Ultimate Birthday Cupcakes
Because all birthdays deserve them!
My birthday is this weekend and besides a hike with the dogs, a mega fortress of birthday cupcakes, and a trip to the spa for some “me time” — I’ll be catching up on my zzz’s. Sleeping in has never sounded so blissful. Life the past couple weeks has kicked my nearly 6 month pregnant behind. And I’m welcoming a mountain of pillows with open arms! And, like I said, a hefty amount of funfetti on the side.
I hope you have super fun Memorial Day weekend plans! But before we get to the long weekend ahead, join me for my next Facebook LIVE video today at 1pm ET. I know I talk about these all the time, but I’m just so happy to be baking and cooking with you *almost* in real life. Today we’ll be making strawberry shortcake.
Now let’s discuss a couple very important birthday treats. Not only did I create these craaaazy funfetti cupcakes topped with meringue frosting and a chocolate shell (yes A CHOCOLATE SHELL), I also created the most colorful cake in my recipe repertoire. If today’s cupcakes are the ultimate birthday cupcakes, that cake is the ultimate birthday cake! If you hop on over to Allrecipes, you can find it there. It’s piñata style and completely ridiculous in the best way ever.
As are these cupcakes. Basically what we’re doing to create these cupcakes is combining soft and fluffy homemade funfetti cupcakes with hi-hat frosting. Remember when we chatted about how to make peanut butter hi-hat frosting in the beginning of this year? We’re doing the same thing today only we’re not adding butter + peanut butter. We’re keeping that silky sweet meringue plain. It tastes like marshmallow fluff.
And it’s awesome.
There are 3 parts to the ultimate birthday cupcakes.
- Funfetti cupcakes
- Meringue frosting
- Chocolate shell
- bonus: extra sprinkles!
Funfetti cupcakes… you know the deal. We just made them the other week. I didn’t change the recipe at all because I want to focus on the meringue frosting today. But real quick if you missed that recipe post: they’re soft and fluffy with a buttery crumb and light-as-air texture. Moist, cakey, and loaded with rainbow sprinkles. That cupcake batter up there? ↑↑ Yeah. It’s torture not tasting it.
Meringue frosting is nothing to fear. In fact, we made something like it a couple years ago with our s’more tartlets. How fun were those?!
Here’s the 411 on the frosting: you’ll whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together constantly over a pot of simmering water. The egg whites will gently heat and the sugar will dissolve. (In case you’re curious, the cream of tartar stabilizes the egg whites. It also helps the egg whites whip into stiff peaks!) When gently cooking these ingredients together, you can use a double boiler or the contraption I set up in the picture above. A large pot and the stainless steel bowl that comes with your stand mixer. 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 until stiff peaks form. That’s your meringue frosting! See how stable it is in the photos above? It’s perfect. By the way, are you nervous that the egg whites are not cooked? I have you covered. See my recipe note below.
Now let’s take a serious dive into chocolate. The chocolate shell is 2 ingredients: oil and pure chocolate. Melt the two together, then let it sit for about 10 minutes before dunking. The meringue frosting is pretty stable, but heat from melted chocolate will cause it to collapse. So that’s why we’ll wait a few minutes before the dip.
Ahhhh!! Look at this!!
It’s like marshmallow soft serve under a thick chocolate shell. On top of a soft funfetti cupcake. That you made from scratch. Without a box mix. Blow out your candles, birthday babe, because you freaking DESERVE these cupcakes! (Though does it really even need to be a birthday to enjoy funfetti? NOPE.)
Have fun baking and see you on Facebook today!
SHOP THE RECIPE
Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.
Ultimate Birthday Cupcakes
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature1
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 10 ounces (280g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped2
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- optional: sprinkles for topping
- Set the eggs out that you'll need for the frosting. By the time you bake and cool the cupcakes, the egg whites will be room temperature.
- Make the funfetti cupcakes. Allow them to completely cool.
- Make the meringue 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
- Transfer the mixing bowl to an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the vanilla. Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes until soft, glossy peaks form. (See photo above.) Taste. Add a pinch of salt if needed. I like to add 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
- Pipe frosting onto each cooled cupcake. I use a Wilton 1M tip. You may have an extra cupcake or 2 leftover if you use a lot of frosting on each cupcake. Chill cupcakes in the refrigerator or freezer until frosting is completely firm. I freeze mine for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, 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 5-10 minutes before dipping.
- Holding the cupcake by its bottom, carefully and very 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. The perfect shape of the piped frosting may slightly deflate-- that's ok! Add any additional sprinkles on top. Refrigerate cupcakes for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
- Cover and store cupcakes at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Finished 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.
Concerned about the egg whites cooking in the frosting? 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.
- Between the cupcakes and the frosting, this recipe does require 6 egg whites. If you want, you *could* use 2 whole eggs in the cupcake batter instead of 3 egg whites. They won't be as stark white and will be a little less soft, but it works! Or try another cupcake recipe.
- 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.
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