Easy Chocolate Turtle Cake

turtle cake
This moist chocolate turtle cake is baked with a caramel center. Diana Rattray
Ratings (20)
  • Total: 65 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: Serves 16 to 24

This easy, delicious cake is always a hit! The cake is easy because it's made with a cake mix, and delicious because of the rich caramel layer, pecans, and fabulous cocoa frosting. 

I made the cake (pictured) following the recipe exactly, and it came out rich and moist with the middle layer of caramel and pecans. You could also use a purchased frosting on the cake if you want to cut back on the time. It's a sweet, rich cake, almost like candy, so plan on small pieces.

The recipe had four 5-star reviews (previous review system), and some helpful comments. One person said that the caramel should be spread as evenly as possible, and he recommended checking the top layer with a toothpick to make sure the cake was done in the center. Everyone said they would make it again. See some of the reader comments below the recipe.


  • 1 German chocolate cake mix (2-layer size)
  • 4 ounces butter (or margarine, softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (divided)
  • 1 pound caramels (unwrapped)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pecans (chopped)
  • For the Frosting:
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F (180° C/Gas 4).

  2. Butter and flour a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan.

  3. In a bowl combine the cake mix, butter, water, oil and 1/2 can of the sweetened condensed milk. Beat until well blended.

  4. Divide the batter; pour half (roughly 2 to 2 1/2 cups) of the batter into another bowl and set aside.

  5. Pour the remaining half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over low heat, combine caramels and the remaining half of the can of sweetened condensed milk. Heat while stirring until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Don't let the bottom scorch.

  7. When the cake comes out of the oven, carefully spread the caramel mixture over the baked cake layer.

  8. Sprinkle the caramel generously with chopped pecans.

  9. Spoon the remaining reserved batter evenly over the caramel and pecan layer and spread gently to cover.

  10. Return the cake to the oven and bake for about 30  minutes longer. 

  11. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack. Let it cool completely before frosting.


  1. Combine butter, cocoa, and evaporated milk in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring until butter has melted and the mixture is well blended.

  2. Remove from heat and add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; blend well.

  3. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

Reader Comments

  • "I have made this twice and it was a hit. I made it for my boyfriend's birthday and he loved it. It is very rich and yummy." Kathleen

  • "I had no problem making this, My family thought it was awesome. I will be making it again." Shannon

  • "I have baked this two times. The first time it did not cook all the way in the center. You need to make sure the caramel is spread out evenly. The second time I baked it longer and stuck a toothpick in the center just till I hit the caramel center. It is a wonderful cake. It is a bit hard to cut. You need a greased knife and spatula. Sets out nicely for presentation. Cut small pieces. It is very rich!" John J.

  • "I made this cake for a Labor Day party bash and it was a big hit. Not a crumb left. Not hard to make, a few steps, but well worth it. Make the day before and no refrigeration needed." L. P.

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