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All your favorite flavors of a gooey chocolate turtle in cake form! This chocolate turtle cake is the perfect decadent layer cake for all the chocolate caramel lovers out there.
Chocolate Turtle Cake
Looking for the perfect unique cake to make for Thanksgiving this year? Allow me to introduce you to this chocolate turtle layer cake. This decadent chocolate recipe takes all your favorite flavors from a gooey chocolate turtle and reimagines them into a layer cake. The result is a decadent chocolate caramel cake with an insanely good salted caramel pecan filling and a dreamy chocolate butter cream.
I mean…am I the only one drooling?
What is a chocolate turtle?
If you’ve never had a chocolate turtle I want to first offer you my sincerest condolences. They’re one of my favorite fancy chocolates to grab at a the chocolate shop or gift for the holidays. Chocolate turtles are made with pecans, caramel and chocolate. They’re salty sweet, decadent, and easily inhaled. Plus they have ideal amount of crunch from the nuts and gooey-ness from the caramel that makes for the perfect texture combination.
So…what is turtle layer cake?
Basically, you take all those scrumptious flavors of a classic chocolate turtle and put them into a cake made up of layers of chocolate cake, salted caramel mixed with toasted pecans, and held together with a creamy, dreamy chocolate buttercream. It’s decadent, chocolatey, salty-sweet, and so so so so so so tasty. Plus, it’s actually pretty easy to make and super customizable!
The key components of this turtle layer cake:
When you break it down, this fun chocolate cake is actually pretty simple. But put those three flavors together and you’re in for a real treat.
Caramel: If you know us, then you know we like anything filled with caramel. And we ESPECIALLY like making our own super easy homemade caramel. You can find our full tutorial on homemade caramel here!
Pecans: The key textural component of any turtle dessert are crunchy, toasted pecans. Unlike chocolate turtles, which traditionally use whole pecans, you can save a few bucks and just get pecan pieces.
Chocolate Cake: You’ll need a damn good chocolate cake for this turtle layer cake recipe. And luck for you, we have one. Bonus points because it’s made in one bowl and comes together super quickly–no stand mixer required!
Chocolate Frosting: Chocolate on chocolate is my fav cake/frosting flavor combo. It’s decadent, delicious and not too sweet.
What size cake does this recipe make?
You have some options. You can make this recipe in the following formats with just a few tweaks. This recipe will make:
First, make the chocolate cake. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and line 3 6 inch rounds or 2 8 inch rounds with parchment paper on the bottom. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, vanilla, eggs, and buttermilk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking until no lumps remain. Pour in brewed coffee, mixing until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
While the cakes cool, make the homemade caramel. Prepare the caramel according to directions and allow to cool completely. Reserve 1/3 cup of the caramel for drizzling on top fo the finished cake and place the remaining caramel in bowl. Add the chopped pecans to remaining caramel and stir to combine. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside.
Next, make the frosting. Place the room temperature butter in a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Beat the butter until creamy.
Scrape down the bowl and add the cocoa powder. Beat on low speed and gradually increase to high speed until homogenous.
Scrape down the bowl and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, espresso powder and 3 Tablespoons of milk to start. Beat on low speed and gradually increase to high speed, beating until light and fluffy.
To assemble the cake, place the first layer on a cake stand or flat plate. Pipe about half of the caramel filling around the cake. Place the second layer on top of the filling and repeat with the remaining half of the filling. Frost the cake with the chocolate frosting, covering the top and pulling down to cover the sides of the cake. Put the cake in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. This will help the frosting and filling to set.
While the cake is chilling warm up the remaining 1/3 cup of caramel in a microwave safe bowl. Pour over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Top the top of the cake with crushed up pecans. Enjoy!