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a chocolate strawberry cupcake dipped in chocolate

Chocolate Strawberry Hi-Hat Cupcakes

  • Author: Jenna Barnard
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 11 cupcakes


These moist chocolate hi-hat cupcakes are topped with a creamy strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream and dunked in a shell of chocolate. Just like a chocolate covered strawberry!


Chocolate Cupcakes *see notes for gluten free option

  • 1/2 cup (100g) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (6oz) hot water

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 1 cup (28g) freeze dried strawberries**, ground into powder to make roughly 1/2 cup
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (330g) unsalted butter, room temp and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Shell

  • 2 cups (12oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a cupcake tin with 11 paper liners.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla (electric mixer optional).
  4. Add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. 
  5. If using an electric mixer, keep the mixer running on low and slowly pour in the hot water. If mixing by hand, pour in 1/3 of the water at a time and mix in between each addition.
  6. The batter should be very thin and watery. To make it easier when filling the liners, pour some of the batter into a glass measuring cup and then pour the batter into the cups from there. The recipe will fill 11 cupcakes about 2/3 of the way full. 
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the centers have puffed up and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Measure out 1 cup of freeze dried strawberries and run them through a food processor to make about 1/2 cup of powder. Set aside.
  2. Fill a pot about 1/3 full of water and bring it to a simmer. Place a heat safe bowl on top of the pot, ensuring it doesn’t touch the water.
  3. In that bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Keep whisking occasionally and heat until it reaches 160F. This should take 15-20 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also test it by rubbing some of the mixture between your fingers (careful not to burn your fingers). If you can’t feel any sugar granules, it’s ready. 
  4. Pour the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Run the mixer on high to cool down the mixture and create that meringue texture. After about 15-20 minutes, you should be left with a silky and marshmallowy white meringue with stiff peaks (see picture in post). 
  5. Turn the mixer down to medium speed. Drop in your room temperature butter, one cube at a time, only adding the next when the cube prior is mixed in.
  6. At this point, you should have a creamy and silky buttercream. If yours is too thin or too clumpy, see the post on how to fix it – section titled “troubleshooting your Swiss meringue buttercream”.
  7. Mix in the freeze dried strawberry powder, vanilla, and salt.
  8. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Make tall swirls that are larger at the bottom and smaller at the top by applying even pressure to the piping bag. 
  9. Once all the cupcakes are frosted, transfer them to the freezer for 20 minutes. Don’t skip this step!

Chocolate Shell

  1. Right before you’re ready to pull the cupcakes out of the freezer, mix together the chocolate and oil.
  2. Pop it in the microwave in 30 second increments until it’s completely smooth (about 60-90 seconds total). 
  3. From here, it’s best to work with a container like a 2 cup measuring glass. This makes it easy to dunk the cupcakes into the chocolate while preventing the frosting from hitting the bottom of the container and ruining its shape. If you melted the chocolate in a shallow dish, pour it into a tall glass for dunking.
  4. Now dunk! Invert your cupcakes upside down and dunk the frosting swirls right into the chocolate. Allow some of the chocolate to drip off by holding it over the chocolate for a couple seconds, then quickly flip it back over and move on to the next cupcake. You want to move fairly fast so that the chocolate doesn’t thicken and the frosting doesn’t soften.
  5. Transfer the cupcakes to the fridge for about 20 minutes for the shells to harden, then dig in. Enjoy!


  1. *Gluten Free Option – use my recipe for gluten free chocolate cupcakes
  2. **Where to Buy Freeze Dried Strawberries – these can be found at most grocery stores (also at Target), typically found by the trial mix/nuts
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: chocolate cupcakes, strawberry buttercream, swiss meringue buttercream, hi hat cupcakes

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