocolate.
  3. Keep the melted chocolate in a high wide glass. I used a measuring cup for it.
  4. Now grab each cupcake by its bottom and carefully dip it into the melted chocolate and remove it. Don’t worry, it will stay put. The meringue will not melt, you have my word.
  5. Put it in the fridge and let it sit for half hour before cutting.
  6. You high-hat cupcakes are ready!
Hi hat cupcake with chocolate frosting

Eggless Cupcake with eggless buttercream frosting

Notes :

  • Some recipes call for cream of tartar in the meringue, but I havent used it. It stays well and holds shape even without the cream of tartar.
  • Ensure that the instructions int he recipe are followed well, let the cupcakes cool down before frosting. lt the meringue sit in the fridge for a few minutes before dripping in the chocolate and let the chocolate be at room temperature but still  liquid.
  • In the Mumbai humidity, the chocolate ont he frosting starts to sweat as soon as you take it out of the refrigerator. There is hardly anything that can be done about it though.
  • If you want an eggless chocolate cupcake recipe, see here.
  • If you want an eggless chocolate buttercream frosting see here. Meringue frosting looks prettier because of the black and white combination, but you can use any other stable buttercream too.

Cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Paris and Hot Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

I am back in Mumbai to the chaos, colors and my comfort zone. Overall the last 5 weeks in Paris have been quite enriching. There were days in the beginning when I did feel lost and missed home, but then the city seeped into my subconsciousness and I enjoyed the days. Paris is enigmatic and callous at the same time. The entire city is like a museum and each street is filled with art galleries and boutique shops. But also with thieves and drunkards. With gourmet food and fashion icons, but also with ragged clothes and foul smelling subways. Paris receives about 27 million visitors per year but still is the 5th topmost place in the world for pickpockets.

But as I said, my time in Paris was wonderful. I was on guard at all times , but I came back without :

  • Losing my passport, money and or anything valuable
  • Breaking any beautiful art piece or glassware in my host Danielle’s beautiful home
  • Gaining any weight after a month long buttery French Pastry course
  • Taking any medicine of any sort (not even a headache, even once).

And meanwhile, I had some amazing times when I:

  • Tasted almost 50 different types of French pastry from the chefs in school and also from Hermes, Laduree, Lenotre and some more.
  • Made awesome friends from atleast 10 different countries
  • Went first time to a kickass night club at the Champs Elysees (that was my first time in not only that club, but in ANY night club. Yeah.
  •  Tasted foie grass, grilled rabbit and Julia Child’s famous beef bourgnion in the school.

Eventually I realized that :

  • Mona Lisa at the Louvre is not that great. And plus you can only look at the painting from a 15 feet distance . The idea of her painting in my head sounds more gorgeous than the actual painting.
  • Eiffel tower on the other hand is so incredibly beautiful at night that I could stare at it for a long time, and look at it with longing for it to sparkle.
  • The French folks are somewhat arrogant, and no one will talk to you before you say Bonjour. No matter if you said Hello/ Hi, or you are in a hurry;  the world halts before you say Bonjour/ Bonsoir (that is good morning/ good evening)
  • All pigeons in the world are just the same. Look at this otherwise dainty Paris street :

pigeon in parisThe school, Le Cordon Bleu Paris was pretty cool, although I have some complaints about the format. That will come up in the next post.

chocolate cake

In school we once made a sponge cake with buttercream frosting and they showed us good techniques for doing the frosting. But surprisingly just three of us from the group of thirty had frosted a cake with buttercream before. And I had done it just the week before leaving, so it was easy for me during the practicals. We had to lift the cake in left hand and frost it with a spatula in the right hand, while rotating it around. We hoped that no one would have any accident while frosting, and thankfully no one did. But, while putting the tall cake in the fridge for cooling, one girl (a very dear friend of mine), bumped it to the upper rack and the cake got a slope on one side.Never-mind, such accidents happen, but it tasted delicious!

Piece of cake

Hot Chocolate cake with Chocolate buttercream frosting

What you will need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup hot chocolate (I use 1 cup of hot water mixed with 5 tablespoon of hot chocolate powder)
  • 1 and ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 and ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, preferably warm
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup salted butter , at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2- 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot chocolate; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.ith an electric mixer (either hand or stand), beat eggs for 1 minute.
  4. Add milk, butter, and yogurt. Beat until well-combined.
  5. Stir in vanilla extract until incorporated.
  6. Add hot chocolate mixture, and stir to combine.
  7. Add flour mixture, and stir in until just combined.
  8. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  9. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack until room temperature.
  12. The cake is now ready to frost and assemble.
  13. For the frosting, take cocoa powder in a large bowl. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  14. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  15. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, whisk for about a minute or beat for about 30 seconds with a hand mixer. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  16. Add vanilla extract and combine well.
  17. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
  18. Once the cake has completely cooled down, frost one of the cakes with buttercream with a spatula. Then put the second cake on top and cover it generously with the buttercream. Store at room temperature.
  19. Decorate with buttercream drops on top.

Frosting cakecake being cutTips :

  1. You can also bake the cake batter in one pan and then cut it horizontally to frost in the centre and assemble back.
  2. The buttercream can be stored in the fridge for upto a week. Just whisk it well before using.
  3. I used salted butter to make the frosting, but if you use unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the buttercream so that it does not taste too sweet.