Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

This Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake is a moist chocolate cake layered with fresh chopped strawberries, strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache! It’s covered in a chocolate drip and chocolate covered strawberries for a stunning and delicious cake!

This post is sponsored by Challenge Butter, but all opinions are my own.

Pinterest image Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

This is one of those cakes that just brings out the “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” – both for the look and the taste. It’s such a fun cake to put together and serve, and it’s perfect for a special occasion or holiday like Valentine’s Day.

When I think of Valentine’s Day, chocolate covered strawberries seem to be kind of iconic. They can be romantic, but also are simple enough to share with friends. When turned into a cake, it takes new form and combines two of the best flavors – chocolate and strawberry!

This cake starts with tender, moist chocolate cake layers. The cake layers are filled with three layers chopped strawberries and strawberry buttercream and two layers of chocolate ganache. All the elements of chocolate covered strawberries in every bite!

To finish it off, it’s covered in more strawberry buttercream and a chocolate drip! The buttercream swirls on top with the chocolate covered strawberries make it just perfect!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake overhead viewChocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake slice on black plate

How to make a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

This cake is made up 5 elements:

  • Chocolate Cake
  • Strawberry Buttercream
  • Fresh Chopped Strawberries
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Cake

The first thing you’ll make for this cake are the chocolate cake layers. You’ll begin by creaming the butter and sugar together. Be sure to do two things in this step. First – cream the butter and sugar for at least 3 minutes, until you see the color of the mixture lighten and the texture become fluffy. Second – use a great quality butter to ensure a great cake. As you may know already, I love Challenge Butter! It’s such a creamy butter and it goes from farm to fridge in just two days, so you know it’s fresh. It has no added hormones, artificial flavors or fillers, which I’m a big fan of. You know you’re getting a high quality butter when you buy Challenge and it shows in it’s noticeably creamy texture.

Next, you’ll add your eggs one a time and mix everything together until mostly combined before adding the next egg. This ensures things are incorporated evenly.

Then you’ll combine the vanilla extract, warm water and cocoa together. Combining the cocoa with the warm water both helps the cocoa dissolve and brings out the chocolate flavor. Add the chocolate mixture to the butter mixture and mix together until well combined.

Finally, alternate adding the dry ingredients to the batter with adding the milk. You’ll add the dry ingredients in two parts and the milk in one part. Be sure not to over mix the batter, as that can leave to a tough cake.

Bake the cake and then make the fillings.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake side viewChocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake slice close up

Strawberry Buttercream

To make the strawberry buttercream, you’ll start with a great, high quality butter. Again, I’m using Challenge Butter. I combine the butter with a little shortening to help stabilize the buttercream, particularly when it’s at room temperature, but feel free to use all butter.

Next, you’ll add about half of the powdered sugar. This buttercream uses a fair amount of powdered sugar, but it’s in line with a standard decorator’s type buttercream. It adds volume to the frosting and helps make it the right consistency for frosting a cake and piping with it.

Heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract are added next. The vanilla adds a little flavor, while the cream helps to get the right consistency of frosting and add creaminess to it.

To add strawberry flavor, I used freeze dried strawberries. It’s a simple way to add great flavor, but if you’d like to use fresh strawberries, check out my recipe for Strawberry Buttercream Frosting. It shows you both ways – freeze dried strawberries and fresh ones.

Finally, add the remainder of the powdered sugar and any additional cream needed to get the right consistency of frosting.

Challenge Butter with Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake in backgroundChocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake on silver stand

Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate ganache is super simple to make! A mix of chocolate and some hot cream that you whisk together until melted and you’re done! If you feel you need more guidance on it, check out my full post on chocolate ganache – with recipe and tips.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

And finally, there’s the star of the show. While you can always buy chocolate covered strawberries, making them is so much less expensive and very easy to do. Check out my recipe and guide to Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

The fresh chopped strawberries are straight forward, of course. And once you have everything ready, layer it all together, frost the cake, decorate it and your done! Simple, right? Of course I have tutorials for all those lovely steps that I’ve linked to within the recipe if you need any help with technique. From leveling your cakes, to frosting it, to adding the chocolate drip, I’ve got you covered.

