Ultimate Birthday Cupcakes

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

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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
  • 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, 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


  1. Happy Birthday Sally! I hope you have a wonderfully pampered day! (Get a pregnancy message– I hear they are awesome!)
    Do you think this meringue frosting would work for a pie? I’ve been wanting to make a meringue topping that tastes more “marshmallow-y” than “egg white-ish”! I’m thinking this might work — what do you think?

    1. Thank you, Lisa! Yes, this would be delish on a pie! I’v used it on s’mores tartlets (mini pies) and it was wonderful!

  2. Lynne Wilson says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sally!!! Another year better. You always bake the best & most beautiful “everything”. You work so hard, but it is evident you love what you do & this is a labor of love. You go the extra mile with pictues & every detail in your instructions…thank you…I so need & appreciate. I am excited for you & Kevin…a baby…how marvelous & what an adventure.

    Could & would you share your Grandmother’s Hot Milk Cake recipe again. I thought I had printed it after I made it 3 times, but evidently not & cannot find it in your recipe index. Girl, whether eaten alone or with strawberries & whip cream…ice cream….apple pie filling & ice cream…only to mention a few, this cake is “the bomb”.

    Have a marvelous Birthday & enjoy your “me” time & sleep…..Lynne

    1. Hi Lynne! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and the very sweet compliment to my work, I sincerely appreciate what you wrote!!
      I believe you have my blog confused with another. I’ve never made hot milk cake and neither did my grandmother 🙂 But it sounds delicious!

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL! I hope it’s every bit as dreamy, relaxing, and fun-fetti packed as you dream. You deserve it <3

    1. Thanks gorgeous!! <3

  4. Chelsea Coffman says:

    Can you provide links/names of the sprinkles you used?

    1. This: https://sweetapolita.myshopify.com/products/i-believe-twinkle-sprinkle-medley?variant=38877818191
      AND for the cake: https://sweetapolita.myshopify.com/products/sugar-fairy-twinkle-sprinkle-medley?variant=38289721871

      1. Chelsea Coffman says:

        Thank you!!

  5. Sally, this photography is GORGEOUS! I am loving the dark backdrops and contrast – so refreshing!! I would buy a coffee table book of your food pictures!

    1. Wow Katie! Thank you so much! I really appreciate that. Photography is the most difficult part!

  6. Happy Birthday!

    (These cupcakes look amazing). I was wondering if I could use wheat flour for these, but would it affect the texture?

    1. Thank you! It would change the texture completely since it’s such a heavy flour compared to cake flour.

      1. Ok, thanks!

  7. When does the vanilla go into the frosting mixture? 

    1. Added!

  8. Shawnna Griffin says:

    Hey girl- Happy Birthday! These cupcakes look so good! My Birthday is in a couple of weeks! The big 40 ! Oh my how time flies by! ha ha Have a great day!

    1. Happy early bday and thank you!

  9. Melissa Griffiths says:

    Happy Birthday! And OH MY GOSH my kids would die over these cupcakes and that cake! I love dipped cones, and this is that in cupcake form – love it!

    1. Yes! Aren’t they so fun?

  10. Happy Birthday Sally! I’m new to your blog and I must say these look amazingly creative. Definitely will be using the frosting recipe soon! Thank you 🙂 

    1. Welcome! And thank you 🙂

  11. Happy Birthday Sally! You owe it to yourself to buy the cutest pin I’ve ever seen…it’s a tiny jar of sprinkles! So cute.
    I am not affiliated, I just saw it and you sprang to mind. 🙂

    1. Ahh! That is just too cute.

  12. Happy Birthday Sally! These cupcakes look amazing. What a great idea. Have a great and restful weekend.

    1. Thanks Ann!

  13. LUV IT BOO. Happy birthday and shall rainbow unicorn sprinkles be scattered upon the ground as you walk on your special day (make that week!)

    1. Haha!! Thank you 🙂

  14. Wow, that picture with the candles having just been blown out! Amazing photography! Happy birthday!

    1. Thank you so much, Laura!

  15. Dalya Rubin says:

    Yum! These cupcakes look so delicious!

  16. Michele Mallory-Davidson says:

    Happy Happy Birthday!
    Hope you have an amazingly restful weekend!
    These cupcakes are gorgeous, can hardly wait to try them out.

    1. Thanks so much, Michele!

  17. Liz | Flour de Liz says:

    Chocolate shell?! Yes, please! These look absolutely perfect. I can’t wait to try them. Happy birthday!!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Liz!

  18. I loved Funfetti as a kid and still love it. These looked so good, I’m actually making them right now.

  19. Happy Birthday Sally! Those cupcakes look crazy good, I actually don’t even like cupcakes but I’m pretty sure I would happily eat one of those! That chocolate covered meringue just looks fantastic. Also, I just pre-ordered your new cookbook yesterday and I’m SO excited! I hope you have a lovely birthday!

