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Homemade chocolate cupcakes topped with light and airy strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, these Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes are the ultimate Valentine’s Day dessert. Finish with a chocolate-covered strawberry to really take them over the top!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Decadent Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
- What You’ll Need
- What’s the Difference Between Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Regular Buttercream Frosting?
- How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
- How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Tips for Success
- Can I Make These In Advance?
- How to Store Leftovers
- Get the Recipe
Decadent Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
These decadent chocolate and strawberry cupcakes are a combination of a few of my favorite recipes, combined to make the ultimate cupcake.
This recipe begins with my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, which is super easy and oil-based so there’s no need to even cream the butter and sugar. Plus with the oil and sour cream, the cupcakes stay extra moist for a few days.
Then the cooled cupcakes are topped with the most amazing strawberry frosting. While you may expect a traditional buttercream, I opted instead for a light and airy Swiss meringue buttercream. It allows the attention to stay on the strawberries and chocolate, not on the frosting itself.
If you’re feeling extra decadent, you can go ahead and top these with a chocolate covered strawberry too. While they’re absolutely perfect with just the cupcake and frosting, that strawberry really makes them a show-stopper.
While I first made these as a Valentine’s Day dessert, they’re also perfect for birthdays or any other day you’re looking for an easy but special dessert!
What You’ll Need
As mentioned above, these cupcakes are oil-based, so there’s no butter (we make up for that in the frosting!) and the addition of sour cream helps keep them moist. Plus, espresso powder and brewed coffee both enhance the chocolate flavor.
For the chocolate cupcakes:
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil
- Vanilla extract – Use pure extract, not imitation vanilla if possible.
- Light sour cream – Helps keep the cupcakes nice and moist for a few days. You can use nonfat Greek yogurt as well.
- All-purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Espresso powder – This is optional but enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Baking powder & baking soda
- Brewed coffee – The coffee helps bring out the chocolate flavors and does not make the cupcakes taste like coffee. If you’re really opposed to it, you can use hot water or milk in place of the coffee.
For the strawberry frosting:
- Strawberries – Chopped and roughly pureed.
- Unsalted butter – I find that salted butter makes the frosting too salty so I always stick with unsalted butter.
- Granulated sugar
- Egg whites – Egg whites should be at room temperature.
What’s the Difference Between Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Regular Buttercream Frosting?
If you’ve never made a Swiss meringue buttercream before, you’re in for a real treat. This type of frosting is made by heating egg whites with granulated sugar and then whipping them into a meringue. Once the butter and flavoring are added, it results in a silky, very light frosting. It tends to be a lot less sweet than traditional American buttercream. The flavor is much lighter than American buttercream with an airy texture. Just be sure to keep it away from warm spaces!
With the addition of the strawberries, the Swiss meringue buttercream takes on a whole new aesthetic. Right away you’ll notice there’s only a subtle flavor, but as the frosting sets, the flavors really absorb. I actually think it’s best served on the next day.
I wrote a whole post on how to make the best Swiss meringue buttercream, which I recommend checking out.
I’ve used this strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream or cookies and layer cakes and it pairs really nicely with vanilla cupcakes as well.
How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
Though each part is made from scratch, this Valentine’s Day dessert is easy to make. Just be sure to prepare the cupcakes in advance so they have time to cool. Don’t rush the process of whipping the frosting either. It will be worth it!
Make the Chocolate Cupcakes
- Beat the sugar and liquid ingredients: Combine the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract on medium until well incorporated and lighter in color. Beat in the sour cream.
- Combine and add the dry ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients, then half of the coffee. Mix until the flour incorporates then add the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining coffee. Beat until all ingredients are well combined.
- Bake. Use a cookie scoop to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
Make the Strawberry Frosting
Prepare the strawberries. Chop the strawberries into small pieces then roughly puree, leaving some smaller chunks of strawberry.
Create the meringue. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over a pot of hot water. Stir constantly, until all the sugar dissolves. Be sure that you don’t have the heat too high as you do not want to cook the egg whites. Once the mixture is completely smooth, transfer to a mixing bowl.
Beat the meringue. Whisk the egg whites, first on low for 2 minutes, then on medium for 5 minutes, and finally on high for 5 to 10 minutes. The meringue should become glossy with peaks and similar to whipped cream.
Add the butter. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. After all the butter is added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another minute. Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating, allowing the air bubbles to escape. The frosting should be smooth.
Add the strawberries. Pour in the strawberry puree and beat until well combined into the frosting.
Decorate the cupcakes. Use a large open star tip or open round tip to pipe the frosting on the cooled chocolate cupcakes. Top with a chocolate-covered strawberry if desired.
How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Now it’s up to you if you’d like to add the chocolate-covered strawberry but they are so dang pretty and obviously add a little wow factor. I actually have an entire post about making chocolate covered strawberries if you want even more detail!
- Wash and dry the strawberries. Be sure to clean and then thoroughly dry the strawberries before dipping in the chocolate.
