These Decadent Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes are made with a moist chocolate cake base and a creamy strawberry buttercream frosting. They are easy to make and can be garnished with fresh strawberries or chocolate-covered strawberries for an extra special touch!

Chocolate strawberry cupcakes topped with fresh berries on a pink plate.
Top with fresh berries.

The combination of rich chocolate and fresh strawberries is a classic flavor pairing that never goes out of style. Let’s talk about why chocolate and strawberries go together all too well. As a trained pastry chef, I always like to talk about the why behind the flavors.

The bright, tangy sweetness of fresh strawberries perfectly complements the rich, deep flavor of chocolate. You know that cold tangy feeling you get when you bite into a chilled chocolate covered strawberry? That’s what we’re going for here. It’s a flavor combination that is both luxurious and refreshing, making it the perfect choice for a special occasion.

For this cupcake recipe, a moist, fluffy chocolate cupcake is combined with a creamy strawberry buttercream frosting, the result is a dessert that is both tasty and impressive! You can also top these cupcakes with my strawberry cream cheese frosting for an extra tangy flavor.

If you have a lot of cupcakes to make you could switch these off with a classic strawberry cupcake recipe, or try these decadent strawberry brownies for the same rich chocolate strawberry combo!

WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • The chocolate cake base is light and fluffy, with just the right amount of rich chocolate flavor that balances the fruity taste of strawberry.
  • The strawberry buttercream frosting is creamy and bursting with fresh strawberry flavor and can be used on a variety of different desserts!
  • The addition of fresh strawberries or chocolate covered strawberries makes for a beautiful and delicious garnish.
  • These cupcakes are easy to make and perfect for any occasion, from birthdays to dinner parties or a special date night!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

Ingredients for the cupcakes
For the cupcakes. You’ll need fresh strawberries if you want to garnish.
Ingredients for strawberry buttercream frosting.
For the strawberry frosting.
  • Sugar – Provides sweetness to the cupcakes and helps to create a tender texture by tenderizing the gluten in the flour.
  • All Purpose Flour – Gives structure and volume to the cupcakes.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder -Adds rich chocolate flavor and dark rich brown color to the cupcakes.
  • Leavening Agents – Both baking soda and baking powder help the cupcakes to rise and create a light, fluffy texture.
  • Kosher Salt – Enhances the flavor of the cupcakes and balances the sweetness.
  • Eggs – Provide structure and stability to the cupcakes and help them to rise.
  • Sour Cream – Adds moisture to the cupcakes and creates a tender texture.
  • Black Coffee or Water – Enhances the chocolate flavor and adds moisture to the cupcakes.
  • Vegetable Oil – Adds moisture to the cupcakes and creates a tender texture.
  • Vanilla Extract – Enhances the overall flavor of the cupcakes and balances the chocolate with warming vanilla.
  • Garnish – Though optional, fresh strawberries and dark chocolate to make chocolate-covered strawberries add a beautiful presentation and delicious flavor to the cupcakes, making them perfect for special occasions.

For the frosting:

  • Unsalted Butter – Provides the base for the frosting and adds richness and creaminess along with a classic buttercream flavor.
  • Freeze Dried Strawberries – Add natural strawberry flavor and color to the frosting without adding excess moisture, which could make the frosting too runny.
  • Powdered Sugar – Sweetens the frosting and helps to create a smooth, fluffy texture.
  • Cream or Milk – Adds moisture and richness to the frosting, creating a smooth, creamy texture that is easy to pipe or spread.
  • Vanilla Extract – Enhances the flavor of the frosting and balances the sweetness.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt can help cut through the sweetness, enhancing the natural flavors.

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES

Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Whisk to combine.

Mix in the wet ingredients: To the dry mixture, add in the eggs, sour cream, and warm coffee or water and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Add in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix again. Make sure you whisk well, some dry ingredients can get trapped on the bottom of the bowl.

Fill and bake: Fill each ⅔ of the way full with batter. Bake for 18 mins. Cool in the cupcake tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate batter in a mixing bowl.
Mix the batter until smooth.
Chocolate batter in a muffin tin on a pink tiled surface.
Fill the batter 2/3 of the way full.
Chocolate cupcakes in a muffin tin.
The cupcakes should be moist.

Make the frosting 

Prepare the strawberries: Grind the freeze-dried strawberries in a spice grinder or small blender or crush them in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin. They should be powdery and very small. If they are too big, the pieces will get stuck in the piping tip when you decorate them.

Cream butter and sugar: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add softened butter,crushed freeze-dried strawberries, and powdered sugar. Cream on low, building up to high when the butter has incorporated most of the sugar to prevent spilling. Mix on high for 2 minutes.

Adjust thickness: Add in the 2 tbsp cream or milk and 1 tsp vanilla, and continue to mix for another minute. The buttercream should have stiff peaks. If the frosting is too thick, add another tbsp of cream.

Frost cupcakes: Fill a piping bag fitted with a large tip with frosting and pipe onto the cupcakes. Alternatively, you can use a knife to frost. 

