Monday, October 3, 2011

Medium Hats?

When friends have celebrations, I almost always use it as an excuse to bake something, and it is usually something bigger and/or fancier than I would bake to say, take to work or a concert or something.  This is the time when I dig through the starred recipes on my googly reader or the things I’ve marked in cookbooks and make the things I’ve been saving “for a special occassion”.  

Friend J had a birthday party recently.  J is actually the Hubster’s best friend, so over the years we’ve become friends as well.  J has always been someone that would eat just about anything that I make, even the flops, or the ugly-but-tasties.  I wanted to make something special for his birthday, and there were these cupcakes that I had been wanting to make for a really long time -- Hi Hat Cupcakes.  And, because I saw one photo of it, I decided to bake the cupcakes in ice cream cones.  So cute, right?!!?  Actually, doing them this way brought back fond memories for me.  When I was a kid, my mom use to bake cupcakes in ice cream cones for my birthday, and I just thought they were so special.  And, with the frosting swirled as high as it should be, they remind me of Diary Queen dipped ice cream cones, which are a particular favorite of mine.  I added a few little sprinkles to the cuppies for a more festive touch.  

Hi Hat Cupcakes are definitely more labor intensive than most of what I make, and also time consuming.  They involve making a cupcake, topping it with a high swirl of fluffy frosting, and then dipping that frosting into melted chocolate, and letting it set.  I actually made them over two days. I baked the cupcakes the first day, and then made the frosting and dipped them in chocolate on the next day.  I did this because I was short on time on the day of the party, so if you have plenty of time, you could do this all in one day.  

As you can see from the photo, I had some trouble with these.  It’s possible that I didn’t whip the frosting to stiff enough peaks, but it didn’t swirl that high, and it kept wanting to slide off the cupcakes when I went to dip them in the chocolate.  The chocolate may have been slightly too warm, but honestly, I don’t think so.  I let it cool as long as I could, while making sure it was still liquid enough for dipping.  But anyway, they came out kind of ugly.  And, since the ice cream cones were not very sturdy on their own, I had issues with them tipping over.  I lost quite a few of them after they were frosted because they tipped over and fell on the floor, or the counter, or into each other.  It was not a pretty sight.

I was not all that impressed by the cake itself.  I thought it lacked a little in flavor, and it was a little too dry for me.  

I do have a note for you, if you decide to make these in ice cream cones.  Do not use any cones that have notches in the top edge.  When the cake rises while backing, it will spill over the side, and give you something that looks like this:

Also, I filled the cones up to about ½” from the top.  This gave me tops that were level with the top of the cone (more of less).  I baked them about 20 minutes, but you should check them every few minutes after the first 10. When a toothpick comes out clean, they are done.

Hi Hat Cupcakes

Source: Martha Stewart
Makes 12 regular cupcakes, or slightly more cone-cakes

For the Batter

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

For the Frosting

1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For the Chocolate Coating

2 cups chopped (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Prepare the batter: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set it over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat, and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. On low speed, mix in melted chocolate. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until mixture is creamy and color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream. On low speed, add half of reserved flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup water. Add remaining flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Use a small knife to loosen any tops stuck to the pan. Carefully invert cupcakes onto the wire rack. Turn cupcakes right side up, and let cool completely.
  6. Prepare the frosting: In a large heatproof bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, egg whites, and cream of tartar. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 minutes; frosting should register 160 degrees.on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and beat for 2 minutes more until frosting thickens.
  7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. Leaving a 1/8-inch border on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2-inch-high cone shape, using about 1/2 cup of frosting per cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet, and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate coating.
  8. Prepare the chocolate coating: Combine chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, and let cool about 15 minutes.
  9. Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the chocolate to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Spoon more coating around edge of cupcake and any exposed frosting; none of the frosting should show. Let cupcakes stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
  10. Carefully remove paper liners from cupcakes, and discard. Place cupcakes on a serving platter, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let coating set. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours more. Serve cold. Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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