Adapted from my vanilla cupcakes, these Valentine’s Day Cupid Cupcakes are the ultimate declaration of love: strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla all in one! Fill with Nutella and garnish with a chocolate heart for an over-the-top festive Valentine’s Day treat.
Just in case Valentine’s Day cookies, red velvet cake, and crème brûlée aren’t enough for your February 14th celebration, I have a swirly-topped cupcake for you. These were a BIG hit with taste testers, and the Nutella stuffed inside is such a delightful surprise!
These Valentine’s Day cupcakes are filled with Nutella and topped with strawberry Nutella swirled buttercream. And yes, they’re every bit as lush as they look!!
My Best Base Cupcake Recipe
Today’s Valentine’s Day cupcake recipe begins with a very familiar cupcake batter. My vanilla cupcakes are tried and true, combining an extra fluffy crumb and undeniably buttery vanilla flavor. It’s difficult to replicate that bakery style cupcake perfection, but this recipe nails it EVERY TIME. I depend on this base recipe because the ingredients guarantee success:
- Egg Whites (no yolks): Lift up the crumb instead of weighing it down.
- Sour Cream: Leaves all the moisture.
- Cake Flour: Promises an extra soft texture.
Here’s a complete run-down of the vanilla cupcakes recipe if you’re interested.
There’s no point straying from this recipe because the results are fantastic and consistent. Plus, it’s really easy to adapt the cupcake into different flavors like peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, pistachio cupcakes, and coconut cupcakes.
My #1 tip: Fill the cupcake liners only about 2/3 full. These cupcakes rise up tall and excess batter will overflow.
Strawberry Nutella Cupcakes = Valentine’s Day Cupid’s Cupcakes
I call these Cupid’s Cupcakes because they’re the most festive Valentine’s Day cupcakes I’ve ever made! We’re taking my vanilla cupcakes recipe, stuffing it with Nutella, and topping with beautifully swirled buttercream. (Giving us neapolitan cookies vibes!) Strawberry and Nutella is an underrated flavor combination. It’s definitely cupid approved.
My trick for filling cupcakes: There’s a video tutorial in my sugar plum fairy cupcakes. (Scroll halfway down the post.) I also show you how to swirl two frostings together in that video. Don’t overcomplicate things because it’s actually very easy!
Two Frostings from 1 Recipe
Besides the flavor, what you’ll love most is that the two frostings start with 1 basic buttercream. Convenient! Even though there’s a lot going on, this recipe is just like any homemade cupcake & homemade frosting recipe– the buttercream is simply split into two flavors.
- Add Nutella to half of the buttercream and strawberry “dust” to the other half.
What’s strawberry dust? A dessert miracle, that’s what! Strawberry dust is the secret to real strawberry frosting. You’ll grind up freeze-dried strawberries, the same strawberries we use in strawberry & cream cookies. Freeze-dried strawberries are REAL strawberries, so you get real flavor without comprising the recipes’ texture. I discovered this trick several years ago and it graces my strawberry cake and white chocolate strawberry cupcakes. And the frosting is naturally pink!
Here are a few Valentine’s Day cupcake recipes from previous years. Plus, find even more inspiration over on my Valentine’s Day dessert recipes page.
- Pistachio Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting (–> love these!)
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
- White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
Valentine’s Day Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
- Yield: 15 cupcakes
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Strawberry, Nutella, and vanilla all in one! These Valentine’s Day inspired cupcakes begin with my basic vanilla cupcakes recipe. The two frosting flavors are made from 1 basic vanilla buttercream. These cupcakes are fun, festive, and definitely Cupid approved!!
