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Chocolate Strawberry Cake

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This Chocolate Strawberry Cake is a moist chocolate layer cake with a strawberry filling and it’s covered in a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. Garnish with chocolate covered strawberries if desired.  

Chocolate Strawberry Cake

Right before we left for our honeymoon I went on a rampage making allll the chocolate cakes and in one weekend I had 3 different chocolate cakes in my house. Maaaybe not the best idea right before you leave for a 2-week vacation, but can you blame me?

Let me tell you a little bit about this cake. It’s my favorite chocolate cake with a fresh strawberry filling and finished with a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. The chocolate frosting is what dreams are made of. It’s silky, not too sweet but it’s just the lightest, most airy frosting, Plus there’s some chocolate covered strawberries on top to!

With Valentine’s day approaching, I knew I wanted to make something with chocolate covered strawberries. My husband usually orders these for me because he knows they’re my favorite treat. They feel like the healthiest chocolate option right?

Now there are quite a few steps to making this cake, but I like to do it in stages. I make the cake and the strawberry filling first. Then I make the frosting the next day and assemble. The results are WORTH IT!

A big chocolate cake with a strawberry filling and a silky buttercream frosting there's a slice missing from the cake revealing the center and it's garnished with chocolate covered strawberries.

Easy chocolate cake

Okay so you’ve seen the chocolate cake recipe before. It’s a 3 layer 8-inch cake made with simple ingredients. It’s fluffy and amazing and it’s super moist because I add sour cream to the batter. It will become your go-to chocolate cake recipe.

Cake Ingredients:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Whole eggs 
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Sour cream Sour cream helps keeps these cupcakes very moist.
  • Dry Ingredients
  • Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Espresso powder (optional): Sometimes I also like to add espresso powder to chocolate cakes, it helps intensify the chocolate flavor. The espresso powder is optional, or can be substituted for a fine ground coffee or omitted. 
  • Brewed Coffee: Coffee helps bring out the chocolate flavor, but don’t worry, these don’t taste like coffee at all. Hot coffee is preferred.

How to make the chocolate cake

  • Prep:  Preheat your oven to 350F. Prep your cake pans.
  • Mix wet ingredients: Start by combing the granulated sugar with the, eggs, oil and vanilla extract and beat them together until fluffy. Then add sour cream and beat until well combined.
  • Combine dry ingredients
  • Alternate adding half the wet and dry ingredients at a time and beat until incorporated. 
  • Pour into prepared pans dividing the batter evenly.
  • Bake: These cakes bake at 350F for 20-24 minutes. Rotate your pans in the oven halfway through baking to allow for even baking.
  • Cool to room temperature before frosting.

a side view of a baked chocolate cake layer in a metal pan

Easy Strawberry Cake Filling

You’ve also seen the strawberry filling before. I’ve made a few variations of it, but most notably for the Strawberry Mascarpone Cake.

The filling is also quite easy to make. It’s just fresh strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and a little bit of flour to thicken it. 

How to make the strawberry filling

  • Puree strawberries with a food processor and transfer to a shallow pan.
  • Sprinkle the sugar and flour over the strawberries and add some lemon juice.
  • Cook the strawberries over medium heat until they thicken. It’s important to add just the right amount of flour. Too little flour, and the puree will be too thin, but too much flour might make it a little too thick for you.
  • So, use your best judgement, and start with one tablespoon of flour and if your puree doesn’t thicken, you can add some additional flour, up to one additional tablespoon.

When it’s time to add the filling to your cake, you will first make a dam around the outside edge with the frosting, so that the filling doesn’t seep out the sides of your cake.

The strawberry filling is pretty sweet, but it’s a perfect balance because the cake isn’t overly sweet nor is the frosting. The best bites are the ones that have all 3 elements!



A slice of dark chocolate cake with a strawberry filling and a silky buttercream frosting. The slice of cake is laying on a light pink plate with a gold fork and it's missing a few bites.

