Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Almond mocha hi-hat cupcakes feature chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue dipped in dark chocolate and garnished with toasted almonds. 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Easy to make chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue. It's dipped in chocolate and topped with toasted almonds.

A delicious combination of chocolate, espresso, and almonds, these cupcakes are a rich and satisfying dessert! 

Hi-hat cupcakes are so fun because they contain a hidden surprise underneath their chocolate shell! 

What are hi-hat cupcakes?

Traditionally, hi-hat cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes topped with meringue and dipped in melted chocolate. 

They are sometimes called high hat cupcakes or surprise cupcakes. Nowadays, the hi-hat cupcakes variations are limitless. 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Easy to make chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue. It's dipped in chocolate and topped with toasted almonds.

There are four parts to these almond mocha hi-hat cupcakes:

  1. Chocolate Cupcakes
  2. Espresso Meringue Frosting
  3. Dark Chocolate Shell
  4. Toasted Sliced Almonds
  • Chocolate Cupcakes

Like the ease of box mix cupcakes? These chocolate cupcakes are just as easy! 

No mixer needed to whip these cupcakes together.

Simply whisk all the dry ingredients together in one bowl, combine all the wet ingredients in other bowl. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix by hand until smooth.

  • Espresso Meringue Frosting

Call it meringue frosting or marshmallow frosting. Either way, it’s a fluffy frosting aerated by egg whites and sugar.

There are different kinds of meringue: Swiss, Italian, French.

They differ based on stability and cooking method.

This espresso meringue frosting follows the Swiss meringue method. Egg whites and sugar are warmed over a bain-marie to 160 degrees F before being whipped to stiff peaks.

  • Dark Chocolate Shell

These cupcakes use chocolate magic shell!

Magic shell is a melted mixture that combines chocolate with oil. When introduced to something cold, the liquid chocolate hardens creating a nice shell.

I recommend 72 % dark chocolate, but any chocolate variety will work. Use any neutral flavored oil like vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, or refined coconut oil. 

  • Toasted Sliced Almonds

Almonds add warmth, crunch, and texture. Toasted sliced almonds are used in the images here. 

Substitute in roughly chopped toasted almonds, roughly ground almonds, or even chopped candied almonds! 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue.

Hi-Hat Cupcake Assembly:

Allow chocolate cupcakes to completely cool before topping with frosting. Otherwise, the meringue frosting will slide right off or melt warm cupcakes.

Fit a piping bag with a round 16mm piping tip. Fill with prepared espresso meringue frosting. 

Pipe a spiral of frosting onto each cupcake, leaving about 1/8-1/4-inch border of exposed cupcake. 

Place cupcakes on a sheet tray and keep chilled in the fridge for 3o minutes until frosting is cold. Alternately, place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. 

(note: 16mm = 5/8-inch = Ateco 808 round piping tip)

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue.

Cupcakes are ready to be dipped in chocolate once the frosting is cold.

Meanwhile, prepare dark chocolate shell and toasted almonds.

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Espresso meringue topped chocolate cupcakes dipped in melted chocolate.

Chocolate Tip! Pour melted chocolate mixture into a deep cup for dipping. Don’t use a shallow bowl.

It is important that the frosting is COLD. The cold frosting will react with the melted chocolate creating a shell. 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Espresso meringue topped chocolate cupcakes dipped in melted chocolate.

Fully submerge the frosting in the chocolate. 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Espresso meringue topped chocolate cupcakes dipped in melted chocolate.

Allow any excess melted chocolate to drain. Then flip the cupcake upright and immediately top with toasted almonds.

Allow cupcake to set at room temperature or speed up the process by placing cupcakes in the fridge. 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Easy to make chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue. It's dipped in chocolate and topped with toasted almonds.

Caution about keeping assembled cupcakes in the fridge:

Condensation is the the enemy. Condensation is a problem during warm or humid weathered months.

Moving from a cold fridge to the warm room will shock the set chocolate. Condensation will gather on the chocolate shell creating little beads of “sweat.” 

