This chocolate cake with strawberry filling is the perfect decadent cake for chocolate strawberry lovers! The moist chocolate cake layers are filled with homemade strawberry filling and covered in an indulgent chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream.
This chocolate cake with strawberry filling is combining two classic flavors in an irresistible way! This moist chocolate cake gets a burst of fresh strawberry flavor thanks to a homemade strawberry preserve filling, and then a velvety chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. Literally a dessert dream come true!
This strawberry filled chocolate cake has a few more steps than my other more simple chocolate cake recipes , but I promise that it is worth it once you have this dreamy show stopping cake! I think this chocolate cake would be perfect for a birthday party, special occasion or holiday like Valentine's Day! This really is the perfect cake for strawberry and chocolate lovers!
Why you'll love this recipe!
- Strawberries and chocolate is such a classic combo, your family is sure to love this!
- You can prep the strawberry filling and the chocolate cake a few days before.
- The Swiss meringue buttercream is a little bit tricky to make, but I've got tips and tricks to help you. Swiss meringue buttercream is honestly the smoothest and dreamiest frosting ever. It isn't overly sweet like American buttercream and is amazing for piping.
- I've decorated this cake with fresh strawberries, so it's a perfect cake to make during strawberry season!
- Flour: I've only tested this recipe with all purpose flour.
- Cocoa Powder: you'll want to use dutch processed cocoa powder here.
- Buttermilk: this is going to make the cake super moist!
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: make sure these haven't expired, otherwise your cake won't rise.
- Oil: you want to use a neutral oil like vegetable oil, sunflower oil or canola oil.
- Salt: you always need salt when it comes to baking. This is going to really enhance the flavors.
- Melted Chocolate: I'm using chocolate that is 70% cocoa. You want to make sure the chocolate has melted and cooled before using it in the frosting.
- Strawberry Filling: I'm using my recipe for strawberry filling.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, combine the flour with the cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until smooth.
Step 2: In another bowl or a large jug, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until smooth.
Step 3: Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then pour in your hot water - be careful as it might splash! There is a lot of batter here. Divide the cake batter in 3 greased and lined 8-inch baking pans and bake in the oven.
Step 4: Make the strawberry filling. Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat. Continue stirring until all of the strawberries have broken down and it has become very thick. Let cool completely.
Step 5: Make the frosting. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set this bowl over a saucepan with about an inch of simmering water. Whisk this mixture constantly until the egg whites go from a yellowish color to a white and opaque color. If you feel the mixture with your fingers you shouldn't feel sugar granules anymore. Whisk until the mixture gets to 140°Fahrenheit/60°Celsius.
Step 6: Take the mixture off of the simmering water and place in your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer. Whisk on medium-high speed for 10-15 minutes until you have a stiff, glossy meringue. When you touch the sides of the bowl it will be room temperature and no longer warm. If it's too hot outside it might take up to 20 minutes!
Step 7: Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter a piece at a time, making sure each piece of butter is fully incorporated before you add the next piece.
Step 8: Once you've added all the butter and the frosting is soft and fluffy, pour in the melted chocolate, vanilla extract and salt.
Step 9: Time to assemble your cake! Place one cooled cake layer down. Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting, then pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge. Spread the strawberry filling. Repeat this once more with the second cake layer.
Step 10: Place the third layer of cake on top and frost the cake with the remaining frosting. Place fresh strawberries on top of the cake to decorate!
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Use a weighing scale – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake!
- Room temperature ingredients – Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking the cake. Especially the butter for the swiss meringue buttercream, you don't want it to be too cold or too warm.
- Frosting dam - it's important to frost a dam around the edge of the cake so the strawberry filling doesn't leak out. Just place some of the frosting in a piping bag and use a round tip to pipe the frosting.
- Prep ahead - I really recommend making the strawberry filling at least a day ahead of time, this will make your life so much easier! You can make the strawberry filling up to a week in advance and the cake layers two days in advance.
- Decorating - I frosted the cake with the chocolate buttercream and then used a Wilton 1M piping tip to decorate the edges of the cake. If you prefer, you can decorate with a chocolate drip!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Troubleshooting
Here are some issues that might pop up when it comes to make Swiss meringue buttercream as well as some tips!
