Valentine’s Day calls for a special flavor combination – like with these chocolate strawberry cupcakes. Moist, easy to make chocolate cupcakes topped with a creamy strawberry buttercream frosting. Top with chocolate covered strawberries for a perfect garnish!
One of my favorite desserts in the world is a simple chocolate covered strawberry. I see one and I can’t resist. So is it any surprise that I would combine my favorite dessert flavor combination into a cupcake?
Chocolate + Strawberry = Perfect Valentine’s Day Cupcake.
These chocolate cupcakes are light and fluffy and rich in chocolate flavor. And then swirled on top is a strawberry buttercream frosting, made with a secret ingredient so it’s smooth, not runny or overly sweet like some berry buttercreams can be. All the wonderful strawberry flavor swirled high on top.
How To Make These Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
Let’s start by making the chocolate cupcakes. These easy chocolate cupcakes are a variation from my chocolate cupcakes in my new cookbook, Beginner’s Baking Bible. I have made all sorts of variations on this chocolate cupcake with different frostings on top. Like Cake Batter Buttercream Frosting! Or Caramel Buttercream! Both delicious as you can imagine.
Today though I’m pairing it with my favorite flavor combination – strawberries and chocolate. I mean one of my favorite desserts of all time is just a simple Chocolate Covered Strawberry. So why not put the two together into a cupcake? So here’s how you make them…
- Whisk together your dry ingredients
- Whisk together wet ingredients
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter between your pans and bake.
How simple was that?
Heather’s Baking Tips
Be sure to measure your flour accurately. Too much flour = dense, dry cupcake. For a full tutorial on how and why, read this post. For best accuracy, weigh your flour. But you want to spoon and level your flour. spoon your flour into the cup, not packing it down, and then when you get a heaping cup level it off.
Use natural cocoa powder. Be sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder not dutch process. They are not the same. You can read about the differences here.
Do not overfill your cupcake liners. If you overfill them the your cupcakes might sink in the middle. I aim for about 2/3 to no more than 3/4 full.
Bake in the center of your and rotate your pans. You always want to bake your cupcakes up in the center of your oven so they bake up evenly. When baking these, it’s best to rotate the pans halfway through their baking time. Every oven can have hot spots so they may not bake evenly. Give them a turn in the oven, so they all bake up pretty.
Cool properly. Once they are baked, be sure to take them out of the pans and cool on a cooling rack. Leaving them in your pans means they will continue to bake and could end up dry.
Cool completely before frosting. You want to make sure they are cooled completely before frosting them. Hot cupcakes + frosting = soupy mess.
How To Make This Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
While the cupcakes are baking, go ahead and make your frosting. I used my Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe but added freeze-dried strawberries to it to make a perfect strawberry flavored frosting.
By using freeze-dried strawberries you get maximum strawberry flavor but without making it too runny. I find freeze dried strawberres in my health/organic section of the store but you can also buy them online.
To make the frosting you just need to:
- Cream butter
- Add powdered sugar, a little at a time and beat to combine
- Add heavy cream and vanilla
- Add freeze dried strawberries (make sure they ground up into a fine powder) and beat until fluffy.
Frosting Recipe Tips
- Soften your butter – Make sure your butter is softened before you start for the frosting so it blends in easily. I like to bring my butter out and cube it up and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Use unsalted butter. Salted butter is not as fresh and all brands can add varying amounts of salt. So to control the salt I like to use unsalted butter.
- Cover your mixer. After adding the powdered sugar I like to wrap a damp paper towel around my mixer so I don’t end up with powdered sugar everywhere when I go to turn it on.
- Rewhip if necessary. Unless you’re using the frosting ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge. But it will need to be rewhipped before you go to frost.
This frosting recipe frosts generously 12 cupcakes.
You can make the chocolate cupcakes up to 1 day in advance, unfrosted. Keep well covered and store at room temperature. Then frost the day of serving.
You can also make the cupcakes and freeze for up to 2 months. I place mine in a plastic bag, or you can also individually wrap them in plastic wrap and then store in a bag. Thaw at room temperature, uncovered, before frosting.
If unfrosted, I would store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. If frosted, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More Recipes To Try
Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
For the strawberry buttercream:
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
- 2 ½ cups (284 g) confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 1.2 ounces freeze dried strawberries
For chocolate covered strawberries (garnish, optional)
- 15 strawberries
- 4 ounces chocolate
To Make the cupcakes
- Preheat and prepare pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and sour cream.
- Add the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient mixture, mixing just until combined.
- Bake. Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 full. Keep remaining batter in the refrigerator as the first batch is baking. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Finish baking remaining batter. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
To make the buttercream
- Mix butter and sugar. In an mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter and confectioners sugar. Mix on low speed at first, then increase the speed to medium until combined.
- Add the freeze dried strawberries to a food processor or blender to pulse into a fine powder. Add the strawberry powder to the frosting.
- Add heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Add in your heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt.
- Mix on medium to high speed for 7-8 minutes until light and creamy.
- If not using immediately, store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use, mix again until light and fluffy.
To make chocolate covered strawberries
- Melt chocolate in the microwave and dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to cool. Top each cupcake with a chocolate covered strawberry.
- Make Ahead/Storage: These can be made one day in advance before frosting. Store leftover cupcakes, covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can also freeze frosted or unfrosted cupcakes up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.