Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Bigger is definitely better when it comes to these towering Pumpkin Hi-Hat Cupcakes! These beauties are filled with salted caramel, topped with a swirl of pumpkin spice frosting, and dipped in the most gorgeous glossy chocolate topping.

 Pumpkin spice cupcakes dipped in chocolate

As a frosting enthusiast (some would say frosting freak), hi-hat cupcakes are my weakness. My ideal frosting:cake ratio is pretty much 1:1, so  you can see why cupcakes topped with towering swirls of frosting would appeal to me! And the beautiful, shiny chocolate glaze that covers the frosting is a delicious bonus.

What are hi-hat cupcakes?

Traditional hi-hat cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes topped with marshmallow frosting, covered with a thin chocolate glaze. This recipe gives them a fall twist by starting with a moist pumpkin cake, stuffing them with salted caramel filling, and finishing with big swirls of smooth and creamy pumpkin spice buttercream frosting. After a nice dip in semi-sweet chocolate, the cupcakes are finished with nuts, sprinkles, or whatever else you’d like.

If you love all things pumpkin, don’t miss our Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake, Patterned Pumpkin Roll, and Pumpkin Fudge. And you can find much more pumpkin recipe inspiration in our list of the best pumpkin recipes!

2 Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes on a white plate with the 2nd muffin cut in half to show layers and texture.

🧾 What You’ll Need

5 Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes on a white tray.

Ingredients

Here are a few of the ingredients you’ll need and some tips to keep in mind as you make these cupcakes. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Pumpkin puree: Make sure you are buying pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. Pie filling has added sugar and other ingredients, and it won’t work for this recipe.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: Pumpkin Pie Spice is definitely pumpkin’s BFF. This blend of  cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice adds the perfect touch of warmth and coziness to the recipe. If you don’t have any, you can swap in regular cinnamon to add similar fall flavor vibes.
  • Orange and yellow gel food coloring: I like Americolor brand orange gel and yellow gel food coloring.
  • Thick salted caramel: You’ll want to use a thick jarred caramel sauce, not the thin kind that comes in a squeeze bottle. My personal favorite is Trader Joe’s Caramel Sauce.
  • Decorative sprinkles: You can top these cupcakes with chopped toasted nuts or sprinkles, like these cute Mini Fall Leaf Sprinkles.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate: Chopping up a chocolate bar will give you the best results–I’m a big proponent of Trader Joe’s pound plus bars, if those are available to you. Otherwise, go for high-quality chocolate chips like Guittard–they’ll give you the best flavor. 

Equipment

You’ll want to have these equipment basics to make this recipe. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

📋 Instructions

Here’s a quick photo guide showing how to make pumpkin hi-hat cupcakes. You can find the full printable instructions in the recipe card down below.

2 photo process picture of making Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes by cutting a cone-shaped hole out of the top of the cupcakes and scooping a spoonful of salted caramel sauce into the hole.

Cut and Fill the Cupcakes

  • Bake pumpkin spice cupcakes, and let them cool completely.
  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut a cone-shaped hole out of the top of the cupcakes.
  • Scoop a spoonful of salted caramel sauce into the hole, coming almost all the way to the top.
  • Cut the bottom off of the cupcake cone, and replace the top of the cupcake on top of the caramel.
2 photo process picture of making Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes by piping the frosting in one big decorative swirl on top of the cupcakes and preparing the chocolate glaze..

Add frosting and prep the chocolate glaze

  • Pipe the frosting in one big decorative swirl on top of each cupcake.
  • Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator (or freezer) until completely chilled. The success of this recipe depends on the frosting being very cold and solid!
  • Prepare the glaze: combine semi-sweet chocolate and vegetable oil. Microwave to melt the chocolate, and whisk until smooth and well-mixed.
2 photo process picture of making Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes by holding a chilled cupcake, dunking it in the chocolate glaze, and letting the excess glaze drip back into the cup.

Dip the cupcakes in the glaze

  • Hold a chilled cupcake by the base and dunk it in the warm chocolate glaze.
  • Lift it out of the glaze and hold it over the cup, letting the excess glaze drip back into the cup.
2 photo process picture of making Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes by adding sprinkles to the top of the wet glaze and then eating the cupcake.

Sprinkle and Enjoy

  • While the glaze is still wet, add sprinkles to the top if desired. Then place the cupcakes in the refrigerator to let the glaze set.
  • Enjoy!

💭 Variations

  • If you’re not a caramel fan, you can omit the salted caramel filling, or use chocolate ganache or hot fudge sauce instead.
  • For the chocolate glaze, I highly recommend using chopped chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are much thicker when they melt, so the glaze won’t be as thin and pretty. If you need to use chips, keep an eye on the texture, and add a bit of extra oil if needed to get a good dipping consistency.
  • I went with fun fall sprinkles, but toasted pecans or gingersnap crumbs would also be really good!
2 Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes on a wooden surface next to a dripping cup of chocolate glaze and sprinkles.

💡 Tips and FAQs  

My #1 tip for success is to be very mindful of the temperature of your components. The frosting needs to be very cold when you dip it, otherwise it can melt in the chocolate or fall off the cupcake. Likewise, the chocolate should be fluid and slightly warm, but not at all hot to the touch.

Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes on a wooden surface with more cupcakes on a raised cake stand in the background.

If you need more pumpkin inspiration, check out my collection of pumpkin dessert recipes!

Devil’s Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch Frosting
This Devil’s Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch Frosting features contrasting black and orange layers of extra-chocolatey devil’s food cake and pumpkin butterscotch frosting topped with chocolate buttercream and glimmering black sprinkles!
Get the recipe!
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
This cheesecake has a graham cracker crust made with cinnamon and sugar and is filled with the most delicious mix of pumpkin and cream cheese.
Get the recipe!
Slice of pumpkin spice cheesecake topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce with a fork next to it.