The finished cake is so darn good! The chocolate cake is tender and moist, the strawberry frosting with pops of fresh strawberry add lots of flavor, and the chocolate ganache adds that little touch that makes it just like eating a chocolate covered strawberry. A delightful cake! I hope you enjoy it!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake slice on plate with cake on stand in background

More Great Strawberry Desserts:

Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
Fudgy Strawberry Brownies
Homemade Strawberry Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches
Strawberry Cheesecake Chocolate Cookie Cups
Strawberry Brownie Cheesecake


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Recipe

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12-14 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake is a moist chocolate cake layered with fresh chopped strawberries, strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache! It’s covered in a chocolate drip and chocolate covered strawberries for a stunning and delicious cake!


Scale

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake Layers

  • 2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) warm water
  • 3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk

Chocolate Ganache

  • 9 oz (1 1/2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups (about 2 oz | 57g) freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 3/4 cups (336g) unsalted Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (142g) shortening
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Salt, to taste
  • 24 tbsp (30-60ml) additional water or heavy whipping cream

Additional


Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line the bottom of three 8-inch (20cm) cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixer bowl and beat together until fully creamed and light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until mostly combined after each addition.
5. Add vanilla extract, water and cocoa powder to another small bowl and stir together until smooth.
6. Add the chocolate mixture to batter and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
7. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
8. Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined.
9. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined and smooth, but do not over mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
10. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
11. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
12. While the cake layers cool, make the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate chips to a small bowl.
13. Heat the cream just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool to about room temperature.
14. To make the strawberry buttercream frosting, add the freeze dried strawberries to a food processor and grind into a fine powder. Set aside.
15. Add the butter and shortening to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
16. Add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
17. Add the freeze dried strawberry powder and mix until well combined.
18. Slowly add the half cup of heavy cream and the vanilla extract and mix until well combined and smooth.
19. Slowly add the remainder of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
20. Add salt to taste and some additional water or heavy cream, if needed to get the right frosting consistency. Set aside.
21. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. Next, cut each cake horizontally to make 6 layers of cake total. See my tutorial for how to level and torte a cake.
22. To build the cake, place the first layer of cake on a cardboard cake circle or a serving platter. (For more help with building the cake, see my tutorial for how to fill and stack a layer cake)
23. Spread about half a cup of strawberry frosting evenly onto the cake layer, then add 1/2 cup of the diced strawberries. Press the strawberries down into the frosting and spread a very thin amount of strawberry frosting over the strawberries so that the next cake layer has something to stick to.
24. Add the next layer of cake.
25. Pipe a small dam of frosting around the out edge of the cake layer, then fill it in with about 5- 6 tablespoons of the chocolate ganache. Spread into an even layer, then add the next layer of cake.
26. Repeat layers 23-25 for another layer of strawberry frosting and fresh strawberries, chocolate cake, chocolate ganache and then another layer of chocolate cake. Add a third layer of strawberry frosting and fresh strawberries and then top off the cake with the last layer of chocolate cake. You should have three layers of strawberry frosting/fresh strawberries and two layers of chocolate ganache.
27. At this point, you can refrigerate the cake for a bit to firm up, if you like. When you’re ready, use your strawberry frosting to fully frost the outside of the cake.
28. Use the remainder of the chocolate ganache to add the chocolate drip to the cake. See my tutorial for how to make a chocolate drip cake. It will have cooled off by now, so you’ll want to carefully heat it back up in the microwave.
29. Use the remainder of the strawberry frosting to add swirls to the top of the cake. I used Ateco tip 847.
30. Finish off the cake with some chocolate covered strawberries.
31. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. The cake is best when stored well covered for 2-3 days. The chocolate covered strawberries on top of the cake will be best eaten within 24-48 hours, so you might want to add those shortly before serving.

Keywords: chocolate covered strawberry cake

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57 Comments
  1. Naomi

    I am needing to ship this cake. Can I freeze it fully assembled and overnight it with dry ice? Or will it condensate too much while thawing?

  2. Kelsey

    Hi!

    I was wondering if you had a suggestion on bake time / temperature if I am doing 3 6 inch pans instead. Thanks!

  3. Gia

    Hi- Question- I am not really a baker and do not know much about any of this stuff. I accidentally ordered dried strawberries instead of freeze-dried strawberries. Is there a different? Is there anything I can do to my “dried strawberries” to use them in this recipe or should I just nix them and get the freeze-dried ones?

  4. Claire

    How tall would you say the cakes are? I was wondering since I only have one cake tin and I kinda wanted to know how much I should put in by knowing how tall they are. Thank you 👍🏻

    1. Lindsay

      The 3 layers are roughly an inch a piece, but that’s after baking them. They rise quite a bit. I’d use a measuring cup if you have one to divide the batter evenly.

