Over the last few months, I’ve realized that food is my love language. If I want to show my affection or support for someone—a friend, a family member, Dr. Cake Pants, Phoebe, etc.—I turn to food. So naturally, with the most love-centric holiday on the horizon, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create a special dessert: chocolate snack cake with strawberry frosting!
This recipe is a variation on a theme: the chocolate cake has appeared in a number of posts (Baileys peppermint chocolate cake, Black Forest poke cake) and the frosting is the same as the one I used for my lemon snack cake, only with freeze-dried strawberries instead of freeze-dried raspberries. If you’ve never used freeze-dried fruit in frosting before, you’ll be amazed at how much flavor and color it adds – no artificial coloring needed! Several people have even told me that although they generally dislike frosting, they very much enjoy this frosting because it’s not overly sweet and the predominant flavor is fruit, rather than sugar.
If you’re anything like me and Valentine’s Day kind of crept up on you, this chocolate snack cake with strawberry frosting is going to be a lifesaver. Not only is it quick to make and vegan to boot, but you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry! You may not have a bag of freeze-dried strawberries on hand, BUT, life hack time: do you have a box of Special K with berries? Bingo. Or if all else fails, just skip the strawberries and toss some colored sprinkles on top!
What is your love language? And do you have any favorite life hacks when it comes to creating holiday-themed treats?
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup freeze-dried strawberries
- chocolate-covered strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until all the lumps have been broken up.
- Add the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract to the mixture of dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- For the frosting: in the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar. Add the almond milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Using a food processor or blender, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder. Add the powder to the mixer bowl and mix until combined. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Optional: top with chocolate-covered strawberries.
- If you are not concerned with keeping the frosting vegan, feel free to use regular butter and regular milk.
Heather @ Sweet Precision says
Looks delicious Mara! I’ve heard about freeze dried fruit quite a bit lately but I’ve never used it in my baking. What section do you find it in at the grocery store? Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day 🙂
Thanks, Heather! I buy mine at Trader Joe’s, where it’s typically placed alongside dried fruits and nuts. I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day as well!
Heather @ Sweet Precision says
Great, I’ll have to check it out! Who doesn’t love a trip to Trader Joe’s 😉
Cake Lover says
I agree with you that food is my love language. No translation needed. This cake looks delicious!
Exactly – no translation needed! I hope you get a chance to try this 🙂
Valentina Celant (@TheBakingFairy) says
Food is absolutely my love language! Though I feel like that might be a trend among us food bloggers 😉 I LOVE the idea of using freeze-dried strawberries! Usually I use strawberry milk powder (aka Nesquik) to flavor my strawberry cakes and frostings, but I’ll have to try your trick next. Gorgeous cake!
Haha yes, it’s only natural that food would be the love language of most (if not all) food bloggers! Let me know what you think if you try freeze-dried berries in frosting! I vaguely remember trying to color a cake with it once, but the color faded significantly in the oven – would not recommend 🙁 But it’s fantastic in frosting!
David | Spiced says
You know, I really need to try this freeze-dried berry in frosting thing! I remember you mentioning it before, and now you bring it up again…with this amazing looking snack cake! Seriously. I want to dig into that cake. Actually, I just want to go face-first. Is that allowed? I’m like you though…I use food to show my love and appreciation for others, too! Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, my friend! Eat an extra piece of cake for me, ok? 🙂
Diving face-first into cake is definitely A-OK in my book! I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day too 🙂 And let me know if you give the freeze-dried fruit a try – I bet you’ll love it!
Mary Ann @ thebeachhousekitchen says
I love using freeze-dried fruit in recipes Mara. Gives everything such a fabulous flavor boost! This cake looks like the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!
Yes, it really does! I’ve only tried it in frosting so far, but I’m hoping to branch out from that soon. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Shivali @ vedicvegan.com says
I am drooling over this slice of your cake! you make it look and sound so easy. I have to give this a try for sure!! love your blog 🙂
Thanks so much, Shivali! I hope you get a chance to try this cake – let me know what you think if you do 🙂
This cake looks gorgeous! I recently made a chocolate cake using oil also and was struck by how light and fluffy it was. Yours is too, I am sure:) Great recipe!
Thanks, Monika! I love how convenient oil is for baking – no need to wait for butter to warm to room temperature.
Ai @Ai made it for you says
What a pretty cake!!🍓 I’ve never used freeze-dried fruit in frosting before. When I make strawberry frosting, I purée the fruit and cook out the water so it turns into a paste and add that to the frosting. I’ll have to try your method!
