Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

Indulge in the luxurious taste of Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake, a decadent dessert perfect for any celebration. This cake features rich chocolate layers infused with a hint of coffee, filled with a creamy caramel pecan sauce, and enveloped in a velvety salted caramel buttercream. Each slice promises a symphony of textures and flavors that are sure to delight any dessert lover.


Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1½ tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ tbsp instant coffee granules (optional)
  • 2¼ cups buttermilk, room temperature

Caramel Pecan Filling:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 3 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¾ cup salted caramel sauce, cooled
  • 3-6 tbsp heavy cream or milk (as needed)

Ganache Drip:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Additional Garnish:

  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • Whole pecans


  1. Prepare the Cake: Sift and mix all dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one, followed by sour cream and vanilla-coffee mix. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk, mixing until just combined. Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  2. Make the Filling: Melt sugar over medium heat until amber in color. Carefully add butter, then gradually stir in cream. Mix in vanilla and salt, then pecans. Set aside to cool.
  3. Buttercream: Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and cooled caramel sauce. Adjust consistency with cream as needed.
  4. Assemble: Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with buttercream and a layer of pecan filling. Repeat with remaining layers. Apply a final coat of buttercream on the outside and chill.
  5. Decorate: Apply ganache drips along the edges of the chilled cake. Add chopped and whole pecans as garnish.


  • Make caramel sauce in advance for easier assembly.
  • Keep cake chilled until ready to serve for best texture.
  • Adding instant coffee enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake.


Q: Can I make the cake layers ahead of time?
A: Yes, the cake layers can be made up to two days in advance and stored wrapped in the fridge.

Q: What can I use if I don’t have buttermilk?
A: Substitute with a mixture of milk and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice left to stand for 5 minutes.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including chilling)

Yield: Serves 12

Category: Dessert

Method: Baking

Cuisine: American

Diet: Vegetarian


The Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake is a show-stopping dessert that combines the beloved flavors of chocolate, caramel, and pecans in a stunning presentation. Perfect for special occasions or as a weekend treat, this cake will satisfy your sweet tooth and impress your guests with its gourmet appearance and taste. Enjoy the process of creating and devouring this sumptuous cake!

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