How to make chocolate covered strawberries

To be honest you don’t really need the strawberries on top but why would you not just make them anyway since you have to get strawberries for the filling? I always make extra so I have some to eat. I only put 4 of them on the cake, but you could certainly add more. 

  • Wash and thoroughly dry the chocolate covered strawberries before you begin
  • For the chocolate, use chocolate wafers that are meant for candy making. My favorite are from Ghirardelli.
  • I like to use a wide but shallow dish like a Pyrex measuring cup (1 cup size)
  • Hold the green tip of the strawberry and dip and swirl it in the melted chocolate. Gently tap it on the edges of the glass and wipe the bottom along the edge to remove excess chocolate
  • Place on a piece of parchment paper to dry.
  • Drizzle with leftover chocolate.
  • 6 ounces of melted chocolate will make 18 strawberries. 4 ounces is probably enough for 12

A Strawberry Being Dipped Into a Bowl of Melted Chocolate

Tips for chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream

  • If this is your first time making Swiss meringue buttercream, I recommend reading through all my tips. 
  • Use a high-quality chocolate bar (like Ghirardelli or Lindt) for this frosting. The flavor of this frosting is entirely from your chocolate. While I prefer dark chocolate, milk chocolate would work fine to. I’ve never made it with chocolate chips simply because chocolate chips are coated to prevent them from melting at high temperatures and often it produces a more oily consistency when melted.
  • Melt the chocolate after you start to beat your egg whites in the mixer, this will allow time for it to cool. I recommend microwaving it at 50% power, so it does not burn or seize.
  • I always recommend using a candy thermometer (affiliate) when heating the egg whites. You can buy them at Target for $10. You need to cook the egg whites and sugar to 140°F – 160°F and the candy thermometer is of course helpful for that.
  • As the butter is added, the meringue starts to lose its shape and it will start to look curdled. That’s okay! Once all the butter has been added, switch to the paddle attachment.
  • Continue beating the frosting and it will eventually come back together and into a silky-smooth texture. As this is happening, you’ll add the cooled, melted chocolate.
  • If you feel that your buttercream is too runny, throw it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes and then rewhip it with the paddle attachment.

How to store the frosted cake

This cake should not be refrigerated. Since the frosting has a high butter content, it will harden to a solid state if left in the refrigerator. If you live in a hot or humid environment, then you do have to keep this refrigerated as the humidity will melt the butter. However, allow it to come to room temperature prior to serving.  Otherwise Store at room temperature in an airtight container such as a cake carrier (affiliate).

More Strawberry desserts you’ll love

You don’t need a special occasion to make this Chocolate Strawberry Cake, just a little bit of an appetite!  

A wide shot of a chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting, it's garnished with chocolate covered strawberries

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overhead of a thick slice of chocolate layer cake with strawberry filling on a plate.

Chocolate Strawberry Cake

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices


This Chocolate Strawberry Cake is a moist chocolate layer cake with a strawberry filling and a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s rich, perfectly moist, totally mouthwatering, and finished with chocolate covered strawberries.


For the cake:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) light sour cream
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (5g) espresso powder  (optional)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (296 ml) brewed coffee

For the Strawberry filling:

  • 2 cups (303g) strawberries, pureed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (24g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (8g), all-purpose flour, sifted

For the frosting

  • 10 large egg whites
  • 2 ½ cups (475 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 cups (24 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 12 ounces (452 g) dark chocolate, melted


For the cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare 3 8-inch round baking pans, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides. Prepare your bake even stripes if desired.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Alternate half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  4. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans, about 1 2/3 cups of batter per pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-24 minutes. Rotate your pans in the oven halfway through baking.
  6. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the filling: 

  1. Chop and puree the strawberries using an immersion blender or food processor.
  2. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine pureed strawberries, lemon juice sugar and flour stir well. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture starts to boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the strawberry puree starts to thicken. If the puree seems to thin, add up to 1 tablespoon of additional flour.
  4. Allow the puree to cool completely, refrigerating to help speed up the process.

