Valentine’s Day Cupcakes | The Recipe Critic
Show your sweetheart how much you care with these decadent chocolate and strawberry Valentine’s Day Cupcakes. They are simple to make for parties and gatherings and are always a hit.
I love a simple and classic dessert. I’ve never heard anyone complain when they showed up to a party with cupcakes! If you are in the mood for some easy cupcake recipes, you’ve got to try these Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes, these unique and beautiful purple Lavender Cupcakes, and these yummy Banana Cupcakes.
Valentines Day Cupcakes
Valentine’s day is the perfect day to celebrate with fun sweet treats. In years past I have made a lot of red velvet cupcakes (because who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?!) or these yummy strawberry cake mix cookies. Another crowd-pleaser are these fresh and juicy cheesecake stuffed strawberries. I was looking for the perfect dessert to make for my kid’s Valentine’s day school parties that they would enjoy making with me (so I didn’t end up with a TON of baking to do the night before). Enter these Valentine’s Day cupcakes!
They are the perfect balance of a delicious chocolate cake with a sweet and slightly tangy strawberry buttercream frosting. They are super easy to whip up (yes, completely from scratch!) and no food coloring is needed! The freeze dried strawberries do all the work of coloring the frosting the perfect Valentine’s Day pink. You can top them with sprinkles, chocolate candies, and chocolate transfers.
You will be making these chocolate Valentine’s Day cupcakes from scratch, so you will need the basic cake ingredients. I used vegetable oil, but you can use whatever oil you prefer to bake with. I also added coffee, so make sure to grab some from the store or brew some at home because you won’t want to miss that ingredient! The other thing you may need to hunt down is freeze dried strawberries. I had great luck at my local grocery store. You can find the measurements below in the recipe card.
- Vegetable Oil: These cupcakes are so moist and delicious because of the oil in them. You could use another type of oil, but vegetable has a really neutral flavor that you won’t taste. You could use avocado oil which has a really mild flavor, or coconut oil if you don’t mind the taste!
- Coffee: Coffee is what makes this cupcake recipe SO dark and decadent. When you make chocolate cake from scratch, you’ve got to add some coffee. It will help to balance out all of the sweetness and deepens the chocolate flavor.
- Egg: I always use large grade A eggs in my recipes.
- Vanilla: I like to use vanilla extract to help enhance all of the other flavors in the cake.
- All-Purpose Flour: This is just the easiest to work with and what I used in this recipe.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is what adds sweetness to the cupcakes.
- Cocoa Powder: I don’t recommend using Dutch process cocoa powder because it is more bitter. You can use it if you don’t mind a less sweet cupcake.
- Baking Soda: This helps the cupcakes rise and become nice and fluffy.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder also helps the cupcakes rise and become the perfect texture.
- Salt: I like to add salt to help them bake better, and to balance out all of the sweetness of the cupcakes.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- Unsalted Butter: I like to use unsalted butter when I bake so that I know exactly how much salt is in the recipe. Make sure to leave it out at room temperature so it’s really soft.
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is always the perfect way to sweeten your frosting. It turns out so smooth and delicious!
- Freeze Dried Strawberries: You should be able to find some at your local grocery store. You might only find them in slices. You will want to crush them into smaller pieces so that they blend into the frosting better.
- Milk: You can use whatever milk you have on hand. I like to use whole milk.
- Vanilla Extract: It adds extra flavor and helps to bring out the other delicious flavors in the frosting.
- Salt: I like to add salt to help balance out all the sweetness from the powdered sugar.
Valentine’s Day Cupcakes Recipe
These Valentine’s Day cupcakes are so easy to make! You are going to love this sweet treat. You only need about an hour to make the cupcakes. They really are so simple that my kids loved helping me with this recipe. Save time by working on your chocolate transfers while you wait for your cupcakes to cool off.
Make Chocolate Cupcakes
- Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners, set aside.