Powdered sugar and freeze dried strawberries in a mixing bowl.
You must use freeze dried strawberries for this recipe. Fresh berries would add too much moisture.
Strawberry frosting in a mixing bowl.
Mix the frosting till its thick but able to spread.

How to make chocolate covered strawberries

Wash and dry the strawberries well with the tops still on. Make sure they are very dry, or the chocolate won’t harden around the strawberry.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate for 30 seconds in the microwave until melted. Dip the strawberries in the chocolate, then lay them on wax or parchment paper to dry. To speed up the hardening of the chocolate, place them in the freezer for 5 minutes. Place on top of each cupcake. Enjoy!

A chocolate strawberry cupcake topped with a chocolate covered strawberry.
Add a chocolate covered strawberry for extra decadence.

TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS

  • Be sure your eggs and butter are at room temperature before you begin baking. Room temperature ingredients emulsify better, leading to a smoother batter and frosting. Learn how to soften butter quickly for best results!
  • Don’t overmix the batter, as this can cause the cupcakes to become dense and tough. Mix until the ingredients are just incorporated and no lumps remain.
  • Grind the freeze dried strawberries finely to prevent them from getting stuck in the piping tip. If they are too large, they will not pass through the piping tip easily and can cause the frosting to look uneven.
  • To create a professional-looking frosting, use a piping bag and a large tip to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
  • If you do not have a piping bag, you can use a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off, or spread the frosting on with a knife.
  • Top each cupcake with a fresh strawberry or a chocolate covered strawberry to add a beautiful finishing touch.

STORAGE AND FREEZING

Storing: These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freezing: To freeze, wrap the cupcakes individually in plastic wrap UNFROSTED and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before frosting and serving.

FAQ

Where can I find freeze dried strawberries?

Freeze dried strawberries can typically be found in the baking or dried fruit aisle of most grocery stores and stores like Trader Joe’s or Aldi. They can also be purchased online.

Can I use fresh strawberries instead of freeze dried?

For this recipe, using fresh strawberries is not a good idea because they contain too much liquid and will make the frosting runny. Freeze dried strawberries are the best option, as they provide the flavor without any added moisture.

MORE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE RECIPES

Chocolate strawberry cupcakes topped with fresh berries on a pink plate.
5 stars (3 ratings)

Decadent Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

These Decadent Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes are made with a moist chocolate cake base and a creamy strawberry buttercream frosting. They are easy to make and can be garnished with fresh strawberries or chocolate-covered strawberries for an extra special touch!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar, (200g)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, (240g)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (42g)
  • ½ tsp baking soda, (3g)
  • ½ tsp Baking powder, (2g)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, (3.5g)
  • 2 eggs, (100g)
  • ½ cup sour cream, (114g)
  • cup black coffee, or water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 strawberries, fresh for garnish (optional)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate, to make chocolate covered strawberries (optional)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries, a 1.2 oz bag makes 1 cup pulverized
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream, or milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • 1 pinch salt, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp baking powder, and ½ tsp kosher salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Chocolate batter in a mixing bowl.
    Add in the 2 eggs, ½ cup sour cream, and ⅓ cup warm coffee or water and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
  • Add in the 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix again. Make sure you whisk well, some dry ingredients can get trapped on the bottom of the bowl.
  • Chocolate batter in a muffin tin on a pink tiled surface.
    Fill each ⅔ of the way full with batter.
  • Chocolate cupcakes in a muffin tin.
    Bake for 18 mins. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the frosting:

  • Grind the freeze dried strawberries in a spice grinder, small blender or crush them in a zip top bag with a rolling pin. They should be powdery and very small. If they are too big, the pieces will get stuck in the piping tip when you decorate them.
  • Powdered sugar and freeze dried strawberries in a mixing bowl.
    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup crushed freeze dried strawberries, and 3 cups powdered sugar.
  • Cream on low building up to high when the butter has incorporated most of the sugar to prevent spilling.
  • Mix on high for 2 minutes.
  • Strawberry frosting in a mixing bowl.
    Add in the 2 tbsp cream or milk and 1 tsp vanilla, and continue to mix for another minute. The buttercream should have stiff peaks. If the frosting is too thick, add another tbsp of cream.
  • Fill a piping bag fitted with a large tip with frosting and pipe onto the cupcakes. Alternatively you can use a knife to frost.

Chocolate covered strawberries:

  • To make chocolate covered strawberries, wash and dry the strawberries well with the tops still on. Make sure they are super dry or the chocolate wont harden around the strawberry.
  • In a small bowl melt the ½ cup chocolate 30 seconds at a time in the microwave until melted.
  • Dip the strawberries in the chocolate, then lay on wax or parchment paper to dry.
  • To speed up the hardening of the chocolate, place them in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  • A chocolate strawberry cupcake topped with a chocolate covered strawberry.
    Top cupcakes.

Notes

You can also top these cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting.
Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 585kcal, Carbohydrates: 88g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 183mg, Potassium: 565mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 69g, Vitamin A: 613IU, Vitamin C: 369mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 9mg
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