Turtle Caramel Cake

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You know that feeling when you catch a whiff of something delicious baking in the oven and it instantly floods your mind with heartwarming memories? That’s the kind of nostalgic comfort I get whenever I make my favorite turtle caramel cake recipe.

I come from a family obsessed with desserts, especially anything involving chocolate, caramel or nuts. This particular treat was a treasured staple at every holiday gathering, birthday celebration, you name it. My mom would spend hours lovingly putting it together, letting the rich aromas of melting chocolate and buttery caramel fill the entire house.

As a kid, I remember sneaking boxes of cereal into the kitchen so I could stake out a prime viewing spot near the oven. I’d eagerly watch through the smudged glass as the cake rose up and the gooey caramel center started to bubble. The anticipation was agonizing! But oh, was it worth the wait.

That first forkful was absolute heaven – a decadently moist chocolate cake smothered in a warm caramel blanket, studded with crunchy pecans that added the perfect nutty contrast. My eyes would roll back in pure bliss as the flavors danced across my tongue. No matter how stuffed I already was, I always found room for seconds…and thirds!

Luckily, this divine cake is surprisingly simple to recreate at home. While it may look intimidatingly fancy, the recipe only requires basic baking ingredients and a few easy steps. Don’t be fooled by its show-stopping appearance!

The hardest part is trying not to lick the bowl clean when you’re whipping up that velvety smooth caramel filling. I may or may not be speaking from experience here. A baker has needs, okay?

Anyway, enough reminiscing – let’s get baking! This turtle caramel cake tastes even better than you’re imagining, I swear. Just make sure to wear your stretchy pants, because you won’t be able to resist going back for seconds. And thirds.

Variations:

  • For a grown-up twist, add a splash of bourbon, rum or coffee liqueur to the caramel filling.
  • Replace the pecans with toasted walnuts or almonds for a different nutty crunch.
  • Drizzle the frosted cake with extra caramel sauce for next-level decadence.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use a different type of cake mix?

Absolutely! While I prefer the rich flavor of German chocolate, you can substitute yellow or devil’s food cake mix. Just avoid anything with fruity flavors.

How do I store this cake?

Let the cake cool completely, then cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week. You can freeze individual slices for 2-3 months. Simply let thaw at room temperature before enjoying.

Can I make this turtle cake in advance?

You can absolutely make this cake 1-2 days ahead. Store it tightly covered in the fridge until ready to serve. I don’t recommend making it more than 2 days in advance for maximum freshness.

Turtle Caramel Cake

That’s the kind of nostalgic comfort I get whenever I make my favorite turtle caramel cake recipe.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 1 Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 11 oz package caramel bits
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 container chocolate fudge frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the cake mix, 1 cup milk, eggs and oil until a smooth batter forms, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour half the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking, make the caramel filling. Combine the caramel bits, melted butter and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk frequently until completely melted and smooth.
  • Remove the partially baked cake from the oven. Pour the warm caramel filling evenly over the top.
  • Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the chopped pecans on top of the caramel layer.
  • Dollop the remaining cake batter over the filling in spoonfuls, then use a knife to gently spread it and cover the filling completely.
  • Return the cake to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Place the cake on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely, about 2 hours.
  • Once cooled, use a spatula or knife to spread the container of frosting evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped pecans.

Serving Suggestions: This decadent cake is rich enough to be served on its own with a cold glass of milk or coffee to cut the sweetness. For an extra indulgent treat, top individual slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or a drizzle of salted caramel sauce. Enjoy!

WANT TO SAVE THIS RECIPE?

WANT TO SAVE THIS RECIPE?

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