- Whisk: In a large bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, warm coffee, egg, and vanilla until combined.
- Add Dry Ingredients to Wet: In a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and gently whisk together until fully combined.
- Bake: Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and only fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring bake when lightly pressed. Cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting
- Beat Butter and Sugar: Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat slowly until incorporated, increasing the speed to beat it more fully.
- Mix: Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and add the freeze-dried strawberries, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium-high until completely smooth and combined. If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk one tablespoon at a time until it is a pipeable consistency.
- Frost Cupcakes: Pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes and decorate however you’d like!
Tips for Making Valentine’s Day Cupcakes
Valentine’s Day cupcakes are the perfect way to spread the love this holiday. They are perfect for a school party, galentines get together, or to share with friends and family. Here are some tips when you go to make these cupakes.
- Freeze-Dried Fruits: I was able to find freeze dried strawberries at Target. You might only be able to find them in slices. You can pulse them in a food processor to make them into a powder to get a really smooth frosting. If you don’t mind some texture (I think it’s really good!) you can coarsely chop up the strawberries or put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin or mallet.
- Frosting Cupcakes: I think frosting is the real treat! You can frost the cakes any way you like. I prefer to put the frosting in a piping bag and make a pretty design. You can use whatever tip you like, and switch it up for fun designs. Make sure your dessert has cooled off to room temperature before frosting them, or the frosting will melt right off!
Valentine’s Day Cupcake Ideas
So many fun Valentine’s day cupcake ideas are floating around in my head! I finally decided on the design you see here, but there are so many directions you could go with these cupcakes. Here are a few fun ways to switch up this recipe!
- Valentine’s Day Cupcake Toppers: Sprinkles are a fast and fun way to dress up your cupcakes. They are perfect for kids who are helping. Try adding chocolate transfers, chocolate candies, or fun conversation heart candies.
- Flavors of Frosting: There are so many options for frosting flavors! I like to add freeze dried fruit (like strawberries) so you get a beautiful pink color naturally without food coloring. You could also use freeze dried raspberries instead if you like the flavor better. Raspberries go perfectly with this cupcake recipe. You could also top these cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream for an extra rich chocolate cake treat.
- Chocolate Transfers: These chocolate strawberry cupcakes are so fun to top with chocolate transfers! All you have to do is melt your favorite kind of chocolate and put it in a pastry bag or plastic bag. Cut a very small hole, and pipe out fun designs onto parchment paper. Give it 15 minutes to dry, and then you will be able to pick it up and put it on top of your cupcakes! They are so beautiful and taste delicious. You don’t have to be a pro to make some really fun toppers! You could use white chocolate or red melting chocolate to add to the design.
Cupcakes make great leftovers! I like making the cupcakes ahead of time because they will stay nice and moist for a few days. Here is how to store your leftovers.
- On the Counter: You can store your cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) on the counter in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can refrigerate them if you want to, but it’s not necessary.
Strawberry buttercream frosting
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners, set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, warm coffee, egg, and vanilla until combined.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently whisk together until fully combined.
Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and only fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring bake when lightly pressed. Cool completely before frosting.
Strawberry buttercream frosting
Beat the butter in the bowl of a mixer until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat slowly until incorporated, increasing the speed to beat it more fully.
Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and add the freeze dried strawberries, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium-high until completely smooth and combined. If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk one tablespoon at a time until it is a pipeable consistency.
Pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes and decorate however you’d like!
Calories373kcal (19%)Carbohydrates62g (21%)Protein2g (4%)Fat13g (20%)Saturated Fat8g (40%)Polyunsaturated Fat1gMonounsaturated Fat3gTrans Fat0.5gCholesterol44mg (15%)Sodium237mg (10%)Potassium288mg (8%)Fiber3g (12%)Sugar48g (53%)Vitamin A399IU (8%)Vitamin C193mg (234%)Calcium23mg (2%)Iron4mg (22%)
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.