This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

All birthdays deserve fun and festive ultimate birthday cupcakes! My soft and fluffy confetti cupcakes are topped with homemade marshmallow meringue frosting and a chocolate shell. They’re decadent, loaded with sprinkles, and party ready.

birthday cupcake with chocolate coating and a lit candle

Today’s ultimate birthday cupcakes are over the top and perfect for any celebration– not just birthdays. They’re bright and colorful, loaded with sprinkles, and have a wow factor thanks to hi-hat frosting dunked in chocolate (just like my peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes). It’s like marshmallow soft serve under a thick chocolate shell. Let’s get this party started!

ultimate birthday cupcakes on a cupcake shaped plate with one cupcake cut in half showing meringue frosting under chocolate coating

There Are 3 Parts to These Ultimate Birthday Cupcakes

  1. Confetti Cupcakes: They’re soft and fluffy with a buttery crumb. You can also use any of my other cupcake recipes.
  2. Marshmallow Meringue Frosting: Tastes exactly like homemade marshmallow creme.
  3. Chocolate Shell: Made from 2 simple ingredients.
sprinkle cupcake batter in a glass bowl

That cupcake batter up there? ↑↑ Yeah. It’s torture not tasting it.

2 images of a pot on the stove with a metal bowl on top and egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a metal stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting

Marshmallow meringue frosting is nothing to fear. It’s basically Swiss meringue buttercream, just without the butter. But don’t let the word “meringue” frighten you. This is an astonishingly simple mixture– you only need 4 ingredients, a stovetop, and a mixer. In fact, we’ve made it multiple times before:

Here’s what you’ll do: Begin by whisking the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together in a double boiler or heat-proof bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thinned out. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract and a pinch of salt if needed, then use your mixer and whip on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form. Whipping is where the magic happens. It’s fun to watch the mixture transform from a thin liquid to voluminous fluff– literally a big puffy cloud.

2 images of meringue frosting on a whisk attachment and piped onto sprinkle cupcake

hands dunking cupcake with meringue frosting into chocolate coating

Chocolate Coating

After piping the marshmallow meringue frosting onto each cooled cupcake, it’s time to take a chocolate dive.

We’ll combine just 2 ingredients together for the chocolate shell: oil + 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– that’s why I recommend waiting a few minutes before dipping the cupcakes. Carefully and quickly dip each cupcake into the chocolate to coat the frosting. Add any additional sprinkles on top, then refrigerate the cupcakes for to set the chocolate, creating the chocolate shell.

birthday cupcake dipped in chocolate coating and topped with sprinkles

birthday cupcakes with chocolate coating and candles

birthday cupcakes with chocolate coating, sprinkles, and candles

More Birthday Recipes

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
birthday cupcake with chocolate coating and a lit candle

Ultimate Birthday Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


The ultimate birthday cupcakes start with a funfetti cupcake and are topped with marshmallow frosting and a chocolate shell!




  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Chocolate Shell

  • 10 ounces (280g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • optional: sprinkles for topping


  1. 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.
  2. Make the confetti cupcakes. Allow them to completely cool.
  3. Make the marshmallow 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).*
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cupcakes and frosting separately 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate both overnight. Continue with step 5 the next day.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Saucepan, Disposable Piping Bags or Reusable Piping Bags, Wilton #1M Tip, and Birthday Candles
  3. Eggs: 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 any of my other cupcake recipes.
  4. Chocolate: 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.
  5. 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.

Keywords: ultimate birthday cupcakes

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Would I be able to frost and dip these the day before?  Birthday party after soccer 🙁

  2. I made those yesterday for my daughter’s birthday. They look great, but are too sweet for my taste, especially the topping. Could I reduce the amount of sugar? Would it make any difference in consistency? Also, I definitely agree with everyone else, your photos are amazing, just as your recipes, I’ve made a few so far and they were all yummy. All the best to you and your family in 2018!

