Shark Fin Cupcakes

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
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For the Cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 cup boiling water

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the Fins and Frosting:

1 cup white candy melts

5 black candy melts 

1 1/2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

Blue gel food coloring 


  1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil or paper liners. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a medium bowl and whisk well. Let stand 5 minutes, then whisk in the sour cream and vanilla; set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium low; beat in the vegetable oil until combined. Beat in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. Divide among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed, 16 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely. 
  3. Make the fins: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the white and black candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until melted. Let the candy melts cool slightly, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Snip off a corner and pipe 12 fin shapes 1 1/2 to 2 inches high on the baking sheet. Refrigerate until hardened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Make the frosting: Beat the butter and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Add the vanilla; beat on medium high until creamy, 3 minutes. Add the milk and beat until fluffy, about 1 more minute. Tint with blue gel food coloring until the frosting is swirled. 
  5. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes and top each with a candy melt fin.