These are the perfect treat for a celebration, or just because it’s Thursday! They come together so quickly and are so, so cute. In the spirit of a traditional hot fudge sundae, it’s a chocolate cupcake topped with a vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, homemade hot fudge, some sprinkles, and a maraschino cherry! So cute, and so fun.
There’s a few elements here, but most can be made ahead of time and all are pretty low effort.
- the chocolate cupcake – rich but not too rich, perfectly chocolate-y, and so fluffy, this is easily my favorite cake recipe I have! they can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container, or wrapped tightly and frozen
substitution idea: want to use a boxed cake mix instead? go for it!
- the Italian meringue buttercream – a bit more effort than a traditional american buttercream, but I prefer it because it’s less intensely sweet, so it’s a more balanced cupcake overall
substitution idea: your favorite frosting! prefer american buttercream? want to make this super low effort by using store bought? you do you, friend
- the homemade hot fudge – shockingly easy and so delicious! make extra and top pretty much anything with it, fruit is my favorite
substitution idea: if you’re looking for low effort, store bought is perfect too!
- the toppings – finish the cupcakes with some sprinkles and maraschino cherries for the classic sundae look!
substitution idea: use whatever you’d usually put on your sundae! want some nuts? go to town
This one is so easy and so great! You could make this a super fun treat for a kids birthday by doing a cupcake bar, similar to a sundae bar – have the frosted cupcakes and allow the kids to top them with whatever toppings sound good to them!
Looking for other cake ideas? I’ve got you covered there too:
- pumpkin coffee cake
- chocolate peanut butter snack cake
- lemon poppy seed bundt cake
- pumpkin spice cupcakes
- peach bourbon bundt cake
- hot fudge sundae cupcakes
In the spirit of a traditional hot fudge sundae, these Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes are a chocolate cupcake topped with a vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, homemade hot fudge, some sprinkles, and a maraschino cherry! So cute, and so fun for any occasion.
for the cupcakes
- 175 g sugar
- 112 g all purpose flour
- 42 g cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 g baking powder
- 4 g baking soda
- 114 g buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
- 50 g neutral oil
- 85 g boiling water
for the hot fudge
- 79 mL heavy cream
- 60 mL light corn syrup
- 40 g brown sugar
- 11 g cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 3 oz chocolate, divided
- 28 g butter
for the italian meringue frosting
- 200 g (1 cup) sugar, divided
- 120mL (1 cup) water
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 226 g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla
- maraschino cherries
make the cupcakes
- prep: preheat the oven to 350*. place cupcake liners into a cupcake pan. set aside
- combine the dry ingredients: in a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. mix well and set aside
- combine the wet ingredients: in a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and oil.
- bring it together and bake: add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. add the boiling water and mix until combined. pour into the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. allow to cool fully
make the hot fudge
- in a medium pot over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, light corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and half of the chocolate. cook until melted and fully combined, then boil for 5 minutes
- remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate and butter. stir until fully melted, then pour into a heat proof container and let cool.
make the frosting
- prep: place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and 2 Tbsp of the sugar in a small bowl nearby.
- start the sugar syrup: in a small pot, combine the remaining sugar and the water over high heat. cover until it comes to a boil, then remove the lid and continue to boil until it comes up to 240*
- start the meringue: while the sugar syrup is coming to temperature, start whipping the egg whites on high. once frothy, very slowly add the sugar you set aside. continue whipping until you reach stiff peaks
- finish the meringue: once the sugar syrup reaches 240*-245*, with the mixer still running, slowly and carefully pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the egg whites. avoid pouring it onto the whisk so that you don't get pieces of sugar in your frosting. continue whisking on high for 8-10 minutes until it's tripled in volume and the bowl is no longer to warm to the touch
- add the butter: slowly add the butter in small pieces to the meringue. it will deflate and look like it's split, but keep going! once all the butter is in, keep whisking for 5-7 minutes until it all comes together and looks smooth. If it still looks split, place the mixing bowl into the fridge for 5-10 minutes, then whip again, it should come together
- finish the buttercream: add the vanilla and whip for another 3 minutes. you're done!
assemble and enjoy
- frost: transfer the frosting to a piping bag, or use a scoop and a knife, and frost the cupcakes
- top: pour a bit of hot fudge on top of each cupcake, heating it up a bit if it's too thick to pour. sprinkle with the sprinkles and place a cherry on top