Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes

*Lots of step pictures and explanations. Scroll down to get the recipe.*

And try my dark chocolate cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting next.

Step photos and explanations for making peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes at home! Recipe on

You know when you bite into a piñata cupcake and surprise!! there’s oodles of sprinkles packed inside? Same thing is happening today. Except you bite through a hard chocolate shell into soft peanut butter meringue-like frosting. And it’s all piled on top of a deliciously moist and rich chocolate cupcake.

What’s on the inside is what truly matters. Life lessons via cupcakes.

Step photos and explanations for making peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes at home! Recipe on

Let me begin by settling your fears: these cupcakes are NOT difficult. They look complicated and intimidating, for sure, but as long as you have the correct tools you can speed through the entire process with confidence and ease.

What is a hi-hat cupcake?

Traditionally, hi-hat cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes with a stable and glossy marshmallow frosting that is covered in a hard chocolate coating. It resembles a chocolate dipped soft serve swirl. Mighty and epic, hi-hat cupcakes tower over regular cupcakes. They’re unbelievable.

Similar marshmallow frosting is the topping on my s’mores tartlets. It’s a mixture of egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar, gently heated over simmering water and then whipped until thick and glossy. It truly tastes like marshmallow! But… wait a second. What about adding peanut butter?

Anything is possible. *More cupcake life lessons.*

Homemade chocolate cupcakes on

There are 3 parts to today’s peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes.

  1. Chocolate cupcakes
  2. Peanut butter frosting
  3. Chocolate shell

Part 1: make chocolate cupcakes. I won’t go into much detail about the cupcakes themselves because I want to focus on the hi-hat business. If you click here, you can read more about them. They’re undoubtedly my favorite chocolate cupcake!!

Part 2: once the cupcakes have baked and cooled, make the peanut butter frosting. I’ve got tons of step-by-step photos so you can see the magic happening.

Peanut butter hi-hat frosting on

Whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together constantly over a pot of simmering water. (Above, left.) The egg whites will gently heat and the sugar will dissolve. (Above, right.) In case you’re curious, the cream of tartar stabilizes the egg whites. It also helps the egg whites whip into stiff peaks. It’s a non-negotiable ingredient. And you probably have some leftover after making snickerdoodles over the holidays!

Tip: When gently cooking these 3 ingredients together, simply use a large pot and the stainless steel bowl that comes with your stand mixer– as pictured above. You’ll need your stand mixer in the next step anyway.

Once the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar are gently heated, begin whipping.

Peanut butter hi-hat frosting on

It’s so fluffy!

Now slowly beat in 10 Tablespoons of very soft butter and 1 cup of creamy peanut butter. These ingredients will slightly deflate the mixture. That’s OK. It will still be quite stable (thanks egg whites and cream of tartar!) and hold its hi-hat shape.

Peanut butter hi-hat frosting on

Pipe the frosting on using a 1/2 inch round piping tip. I use my trusty Wilton #12 tip. Place the tip straight up on the center of the cupcake, then apply pressure and slowly lift up. You now have a round pile of frosting. Do that one more time to create a 2nd smaller pile on top. Sorry, “pile” is really the best word I can use here. Or maybe “blob”? But it’s a fancy looking pile or blob, right?

Peanut butter hi-hat frosting on


Step photos and explanations for making peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes at home! Recipe on

Once all the cupcakes are frosted, stick them in the freezer or refrigerator so the frosting sets on top. You want it nice and cold. Now you can begin the final step!

Part 3: chocolate shell time. It’s only 2 ingredients! Melt 10 ounces of baking chocolate (pure chocolate) with 1.5 Tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil. Make sure the melted chocolate is in a wide and deep container. I used a large coffee mug. Let the melted chocolate cool for a few minutes before you begin dipping. Super hot chocolate can deflate and melt the peanut butter frosting.

Remove the frosted cupcakes from the refrigerator or freezer and let’s dunk!

Step photos and explanations for making peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes at home! Recipe on

Step photos and explanations for making peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes at home! Recipe on

So here’s what I love the most about these peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes: the peanut butter frosting isn’t too sweet! No confectioners’ sugar; only 3/4 cup of granulated. It truly tastes like pure peanut butter under a dark chocolate shell.

I brought them to a birthday celebration on Saturday night and everyone was so curious about how they were made. They couldn’t believe the frosting didn’t melt or fall off when I dipped them into the chocolate! Follow the steps below and if you need help with the products I used, I linked to them below the recipe. HAVE FUN!

Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes


Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 10 Tablespoons (145g) unsalted butter, very soft (not melted)
  • 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter (not natural style)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Chocolate Shell

  • 10 ounces (280g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped1
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil


  1. Set the butter and eggs out that you'll need for the frosting. By the time you bake and cool the cupcakes, the butter will be soft and the egg whites will be room temperature.
  2. Make the chocolate cupcakes. Allow them to completely cool.
  3. Make the peanut butter frosting: Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with two inches of simmering water. Do not let it touch the water. (You can use a double boiler if you have one.) Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. You can use a candy thermometer to make sure they're ready; it will register 160°F (71°C).2
  4. Transfer the mixing bowl to an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes until soft, glossy peaks form. (See photo above.) On medium speed, add the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time until completely combined and creamy. Some tiny chunks of butter may remain; it will all smooth out. Finally, beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until combined. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if needed. I like to add 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Pipe frosting onto each cooled cupcake. I use a Wilton #12 tip. You may have an extra cupcake or 2 leftover if you use a lot of frosting on each cupcake. I use roughly 1/4 cup of frosting on each. Chill cupcakes in the refrigerator or freezer until frosting is completely firm. I freeze mine for 20 minutes.
  6. Make the chocolate shell: melt the chopped chocolate and oil together in the microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each until completely melted. You can also melt in a double boiler if you have one. Let the chocolate cool down for 5 minutes before dipping.
  7. Holding the cupcake by its bottom, carefully and quickly dip each into chocolate to coat the frosting. Place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet in case any chocolate drips off. Refrigerate cupcakes for 30 minutes to set the chocolate. Enjoy!
  8. Cover and store cupcakes at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  Hi-hat cupcakes do not freeze well.

Make ahead tip: You can make the cupcakes and frosting separately 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate both overnight. Continue with step 5 the next day.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Chocolate bars are typically sold in 4 ounce bars. If it's easier, you can use 3 bars (12 ounces) instead of 10 ounces. No need to add more oil. You will have leftover chocolate. I suggest Ghirardelli, Baker's brand, or Lindt. They are found next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle.
  2. The egg whites are gently cooked in step 3 to 160°F (71°C). Which is considered safe to eat. You can use a candy thermometer to determine their temperature. You can use pasteurized egg whites, though keep in mind they may never reach the volume of unpasteurized egg whites. You may need additional egg whites.

Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

I've gotten questions about a peanut butter frosting alternative. I haven't tested anything else, but you can make a plain marshmallow frosting (without the peanut butter). Martha Stewart has a complete recipe for the plain marshmallow frosting. It’s very good.

Method adapted from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

More chocolate peanut butter crazed treats: unbelievable peanut butter pie | chocolate sheet cake with creamy peanut butter frosting | peanut butter chocolate lava cakes | peanut butter stuffed brownies | peanut butter chocolate swirl cookies

Step photos and explanations for making peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes at home! Recipe on


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer | 3.5qt Sauce Pan | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Frosting Bags | Frosting Tip

If you love chocolate and peanut butter, make my ultimate Snickers cupcakes next!

Ultimate Snickers Cupcakes-- grab the ridiculously awesome cupcake recipe on

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Step photos and explanations for making peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes at home! Recipe on


  1. Omg, Sally! All that chocolate goodness! And I can just imagine how amazing it would be to bite into that chocolate shell to discover peanut butter frosting. I seriously cannot wait to give these a try, especially if they taste like pure peanut butter! Thank you so much for the details pictures and directions! It makes me feel like I can make these even though I’m terrible at frosting/decorating cupcakes and cakes!

  2. Oh My Gosh these look amazing!!! I can’t wait to try them! Especially if they are that easy!

  3. Sally, no jokes, these photos are among the most professional you have ever posted. I mean these can be in a magazine. And I haven’t seen this background style from you often-like in these pics your product pops! I am not trying to over flatter you, but I really give you A+ for these photos.

    • Thank you!! I’m happy with the photos! I owe the lighting to the snow reflecting. It creates the most beautiful light and shadow.

  4. Wow these are impressive. Two things: I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter (I know, what’s wrong with me), but I reeaally wanna try my hand at this shell so should I just not add peanut butter to the frosting, or should I go ahead and use the other marshmallow frosting on your S’mores Tartlets instead (which doesn’t have butter like this one)? And do you think it would ruin the chocolate shell if I used milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet?

  5. I have been wanted to make hihat cupcakes for years but I am so scared that the icing will melt and it will be a huge failure. But I think with your recipe and tips I’m ready to give it a try!

  6. I could have used one of these last night when I was having serious chocolate cravings and all I could think about was chocolate and PB.  best combo!