The chocolate is still safe to eat. It will not affect the taste. However, the cupcakes will not look as appetizing. 

To combat condensation, do not return assembled cupcakes to fridge once the chocolate has set. 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes. Cross section of chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue dipped in chocolate and topped with toasted almonds.

These hi-hat cupcake are just the beginning.

Think of all the different variation you can make: pumpkin spice hi-hat cupcakes, peppermint chocolate, peanut butter and jelly, or chocolate strawberry!

Or, decorate these cupcakes as witches hats for Halloween! 

Almond Mocha Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso meringue dipped in dark chocolate.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes

Servings 18 cupcakes
Author Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 ½ cup (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup (248 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (40 g) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ( 7 g) espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temp
  • ½ cup water, room temp
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil, or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Meringue Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cup (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoon espresso powder

Dipping Chocolate:

  • 12 oz (340 g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon grapeseed oil, vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Instructions

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with cupcake paper liners. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, sifted cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, water, oil, and eggs until well combined. Add wet mixture to flour mixture. Use a sturdy spatula or a whisk to mix ingredients together until smooth, and there are no longer any dry streaks of flour.

  4. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin tin cavity, filling the liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes cool in tin for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin and let cool to room temperature on wire racks.

Meringue Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, whisk together sugar, egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water to create a double boiler. Ensure simmering water does not touch bottom of bowl.

  2. Heat sugar-egg mixture until it reaches a temperature of 160°F, whisking often to distribute heat. Alternatively, if you don't have a thermometer, heat until the sugar has melted. Test this by rubbing mixture between fingers. The mixture should be smooth. You should not be able to feel the granules of sugar.

  3. Return bowl to stand mixer. Attach whisk attachment to stand mixer. Beat medium at low-medium speed for 3 minutes until shiny. Increase speed to medium-high and continue beating to stiff peaks, about 8 minutes.

  4. Add espresso powder and vanilla. Whip until thoroughly combined.

  5. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a 16mm round tip (5/8-inch round tip or Ateco 808 round tip). Pipe a spiral of frosting onto each cupcake, leaving about ⅛-¼ inch border of exposed cupcake. Place frosted cupcakes on a sheet tray and keep chill in the fridge for 25-30 minutes until frosting is cold. Alternatively, place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Dipping Chocolate:

  1. Combine chopped chocolate and oil in a large bowl. Set bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Make sure bowl does not touch water. Slow melt mixture and stir often to ensure even melting. Once mixture is smooth, pour into a tall drinking glass. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Assembly:

  1. Fully submerge chilled frosting into slightly cooled dipping chocolate. Allow any excess melted chocolate to drain. Flip cupcake upright and immediately top with toasted almonds.

  2. Allow cupcakes to set at room temperature or speed up the process by placing cupcakes in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

Ingredient Notes:

  • Espresso powder can be found in the coffee and tea section of the supermarket. Alternatively, it is widely available online through Amazon or King Arthur Flour.
  • I used 72% dark chocolate. Use dark, semi-sweet, milk, or white chocolate. 
  • Use any neutral flavored oil such as refined coconut oil, grape seed oil, or vegetable oil. 
  • If you want the chocolate shell to be thinner or thicker, adjust consistency by altering amount of oil used. Less oil equal thicker chocolate shell. More oil means thinner chocolate shell. To test thickness, dip a cold butter knife into chocolate mixture and allow to set. 

How to Toast Sliced Almonds: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread almonds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Stir almonds. Bake for another 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and transfer to cool baking sheet or large plate to stop almonds from cooking further. Cool before use. 

Caution of keeping assembled cupcakes in the fridge:

  • Condensation is the the enemy. Condensation is a problem during warm or humid weathered months. Moving from a cold fridge to the warm room will shock the set chocolate. Condensation will gather on the chocolate shell creating little beads of “sweat.”
  • The chocolate is still safe it eat. It will not affect the taste. However, the cupcakes will not look as appetizing.
  • To combat condensation, do not return assembled cupcakes to fridge once the chocolate has set.
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