This impressive Valentine's Day Cake with chocolate cake and strawberry buttercream looks like something from a gourmet bakery, but is totally doable at home!
Tessa's Recipe Rundown...
Taste: Chocolate plus strawberry is perfection, not to mention totally romantic! Texture: The cake is ridiculously rich and moist, the frosting is luscious and flavorful, and the chocolate covered strawberries on top add a whole new realm of juiciness combined with shattering chocolate goodness. MMM. Ease: Assembling and decorating a beautiful cake is totally doable, especially with my step-by-step video, but it does require some patience and makes a mess. Let’s be honest! Totally worth it when you see jaws drop at its beauty! Pros: Romantic and beautiful cake that actually tastes good. Cons: None! Would I make this again? Absolutely. Would be great for any romantic occasion.
I am so giddy sharing this Valentine’s Day Cake recipe with you!
This cake turned out so beautiful it would be the perfect way to show your love and appreciation for someone this Valentine’s Day, or any other special occasion. The best part is that if I can do it, you totally can because I have little patience for cake decorating (Cake Boss gives me nightmares).
The chocolate cake is so unbelievably moist, rich, and flavorful, even people who don’t like cake will like this. Not to mention the strawberry buttercream adds that perfect luscious, creamy, and thick bite of flavor that complements the chocolate wonderfully.
And c’mon. Chocolate covered strawberries on top? Does life get better than that? I don’t think so! By the way – if you want some extra tips on buttercream, check out my post on How to Make the Best Buttercream!
How to Make Chocolate + Strawberry Valentine’s Day Cake
Heads up: this cake batter is THIN and RUNNY!
I’m not exaggerating when I say that! It’s meant to be this way. I promise the cake will bake up ultra moist, rich, and tender.
My cake layers sunk in the middle!
This chocolate cake is ULTRA moist. Sometimes it sinks a little in the middle. Don’t panic if this happens! You can always flip the cakes upside down when assembling. If the sunken part is worse, simply use a cake leveler or serrated knife to level it off.
Can I make this recipe into cupcakes?
Yes, this recipe makes about 24 cupcakes. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes.
Why is there coffee in chocolate cake recipe?
The coffee helps to enhance the chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder. You won’t taste the coffee, promise.
Can I substitute coffee in chocolate cake?
Yes. Simply use 1 cup hot water (not boiling – you don’t want to scramble the eggs!).
You can also use 1 cup hot water + 1 teaspoon espresso powder to get that similar chocolate enhancing effect. This is perfect if you don’t want to brew coffee just for a cake.
What is a crumb coat?
This is simply a very thin layer of frosting applied to the cake before the final pretty layer is applied. The crumb coat acts as “spackle” to protect encase the cake and protect the final frosting application from getting any unsightly crumbs in the mix. Basically, it helps that final frosting go on smoothly and cleanly.
Why do you refrigerate or freeze cake layers before frosting?
This helps the frosting go on more smoothly and evenly.
Can I freeze cake layers?
Absolutely! Wrap unfrosted un-cut cooled cake layers completely in several layers of plastic wrap. Place inside a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge (do not defrost at room temperature or you will end up with mushy cake).
4sticks(452 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3cupseedless strawberry preserves
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
Red gel food coloring, if desired
Chocolate Covered Strawberries,for garnish
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add in the salt and whisk to combine.
In a large measuring up or small bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the hot coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Don’t overmix, the batter should be very thin and runny.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. The cakes make sink slightly in the middle because they're so moist. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Freeze or refrigerate until firm to the touch.
For the buttercream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until ultra light and smooth. Add in the strawberry preserves, salt, and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute. Add about 1/4 teaspoon gel food coloring, if using, and beat until the buttercream is evenly colored. Add more coloring if desired.
Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a flat surface or cake pedestal. Using an offset spatula, spread about 1/3 of the frosting all over the cake, pushing it all the way past the edges.
Place the second cake layer on top, flat side up, and spread a very thin coating of frosting all over to make a crumb coating. When scraping away excess frosting, be careful not to add the crumb frosting back in with the clean frosting. Freeze or refrigerate the cake until the frosting is firm.
Remove from freezer and spread the remaining frosting evenly over the cake, scraping away excess frosting and smoothing imperfections with the offset spatula. Garnish with sprinkles and chocolate covered strawberries before serving, if desired.
The frosted cake can be stored at room temperature for 1 day or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!
This recipe was originally published in 2015 and updated with gram measurements, recipe improvements, recipe tips, and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
As a trained chef and cookbook author, I share trusted baking recipes your friends & family will love alongside insights into the science of sweets. I help take the luck out of baking so you *always* have delicious results! Learn more here.
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