    1. Thanks so much, Sofia!

  20. Ann Philip says:

    Hi Sally, Happy birthday! 
    One question; can I use this chocolate shell mixture to pour over a buttercream frost cake? 
    I have tried with ganache, but am not happy with it. 

    1. Yes, absolutely! Make sure the frosted cake is very cold– and let this chocolate cool down a little too before you pour.

  21. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    I hope your birthday was fabulous, Sally! These cupcakes are just gorgeous and the perfect way to celebrate! 🙂

  22. Ksenia Berger says:

    Hi Sally!
    I’m a big fan/student of yours and made many of the yummies you post, all wonderful and delicious as promised! I’m often tempted to make all the colorful sprinkly deliciousness that you post photos of, all looking amazing, yet still I have not been able to bring myself to buy the types of sprinkles you use. I try to avoid using artificial food coloring in food, especially for my kids, as tempting as it is to make it look as beautiful as yours (sad about the pinata cake especially, since it would actually be perfect for my daughter’s unicorn birthday). You may soon find that many of the moms nowadays are more aware and knowledgeable about the dangers of chemicals in baby products and foods, and prefer organic or healthier alternatives when it comes to their children. Artificial food coloring has a bad reputation and if you google it, you’ll find that it’s rightfully so. I’m hoping to motivate you to post more recipies and photos using organic sprinkles (with real sugar and natural food coloring!) when it comes to decorations 🙂 Amazon has more options now and I just received a container of beautiful unicorn sparkles by Bakery Bling, made in USA! India Tree also makes pretty sparkles using vegetable dyes. Check it out! 

    1. Hi Ksenia! Thank you for your opinion on the matter of artificial food dyes. I agree, they certainly are not healthful but then again– what dessert is? Everything in moderation is how I view it. Thankfully there are options for anyone who wants to avoid them completely 🙂

      1. Ksenia Berger says:

        Sally, so I made your pinata cake for my daughter’s birthday party today! How do I post a pic of it? It took me all day, whew, but so worth it!! Followed your recipe exactly, except used pink whipped cream frosting on the outside, cotton candy on top (special request by daughter to incorporate cotton candy and make cake pink) and it was a huge hit at the party! The cake was devored immediately, lol, with last bits of candy and frosting scraped off the plate. All sprinkles, food coloring and even this m&m candy have safe vegetable dyes. Meant to have organic cotton candy but it did not get delivered in time. Also made your pinata cupcakes with buttercream frosting, except in all the preparation chaos I forgot to actually stuff the sprinkles into them. Oops. Still well received! Thank you for your amazing recipes and hoping for many more 🙂 

      2. That sounds like the most fun cake EVER!! And yes, I’d love to see a picture. You can post one on my Facebook page, tag me on Insta (if you have a public profile) or email it to me 🙂 info(at)sallysbakingaddiction.com Can’t wait to see it!

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

    1. Sure can! Refrigerate overnight.

  24. Even without a candy thermometer can I be assured the egg whites are safe to eat!

  25. Sally, what if the cupcakes used were your lemon cupcakes? Would that be a strange combination to have meringue frosting and the chocolate shell? Lemon meringue is common, but adding the chocolate seems maybe a bit off-putting.

    1. I don’t think so at all! In fact, I love lemon and chocolate together!

  26. So so stinkin cute!!!! Doing these this weekend for birthday party!
    Can you substitute Coconut oil in the chocolate shell?

    1. You can, yes– but I do suggest veggie or canola oil over that. Enjoy!

  27. Clarizza Miana says:

    Hi Sally! I tried making these last week and they looked and tasted awesome!
    I just encountered problems with the frosting though. My frosting did not hold up well outside the refrigerator. Well, I live in the Philippines and weather here is around 30-32 degrees Celsius. Is it normal whenever I take it out of the refrigerator for a long period of time, the frosting melts into a sticky liquid. I was thinking that something is not right with the way I melted the sugar over the pan or the way I whipped it up in with my mixer. Thank you. You are awesome. 🙂

    1. Hi clarizza I can relate to you as being from Mauritius with similar humid hot temperatures as Philippines, results aren’t the same. Did your chocolate shell set?

      1. Yes it did. It actually stayed hard even if I get it out of the fridge. My only prob was the marshmallow frosting. 🙁

  28. First off, this recipe looks fantastic! Secondly, you really need to add some of your photos to stock photo websites! The first picture is beautiful!

    1. Thank you!

  29. 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.

      1. I used bittersweet chocolate for the shell. I’ll try slightly reducing the sugar in topping and maybe unsweetened chocolate next time. Or just try another of your delicious recipes, there are so many to try that there is no need to repeat!

  30. Hey Sally,
    So I have a lot of leftover Hershey’s milk chocolate bars from some s’mores we made. Do you think it would be ok to use them instead of baking chocolate?

    1. Hi Cristina! You can try, but I fear they won’t melt or coat properly. I recommend using baking chocolate.

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