Cafe Latte's Turtle Cake
Recipe from Midwest Living

Cafe Latte created the Turtle Cake in 1985 and are famous for this moist, rich, three layer wonder. The cake layers are dark chocolate frosted with rich fudge and caramel and generous amounts of giant pecans.

Cafe Latte's Turtle Cake

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Servings: 12 to 16
Prep Time: 40 mins
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    Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1   
    egg, lightly beaten
  • 1   cup 
    buttermilk or sour milk (see note below)
  • 2/3  cup 
    vegetable oil
  • 2   cups 
    all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4  cups 
  • 1/2  cup 
    unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1   tablespoon 
    baking soda
  • 1   teaspoon 
  • 1   cup 
    freshly brewed hot coffee
    Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2  cups 
    pecan halves, toasted
  • 1/2  cup 
    purchased caramel ice cream topping*
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1   cup 
  • 1/2  cup 
  • 6   tablespoons 
    butter, cut up
  • 1  12  ounce package 
    semisweet chocolate pieces (2 cups)
  • 1 - 2   teaspoons 
    freshly brewed hot coffee

Grease three 9-inch cake pans*. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper; dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Set pans aside.
In a small bowl, stir together egg, buttermilk and oil; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, beating with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually beat in hot coffee. Pour batter into prepared pans. (Layers will appear shallow.)
Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pans, then invert cakes on racks. Remove cakes from pans. Peel off paper; cool thoroughly.
When the cakes are cool, make the Chocolate Frosting. Place 1 cake layer, top-side down, onto a serving plate with a lip. Using an icing spatula or wide knife, work quickly to frost the top of this layer with one-third of the frosting. Arrange one-third of the pecans on top and drizzle with some of the ice cream topping. Top with the second layer, top-side down. Repeat with frosting, pecans and caramel topping. Top with the third layer, right side up. Repeat with remaining frosting, pecans and caramel topping.
Chill cake 1 to 2 hours before serving.
Chocolate Frosting
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and milk. Add cut up butter. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add semisweet chocolate pieces. Using a wire whisk, mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly brewed hot coffee. If necessary, let stand several minutes before using.

  • Note: If you don't have buttermilk on hand when preparing this cake, substitute sour milk in the same amount. For each cup of sour milk needed, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup total liquid; stir. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.
  • * A thicker caramel topping works best in this recipe. Some caramel will ooze from the cake as it chills.
  • ** If you only have two 9-inch cake pans, refrigerate 1/3 of the batter while you bake the other two layers. Clean and prepare one of the pans as directed, and bake remaining batter.
Nutrition information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 697, Fat, total (g) 36, chol. (mg) 35, sat. fat (g) 10, carb. (g) 94, Monosaturated fat (g) 19, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 7, Trans fatty acid (g) 0, fiber (g) 4, sugar (g) 73, pro. (g) 8, vit. A (IU) 242.95, vit. C (mg) 0.59, Thiamin (mg) 0.25, Riboflavin (mg) 0.24, Niacin (mg) 1.97, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0.06, Folate (g) 44.35, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (g) 0.18, sodium (mg) 629, Potassium (mg) 274, calcium (mg) 100.97, iron (mg) 2.7, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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