Valentines Day Cake, easy to make, tastes delicious, and is a show stopper! Tender chocolate cake with the best homemade strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache!
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We all love the classic combo of chocolate and strawberry (I mean I even shared how to make chocolate dipped strawberries here), and I knew I had to share my favorite combo of them with you this Valentine’s Day!
The strawberry buttercream is so delicious and extremely easy to make. I do use my got to doctored cake box recipe for this cake but you can easily make my homemade chocolate cake instead- just halve the recipe or else you will get a huge cake- which on second thought might not be a bad thing!
What you need for this recipe:
Chocolate Cake Box Mix
Cake Ingredients: Vegetable Oil, Vanilla, Sour Cream, Heavy Cream, Eggs, Cocoa Powder, Espresso Powder (optional)
Strawberry Buttercream Ingredients: Strawberries, Water, Salt, Butter, Vanilla, Powdered Sugar, Heavy Cream, LorAnn Strawberry Oil (optional but recommend- you can find it at most grocery stores!), bright pink food gel coloring (optional but makes the frosting a nice pink)
Ganache: Heavy Cream, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Decorations: Strawberries, Sprinkles, Crushed Chocolate, Candies
How to make this easy Valentines Day Cake?
- Mix up your cake batter
- Bake cake in two 8 in round cake pans
- Let cool completely before frosting
- While cooling make strawberry frosting
How to make strawberry buttercream?
- Heat water, strawberries, and salt in a medium sauce pan,
- Mash strawberries as the mixture boils.
- Reduce mixture to ~½ cup then set aside to cool. If you want a super smooth mixture, you can use a emulsion blender but this isn’t a must.
- Using a stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy then mix in the vanilla, powdered sugar, and heavy cream
- Add in the cooked strawberries, a few drops of the strawberry oil, and a few drops of the gel food coloring.
- Mix until fluffy.
Tips for making the best Valentines Day Cake
Frosting- If you want to make a super smooth cake like this, double the frosting recipe and do a crumb coat, refrigerate, then do a final smooth coat.
Frosting Flavor- Adding 2-4 drops of LorAnn Strawberry Oil really makes the strawberry flavor stand out. Start with only two drops, taste, then add more. A little oil goes a long way.
How to decorate Valentine’s Day Cake?
- Place 1st cake layer on a cake board with a little bit of buttercream underneath to help it stay in place.
- Add a nice even layer of strawberry frosting then place the second layer of buttercream. Fill in any gaps in the sides with more buttercream. Then refrigerate for a few minutes to allow the frosting to set up.
- Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. If you want a smooth finish, you can use a cake scraper but ideally you would double the frosting amount and do a crumb coat then a final layer. Refrigerate until frosting is set.
- Combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl and heat until smooth. Then pour over the top of the cake allowing it to drip down the sides.
- Decorate the top with strawberries, candy, and chocolate pieces.
Why use a doctored cake mix?
I like to doctor a cake mix because it’s easy and tastes really good. If I have time, I love to make my homemade chocolate cake.
How to store cake?
Store cake and any cake slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Keeping the air away will keep the cake tender and won’t dry out.
Watch how to make this recipe!
Valentines Day Cake
- 1 box chocolate cake mix*
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbs vanilla
- ¾ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder optional
- ½ cup strawberries* about 6-8 strawberries
- ¼ cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups butter slightly softened
- 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- 6 ½ cups powdered sugar + more if needed
- 5 tbs heavy cream + more if needed
- 3-4 drops LorAnn Strawberry Oil* optional but recommended
- Neon Pink Food Gel- optional but really gives it that pink color you want
- ¼ heavy cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Strawberries Sprinkles, Crushed Chocolate, Candies as toppings (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray two 8 in cake pans with a flouring baking spray (like baker’s joy)
- Mix together, either by hand or in a stand mixer, the oil, vanilla, sour cream, heavy cream and eggs. Then mix in the boxed cake mix, cocoa powder, and espresso powder if using.1 box chocolate cake mix*, ½ cup vegetable oil, 2 tbs vanilla, ¾ cup sour cream, ¾ cup heavy cream, 4 eggs, ¼ cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes- or until a toothpick comes out clean. *
- Once baked allow to cool and make your frosting.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine water, strawberries, and salt. Heat over medium heat, mashing the strawberries as the liquid boils.½ cup strawberries*, Pinch of salt, ¼ cup water
- Boil until liquid is reduced to about ¼ cup, 3-4 minutes. Once at ¼ cup, remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.*
- In a stand mixer beat butter on medium until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla, powdered sugar, and heavy cream until a buttercream forms.1 ½ cups butter, 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla, 6 ½ cups powdered sugar + more if needed, 5 tbs heavy cream + more if needed
- Add in the strawberries, a few drops of the strawberry oil, and a few drops of the gel food coloring.3-4 drops LorAnn Strawberry Oil*, Neon Pink Food Gel- optional but really gives it that pink color you want
- Mix until fluffy. If the mixture is too runny add more powdered sugar (¼ cup at a time), and if it’s too stiff add more heavy cream (1tbs at a time).
Frost the Cake
- Place the first cake layer on your cake plate or board. Add a nice layer of strawberry buttercream, then place the second cake laver over that.
- Frost the cake with strawberry buttercream* the refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to allow the buttercream to setup.
- While refrigerating the cake, make your ganache. In a microwave safe dish combine heavy cream and chocolate chips. Microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and combined. Usually takes about 1 minutes.¼ heavy cream, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Pour the ganache over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Before it sets up place any candies or strawberries on top.Strawberries
- *If you prefer a homemade chocolate cake, use this recipe but cut it half- it’s my favorite!
- *If you don’t have the extra ingredients to doctor the box mix just follow the directions on the back of the box and bake accordingly.
- *If you have a thermometer, the cakes will be done at an internal temperature of 205-210°F
- *Strawberry Oil can be found in the baking/decorating isle of most grocery stores. It comes in a tiny bottle but you only need a few drops. You can also buy it online here.
- *You can use fresh or frozen strawberries, just make sure they are thawed if using frozen.
- *If your strawberry mixture is too chunky you can smooth it out by using an immersion blender on it.
- *The strawberry buttercream makes enough for a single coat without a crumb coat. If you want a super smooth finish with a sharp edge (like seed here), I recommend doubling the frosting, doing crumb coat then a final coat.
- *Refrigerate cake and any leftovers. It’s best to keep sliced cake in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.