This Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake is an ultra-rich and fudgy chocolate cake that’s filled with a silky ganache and fresh strawberries. Coated in a fluffy strawberry buttercream and topped with homemade chocolate covered strawberries, this layer cake is THE perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!
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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
I’ve already shared a few chocolate covered strawberry recipes here on the blog. Mini cheesecakes, cupcakes and more recently, a milkshake! So it was only a matter of time before I finally created a cake version of the most iconic Valentine’s Day treat!
I’ve always loved chocolate covered strawberries. Every chocolate/fruit combo is delicious to me, but strawberries dipped in chocolate are the best! Since fresh, juicy strawberries and sweet rich chocolate make such an amazing pairing, it’s no surprise that they’d pair perfectly in dessert form!
So for this cake, we’ll be combining chocolate cake and chocolate ganache with fresh strawberries and strawberry buttercream! This cake is simply divine!
Fudgy Chocolate Cake Layers
This is the only chocolate cake recipe you or I will ever need in our lives. This cake recipe first debut in my Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake and almost every review I’ve seen in the comments, Pinterest and emails, everyone has one common thing to say: best chocolate cake ever! Here’s an example of two reviews:
“I made this cake a few months ago and it’s the BEST chocolate cake i’ve ever had!”
“I have tried so many chocolate cake recipes in my life and this one is an absolute keeper.”
I’m certain you’ll feel the same way too once you make it yourself!
So what makes this chocolate cake so incredible? Well not only do we use a mixture of both sour cream and buttermilk to create the most soft and tender crumb, but we use a combination of vanilla extract and instant coffee to give this cake the richest chocolate flavour!
This cake isn’t like those chocolate cake recipes where you just whisk the wet and dry ingredients together. It’s butter-based, so there’s plenty of structure. The cake is dense and fudgy while still being super moist and fluffy. It’s everything the perfect chocolate cake should be!
Fresh Strawberry Buttercream
Instead of using my usual strawberry buttercream recipe, I decided to change things up to give this frosting a fresher look and taste.
This time we won’t be making a batch of my homemade strawberry sauce and adding some of it to the frosting. You can if you want to add the extra strawberry sauce in between the cake layers, but since I don’t have any use for the strawberry sauce outside of the buttercream, I only wanted enough to flavour the frosting.
Reduced Strawberry Purée = the BEST Flavour!
To make the strawberry frosting, we’ve gotta start with the strawberries. Reduced strawberry purée, to be exact!
Start by puréeing some strawberries in a blender or food processor. Then pour the liquid into a saucepan and cook for 15-20 minutes until the purée has reduced from 2 cups to 3/4 cup. Not only will this strengthen the strawberry flavour, it will reduce the amount of liquid so it won’t ruin the texture of the buttercream.
As with all reduced liquids, I recommend measuring the amount after a few minutes to see if you have the right amount or if you need to continue cooking it down a bit longer. This ensures that you won’t over-reduce and end up with less purée than you want.
I suggest doing this part the night before so the purée can chill completely in the refrigerator. You do not want to add hot strawberry purée to the frosting or you may end up with a soupy texture. And since the purée only gives the frosting a very light and pale pink colour, you can add a few drops of pink gel colour for a more vibrant appearance.
Chocolate Strawberry Filling
Sitting between the cake layers is a layer of strawberry buttercream, ganache and fresh diced strawberries. I love this because in each bite you’re getting a double-dose of chocolate from the cake and ganache and a double-dose of strawberry from the buttercream and diced strawberries!
You guys should be ganache experts by now so I won’t go into a detailed explanation. Even if you aren’t, you have nothing to worry about. Just microwave some cream and chocolate together then stir.
Now what I really wanna talk about is how to properly fill this cake. A few beginner bakers had one issue with my Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake sliding off because of the caramel pecan filling.
When assembling a cake with a filling (like sauce, ganache, mousse etc.) you’ll want to pipe a single or double rim of frosting around the edge of the cake layer. This rim will hold in whatever filling you add along with keeping the above cake layers stable so they don’t slide around.
So in this case, start by spreading on a layer of buttercream, then pipe a double rim around the edge of the cake, fill with a thin layer of ganache and diced strawberries, then repeat. Perfectly neat layers!
Alright, it’s time to decorate! The cake needs to be crumb coated and chilled, then coated in a final thick layer of buttercream. Now take the rest of the ganache and drip it down the cake. The neatest way to do this is with a disposable piping bag or squeeze bottle, but you can also use a spoon or just pour the ganache on top (though that’s the messiest option).
I recommend chilling the cake at this point so the ganache can set up. This is just so the frosting border we pipe on top doesn’t slide off or push extra ganache over the edge, ruining our neat drips.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
You obviously can’t have a chocolate covered strawberry cake without chocolate covered strawberries! Melt some chocolate with a bit of shortening, then dip some fresh strawberries. The shortening smoothens out the chocolate, making dipping a breeze.
You can leave the dipped strawberries plain, or you can drizzle with pink candy melts or melted white chocolate. Such a beautiful and perfect Valentines cake. It may take some time and effort, but every single part can be made ahead of time! I’ll include more detailed make ahead information in the notes below. Enjoy!