For the frosting: 

  1. Wipe down the inside of your stainless-steel bowl with vinegar to remove any grease. Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl with candy thermometer attached.
  2. Set the bowl over top of a pot with 1 ¼ cups water covering the bottom. Place over medium heat.
  3. Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture reaches 140°-160°  The sugar should be dissolved in the egg whites. You can test this by placing a drop on your finger tips and rubbing them together. The mixture should be completely smooth.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring each time until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
  5. Immediately place the mixing bowl on your stand. Using the wire whisk attachment, beat the eggs white on low for 2 minutes than increase to medium high.
  6. Beat for another 5 minutes. At this point, your frosting should have turned white and the body of the meringue starts to form. Increase the mixing speed to high. It will start to look glossy as the peaks begin to form. Beat for another 5-8 minutes until the bottom of your bowl is cool to the touch and your meringue has stiff peaks.
  7. Turn your mixer down to medium-low. Slowly add your butter, 1 tbsp at a time. As you add more butter, the frosting might appear to have curdled and lost its body, that’s ok. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  8. Switch to the paddle attachment, add the vanilla extract and continue beating on medium-high speed until your frosting starts to form. Slowly drizzle in the chocolate and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes.

To assemble this cake: 

  1. level off your cakes by removing any domes. Place a dollop of frosting on your cake board and place the bottom layer of cake over that.
  2. Pipe a thick boarder (a dam) along the outside edge of your cake. You may need to do this twice.
  3. Spread half of the strawberry mixture over the cake, carefully filling the inside of the dam you created (so the sauce doesn’t leak out the sides)
  4. Pipe another thin layer of frosting over the strawberry sauce and spread evenly with your offset spatula.
  5. Add the second layer of cake and repeat the above steps using all of the remaining strawberry sauce. Next, add the final layer of cake on top
  6. Use your piping bag to fill in any gaps between your layers and to create a crumb coat. Using an offset spatula or icing smoother, wipe away the excess frosting, leaving you just enough to coat the outside of the cake. Do not mix your crumb coating frosting back into your icing if it has cake debris in it.
  7. Proceed to frost the top and sides of the cake using your offset spatula. Run your spatula around the outside edge of the cake while turning the turntable to create the indent in the frosting.
  8. Use remaining frosting to pipe the florets on the top of the cake using an Ateco 846 tip (large open star). Garnish with strawberries if desired.


Ingredients substitutions

  • Sour cream  I recommend substituting with non-fat Greek yogurt. The recipe calls for light sour cream, but you can also use full-fat sour cream.
  • Brewed Coffee: I recommend using milk instead, but only if needed.
  • Cocoa powder: I prefer to use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder for the cake and regular or dutch processed cocoa powder for the frosting.

Be sure to read my tutorial for how to make Swiss meringue buttercream if you’ve never made this frosting before.

Nutrition Information:
1 slice
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Leave a Comment

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13 Responses
      1. Amber

        Made this for my husband’s birthday. I like that the strawberry puree isn’t overly sweet because this cake is SO rich.
        I forgot the sour cream but the cake still turned out okay they were just a little flatter than they should have been. Not sure if I will make this again because all the parts took me about 3 hours but I will bookmark this recipe in case he asks.

  1. NRE

    Looks beautiful — and delicious! But please proofread. I don’t think you meant to make a “heavy DAMN,” lol.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      I actually meant heavy “dam”, so without the n. And as much time as I spend reading post, a spelling error here and there is bound to happen. Thanks for pointing it out so I could fix it! Have a great day.

      1. Christine

        Quick question- about how thick should each layer of cake be?? Mine are about 3/4” . Did I do something wrong; should they have risen more? (but the tiny piece i tried that broke off was absolutely delicious!)

      2. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
        Beyond Frosting

        What size pans did you use? About 1-inch thick along the outside edge is what I would expect for an 8-inch cake

      3. Madhurima basu

        Hi, I plan to bake this as a single layer cake.. Can i use a 9inch pan for it keeping the quantity of ingredients same.
        Regards Madhurima

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