Chocolate Strawberry Cake is my most popular cake recipe, and it’s no surprise why! The moist, fluffy cake layered with a fruity strawberry buttercream frosting make this dessert perfect for any occasion.
about this chocolate strawberry cake
Have I mentioned before that I LOVE CAKE?
Because I really, really do. Especially when it is chocolate.
The first attempt at this chocolate strawberry cake, as you probably read about before, was an absolute disaster.
It was an epic failure. And left me cleaning out our oven for about an hour. Not my finest baking attempt.
Luckily the second attempt came out perfectly! Turns out I just needed to cut down the recipe a bit.
I suppose I can look on the bright side – I ended up with an amazing cake that literally will melt in your mouth AND a clean oven.
And a whole new perspective on baking.
The best part about this cake, aside from the fluffy, moist chocolate cake, is the fresh strawberry puree in the buttercream frosting. The taste of strawberries literally pops in your mouth.
I think I am going through a strawberry obsession.
You know how I had that obsession with lemon and that other obsession with goat cheese? This is like that. Except times twenty. You probably think I am a bit crazy. But come on, strawberries and chocolate? Who in their right mind can live without that combination?
So go ahead, indulge yourself. You know you want to. This chocolate cake recipe deserves obsessing over.
Note: This is an updated version of the original posted on April 3rd, 2013.
flour. Simple all-purpose flour is all you need to use here, nothing fancy!
sugar. You will need granulated sugar for the cake and confectioners sugar for the frosting.
cocoa powder. If you love chocolate desserts, you need the right cocoa powder. Bon Appétit has named this Guittard Cocoa Rouge as the best cocoa powder of all, and I am inclined to believe them after trying it myself. The Dutch process cocoa powder is elite and you will never wonder if you put in enough cocoa powder again!
leaveners. You will need both baking powder and baking soda for this chocolate strawberry cake!
salt. Be sure to use fine kosher salt so that it incorporates evenly into the cake batter.
eggs. Make sure that your eggs are truly large size as this will impact the ratio of the cake.
buttermilk. Buttermilk is my key to getting my cake moist and fluffy! It’s a must whenever I am making my favorite cakes.
oil. You will need canola oil to make the cake recipe!
vanilla. I always recommend using a high-quality vanilla extract for your recipes, including this frosting. My favorite is Nielsen Massey – their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract is amazing.
water. When I first starting researching cake recipes and referred to my grandmother’s recipes, I saw boiling water pop up in the recipe. Turns out, it helps the cocoa powder dissolve and also bring out more flavor while also helping you avoid any cocoa lumps.
butter. Unsalted butter is key here and make sure to soften it to room temperature. If you don’t have enough time to soften it, just throw it in the microwave for about 10 seconds to get it soft before beating for the frosting.
strawberries. Fresh strawberries are always my first recommendation, especially when they are in season!
this recipe’s must haves
Make sure that you have your stand mixer or a mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer to get the cake and frosting to absolute perfection. I generally end up using both because I don’t like to clean in between… Have I mentioned how much I hate doing dishes?
I love using this Wilton 2 Piece Round Pan Set, 9-Inch to get the layers in my cake perfect. You’ll need to buy two sets to get three layers, but the small investment is worth it!
Every wonder the secret to frosting a cake with ease? It’s using an offset spatula because it will seriously change your life. It makes it SO much easier to layer on the frosting!
here’s how to make strawberry chocolate cake
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Rub two 9-inch round cake pans with butter. Dust with extra flour and tap out the excess.
Sift the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa power, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until just combined.
Increase speed to medium and add in eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Turn off mixer and carefully pour in boiling water. Beat on high for about 1 minutes until well-combined.
Divide cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. I like to use a scale to be as precise as possible!
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto wire cooling racks to cool completely before frosting and assembling.
While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Puree strawberries in a food processor.
Cream butter in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (be sure to clean the bowl and paddle between making the cake batter and the frosting!). Slowly beat in confectioners sugar, beating until just combined.
Add strawberry puree and vanilla. Beat until buttercream is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add one cake to a cake stand. Frost the top and place the second cake on top. Frost the entire can and decorate as desired. I love to use fresh strawberries on top and slices around the base as you see here!
Want to know all the details about the strawberry buttercream frosting, with all my tips and tricks? I’ve linked the post here!
tips for success
avoid domed cakes. If the tops of your cakes are domed, you can use a serrated knife to shave off the top of the domes so they stack evenly. I also like the use the trick of flipping the cakes upside-down to get the flat-sides on top for easy assembly and frosting of the layer cake.
don’t overmix. Be sure not to overmix the batter or the chocolate strawberry cake will end up being tough, dry, and dense.
measure flour correctly. Too much flour can result in a dense cake. Be sure to use the spoon method of spooning flour into your measuring cups before leveling it off with a knife. This ensures you don’t overpack the measuring cup!
add more strawberry flavor. If you want to add even more strawberry flavor to this cake, you can brush the cooked cake layers with strawberry simple syrup before frosting them!
can you turn these into cupcakes?
Yes you can! If you do so, you will end up with a little over a dozen cupcakes. For the baking time, start by cutting the total time in half and check on them every few minutes after that.
can I use frozen strawberries?
Frozen strawberries are just fine for the strawberry frosting! Just be sure to thaw them completely and then drain them of any excess liquid.
are the cake layers thick?
As you can tell in the photos, they certainly are! I love thick layers of cake personally, but this cake also works if you want to make three layers. Simply divide the batter between three pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
why do you use buttermilk?
It makes the cake lighter and more tender! If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can add 3/4 Tbsp lemon just to 3/4 cup whole milk. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes and then you will have a homemade buttermilk substitute!
Need more inspiration for a sweet treat? Check out my dessert recipes page!
how to store
Store. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days covered with plastic wrap. To prevent the buttercream from being ruined, you can use a cake dome
Finally, if you make this chocolate strawberry cake frosting recipe, please be sure to give this recipe a rating or leave a comment! I love to hear when you all make recipes, and I do take the time to respond to every single comment. Feel free to drop questions below too, if you have them!
Oh and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make the recipe! I love being able to see these recipes come to life in your homes – it’s my favorite thing to look through those photos. It really means the world to me!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh, ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed, and hulled
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter two 9" round cake pans, and dust with extra flour, tapping out excess.
- Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low-speed until just combined. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. Turn mixer off and carefully add boiling water. Beat on high for approximately 1 minute until well-combined.
- Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until set and a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes of a cooling rack, turn out cakes onto the rack and allow to cool completely before frosting and assembling.
- To make the frosting, puree the strawberries in a food processor. Set aside.
- Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Gradually confectioners sugar, beating until just combined.
- Add strawberry puree and vanilla and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy (approximately 3-5 minutes).
- Frost the tops of your cakes and stack on top of each other to form three layers. Add a final layer of frosting to the outside and decorate with extra strawberries if you desire.