- Melt chocolate wafers. Be sure to use chocolate wafers meant for candy making. My favorite is from Ghiradelli. Melt according to the package instructions. You’ll need about 6 ounces for 18 strawberries and 10 ounces for 24 strawberries.
- Dip the strawberries. Hold the green tip of the strawberry. Dip and swirl it in the melted chocolate. Gently tap on the edges of the glass and wipe the bottom along the edge to remove excess chocolate. Place on parchment paper to dry.
If you’re serving these rights away, then go ahead and place the strawberry on top, but if you’re preparing them in advance, then it might be best to leave the strawberry off to the side. After the first day, chocolate-covered strawberries tend to “sweat” on the outside, so I don’t like to leave them on top of the cupcakes for too long.
Tips for Success
For the best chocolate strawberry cupcakes, keep these things in mind.
- Keep the frosting cool. Due to the buttery texture, Swiss meringue buttercream should not be kept in a warm space, as it will soften and melt. If you live in a hot and humid location, you may want to try traditional American buttercream instead.
- Pulse the strawberries for the frosting. I recommend pulsing the strawberries in a food processor, leaving you about half puree and half small diced pieces of strawberries. It gives you a little bit of texture in the frosting and ensure that you won’t overdo it with the liquid.
- Don’t overbake the cupcakes. One of the keys to moist cupcakes is to not overbake them. Once a toothpick inserted comes out clean, remove them from the oven.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Since the frosting has a butter based, it does melt easily. It’s essential that the cupcakes are completely cool before piping the frosting. Otherwise, it will just slide off.
Can I Make These In Advance?
You can make both the individual parts of these chocolate-covered strawberry cupcakes ahead of time, though I recommend assembling right before enjoying.
The chocolate cupcakes can be baked a day in advance and stored on the counter in an airtight container. The Swiss meringue buttercream can also be stored at room temperature for one day or in the fridge. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before using it. You’ll likely want to whip it for a few minutes again, to return it to the light and fluffy texture.
The chocolate-covered strawberries can also be made a day in advance. Even if you frost the cupcakes in advance, I don’t recommend adding the strawberries until serving as the chocolate usually begins to “sweat” in the fridge.
How to Store Leftovers
Chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. If you live somewhere hot and humid, you will definitely want to keep these in the fridge. Otherwise, you can also keep them in a cool, dry place at room temperature.
The strawberries can also be stored for up to 3 days at room temperature as well.
More Chocolate Strawberry Recipes:
- Chocolate Strawberry Cake
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies
- Easy Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Donuts
Homemade chocolate cupcakes topped with light and airy strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, these Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes are the ultimate Valentine’s Day dessert. Finish with a chocolate covered strawberry to really take them over the top!
For the cupcakes
- 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) natural 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 (355 ml) brewed coffee
For the frosting:
- 3/4 cups strawberries, chopped and roughly pureed
- 2 cups (454g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
- 5 egg whites
- For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- 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.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
- Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining coffee and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
- 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.
- Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
- For the frosting: Rinse and chop strawberries into smaller pieces, about the size of a dime. Roughly puree in a food processor to create some juice, but leaving some smaller chunks of strawberries. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar and egg whites in your stainless steel mixer bowl (or any heat proof bowl). Attached your candy thermometer to the side of the bowl.
- Set your bowl over top of a pot with water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot (about 1 ¼ cup). You do not want the water to boil and touch the bottom of your mixing bowl. Heat the water on medium to medium-low heat.
- Combine the sugar and egg whites and stir (using your greaseproof spatula) constantly until the mixture reaches 140°-160° F. This is the most important part; you do not want to egg whites to cook. When it reaches 140° F, the sugar should be dissolved in the egg whites. You can test this by placing a drop on your fingertips and rubbing them together. The mixture should be completely smooth. Remove from heat.
- Place the mixing bowl on your stand mixer. Using the wire whisk attachment, beat the egg whites. Start on low and increase the speed to medium after 2 minutes.
- Beat for another 3-5 minutes on medium speed. At this point, your frosting should have turned white as the egg whites are whipped and the body of the meringue starts to form.
- After 5 minutes, increase the speed to high. You will notice that as you increase the speed, the body of your meringue will also increase. It will start to look glossy as the peaks begin to form. Beat for another few minutes.
- After about 10-12 minutes the bottom of your mixing bowl should be cooled completely. Your SMB should look kind of like whipped cream. Scrape down all sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Turn your mixer down to medium-low. Slowly add your butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, ensuring it is mixed well after each addition. Once you have added all your butter. Mix for another minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on medium to allow all the air bubbles to escape. In about 3-5 minutes the frosting should be smooth. If your frosting appears to be curdled, just keep beating.
- Lastly, pour in the strawberry puree and beat for another minute or two until they are well combined in the frosting.
- Pipe onto cooled cupcakes with a large open star tip or open round tip. If serving immediately, place the strawberry on top.
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting, valentines day desserts