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.
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!
There Are 3 Parts to These Ultimate Birthday Cupcakes
- Confetti Cupcakes: They’re soft and fluffy with a buttery crumb. You can also use any of my other cupcake recipes.
- Marshmallow Meringue Frosting: Tastes exactly like homemade marshmallow creme.
- Chocolate Shell: Made from 2 simple ingredients.
That cupcake batter up there? ↑↑ Yeah. It’s torture not tasting it.
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:
- No Bake S’mores Cake
- Brownie Baked Alaska
- S’mores Chocolate Mousse
- Chocolate Mousse Pie
- S’mores Brownie Cupcakes
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.
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.
More Birthday Recipes
- Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Confetti Cupcakes
- Yellow Birthday Cupcakes or Yellow Cake
- Vanilla Cake
- Party Angel Food Cake
- Sugar Cookie Bars
- Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting (and sprinkles in the batter!)
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
- 10 ounces (280g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*
- 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 confetti cupcakes. Allow them to completely cool.
- 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).*
- 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 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Saucepan or Double Boiler | Piping Bag (Reusable or Disposable) | Wilton #1M Tip | Birthday Candles | Egg Separator
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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