Cafe Latte Chocolate Turtle Cake

If you live in the Twin Cities, you know about this cake, the Chocolate Turtle Cake.   It’s a classic from Cafe Latte, and here is what the finished cake looks like.  We’ll see what happens when I try it!  The recipe was printed in the paper after it was featured on the cover of Midwest Living Magazine.  We made it to celebrate a graduation.



A printable recipe is available below,  and the following are photo’s of the my process, and a couple of things to watch out for if you attempt this most wonderful cake.

Prep your pans with Pam and parchment paper so they will release easily.



Combine wet ingredients minus the coffee, then combine dry ingredients.




Mix the two bowls of ingredients together, add the hot coffee and pour into prepared pans.





Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  You can see I had little hills form on the tops of each of my cakes.  I’ll have to research how to avoid that effect, as the 3 layers are not even and won’t stack well. Rats.



When the cakes are cooled for 10 minutes they can be turned out onto wire racks to finish cooling.  I left mine in the pans overnight covered with a dish cloth.

Time to make the frosting.  Simply mix the sugar and milk in a sauce pan, add the butter and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, whisking till smooth.  I let the chocolate cool considerably before frosting and just whisked it smooth again when a ‘crust’ appeared on the top.  There probably is an art form to layering cakes with frosting, but I don’t yet know what it is, although I have a few idea’s now of what not to do.


After toasting the pecans it’s time to assemble the cake.



Place one of the cooled cake layers, top side down on a cake plate.  Spread with 1/3 of the frosting, pushing it out gently from the edges to make a petal effect.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans and drizzle with caramel.


Repeat procedure with second layer.


Add the final layer top side up and finish with frosting, pecans and caramel.  Now this is where I had a little problem.  Remember that the cakes were not even, but had little hills in the middle?  Well, when stacked together they created a large hill, and with the heavy frosting, the top layer of the cake began to slide off.  I had a mudslide on my hands! I quickly placed three wooden skewers through the layers, but the cake was so tender that it wouldn’t hold together.  I grabbed for the tin foil and made a wall around the backside of the cake and put it quickly into the refrigerator. If it continued to collapse under it’s own weight I was going to serve it anyway spooned into bowls, warmed and with a scoop of vanilla.  There was no way I was giving up.  Well, the cooling in the refrigerator did the trick and saved the day and no one even complained about getting a mud-slide piece.


Cafe Latte Chocolate Turtle Cake
Recipe Type: dessert
Author: Cafe Latte
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-15
A slice of chocolate heaven
  • Cake:
  • 1 Egg
  • 2/3 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Baking soda
  • 1 cup Hot coffee
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 6 T. Butter
  • 2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 3/4 cup Caramel
  • 1-1/2 cups Toasted Pecans
  1. Cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare pans with oil and parchment paper.
  3. Mix together the egg, oil and buttermilk.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda.
  5. Gradually mix the wet and dry ingredients together and add the coffee.
  6. Pour the batter evenly into the 3 pans and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes and turn them out onto a wire rack.
  8. Frosting:
  9. Mix sugar and milk in saucepan, add butter and bring to a boil.
  10. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, whisking until smooth. If frosting is too thick , add 1 or 2 teaspoons hot coffee.
  11. To Assemble:
  12. Place one cooled cake layer, top-side down on a cake plate. Spread with 1/3 of the frosting, pushing it out gently from edges to made a petal effect. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans and drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel. Repeat with second layer. Add the third layer top-side up and repeat frosting, pecans and caramel topping.


Happy Graduation Derek!

Happy Celebrating!


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