These moist chocolate strawberry-filled cupcakes are deeply chocolaty with fresh strawberry filling and are topped with naturally colored strawberry cream cheese frosting.
If you love chocolate-covered strawberries, this is the dessert for you.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- These cupcakes are topped with not-too-sweet naturally colored light pink strawberry cream cheese frosting.
- This recipe is easy to make with common ingredients.
- Delicious chocolate pairs beautifully with sweet strawberries. They are the perfect Valentine's Day dessert or way to enjoy the strawberry season.
The buttermilk and egg yolks should be at room temperature. Room temperature ingredients are easier to incorporate. If possible, set out your ingredients about an hour before baking.
Bittersweet Baking Chocolate: Use freshly chopped baking chocolate and not chocolate chips, which won't melt as smoothly.
Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder: Dutch-process cocoa powder is much darker than regular cocoa powder. This is my favorite Duch-process cocoa powder.
Hot Coffee: Adding hot liquid to the batter blooms the cocoa powder and intensifies the flavor. The addition of coffee to any chocolate dessert also increased the chocolate flavor.
You can also mix ½ a cup of boiling water with 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder.
Salt: I add at least a pinch of salt to all of my recipes. Salt complements and intensifies the other flavors. For all of my recipes, I use Morton Kosher Salt which is saltier than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you are using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt you will want to double the amount of salt you add.
Baking Soda: The baking soda reacts with the acid in the chocolate, brown sugar, and buttermilk to raise the cupcakes.
Buttermilk: Make your own buttermilk by adding ½ a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to ½ a cup of milk. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until it begins to curdle.
Vegetable Oil: Oil helps to keep the cupcakes moist. You could also substitute other neutral-flavored oils like canola oil.
Egg Yolk: Cold eggs are easier to separate than warm eggs. Separate your eggs and then return the egg whites to the refrigerator to use for another purpose. Let the egg yolks set out on the counter to warm to room temperature.
Vanilla Extract: My preference is to use pure vanilla extract rather than imitation vanilla. I usually make my own vanilla extract by soaking vanilla beans in vodka.
Filling and Frosting
Strawberry Jam: For a shortcut use store-bought strawberry jam or make your own homemade roasted strawberry jam.
Freeze-Dried Strawberries: Freeze-dried strawberries can be found in most grocery stores in the snack aisle. I typically pick mine up at Aldi. If you can't find them at the grocery store they can also be purchased from Amazon.
Cream Cheese: Make sure your cream cheese has softened to room temperature to make creaming easier. You must use full-fat block cream cheese. Trying to substitute low-fat cream cheese or worse cream cheese spread will result in runny frosting.
Unsalted Butter: Butter brings some amazing flavor to these cupcakes. I prefer to use unsalted butter because the salinity of butter can vary from brand to brand. By using unsalted butter and adding salt I can control how much salt is added to the batter.
Make sure your butter has softened to room temperature to make creaming easier.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Kitchen scale: Kitchen scales make baking faster and neater. Accuracy matters in baking. Scales are more precise than measuring cups. Too much flour or not enough sugar can dramatically change a recipe. The most accurate way to bake is to measure your ingredients by weight rather than volume.
A kitchen scale also reduces the number of dishes you will need to wash because you are measuring each ingredient directly from the container into the mixing bowl without the use of measuring cups.
This scale from OXO is the one I use after it was recommended by Alton Brown. What makes this scale great is the display pulls out to make viewing measurements easier when using a large bowl.
Rubber spatula: For folding batters together, I prefer a stiffer spatula like this one from OXO. It fits comfortably in my hand, is dishwasher safe, and is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Both the handle and head are silicone coated which makes it easy to clean and safe to use with my non-stick cookware and bakeware.
Muffin Pan: My muffin pans are from Wilton. They have a non-stick coating which means they are easy to clean and muffins come out cleanly with or without muffin liners. They are dishwasher safe but to keep them in their best condition I prefer to hand wash them.
Cooling rack: Cooling racks are essential for cooling baked goods quickly and preventing soggy bottoms. I really like these cooling racks from the Checkered Chef. They are recommended by Cook's Illustrated, are very sturdy, and are free from coatings which means they are safe to use in the oven as well.
In a medium heatproof bowl add the chopped chocolate, hot coffee, and cocoa powder. Let sit for five minutes and then whisk until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
Whisk the sugars, buttermilk, oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and chocolate mixture together in a large bowl.
Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
Fill the cupcake liners about ¾ full and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Remove cupcakes from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 2 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Use a blender or food processor, to pulverize the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder. You should have about a ¼ cup. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
Add the powdered sugar, strawberry powder, 2 vanilla, and salt.
Mix on medium-high speed for about 2-3 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Once the cupcakes have cooled remove the center of the cupcake.
Fill each cupcake with strawberry jam.
Replace the cupcake top and either use a piping bag and tip or knife to top each cupcake with the frosting.
(Optional) Decorate the tops of the cupcakes with crushed freeze-dried strawberries, a fresh strawberry, or chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Bake the cupcakes ahead of time. Once they have cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for one to two days.
Unfrosted cupcakes can also be stored in the freezer sealed in an airtight container for up to one month.
The frosting can also be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container. Depending upon how long the frosting is stored you may need to re-beat it just before using it until it is light and fluffy.
Easily change the flavor of these cupcakes by substituting different jams and freeze-dried fruit.
Once frosted the cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Room temperature ingredients are easier to incorporate together.
- Do not overmix the batter. Overmixing can incorporate too much air causing the cupcakes to rise quickly and then fall in the center as they bake. Overmixing can also create tough cupcakes.
- Use a cookie scoop to evenly portion the cupcake batter into the muffin pans.
- Do not overfill the cupcake liners. Overfilling will cause a muffin top and possibly allow the centers of the cupcakes to sink. The liner helps to support the cupcake. Once it rises above the liner it no longer has the necessary support.
- Wait until the cupcakes have cooled completely before coring them. Warm cupcakes are delicate and more likely to fall apart.
- Do not frost warm cupcakes. The heat from the cupcakes will cause the butter in the frosting to melt.
- Because cream cheese frosting is softer than traditional buttercream you may need to refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes before trying to pipe it onto the cupcakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don't have a cupcake corer you can use a knife to carefully cut a small circle out of the center of the cupcakes.
Or scoop out the cupcake centers with a melon baller.
When coring a cupcake, be careful to not go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake. You want to leave a small base for your filling to sit on.
I like to save cupcake scraps to make cake balls.
To fill a cupcake use either a small spoon or a pastry bag filled with the filling. Fill the cupcake until the filling is level with the top of the cupcake.
Baking times for all recipes are only suggestions. The actual baking time will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus.
There are a few clues to look for to tell when your cupcakes are done.
Jiggle the cupcake pan. If the batter moves in the pan, continue baking.
You can also gently poke the top of a cupcake with your finger. If it leaves an indent bake for a few minutes longer. If it springs back your cupcakes are probably done.
Use a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake to check for doneness. If it comes out clean or with just a crumb or two sticking to it your cupcakes are done. If there is uncooked batter on the toothpick bake the cupcakes for a few minutes longer.
Alternatively, you can check your cupcakes with an instant-read thermometer. This one from ThermoWorks is my favorite. Once the center has reached 205 - 210 degrees Fahrenheit the loaf is done.
More Strawberry Recipes
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