- 1 and 3/4 cups (207g) cake flour* (spooned & leveled)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature*
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (100g) Nutella
Nutella & Strawberry Swirl Buttercream
- 1 cup (about 25g) freeze-dried strawberries*
- 1 and 1/2 cups (339g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 6 cups (720g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (100g) Nutella
- optional for garnish: chocolate heart candies or strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-3 liners – this recipe makes 14-15 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour and mix in the milk *just* until combined. Do not overmix.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only 2/3 full to avoid baking over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 35 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Fill the cupcakes: Watch my cupcake filling video (found in the post for sugar plum fairy cupcakes) for a visual of this step. Using a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cooled cupcakes to create a little pocket about 1 inch deep. The piece you removed will be the shape of a cone. Spoon Nutella inside each carved out cupcake. Use as much Nutella that will fit. Slice off the pointy end of the “cone” piece you removed so that it can fit on top of the filling. Place on top of the filling.
- Make the buttercream: Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/3 – 1/2 cup. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Divide buttercream in half. Beat 1/3 cup of Nutella into half and the strawberry dust into the other half. If either frosting seems too thin for piping, add an extra Tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar. Add an extra Tablespoon of cream if frosting seems too thick.
- Swirled frosting: Fill a piping bag with a piping tip (I used Wilton 1M piping tip for the pictured cupcakes). Add a spoonful of the Nutella frosting, then a spoonful of the strawberry frosting, then continue alternating spoonfuls of frosting until the piping bag is filled. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. I piped a basic tall swirl. See #2 in this piping tips post about piping a tall swirl.(I have a video tutorial in that blog post if you need a visual.) Decorate with garnishes, if desired.
- Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer or Handheld Mixer | 12-count Muffin Pan | Cupcake Liners | Piping Bags (Disposable or Reusable) | Wilton 1M Piping Tip
- Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, you can make this DIY cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
- What to Do with Leftover Egg Yolks? I have some recipes using egg yolks for you!
- Where to Buy Freeze-Dried Strawberries? I always find them in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s and Target carries them. Keep your eyes peeled– they’re more commonly found that you think! Do not use the chewy/gummy dried strawberries. You need FREEZE-dried strawberries which grind into a powder.
- Why is Everything at Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information on why room temperature ingredients are important.
- Nut Allergy / Alternative to Nutella: Instead of Nutella filling, fill the cupcakes with chocolate ganache. Instead of the Nutella frosting, swirl the strawberry frosting with my chocolate buttercream.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin.
Keywords: Cupid’s Cupcakes Strawberry and Nutella
Reader Comments & Reviews
How do I change the recipe to get just strawberry buttercream, without nuttella?
Hi Mary, you can follow our strawberry buttercream recipe instead.
Wow! Freeze dried strawberries are crazy expensive.
Hi Sally! I can’t find freeze-dried strawberries where I live. Do you think I could replace them with 165g raspberry preserves, like for your raspberry frosting? (I have made that one for chocolate cupcakes and it’s delicious!)
Hi Beatriz, You could certainly use that raspberry frosting. Just keep in mind it’s not as thick so it doesn’t pipe quite as nicely.
Great recipe!! Freeze dried strawberries can be found at ALDIs, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods in dried fruit section.
could I make this into a 6 inch cake?
Hi Kim, absolutely. This cupcake batter will make 3, 6 inch round cake layers. You can follow this 6 inch cake recipes post as a guide.
I followed the instructions and measurements exactly (room temp ingredients, weighed my flours and sugars), and still my cupcakes expanded beyond their liners even though I made fifteen. I probably could have gotten twenty proper-sized cupcakes. Why did this happen?
Thank you for giving these cupcakes a try! Perhaps your cupcake pan is slightly smaller – make sure to only fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full if you give these a try another time. Hope you enjoyed them!
Delicious! The strawberry & Nutella frostings are both so good – it’s hard to pick a favorite. Good thing we don’t have to
These look fabulous and delicious! Your idea of grinding the freeze-dried fruit into dust, then adding it to your frosting is ingenious and makes perfect sense I’m an old retired baker, but still love to bake new to me things. I will be making these soon. Thank you
I love these!!! They have the look of a cupcake that I would bake and give. Is there anything that I can substitute for the nutella??? I’m just don’t like it.
