These Double Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes pack a ton of chocolate flavor and are filled with fudgey chocolate ganache. Top with fluffy strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream for a perfect and classic flavor combination.
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These Double Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes are SUCH a delicious treat. Using classic flavors and ingredients, these cupcakes are moist, filled with rich chocolate ganache, and are topped with a silky strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream. Top the cupcakes with a strawberry to add a bite of freshness. Double this recipe to make 24 cupcakes!
How to make these ultimate chocolate cupcakes
- All-purpose flour. Less than one cup is needed!
- Granulated sugar. This helps to keep the cake extra moist and is also necessary for the Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC).
- Cocoa powder. I used dutch-processed cocoa for this recipe to create an extra dark chocolate. Natural cocoa can be used in place for this recipe, but keep in mind this cannot be equally substituted in all recipes.
- Baking soda. Leavener #1, which requires sour cream (acid) to activate it.
- Baking powder. Leavener #2, which activates when combined with liquid, and provides additional lift (and helps create that perfect cupcake dome!)
- Kosher salt.
- Eggs. The egg for the cupcake batter must be room temperature. The egg whites for the SMBC can be any temperature.
- Sour cream. Keeps the cupcakes moist. Must be at room temperature.
- Vegetable oil. Also keeps the cupcakes extra moist!
- Vanilla paste or extract. I always prefer paste, as the taste truly comes through best. But use whatever you have.
- Hot coffee. Hot water can also be used, if coffee is not available.
- Semi-sweet chocolate. For the ganache. Chips or chopped chocolate can be used.
- Heavy whipping cream. Gets added to the semi-sweet chocolate to create the ganache.
- Unsalted butter. MUST be at room temperature for the SMBC. Too cold or too warm will split the buttercream. Read my post on Room Temperature Butter to find out more.
- Freeze dried strawberries. They will need to be completely ground up with no large chunks. I like to do this in my spice grinder. I always find my freeze dried strawberries at Aldi!
How to achieve domed cupcakes
Achieving domed tops starts by adding the correct amount of baking soda and baking powder. Luckily, this has already been tested for you (by me!) so that part is taken care of.
However, there are other factors to help make sure this is achieved. First, make sure to only fill the cupcake liners to half. Overfilling the cupcakes will lead to overflow and will definitely create uneven tops.
Additionally, when removing the cupcakes from the oven, be sure not to put them in an overly chilly or drafty area. Drastic changes in temperature can cause baked goods to fall.
Moist chocolate cupcakes
These cupcakes are SO moist and soft. How is this achieved? Sugar! Oil! Sour Cream! Egg! Sugar is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs and retains liquid. That’s why baked goods with high amounts of sugar are typically extra moist. Additionally, the fats (oil, sour cream, egg) also contribute to keeping moisture in these cupcakes.
Chocolate ganache filling
Room temperature chocolate ganache provides a fudgey, rich bite to the middle of each chocolate cupcake. To make the ganache, simply add hot heavy cream to chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and let it stand for one minute. Using a rubber spatula, stir from the middle, slowly moving outward, until all of the chocolate and cream are incorporated.
Allow the ganache to thicken before filling the cupcakes – it should be a similar consistency to peanut butter. This will naturally happen when sitting at room temperature, but if you need to thicken it more quickly, place it to the fridge and stir it every couple of minutes until it’s the correct consistency. If it gets too firm, let it sit at room temperature until it is a pipeable consistency.
Switch it to strawberry filling inside!
Don’t want to fill the cupcakes with chocolate ganache? Try adding strawberry jam, or finely chopped fresh strawberries to the inside of the cupcakes, instead! This makes your cupcakes extra strawberry-like in flavor, if that flavor profile is preferred.
How to fill cupcakes
There are tools specifically for removing the center of cupcakes, but I find that the round end of a wooden spoon works perfectly. Press down in the center of the cupcake firmly, but do not press the spoon the entire way to the bottom. This compresses the cake down towards the bottom.
Add the ganache to a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut off the tip. Squeeze in enough ganache until it just rises out of the top.
How to make the strawberry frosting
This strawberry frosting uses Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) as the base. This is hands down the most luscious of all buttercream, and is far less sweet than an American buttercream.