  5. Autumn

    Hi! 🙂
    This cake looks delicious! I want to make it for my sisters birthday on Friday, but I won’t have time to do the whole thing after work/before company arrives!
    Would the cakes hold up well if I bake them Thursday evening and refrigerate after they cool? Then I could just assemble and frost on Friday? Or would it be best to do it all at once? Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      You can definitely make the cakes ahead – you can either refrigerate them or leave them in an air tight carrier at room temperature (which is what I do). I hope you enjoy it!

    2. Kaitlin

      Hi- are dried strawberries the same as freeze dried strawberries? Can I use dried strawberries in the buttercream recipe?

  6. Julie

    Hey I just have one question! Could you make a vanilla cake instead of chocolate cake for this recipe? If so could you please give me a link for your vanilla cake? Thank you so much 😊 

      1. Benazir siddiq

        I’m an amateur baker but all your recipes I’ve tried so far was successful except this one 🙁 I don’t know where I went wrong 🙁 the overall outcome tasted very nice but I had technical issues.
        Making the buttercream n chocolate ganache in winter with a teething infant was probably not the best idea 🙁 
        Issues I had 1. Did the finger test on buttercream – seemed perfect but it was a nightmare to spread. 
        2. Again nightmare to spread butter cream on chopped strawberries which kept slipping. 
        3. Ganache solidified very quickly. Placed it back on double boil but it looked clumpy. 
        I appreciate any tips and suggestions. Thank you.

      2. Lindsay

        1. If it was hard to spread, you likely needed to add more milk/cream.
        2. It can help to place some spoonfuls of frosting on top of the strawberries and then spread it or even pipe the frosting onto the strawberries and spread it.
        3. Not sure about this one. It’ll definitely thicken as it cools so that should be expected. You want to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t get too thick. That said, there shouldn’t be an issue with gently reheating it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time. If it was clumpy, did you burn it? Or maybe the chocolate wasn’t totally melted?

  7. Kaitlin Rocco-DeNinno

    Sorry but I can not help but notice that the other link you sent (with the two ways to make the frosting) is different than the butter cream recipe shown here. Two ingredients: heavy cream and shortening are not show on the recipe card for using fresh strawberries.

    So just so I understand: I should follow the strawberry buttercream recipe on this site but use the steps for fresh strawberries on the other site: in other words use the 1 1/2 C and cook slowly on the stove top prior to adding all the other ingredients and competing the other steps?

    1. Lindsay

      Shortening is interchangeable with butter. So you can use all butter or part butter/part shortening. Basically the same thing. The reason you won’t see cream in the frosting with strawberry puree is because the puree replaces the cream as the liquid ingredient. Buttercream is all about a balance of the butter and powdered sugar, which add structure and volume, and your flavorings, which basically thin out the frosting in addition to adding flavor. When making a version with freeze dried berries, you aren’t adding liquid in berry form, so you need to use cream to get a good buttercream consistency. When adding puree, the cream is not needed. Make sense?

      The frosting on this cake uses 1/2 cup of heavy cream, plus a little more depending on the consistency you want. So going based on the math in the frosting recipe link I linked for you – you need about double the amount of puree that you’ll want to end up with because you cook it down by half. So if you need to replace 1/2 cup or so of cream with 1/2 a cup or so of puree, you’ll need 1 cup or so of puree to cook down to a 1/2 cup. Which basically means you’ll want 2 cups or so of chopped strawberries to get 1 cup of puree to cook it down to 1/2 cup. Does that help? Certainly using freeze dried strawberries is a little simpler.

      1. Kaitlin Rocco-DeNinno

        Hi- accidentally bought “Dried strawberries” instead of freeze-dried. Does it make a difference? Is there a way to use the dried or do I need to get freeze dried?

      2. Kea

        Hi Lindsay, the cake looks lovely and I want to bake it later today. Please advice on which level (top, middle or bottom) should I put the cake pan when baking for best results?

  8. Kaitlin Rocco-DeNinno

    Can I just use fresh strawberries in the buttercream frosting (instead of freeze dried) and refrigerate until ready to serve? Why does it call for freeze-dried?