- I can't get stiff peaks - one reason it might not whip into stiff peaks is you have some bits of egg yolks in the mixture. This fat is going to stop stiff peaks from forming, so make sure your bowl is completely clean before using. I also recommend adding separating the egg whites one at a time in a separate bowl so if one egg yolk breaks you don't ruin the entire batch of egg whites! If it is a hot day, it might take longer for the egg whites to stiff up.
- How do I know when the meringue is ready? Stop the mixer and dip the whisk attachment into the meringue. Lift up and if the peaks are completely straight up without bending at the tip, then it is ready!
- I'm adding my buttercream but the mixture is soupy! This is because the meringue didn't have enough time to cool down and it is melting the butter. The bowl should be cool to the touch before you add the butter. The butter might also be too warm, so the butter should be cool to the touch too before you add it! If you've added the butter and it's soupy, stop the mixer and place the mixing bowl in the fridge for 20 minutes, then try again.
- The buttercream seems to be curdling - just keep mixing! It is pretty normal for the mixture to look curdled, so keep mixing. It might be curdling because the butter you added was too cold.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make the strawberry filling up to 7 days ahead of time, and the cake layers 2 days ahead of time.
Yes, you can but you will need to bake the cake layers for 35-40 minutes.
Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Filling
- 3 8" round cake pans
- ¾ cup cocoa powder dutch processed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cups very hot water
- 2 cups strawberries diced
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- lemon zest
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 8 oz semisweet chocolate melted and cooled
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 ⅓ cups unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter or grease three 8-inch baking pans and line it with parchment paper. If you only have two pans, bake the first two cake layers and let them cool slightly before reusing one of the pans for the third layer.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.¾ cup cocoa powder, 2 cups granulated sugar, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder
- In a large jug or bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.2 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, ½ cup vegetable oil, ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- While the mixer is on your lowest speed, slowly pour in the wet ingredients into the dry.
- While the mixer is still running, slowly add the hot water and mix. Your batter will be very thin, so don't worry! Make sure the mixer is on your lowest speed so it doesn't splash everywhere!1 cups very hot water
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, it's about 470 grams per cake pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the diced strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Heat over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer.2 cups strawberries, 4 tablespoons white sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest
- Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently. You may need to lower the heat to low heat if it is bubbling too much, you don't want it to burn.
- You'll know the strawberry sauce is ready when you can coat the back of a spoon with the sauce and run a line through it with your fingers. Take it off the heat and pour into a large jar or bowl to cool completely. Place in the fridge.
- Fill a medium saucepan with an inch of water and bring to boil. Combine the sugar and egg whites in a large mixing bowl (if you have a stand mixer, you'll want to use that bowl), set the bowl above the simmering water.4 large egg whites, 1 cup white sugar
- Heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves. The mixture will go from a yellowy, granular substance to white and opaque, this takes about 5 minutes. I recommend taking a pastry brush to brush the sides of the bowl so all of the sugar is getting dissolved. Using a thermometer, it should read 140°F/60 C. If you don't have a thermometer, when you pull the whisk up feel the mix with your fingers – if it is no longer grainy then it is ready for the next step.
- Put the bowl into your stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until you get a glossy meringue with stiff peaks – about 10-15 minutes. Note it can take up to 20 minutes if the weather is hot and humid. You'll want to be beating the mixture until the bowl is completely cool. If the bowl or meringue is too warm it will melt the butter.
- Switch to paddle attachment. Add butter one piece at a time, allowing it to incorporate fully, while still at medium-high speed. This should take 8-12 minutes. When you've added all the butter and the mixture looks smooth, slowly pour in the chocolate, vanilla extract and salt. Give it one final mix using a rubber spatula to make sure all of the chocolate is incorporated.8 oz semisweet chocolate, 1 ⅓ cups unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Put some of the buttercream in a piping big with a round tip. Place one cake layer down on to your plate and spread just a bit of the frosting on the cake layer to create a barrier. Then use the piping bag to pipe a barrier around the outer edge of the cake - this is so the filling won't leak out!
- Spoon the cooled strawberry filling on top of the cake, using an offset spatula to spread it to the barrier you've created. You may choose to have a thin layer of strawberry filling or a thick one - it's up to you!
- Gently place the second layer of cake on top of this and repeat once more.
- Place the top cake layer on top and frost the cake with the remaining frosting. I used a Wilton 1M piping tip to create a swirly border!