Strawberry chocolate cake is a deliciously soft, totally rich and chocolatey dessert that’s just made for berry season!
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You guys. I think I’m becoming a chocolate-with-fruit person. Could it be? I used to despise the combo but then I made raspberry brownies. And I loved them.
So I thought maybe I could get behind chocolate with another berry. . .enter strawberry chocolate cake. Soft chocolate cake layers, sweet strawberry jam filling, creamy chocolate buttercream. . .all of that made from scratch.
This cake is a labor of love that I didn’t expect to like much—and then I took a bite and then another bite and then a third. And then I was like OMG. I’m in love with chocolate and strawberries!
Who’d a thunk it?
Why you’ll love this strawberry chocolate cake:
- You don’t need a stand mixer!
- It’s a delicious way to use fresh strawberries
- It’s a great make-ahead option because it needs to chill several hours before you slice it
How to Make Strawberry Chocolate Cake
Make the chocolate cake layers first, then while they’re cooling you’ll make the strawberry filling.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Baker’s tip: Stir your dry ingredients well because cocoa powder tends to clump together and you don’t want to over-stir once you combine flour with liquids (or your cake may turn out dense). If your cocoa powder is really clumpy, sift it before stirring into the rest of the dry ingredients.
Combine sugar, melted butter, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla in a second mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then slowly add coffee (or flat cola), mixing until just incorporated. Divide batter evenly between three 8-inch cake pans and bake for about half an hour.
How to Make Strawberry Jam Filling
While your cake layers are cooling, make the strawberry filling. Puree strawberries in a food processor until liquid. Combine that with granulated sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Stir that mixture into water and unflavored gelatin. (See that second pic above? The mixture looks kind of foamy because of the gelatin. That’s normal!). Fold in chopped strawberries, then refrigerate that for 2 hours; the filling will get thick enough to spread.
Note: unflavored gelatin can typically be found right next to the jello in a regular grocery store. I like Knox brand, but use what you can find.
How to Make Chocolate Buttercream
Once your filling has thickened, you’ll make the chocolate buttercream. Start with room temperature unsalted butter. Beat that until it’s very creamy, then add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, salt, and vanilla.
Beat until it’s very creamy, then adjust the consistency with more milk (if the frosting is too thick) or more powdered sugar (if it’s too thin).
To assemble your chocolate strawberry cake, begin by trimming your cake layers if they’ve domed. I use a long serrated knife and these cake slicing guides. Set one layer on a cake stand or a cardboard cake circle.
Transfer about 1 cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe a circle of frosting around the edge of the cake. Spread half of the strawberry filling inside the circle and top with a second layer.
Repeat the process of piping a circle of frosting, then fill with the remaining filling. Top with the final cake layer and frost and decorate the cake as desired.
Baker’s tip: If your chocolate strawberry cake (or any other cake for that matter) wobbles when you’re frosting it, pop the cake into the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes to set the buttercream between the layers. This trick saves my life in the summer!
I used this tip to pipe frosting on top of the cake. Topping the cake with chocolate covered strawberries would be really fun, too.
Phew, that’s a lot of typing. But it should be everything you need to know to make this glorious strawberry chocolate cake. If I love it this much than I think you will too!
PS, how pretty is that filling? I can’t get over the beautiful pop of red!
Did you make this strawberry chocolate cake? Great! Let me know what you think with a rating and a comment below. Then post a pic on Insta so I can see your beautiful creations!
Strawberry chocolate cake is a delicious, made-from-scratch dessert that is perfect for berry season!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups warm coffee you can substitute flat cola
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 cups about 10 ounces whole strawberries*
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup about 5 ounces chopped strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 to 5 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- additional strawberries for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour. Set pans aside.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. (Be sure to stir very well because cocoa powder tends to clump together. If your cocoa powder is really clumpy, sift it before stirring with the rest of the dry ingredients.)
Combine the sugar, butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then slowly add the coffee (or cola), mixing until just incorporated. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until the cakes spring back when touched gently with your finger.
Let cake layers cool in pans for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the pans to cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting your cake.
Combine the gelatin and water in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cut the 2 cups of whole strawberries into small pieces and puree in a food processor. Pour the pureed berries into a small saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly.
Allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes. Pour into the bowl with the water and gelatin; stir until incorporated, then stir in the 1 cup of chopped berries. Refrigerate until thickened, about 2 hours.
When the filling has thickened and the cake layers are completely cool, make the frosting. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very smooth.
Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar, the cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons of the milk or cream, and the vanilla, espresso powder, and salt. Mix on low until well combined, stopping a few times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Turn mixer to medium and beat until frosting is very smooth. Add additional powdered sugar if frosting is too thin and additional milk or cream if it is too thick.
Once your cake layers have cooled, use a long serrated knife to trim them if they’ve domed.
Set 1 cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle. Transfer about 1 cup of frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe a circle of frosting around the perimeter of the cake. (This keeps the filling from oozing out.)
Spread half of the filling into an even layer inside the circle.
Top with a second cake layer and repeat that process. Top with the final cake layer. Frost and decorate cake as desired. Chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight) to set the frosting and filling, then slice and serve.
Uneaten cake can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days or (tightly wrapped) in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- *If your berries are large, cut them in half before measuring.
- Because of the thick layer of filling, your cake may be wobbly when you try to frost it. If that happens just pop it in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes to set the buttercream between the layers.
- Use a very sharp knife run under hot water to slice your cake; this helps prevent the filling from oozing out.
Filling adapted from Food Network