Hi Marcia! You could swirl the strawberry frosting with chocolate frosting and fill the cupcakes with chocolate ganache instead of Nutella. Let us know if you give them a try!
They were really sweet though super cute!
Could i use thus recipe for a double layer cake ?
With the same Nutella filling for the middle perhaps. Would I need to change the measurements for 2 9″ cake pans ?
Hi V, For a two layer 9-inch cake I suggest following the recipe for my Favorite White Cake and then you can use this Nutella and strawberry frosting to fill and frost the cake. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for your reply. I had a look at the recipe for your Favorite White Cake, and saw that it uses egg whites. Could I use egg replacer for this ? I usually use Bob’s Red Mill. Or flax eggs.
These taste amazing!!! We didn’t have any more Nutella for the middle of the cupcake so we had to make chocolate ganache for it instead.
I do not have a food processor or blender. Is there another way to incorporate the strawberries into the buttercream?
Hi Emily, You can try to place them in a zip top bag and then use a rolling pin to roll over the bag to crush the freeze dried berries. I have not tried this but I’m guessing it will take a bit of arm muscle to get them to a powdery consistency.
I love making these cakes, but I’m wondering if you have any Go-To recipe for Gluten Free cupcakes? I have so many GF friends who are sad to be missing out on these creations. Do you have a link you can share, or develop some GF goodies for us?
Hi Mel! I don’t have much experience with gluten free baking, so I’m not the best person to ask! Here are some of my naturally GF recipes: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/category/gluten-free/
Very yummy flavor combo and fun!
These turned out great! Made the recipe exactly as written. The flavor combination is unique and addictive. This does make a ton of frosting! I ended up with 14 cupcakes and had some left over. Not a bad thing- it was nice to have some extra while mastering the swirl. Will definitely make these again for next Valentine’s Day!
I made these for Valentine’s Day and they were FANTASTIC!! My coworkers loved them!! I doubled the cake recipe and made the frosting recipe as is and still had more than enough frosting. Will definitely make again!
These were fantastic! I have never made strawberry frosting using freeze-dried strawberries until now, and I don’t think I’ll make it any other way going forward. Best vanilla cupcake I’ve ever made, thank you Sally for this recipe!
FYI– I made only 2/3 the frosting recipe and it was definitely enough.
Hi~ I want to make these for a child’s birthday who is gluten free. I am using a 1:1 flour substitute. However, you call for cake flour. Will the corn starch work around you detailed, if one can’t find cake flour work with 1:1 GF flour substitute? Do you know if this recipe will even hold up to a GF flour mixture?
Also, I intend to make my own nutella, for reasons someone mentioned above. They look delish, and I hope the GF option works. Any ideas?
Hi Jenny, I’m sorry, I don’t have any experience baking with gluten free flour. If you have time for a test batch you can certainly try the corn starch trick and see if it works – and let me know!!
I can’t find freeze dried strawberries where I live. What can I use instead? I saw some dehydrated strawberries in the bulk section the other day, but I’m not sure they would be dry enough.
Hi Melanie! I don’t recommend the dehydrated strawberries– are they the gummy/dried fruit kind? Instead of freeze-dried strawberries, how about a little strawberry extract or strawberry jam.
Hi I got mine off Amazon. Just type in freeze dried strawberries and there should be a couple of brands.
These are cute! Could you give some details about the chocolate hearts (brand/where to find)? They look familiar, maybe Dove brand? Sorry if I missed it in the post, super tired tonight. I think I’m going to make these for Valentine’s Day!
Hey Elle! They are Hershey’s brand, but Dove makes hearts as well!
I would love it if you put out a Sally’s cupcakes Addiction cookbook. I tried quite a few and they turned very good and delicious. I already have two of your cookbooks they are lovely.