    1. Lindsay

      Freeze dried strawberries give frosting a really nice, strong flavor. To get comparable flavor with fresh strawberries, you really need to cook it down, as I did in my strawberry frosting recipe (which shows both ways of making it). Technically you could use fresh strawberries, but my suggestion would be to cook them down as shown in that recipe. You’d need to use more strawberries than shown in that recipe though, because that one makes less frosting.

  9. Sophie

    Could I only use one 20cm tin to make the whole cake instead of using three because I have a leveller so I was wondering if I could use that to cut the six layers. Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      I wouldn’t recommend it. It’ll take much longer to bake and bake unevenly. Plus, it’ll turn out more dense.

  10. Taryn Neurohr

    Hey Lindsey! I’ve been following you on social media for quite some time now and I am constantly impressed with your work. I was wondering if you have tried making your strawberry cake with the strawberry buttercream (not the strawberry cream cheese). If so, does it have too much strawberry for that/too sweet? If I cant use cream cheese, would you recommend a plain vanilla buttercream?

    1. Lindsay

      You could definitely use a regular strawberry buttercream with the strawberry cake. Often people just like the cream cheese version. Both would be great.

  11. Khushboo

    Looks amazing!! Wanted to give it a try but can you suggest replacement of egg in buttercream? It will be great help. Thank you

  12. Judith Zagar

    I’m baking the cake today for our Bridge Club. I will work on the fresh strawberry frosting. Small town, sparse selection.

  13. Sarah

    Can I use fresh strawberries in the frosting. I decided to make the cake as a last minute thing and cant get freeze dried strawberries

  14. Jennifer L

    I love all your recipes! I just made the margarita cupcakes yesterday.  Where would I find sufficient quantity of the freeze dried strawberries?  Is there a substitution for freeze dried? I love your book, I hope you would consider doing another one. I know I can print these recipes but the book is beautiful and inspiring. It is a go to gift for grads, brides and friends!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoy the recipes! I’m pretty much always able to find freeze dried strawberries at Target. I also often find them at the grocery store. If you would prefer to use fresh strawberries in the frosting, check out my post on strawberry frosting. https://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/homemade-strawberry-frosting-two-ways/

      And it’s wonderful that you’re enjoying the cookbook! Thank you so much for sharing it with people! There aren’t any plans for another one right now, but maybe one day.

  15. Suzy-q

    WOW! Beautiful cake! Too pretty to cut! I’ll have to give it a try sometime.
    Thanks for the wonderful creations, Lindsay.

  16. Anil Kumar

    The cake looks so yummy. I haven’t made this kind of cake. I don’t have words to say that how much i like strawberry & strawberry cake. Thank you so much for this you made my day.

  17. Nurit Philip

    Looks amazing and so yummy!, I think I am going to make it for my husband’s birthday!
    Thank you so much.

  18. Andie

    This looks SO yummy! I am so excited to make it! I do have a question about your chocolate cakes, in general. I have used your “moist chocolate cake” recipe several times, and it always tastes soooo good, but I have trouble with the structure and stability often, and have actually had it crumble a few times (and I am very thorough about the recipes). I notice that this cake has more of a “droppable” texture, and that you cream butter and sugar at first, instead of using vegetable oil like in the other one. i’m just wondering why this recipe is different than that one, and what made you use this recipe for this cake instead of your other one? Thanks so much, Lindsay!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad you enjoyed the moist chocolate cake! It is a very tender cake. I don’t tend to have issues with how tender it is, but occasionally people mention that they do. It’s hard for me to know if it’s just how someone handles a cake differently or some thing else. But in a cake like this with so many layers, it seemed more ideal to have a cake with a tighter crumb that is easier to torte and stack so that people don’t have those issues. I also sometimes kind of just prefer a different texture in certain cakes. I just like how the crumb and flavor of this cake goes with these fillings. I hope that helps answer your question!

  19. Judith Webb

    Looks fantastic but I’m in the UK, would you add the conversion for grams or ounces please?

    1. Lindsay

      I’ve added grams and milliliters in the ingredients for items it seems appropriate already. Is there one that doesn’t have a measurement that you would find helpful? I can do my best to add it, if so.

      1. Judith Webb

        Thank you. Just wondering now what shortening is? I hadn’t noticed that you had added grams etc to your recipes but either grams or ounces work for me and ml of course. Thanks for the reply

      2. Lindsay

        Shortening is the same as Crisco, if you are familiar with that. It is a butter replacement. If you don’t have access to it, you can use additional butter.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12