My husband’s birthday was last week, and as I’ve mentioned before, he’s not much of a cake guy. I’d put him firmly on Team Pie or Team Cheesecake.

This year though, he surprised me by repeatedly asking me what kind of cake I was going to make for his birthday, and each time I would respond with “None. You don’t like cake!” By the day before his birthday, we were up to multiple cake inquiries per day, so I decided I should change gears, file away the turtle cheesecake recipe I was going to make, and figure out what kind of cake to make for his big 3-0.

Thankfully, the folks over at Taste of Home had my back with their fabulous Chocolate Turtle Cake.

Chocolate Pecan Turtle Cake #caramel #devilsfood

This thing is a labor of love – three layers of chocolate cake, two fillings (chocolate ganache and pecan caramel), chocolate icing, plus chocolate garnish and a caramel topping – but it is OH SO WORTH IT. All of those flavors do make this a very very rich cake, so I would highly recommend serving small slices with with vanilla ice cream to cut it down a bit.

Also, if you are a skinny jean girl like myself, figure out a way to get this thing out of your house before you eat half of it yourself. I really loved this cake, but now that my jeans are a little too tight, I do question the wisdom in making a huge cake that took us a week of concentrated effort to finish…. but it was so good!

The dark chocolate cake starts out moist, but did dry out a little as the week wore on (not that you’ll need to worry about that if you make this for a party instead of two people like I did), but the caramel filling got better with age, so it was still worth eating night after night. 😉

Chocolate Turtle Cake
  • 1 cup dark baking cocoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Caramel Filling
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream divided
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter cubed
Ganache Filling
  • 1 teaspoon salted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 ounces baking chocolate chopped
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup salted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water, then allow to cool. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, powder and salt. Alternately add buttermilk, cocoa mixture, and dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
  2. Pour into three greased and floured 9" round cake pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until tests done with a toothpick. Cool slightly before removing from pans, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Caramel Filling
  1. Line an 8"round cake pan with foil, then grease the foil with butter. Sprinkle with pecans and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine sugars, 1/2 cup cream, corn syrup, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until smooth and blended, about 5 minutes. Gradually add remaining cream. Bring to a boil over medium-low, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until the mixture reaches 238 degrees (soft-ball stage) then remove from heat. Quickly pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan). Cool.
Ganache Filling
  1. Line an 8"round cake pan with foil, then grease the foil with butter. Sprinkle with pecans and set aside. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over pecans. Cool to room temperature, then chill until set.
  1. Melt unsweetened chocolate and chocolate chips in a microwave, stirring at intervals until smooth. Cool slightly. Beat the powdered sugar sugar, butter, milk, cocoa and vanilla until smooth, then beat in melted chocolate.
  1. Level cakes and set aside. Spread dab of icing onto the serving plate, doily, or cardboard to hold the cake in place, then put one layer of cake down. Remove the foil from the caramel and place on top of the cake. Top with another cake layer. Remove the foil from the ganache and place on top of the cake. Top with the remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Garnish and decorate as desired.


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