No, not that kind of turtle! 🙂 This is turtle cake like the kind you eat that contain chocolate, pecans and caramels.
For as long as I can remember, mom loved candy turtles. The ones in the red and white striped box. So, when I threw her a 60th birthday party in conjunction with my Aunt Kathleen, I thought a turtle cake would be perfect. Aunt Linda said it was the best cake she had ever had. It took a little more work than usual because I won’t use canned frosting – too many trans fats. So all the frosting was homemade ahead of time. You can make the cake mix the day of – or make it ahead of time and wrap it up with saran wrap and freeze it. The freezing method helps in frosting the cake without crumb problems as well.
yield 12-15 servings
1 (18.25 oz.) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz.) package chocolate instant pudding mix
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
16 oz. powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
Filling and Decor:
7 oz. package of Turtles
1 can or bottle of dulce de leche (caramel I found in the Hispanic section of the grocery store)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 – 9″ round cake pans with cooking spray and cocoa powder, or spray with Baker’s Joy. (*Tip from my cake decorating class*: using the bottom of the pan as a stencil, cut out 2 circles of parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil. Place these circles in the bottom of your pans so after the cake cools, the top will come out perfect.)
2. Beat “cake mix” ingredients on low speed for 1 minute. Increase to medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the two round pans.
3. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and cool on rack until completely cool. (or completely forget to get them out of the pan like I did and you’ll still be fine). Wrap each round cake in plastic wrap and cool in refrigerator (or freezer if making at a later date).
4. To make cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. On low speed, add powdered sugar little by little and add vanilla.
5. To make chocolate frosting: Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second increments. Stir after each increment until completely melted. Add sugar, butter and vanilla. Slowly, add milk until incorporated. (If this is too thick add another 1-2 tablespoons of milk. After putting it in the fridge overnight it was very thick and needed an additional 2 Tbs. of milk to be spreadable.)
6. Assemble the cake: Chop most of the turtles coarsely. Leave 2 turtles out for decoration on top. Mix cream cheese frosting with 1/2 cup of dulce de leche.
Cut each round cake in half, so you get 4 cake layers. Place first layer Crumb-Side Up onto the serving platter. Spread one-third of cream cheese/dulce de leche frosting. Sprinkle one-third of chopped turtles. Add second layer of cake crumb-side down. Spread one-third of cream cheese/dulce de leche frosting. Sprinkle one-third of chopped turtles. Add third layer of cake crumb-side down. Spread last one-third of cream cheese/dulce de leche frosting. Sprinkle remaining chopped turtles. Top with last layer of cake.
Spread chocolate frosting on top and sides of cake. Before serving and displaying, drizzle dulce de leche on top of cake and decorate with whole turtles that you saved earlier. Or cut those in half and make 4 turtles. Whatever looks pretty.
**You could use canned frosting to replace the homemade cream cheese frosting and chocolate frosting. I don’t buy the can anymore since the information about trans fats came out and a “serving” of 2 Tbs. is 1.5-2 grams of trans fats.