These Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes are to die for!  Can’t you just imagine biting through a bittersweet shell of chocolate until you reach a creamy peanut buttery surprise inside and all of this goodness is piled high on top of a moist dark chocolate cupcake?   

Chocolate and peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes with chocolate ganache.

Have you ever gone to the Dairy Queen and ordered a soft-serve ice cream cone that has that high mounded swirled vanilla ice cream on top that’s been dipped in a hard chocolate shell?  My favorite!! 

Well, the original hi-hat cupcake was topped with a high mounded swirled vanilla meringue and dipped in a chocolate shell.  It was meant to mock that wonderful soft-serve ice cream cone.  Nowadays, hi-hat cupcakes are made in an assortment of flavors, like this chocolate-peanut butter version.

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes might look hard to make but they really aren’t.

Let’s talk about the creamy peanut butter buttercream, and what makes it so fluffy and light, almost resembling that soft-serve ice cream.

What’s the secret here?  None other than homemade meringue.  Yep!   The meringue is easy too.

  • Egg whites, sugar and salt get mixed together in a mixing bowl for a few seconds until frothy.
  • Then the mixing bowl gets placed over some simmering water for a minute or so until the mixture reaches 160 degrees…just long enough to dissolve the sugar crystals and make those egg whites safe to eat.  Then the mixture gets whisked until it forms a thick marshmallow-like meringue.

That’s when creamy peanut butter gets folded in, resulting ln that wonderful smooth consistency.

Now for the cupcakes…

The cupcakes are super simple to make and they are super moist and delicious!  The tip here is to not overfill the cupcake liners.  I fill them about 2/3 full.  Any fuller and you will have muffin tops on the cupcakes that easily break off.

Note:  The frosting gets refrigerated for a few minutes before it gets piped onto the cupcakes and again after piping it onto the cupcakes.  This is imperative so it will hold its shape when dipped into the chocolate shell, and please forgive me for forgetting to take a picture of the dipping process.  Just make sure you use a small deep bowl or coffee cup for dipping.

More cupcake recipes you might like,

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Super Moist Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

If you make this recipe please rate it, and leave a comment below on how you liked it. I love getting your feedback🙂

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes

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  • Author: Cindy Gibbs
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


These Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes are topped with a silky smooth peanut butter meringue then dipped in a dark bittersweet chocolate coating, just like a soft-serve ice cream cone at a dairy bar.


Units Scale

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Peanut Butter Meringue

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Coating

  • 8 ounces of good quality bittersweet chocolate, such as Ghirardelli, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil


For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the sugar, buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix on medium speed with a mixer until all ingredients are combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Do not over mix.
  4. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out with moist crumbs on it. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool. While the cupcakes are cooling make the Peanut Butter Buttercream.

For the Peanut Butter Meringue

  1. Combine the sugar, egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for about 30 seconds on medium speed. The mixture will look frothy. Place the mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water. Slowly whisk the mixture until it reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, (about one minute), remove from heat and replace the bowl on the mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes thick like whipped cream from a can, but not stiff.
  2. With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time and mix until combined and creamy. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix on medium speed until the peanut butter is incorporated and the mixture is light and creamy.
  3. Refrigerate the peanut butter buttercream for 30 minutes.
  4. Attach a 1/2″ round tip, #808 or #2A tip to a pastry bag, and fill the pastry bag 2/3rds full with the buttercream.  Starting in the center of each cupcake, hold the tip straight upward and alternately apply pressure, and lift tip in an upward motion, forming a  swirled ice cream look.  Place the cupcakes upright in a cupcake tray and place in freezer for 30 minutes until really chilled and firm.

For the Chocolate Coating

  1. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl and add the oil. Blend until smooth. Holding the bottom of each cupcake, dip the peanut butter buttercream into the chocolate and turn the cupcake to coat most of the buttercream. Lift cupcake from chocolate and slowly turn the cupcake while allowing the excess chocolate to drip off. Place each cupcake upright in a cupcake holder/tray. The chocolate will set up within one minute.
  2. Store cupcakes in an airtight container.  Cupcakes will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats


These cupcakes are great served cold.