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Decadent Turtle Caramel Cake Recipe


Welcome to a delightful journey into the world of decadence with our Turtle Caramel Cake recipe! This indulgent dessert combines rich chocolate, gooey caramel, and crunchy pecans to create a treat that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply treating yourself, this cake promises to satisfy your sweet cravings.



Let’s start with gathering the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) bag caramels
  • 1 1/3 cups water (or as called for by your cake mix)
  • 1/3 cup oil (or as called for by your cake mix)
  • 3 eggs (or as called for by your cake mix)
  • 1 (18 ounce) box German chocolate cake mix


Step 1: Prepare the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Prepare the German chocolate cake mix according to the instructions on the box.
  3. Pour half of the batter into a greased 13×9 inch baking pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Prepare the Caramel and Pecan Topping

  1. Melt the caramels with evaporated milk over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
  2. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  3. Spread the caramel-pecan mixture evenly over the partially baked cake layer.

Step 3: Complete the Cake

  1. Pour the remaining cake batter evenly over the caramel-pecan layer.
  2. Bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Cook’s Notes

  • Caramel Consistency: Ensure the caramel mixture is not too runny before spreading it over the cake.
  • Baking Time: Oven temperatures may vary, so check the cake’s doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center.
  • Storage: Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Keto-Friendly Turtle Caramel Cake

For a low-carb option:

  • Cake Base: Use a keto-friendly chocolate cake mix or make your own with almond flour and cocoa powder.
  • Sweetener: Substitute the caramels with a sugar-free caramel sauce sweetened with erythritol or stevia.
  • Nut-Free: Replace pecans with shredded coconut or omit nuts altogether.

Vegan Turtle Caramel Cake

For a dairy-free and egg-free version:

  • Cake Batter: Use a vegan chocolate cake mix or make your own using plant-based milk and oil.
  • Caramel: Make a vegan caramel sauce using coconut milk and coconut sugar.
  • Topping: Substitute pecans with toasted coconut flakes or chopped almonds.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What should I do if my caramel is too thick?

If your caramel becomes too thick to spread, gently reheat it with a splash of milk or cream until it reaches a spreadable consistency.


Can I freeze Turtle Caramel Cake?

Yes, you can freeze this cake! Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil before freezing for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

How can I make the cake more moist?

Ensure not to overbake the cake layers. Check for doneness a few minutes before the recommended baking time and remove from the oven when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

More on Turtle Caramel Cake

Tips for Perfecting Your Turtle Caramel Cake

  1. Handling Caramel: When melting the caramels with evaporated milk, ensure you stir constantly over low heat. This prevents burning and helps achieve a smooth consistency that spreads easily over the cake layers.
  2. Choosing Chocolate Chips: Opt for high-quality chocolate chips for the best flavor. You can also experiment with different types of chocolate, like dark or milk chocolate, depending on your preference.
  3. Pecans: Toasting the pecans before adding them to the caramel mixture can enhance their nutty flavor. Simply spread them on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant.
  4. Baking Time: Oven temperatures can vary, so keep an eye on your cake during the final baking period. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Serving Suggestions

Serve slices of Turtle Caramel Cake with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra indulgent treat. The creamy texture of the cake pairs wonderfully with the lightness of whipped cream or the coolness of ice cream.

Make-Ahead Tips

  • Prep in Advance: You can prepare the caramel-pecan mixture and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before assembling and baking the cake. This makes it easier to manage your time if you’re planning to serve the cake for a special occasion.
  • Freezing Instructions: To freeze the entire cake, ensure it’s completely cooled after baking. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Healthier Alternatives

For those looking to reduce sugar or calorie intake, consider using sugar-free caramel sauce and reducing the amount of chocolate chips. You can also experiment with alternative sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I prevent the caramel from hardening too much on the cake?

To keep the caramel layer soft and gooey, ensure you spread it evenly while it’s still warm. Avoid overcooking the caramel or allowing it to cool too much before spreading it over the cake layers.

Can I use a different type of nuts instead of pecans?

Yes, you can substitute pecans with walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts according to your preference. Toast them similarly before adding them to the caramel mixture for enhanced flavor.


Indulge in the richness and decadence of our Turtle Caramel Cake, perfect for any occasion where you want to impress with a homemade dessert. With its layers of moist chocolate cake, gooey caramel-pecan filling, and delightful toppings, this cake promises to be a favorite among family and friends. Enjoy the process of baking and savoring each delicious bite!