Just a reminder, don’t forget to add links to both Petra’s and my blog😉 Thanks for sharing and keep spreading your love language😋 Happy Fiesta Friday!!🎉
Thanks, Ai, and thanks for hosting this week! Yes, I love using freeze-dried fruit in frosting – it’s so simple!
This cake looks splendid! Food is definitely one of my love languages too! I used freeze dried berries in the frosting for my daughter’s cake last month, but it didn’t turn out so deep in color as yours. I’ll have to use more berries next time.
Thanks, Julia! Just be sure to add gradually – one time I dumped in a whole bunch and it turned kind of a weird dark shade (the vibrancy didn’t increase past a certain point).
How do you freeze dry fruit
No idea, actually! I just buy freeze-dried fruit at the store. I haven’t checked other grocery stores, but Trader Joe’s places it along with (regular) dried fruit.
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
I know food is my love language! I love feeding people that I care for, and this cake would definitely be a great way to do that. It is so pretty and I would love to start by devouring that strawberry first!
Thanks, Julie! I’m not going to lie – the “extra” chocolate-covered strawberries didn’t last very long…
Jess @ Sweetest Menu says
Wow! What a truly beautiful cake! I would love this so much (def a chocolate strawberry girl). Pinning!
Thanks, Jess! I hope you get a chance to try it sometime soon 🙂
Stephanie | Worth Whisking says
Mara, this cake is quintessential Valentine’s Day! Love it! Looks super moist, and I’m intrigued by making the frosting with freeze-dried strawberries. Great idea!
Thanks, Stephanie! The oil definitely helps keep the cake moist (plus, no need to wait for butter to warm to room temperature!). I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!
Kelsie | itsybitsykitchen.com says
I LOVE this! With all the frostings I’ve made in my life I’ve never flavored one with freeze-dried fruit. Clearly I’ve been missing out! And food is totally my love language. I’m the girl who brings bags of homemade cookies with her everywhere just in case someone gets hungry.
I only discovered the joys of using freeze-dried fruit in frosting about a year ago, but I’m pretty much now hooked for life! I hope you get a chance to try it. And I love that you carry homemade cookies around with you…the world needs more people like you 😉
Jenna Owens (@aSavoryFeast) says
Cake is my kind of snack! This one sounds soooo good. Thanks for sharing it over at the Wednesday Showcase!
Me too! I would eat cake every day if I could. Thanks for stopping by and for hosting such a fun link party every week!
heather (delicious not gorgeous) says
food is my everyday language (i probably wouldn’t love to bake/cook/food blog if i didn’t, lol). i have such a hard time shopping for gifts for people, but it’s never hard to bake them something they’d like (:
I have a hard time thinking of (non-edible) gifts for people too. But you’re right – it’s more or less a given that cooking/baking something for people will put a smile on their face! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Culinary Flavors says
What a luscious cake! Strawberry matches perfectly with chocolate!
Thanks, Katerina! They really are a match made in culinary heaven 🙂
Agness of Run Agness Run says
Mara, this cake looks lovely! Strawberries are such a great match to chocolate, this recipe is amazing!
Thanks, Agness! I hope you get a chance to try it sometime 🙂
Ruth | Always Add Cinnamon says
This cake looks so gorgeous. I’ve never tried using freeze dried fruit in frosting before, but I’m totally going to give it a go. Anyone who eats this cake I’m sure will be able to tell the love that has gone into it
Thanks, Ruth! Sorry I overlooked this comment for long – hopefully you’ve had a chance to try this cake in the meantime 🙂
Exotic Fruit says
Hi! I’m wondering if this can be frozen. I’m thinking of making 2 batches tomorrow since we have two week-long trips coming up with only a day of rest at home in between. So I don’t want to run for fresh strawberries then. Thank you!
Great question! Yes, the cake and frosting can be frozen. I’d recommend freezing them separately – wrap the completely cooled cake in plastic wrap, then in foil, then place in a sealable freezer bag (and just put the frosting in a separate container). Pull both out of the freezer a few hours before you’d like to serve the cake and let them warm up to room temperature.
As for the chocolate-covered strawberries, I wouldn’t recommend freezing – when they’re brought back to room temperature, the berries get mushy and the chocolate has condensation “sweat.” Chocolate-covered strawberries do add a lovely visual element to this recipe, but the frosted cake is plenty tasty without them, so you could just skip that part!