  7. You’ve definitely outdone yourself, Sally. These look INCREDIBLE!

  8. Hi Sally! Wow, these look awesome! I will definitely be making these this weekend. Thanks for another awesome recipe! 

  9. You know how Double-Stuf Oreos have kind of replaced original Oreos as the standard? Like, all the flavors are pretty much Double-Stuf…anyway, I think high-hat cupcakes should replace “standard” cupcakes. I <3 frosting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 These are lovely, and of course I'd love to try with different flavors…maybe a berry frosting, or orange… 🙂

  10. Yum! These look delicious, Sally!

  11. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, Oh my GOODNESS! I had no clue that perfection could exist in a cupcake form like this!

  12. Hi Sally! As with another commenter above, I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter — but these look so amazing that I really want to try them! Do you think it would work if I replaced the peanut butter with nutella?

  13. I can’t imagine getting filling this high. These are gorgeous!

    They’d be perfect for my sons birthday. He’s such a peanut butter/chocolate fan!

  14. Amazing photos, Sally! Can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  15. These cupcakes look INCREDIBLE Sally. I think I mentioned recently how much I loved peanut butter frosting – doesn’t even have to be peanut butter & chocolate – just peanut butter is fine with me, but I am one of the biggest peanut butter chocolate lovers. I was always under the impression hi-hat cupcakes were very difficult to make, but these don’t seem too bad! That frosting could be a little tricky, but I’m sure if you’re careful, it’s manageable. How would these cupcakes work as mini cupcakes do you think? Would it be too difficult because there’s less surface area, or possible? I can’t wait to try these either way 🙂

  16. Such beautiful looking and picturesque cupcakes!! Really nice!

  17. Hi! do the egg whites cook so as not to risk illness…. if not is there a substitute ?  Love all your rec. btw!!!

    Thanks Lis

    • Hi Lis! Great question. The egg whites are gently cooked with the hot sugar syrup in step 3 to 160°F (71°C). This is considered safe to eat. You can use a candy thermometer to determine their temperature. As an alternative, you can try a boiled marshmallow icing which uses meringue powder. Though I have not tried adding peanut butter to this.

  18. Holy heaven! I love that you went for PB instead of the traditional marshmallow fluffy frosting. #Winning! Absolutely cannot wait to try these.

  19. First, the photos are swoon worthy. The shine on that chocolate? Amazing. Second, peanut butter hi-hats? Brilliance!

  20. Oh my, my, my these cupcakes look so incredibly delicious and decadent and I really want one right now! I’m trying to watch my weight, but you know what, I could make them for my grandsons and I could never give the cupcakes to them without tasting 1or 2 of them just to make sure they are as yummy as thet look!! 😉 Thanks for another great recipe,  Sally!

  21. Yum! These look very rich and tasty. I’m dying to try them in mini-cupcake form – so cute.

  22. Hi Sally! These look amazing. A question I’ve always had about frosting is, when the frosting contains milk or egg whites, do the resulting cookies/cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

  23. Hi Sally!

    Is there anything i can Sub the peanut butter for? My family isnt huge on PB Sadly haha. Would nutella be too sweet? Or is there any way i can make the frosting chocolate flavoured

    • Would love to know this too! I showed the picture to my boyfriend yesterday (mid-football game, his response was ‘can you make these now? why do I have to wait until Monday?’) – but I know he won’t do the peanut butter-chocolate combo. Any tips for a chocolate flavored icing would be amazing!

      • I *think* Nutella would be ok, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you do! You can make a plain marshmallow frosting (without the peanut butter) if you’d like too. Martha Stewart has a complete recipe for the plain marshmallow frosting. I’ve tried it before. It’s very good.

  24. These look so good Sally!! If you don’t mind, can you please tell me which lens you used here?! I love love the clear pictures!! I am looking to upgrade my lens so would love to know 🙂

  25. These cupcakes have something magic! They are extremely elegant and terribly tempting. Love this peanut butter-chocolate twist you created. And thanks for the amazing step-by-step pictures, very useful. Oh, and Happy New Year by the way 🙂

  26. I can promise you I will be making these beauties very very soon. I’ll post my pics!!! I made hihat cupcakes last year for a baby shower and they were a huge hit. Thanks, Sally!!!

  27. Wowser!!! These look absolutely amazing Sally. And those photos…. well they are just truely spectacular. Cannot wait to try these out

  28. I made hi-hat cupcakes once & they were so pretty but SUCH a pain to make. These are gorgeous.

  29. Okay, Sally! You have convinced me!! I’ve been wanting to try these for a long time, but haven’t had the nerve. I trust you and your recipes, so these will be a must-try very soon! My hubby will love the PB+Chocolate combo!!

  30. That cross-section photo is AMAZING!

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