Don’t miss the step-by-step tutorial showing how to make Pumpkin Hi-Hat Cupcakescheck out the web story here!

Leave a review!

If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Close up of the top of a Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcake.

Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes

4.80 from 10 votes
Bigger is definitely better when it comes to these towering Pumpkin Hi-Hat Cupcakes! These beauties are filled with salted caramel, topped with a swirl of pumpkin spice frosting, and dipped in the most gorgeous glossy chocolate topping.
Prep Time 50 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Yield 24 cupcakes
Calories 513 kcal

Ingredients
 

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 Spice cake mix, or carrot cake mix
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 oz pumpkin puree, (1 cup), not pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon

For the Frosting:

  • 12 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 20 oz powdered sugar, (5 cups)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 TBSP milk, (can substitute pumpkin spice coffee creamer), at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon
  • Orange and yellow food coloring, I used Americolor brand

To Assemble:

  • 2 cups thick salted caramel sauce, (the thick kind in the jar, not the squeeze bottle)
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate, (2 cups), finely chopped
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • sprinkles, or other decorations
CUSTOMIZE: 24 cupcakes

Instructions
 

To Make the Cupcakes:

  • Fill 24 cupcake cavities with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the cupcakes and mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, then scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl well. Scoop the batter into the cupcake pans, filling each about 2/3 full.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool completely before decorating.

To Make the Frosting:

  • Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix them together on low speed, then gradually raise the speed to medium and beat it for 4 minutes, until the mixture is white and fluffy.
  • Add the salt, milk, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat on low speed until the liquids are incorporated. Once the liquid is mixed in, gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until the frosting has come together, is nice and smooth, and holds firm peaks.
  • Mix in a few drops each of orange and yellow food coloring, until you get a pumpkin color you are happy with. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

To Assemble:

  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut a cone-shaped hole out of the top of the cupcakes. Scoop a spoonful of salted caramel sauce into the hole, coming almost all the way to the top. Cut the bottom off of the cupcake cone, and replace the top of the cupcake on top of the caramel.
  • Once all of the cupcakes are filled, pipe the frosting on top in one big decorative swirl. I like to do about four loops but you can make your swirls bigger or smaller.
  • When all of the cupcakes are frosted, place them on a baking sheet and freeze them for 20 minutes, or refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes. This chillin time is crucial. You need the frosting to be very, very firm when dipping!
  • While you wait for the frosting to chill, make the chocolate glaze. Combine the chopped semi-sweet chocolate and the vegetable oil in a medium bowl, and microwave in 30-second increments until melted. Whisk until smooth. Allow it to cool until the glaze is barely warm to the touch, but still very fluid.
  • Transfer some of the glaze to a tall, narrow glass—a measuring cup works well for this purpose. Hold a chilled cupcake by the base and dunk it in the chocolate glaze, making sure that the chocolate covers all of the frosting on top. Lift it out of the glaze and hold it over the cup, letting the excess glaze drip back into the cup.
  • While the glaze is still wet, add sprinkles to the top if desired. Once all of the cupcakes are dipped, refrigerate them to set the glaze. The chocolate glaze will get soft and tacky at room temperature, so it’s recommended that you keep them in the refrigerator until shortly before serving. I do like to let them sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving, so the frosting isn’t quite so cold. Enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

If you’re not a caramel fan, you can omit the salted caramel filling, or use chocolate ganache or hot fudge sauce instead.
For the chocolate glaze, I highly recommend using chopped chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are much thicker when they melt, so the glaze won’t be as thin and pretty. If you need to use chips, keep an eye on the texture, and add a bit of extra oil if needed to get a good dipping consistency.
This recipe has been modified from its original version. You can find a copy of the old recipe here. 

MEASURING TIPS

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.

Nutrition

Calories: 513 kcal | Carbohydrates: 65 g | Protein: 3 g | Fat: 27 g | Saturated Fat: 16 g | Cholesterol: 52 mg | Sodium: 263 mg | Potassium: 236 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 38 g | Vitamin A: 1885 IU | Vitamin C: 0.5 mg | Calcium: 55 mg | Iron: 2.2 mg
Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest
1 photo of Pumpkin Spice Hi-Hat Cupcakes with text overlay for Pinterest.

About Elizabeth LaBau

I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me SugarHero! I’m a former pastry chef turned blogger, cookbook author, and baking instructor, and I consider myself sugar’s #1 fan. Learn more from my About page, or connect with me on social media:

What You'll Need
Editor's Note

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  For more information, see my Disclaimer and Disclosure Policy.

More Pumpkin Recipes You'll Love

Leave a Review

Your comment will be visible after approval. Your email address will not be published.

Rate This Recipe!




What type of comment do you have?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  • HollyRae wrote:
    • Elizabeth LaBau wrote:
  • Eva Buchholz wrote:
    • Elizabeth LaBau wrote:
  • Carissa Nelson | Spoonful of Easy wrote:
    • Elizabeth LaBau wrote:
  • Gemma wrote:
    • Elizabeth LaBau wrote:
  • Anne wrote:
    • Elizabeth LaBau wrote:
  • Beverly Joy wrote:
    • Elizabeth LaBau wrote:
  • Moira-anne Hill wrote:
    • Elizabeth LaBau wrote:
  • marie johson wrote:
  • Beth wrote:
    • Jill From SugarHero wrote:
  • Beth wrote:
    • Jill From SugarHero wrote:
  • kushigalu wrote:
    • Jill From SugarHero wrote:
  • Carrie Robinson wrote:
    • Jill From SugarHero wrote:
  • Andrea wrote:
    • Jill From SugarHero wrote: