Perfectly domed strawberry cupcakes flavored with real strawberries plus one secret ingredient, topped with fluffy vanilla bean buttercream and a chocolate covered strawberry.
Strawberry cupcakes are pretty great to begin with, but then top them with the fluffiest vanilla bean buttercream and a chocolate covered strawberry?! Count me ALLL the way in. These cuties are simple to make, and are the perfect Valentine’s Day treat. Or any day, of course.
I’ve made more than my fair share of cupcakes over the years, and one recipe that I’m super proud of and confident in, is these strawberry one. They bake up with the most perfectly domed tops, and aren’t short on strawberry flavor. That flavor comes from two ingredients: fresh strawberries, and my secret ingredient – Strawberry Jell-O powder. Bet ya didn’t see that coming. The Jell-O powder gives an extra punch of strawberry flavor and helps to create the prettiest pink color.
How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
Make the Strawberry Cupcakes
Start by baking the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with 20 total liners. I use Wilton Cupcake Pans. I have had the most success with them in terms of even heat distribution and my cupcakes baking evenly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes. You want the mixture to get light in color and extra fluffy. This will help give your cupcakes the best texture. 5 minutes seems like a long time, but don’t skip it!
While the butter and sugar are going, grab a medium sized bowl and whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and strawberry Jell-O powder. Set aside. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or high powdered blender until smooth. Combine the buttermilk, 1/2 C of strawberry puree, and vanilla in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
After 5 minutes, add the eggs to the mixer one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure the eggs are getting mixed in. The egg whites have a tendency to want to settle at the bottom of the bowl and can affect the consistency of the batter if they don’t get fully incorporated.
Next, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the strawberry/buttermilk mixture. Add 1/3 of the dry, then 1/2 of the milk, then repeat so that you start and end with dry ingredients. This helps ensure you don’t over mix. Mix until just combined with a few flour streaks remaining, then do one final mix by hand with a rubber spatula.
Use a large cookie scoop (2 TBSP) to portion the batter into the prepared cupcake pans. If you don’t have a large cookie scoop, just fill the liners about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely.
Make the Vanilla Bean Buttercream
In a stand mixer, the butter with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl a few times along the way. The butter should be very light in color, and super smooth and fluffy before moving on to the next step. This is super important in achieving fluffy and light buttercream, so don’t skimp on the time.
Add the salt and vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time, mixing for 3 minutes after each addition. Then, add the heavy cream, 2 TBSP at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. I typically add about 6 TBSP of heavy cream. The buttercream should be light and fluffy, but you still want it to hold its shape when piped. If you add too much cream, the buttercream could “break” and then the texture will be off.
Fit a piping bag with your favorite tip, I used Wilton 8B here, and pipe the buttercream onto the fully cooled cupcakes. If you don’t have piping bags and tips, you can also spread the icing on yourself, and still make them super pretty. See how I do that in my Chocolate Nutella Cupcake post.
Make the Chocolate Strawberries
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. I used semi-sweet chocolate, but you could use milk, dark, or even white or ruby chocolate! Whatever floats your boat.
Dip the strawberries into the chocolate and then place them onto the cupcakes. If you want a little extra chocolate dripping down the cupcakes like I did, spoon a little bit of the chocolate onto the cupcake first, then set the chocolate strawberry on top of that and it will drip over the side.
Let the chocolate set up a bit and then enjoy!Print
Perfect strawberry cupcakes topped with fluffy vanilla bean American buttercream and a chocolate covered strawberry.
For the Cupcakes
- 2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 TBSP Strawberry Jell-O Powder
- 1/2 C Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 C Granulated Sugar
- 2 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 C Strawberry Puree (about 1/2 pint strawberries, pureed)
- 1 C Buttermilk
For the Buttercream
- 1 1/2 C Unsalted Butter, at room temperature (3 sticks)
- 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 6 C Powdered Sugar
- 4–6 TBSP Heavy Cream, at room temperature
For the Chocolate Strawberries
- 20 Strawberries
- 1 C Chocolate Chips (any kind! I used Semi-Sweet)
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with 20 total liners.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, Jell-O powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Puree the strawberries and then add the strawberry puree to the buttermilk. Add the vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside.
- After 5 minutes, add the eggs to the mixer 1 at a time until combined. Scrape down the bowl to make sure they are fully incorporated.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk mixture in 5 total additions, starting and ending with dry ingredients. (add 1/3 of the dry, then 1/2 of the milk, repeat)
- Portion the cupcake batter into the prepared pan using a large 2 TBSP cookie scoop.
- Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Let cool completely
For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream
- Beat the butter with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer for 10 minutes. Scrape down the bowl a few times as you go.
- Add the salt and vanilla. Mix to combine.
- Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time, mixing for 3 minutes after each addition. (add 3 C, mix 3 minutes, repeat)
- Add the heavy cream 2 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. I usually add 6 TBSP. You want it to be soft and fluffy, but still hold it’s shape when piped.
- Fit a piping bag with your favorite tip (I used Wilton 8B) and pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.
For the Chocolate Strawberries
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth.
- Dip the strawberries into the chocolate and then place onto the cupcakes.
- Let the chocolate set up a bit, then enjoy!
- I use unsalted butter in my recipes so that I can control the salt factor. Salted butters all have different amounts of salt in them. This way I have total control. If all you have is salted butter, no worries! Just don’t add as much extra salt!
- Cupcakes will keep 1 day at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge.
Keywords: chocolate strawberries, chocolate strawberry cupcakes, valentines desserts