    1. Thanks Vesna! You can reduce the sugar slightly in the marshmallow/meringue topping. How about using an unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate for the topping too? That will help cut down on the sweetness as well.

  3. Hi Sally,
    I am hoping to make these for my sons birthday on Saturday. I don’t have canola or vegetable oil and don’t want to buy a whole container just for cupcakes. Is there another oil I could use? Coconut, sunflower, grapeseed?

  4. Sally, could I use white chocolate instead? I’m thinking about my Aunt Jeannie’s ninetyith birthday and she adores lemon cake, so I’m thinkin’ lemon cake, meringue frosting and white hocolate cupcakes with silver and gold glittery stuff would be a winner.

    1. I’ve actually never made a white chocolate magic shell! It sounds like it would be a beautiful dessert! If you try it I would advise using a high quality white chocolate and not white chocolate chips. Have fun!

  5. These cupcakes look so fun and festive! I may have to try them for my birthday in May 😉 I was wondering if I could pair this meringue topping with your lemon cupcakes and fill the cupcakes with lemon curd for lemon meringue pie cupcakes? Thanks, Sally!

  6. Hey Sally! I absolutely adore your meringue frosting recipe but everytime i make it it smells funny, a little eggy. Am i doing something wrong? Is there anything I can do to cover the smell?

    1. Hi Anishka! If the meringue smells egg-y, it is over-cooked. Reduce the stove time a little next time.

  7. Hi Sally,

    I love all of your recipes but this is hands down THE BEST RECIPE!!! These get an amazing response every time I make them. They’re not that hard to make, and they are DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Sally the cupcakes look lovely but my kids are not meringue eaters. Is there another more kid friendly icing that would work with the melted chocolate for dipping?

    1. Hi Mary! A vanilla buttercream would work, but be very quick with the dunk in chocolate. And make sure the chocolate isn’t TOO hot or it will melt the buttercream.

  9. Any suggestions on cream of tartar substitute? After seeing the amazing photos, my daughter requested these cupcakes for her 4th birthday but we are currently living in Norway and I cannot find cream of tartar. I have read you can substitute lemon juice 1:1. Do you have any experience with this or any other advice? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Beth! If you can’t get your hands on cream of tartar at all, try a small squeeze of lemon juice. That should help keep the egg whites sturdy enough.

  10. I’m looking to make a 4 inch birthday cake… Do you think it would be possible to transform this into a cake recipe? If it is, any suggestions would be appreciated. I know I wouldn’t be able to dunk it into the chocolate, but I don’t know if pouring would work? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lauren, you can bake this batter in cake pans. I recommend using my 6 inch cakes as a guide (I always use cupcake batter for those!). I’ve never tried this as a small 4 inch cake. For the chocolate, I recommend drizzling with chocolate ganache.

  11. I made these yesterday and my family absolutely loved them! I am now frantically searching through your other recipes that are made with marshmallow meringue so I can try them all! Thank you for introducing me to something SO yummy and luckily easy to make!

  12. Hi! I’m hoping to make these for a Halloween treat and want to know if adding a few drops of food coloring to the merengue would work? Thanks!

    1. Hi Amelia, A couple drop of gel food coloring wouldn’t hurt. Add it when you add the vanilla.

  13. Hi Sally – I am a fan of a lot of your recipes.

    I was wondering if I can use Callebaut belgian chocolate 811 dark callets for the chocolate coating? I often use this chocolate pellets for the ganache. Or do I need to use the baking milk chocolate bar?

  14. How long do you have to chill the frosted cupcakes before dipping them in chocolate?

    1. Hi Rachelle, Chill cupcakes in the refrigerator or freezer until frosting is completely firm. We freeze ours for 20 minutes.

    2. Hi Sally in a huge fan! I’m baking this today, I had to make 2 badges of the merengue frosting, the first one came perfect, the second one came out super liquid, couldn’t even make it hold in the cupcake, I did exactly the same on the 2 badges, what could have gone wrong?

Leave a Review!

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.