Start by whisking together sugar and egg whites in a heat proof bowl and place it on top of a saucepan with one inch of water inside. Bring it to a boil and whisk constantly until the the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is rather warm to the touch (160℉). If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, check this by rubbing your finger and thumb together in the mixture. If you can still feel sugar granules, continue heating and whisking. The mixture will look opaque and similar to a powdered sugar glaze.
Add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high for about five minutes. The mixture will look similar to marshmallow fluff at this point and the bowl should no longer feel warm to the touch. If it feels warm at this point, allow it to sit until it cools.
With the mixer running on low to medium low speed, add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Do not add the next piece until the prior piece is incorporated.
After about half of the butter goes in, the mixture may look curdled or split. Don’t panic – this is normal! Continue adding the rest of the butter. Finally, add the finely ground freeze dried strawberries and mix to completely incorporate.
Transfer the SMBC to a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the top of each cupcake.
What piping tip should I use?
If you don’t have piping tips, use a freezer ziplock bag and instead of swirling, squeeze the buttercream out in the center of the cupcake until it almost hits the edges. Then, lift slightly and squeeze again until the second layer creates a tier on top of the first layer.
Can these be frozen?
Yes! These Double Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes (filled or unfilled, but without frosting) can be frozen for up to one month in a tightly sealed container or ziplock bag. Remove from the container and allow to stand at room temperature for one hour.
Freeze the Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream in an airtight container for up to three months. When ready to use, let stand at room temperature for one hour, then rewhip on medium high speed with the whisk attachment for one to two minutes to bring it back to life.
Looking for more chocolate cake recipes?
Double Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment, or handheld mixer
- Spice grinder or small blender
- 12 hole muffin tin
- Cupcake liners
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (90g)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (35g)
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream room temperature (90g)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (75g)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup hot coffee or water
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chopped (85g)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (119g)
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 2 egg whites (50g)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 10 T unsalted butter room temperature (150g)
- 4 T freeze dried strawberries ground into powder (25g)
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Fresh strawberries for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla with a whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add the hot coffee or water and carefully stir to combine.
- Fill each cupcake liner halfway full, and bake for 13-15 minutes. The top of the cupcake will spring back when touched. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean with a few moist crumbs.
- While the cupcakes bake, prepare the ganache. Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and heat the heavy cream until it almost simmers. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand fo 1 minute.
- Using a rubber spatula or spoon, stir the mixture from the center, slowly moving outwards until the mixture comes together completely. Let cool to room temperature until it thickens. To pipe into the cupcakes, it will need to be similar to the consistency of peanut butter. Not runny, but not hard.
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Separate the eggs and reserve the yolks for another time. Add the eggs and sugar to a heatproof bowl. Add 1 inch of water to a saucepan over medium heat and place the bowl on top.
- Whisk the sugar and egg whites to combine, then whisk every 15 seconds or so. The mixture will start to turn opaque and will look similar in consistency to a powdered sugar glaze. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely absorbed. This will be to 160F on a thermometer. You can also check by rubbing your thumb and finger together in the mixture. If you can still feel sugar granules, continue heating and whisking. The mixture should feel rather warm, but not burning hot.
- Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment mix on high speed for about 5 minutes. At this point, the mixture will look similar to marshmallow fluff. While the eggs are whipping, cut the room temperature butter into tablespoon pieces.
- After five minutes, turn the mixer to low and add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Wait to incorporate a new piece until the first is fully incorporated. After about half of the butter goes in, the buttercream may look curdled or split. This is normal – continue adding the butter until it’s gone. Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the vanilla paste or extract.
- Add the freeze dried strawberry powder and mix until fully incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom, and give it one more mix.
- Using a round tool that is about 1/2” in diameter, push down in the middle of each cupcake to create a hole. I use the bottom of one of my wooden spoons.
- Transfer the ganache to a piping bag and cut the tip so the opening is slightly smaller than the hole in the cupcake. Squeeze ganache into each cupcake until it slightly peaks over the edge.
- Transfer the strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream to a piping bag pre-fitted with a star tip. Pipe swirls onto the top of each.
- Slice 6 large strawberries in half and place one piece into the top of each frosting swirl.