More Chocolate Covered Strawberry Recipes:
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
- White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
- Mini Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecakes
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milkshakes
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Let’s get baking!
Reduced Strawberry Purée:
- 2 cups (16 oz) fresh strawberries, stems removed
Chocolate Cake Layers:
- 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 and 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
- 2 and 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
- 12 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
- 3/4 cup Strawberry purée, cooled completely (recipe above)
- 4-6 Tbsp heavy cream or milk, as needed
- Pink gel food colouring (optional)
Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
- 10 large strawberries, rinsed and pat dry
- 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup pink candy melts
- 2 cups (16 oz) fresh strawberries, stems removed and diced
For the Reduced Strawberry Purée:
- Purée strawberries in a blender until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Cook the purée over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 20-25 minutes, or until purée has reduced to 3/4 cup or a little more.
- Allow reduced purée to cool to room temperature, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely. You can let it cool overnight.
For the Chocolate Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350° F (177°C). Prepare four 8-inch round cake pans with parchment rounds, and grease the sides. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to combine, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Lower the speed to medium-low and add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the vanilla and instant coffee granules. Add the sour cream to the batter along with the vanilla coffee mixture and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Alternately add dry ingredients in thirds and buttermilk in 2 additions to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat each addition just until combined. Divide batter equally between the cake pans, a little over 2 cups per pan.
- Bake two layers at a time for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting. Or at this point, you can wrap all the cake layers tightly in plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate until ready to assemble.
For the Ganache:
- In a heat safe bowl, microwave the heavy whipping cream and chocolate chips together in 30 second intervals, until the cream is steaming hot. This takes me about 1 minute.
- Stir until the mixture comes together to form a thick ganache. Set aside.
For the Strawberry Buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter until super pale and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.Add half of the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and beat on low speed after each cup until combined.
- Once combined add reduced strawberry purée and continue to beat until combined and smooth.
- Add remaining powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on low speed until it’s all combined. If the frosting is too thick, add heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Tint with pink gel food colouring if you want a more vibrant colour.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat for about 5-7 minutes, or until frosting is light and fluffy.
For the Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
- Wash the strawberries and dry them completely. Set aside. You only need about 10 large strawberries for the cake, but there should be enough chocolate to dip a few extra.
- Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or wax paper. Set aside.
- Melt dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon of shortening in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until fully melted and smooth.
- Using a toothpick or holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the strawberries in the chocolate. Shake off excess chocolate and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes to set.
- Once chocolate coating is set, melt the pink candy melts in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring after each interval until fully melted and smooth.
- Pour melted candy melts into a squeeze bottle or a small ziplock bag and snip off a tiny corner.
- Remove strawberries from the refrigerator and drizzle the pink chocolate on top of each. Transfer back to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assembly of the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake:
- Use an offset spatula to place a dollop of frosting onto a cake board or serving platter that’s on a turntable. Place one cake layer on top and spread about 1 cup of the strawberry buttercream on top of the first layer.
- Scoop some frosting into a disposable piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe a double rim of frosting around the edges of the cake and spoon in some of the ganache and spread into a thin layer.
- Spread on a handful of diced strawberries. Repeat with all layers, placing the final layer upside down.
- Frost the entire cake with a thin layer of strawberry buttercream. Chill the cake for 30 minutes.
- Remove cake from refrigerator and frost the entire cake with a thick layer of frosting. Chill cake in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.
- Pour remaining ganache into a disposable piping bag or a ziploc bag and snip off the tip. Drip the ganache off the edge of the cake and fill the center. Use an offset spatula to to spread the ganache over the top. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to set the ganache.
- Transfer remaining frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I used Wilton 8B). Remove cake from the refrigerator and pipe 10 swirls over the top. Top each swirl with a chocolate covered strawberry. Slice and serve!
- Make ahead: (1) Chocolate Cake layers can be made ahead of time and double-wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. (2) Ganache can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator covered. Reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth. (3) Strawberry Frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for several months. Before using — allow frosting to come to room temperature, then re-whip in a stand mixer until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries: I don’t recommend making the chocolate covered strawberries ahead of time because the moisture from the strawberries would leak and the chocolate would get grainy.
- Reduced Strawberry Purée: you can use thawed frozen strawberries instead of fresh strawberries, though the cooking time may be longer since there will be more liquid.
- Chocolate Cake Layers: feel free to replace half of the unsweetened cocoa powder with dutch-process cocoa for a deeper flavour.
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Ateco 4712 Disposable Decorating Bags, 12-Inch, Pack of 100
Wilton Decorating Tip, No.8B Star Open Stock (402-8800)
Ateco Plastic Coated Decorating Bag, 18-Inch
Ateco Pastry Tube - Plain - Size 808
Wilton Icing Spatula Set for Baking, 3-Piece - 13 and 9-Inch Angled and 11-Inch Straight Spatulas
Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Decorating Stand, 12" Round, Cast Iron Base with 1/8" Aluminum Top
Wilton Aluminum Round Performance Pan Multipack, 8 in. x 2 in. (2-Pack)
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