Turtle Cake {celebrating 1 year}

I will forever associate this amazing Turtle Cake with birthday celebrations. It used to make an appearance every now and then at the office many years ago, honoring some lucky employee on their special day. But sadly, that tradition ended quite some time ago, and I haven’t had the cake since.

I did find the recipe on the website of the cake’s maker, Cafe Latté, however. I printed it out a long time ago, filed it away with all my other recipes to try “some day”, but secretly wondered if I would ever really make it. I was hesitant. I mean, what if my own version wasn’t as wonderful as my memory was recalling?

Then, as I was searching for something extra special and super decadent to celebrate my first blogiversary – yep, one year!! – this recipe kept nagging at me from the pile of chocolatey choices. I knew it was the proper moment in time.

Time to make a turtle cake!

The recipe went off without a hitch and was really rather simple to assemble. I can say the cake was downright FUN to put together! Blake even found me in the kitchen, laughing at the sinfulness I was concocting.

And the taste? It was every bit as evil as I remembered. Gorgeously lofty, with three layers of dark chocolate cake, smothered with rich fudgy frosting, creamy caramel, and crispy salted pecans…ooohhhhhhh, baby! Come to Mama!

It was the perfect decadence to celebrate my first blogiversary.

I’m not in the mood for sentimental and sappy right now.
I only wish to revel in the amazingness of the past year.
And to THANK YOU for being a part of it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, go eat some cake!


Turtle Cake


for the cake:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1-3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. good quality cocoa
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1 c. hot coffee

for the frosting:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 6 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 c. good quality semisweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard!)
  • 3/4 c. caramel (I used my favorite caramel from a jar, by Tastefully Simple.)
  • 1-1/2 c. toasted and salted pecans (I like the ones from Trader Joe’s.)


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease three 9″ round cake pans. Cover each bottom with a disk of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, oil, and buttermilk. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry until well mixed. Slowly add the hot coffee. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 3o minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cakes rest in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

To make frosting, mix milk and sugar in saucepan. Add butter. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips to pan. Using wire whisk, mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, add 1 to 2 teaspoons hot coffee.

To assemble the cake, place one cooled cake layer, top side down, on a cake plate. Spread with one-third of the frosting, pushing it out gently from edges to make a petal effect. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans, drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel. Add next cake layer, again top side down. Repeat with the same measurements of frosting, pecans, and caramel. Add final cake layer, top side up, and frost with petal effect and finish with remaining pecans and caramel.

adapted from the Famous Turtle Cake found at Cafe Latté in St. Paul, MN

Forgotten Finds

I’m connecting this memory evoking cake to “forgotten finds”, a challenge set forth by Amber of Bluebonnets and Brownies and Maggy of Three Many Cooks. Please click on their links to find out more about their desire to actually make all those recipes we’ve snipped, flagged, and saved over the years!


I’m also linking up with the following:

Cheryl at TidyMom for “I’m Lovin’ It”
Allison at Alli ‘n Son for “Sweet Tooth Friday”
Kim at Quit Eating Out for “Saturday Swap”
Rachel at A Southern Fairytale for “Mouthwatering Monday”
Robyn at Add a Pinch for “Mingle Monday”


58 Responses to “Turtle Cake {celebrating 1 year}”

  1. #
    Katie @ This Chick Cooks — April 23, 2011 at 7:49 am

    That cake looks amazing! Congratulations on your blogiversary!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Katie!

  2. #
    Christina @ This Woman Cooks! — April 23, 2011 at 7:52 am

    That is one amazing looking cake! I love that the frosting is oozing all over the place. Congrats on your one year!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      Thank you, Christina. It honestly was so fun to make – I can’t wait for a celebratory reason to make it again!

  3. #
    Laurie Jesch-Kulseth@Relish It — April 23, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Congratulations on your anniversary, Brenda! How wonderful! Also, very excited to make that cake — it’s one of my favorites in the cities. You don’t happen to have Cafe Latte’s recipe for their Tres Leche? I’ve been searching for that one.

    Have a great weekend!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks, Laurie! I have looked for the Tres Leche one, too, but haven’t come across it. I am half-way done making a Tres Leche cake as of this afternoon, though. I’ll finish it up tomorrow. Will let you know if it’s a keeper. Was great to see you again this past week!

  4. #
    EightPondFarm — April 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Congratulations on your weblog anniversary! Thinking about trying this; could you re-check how much buttermilk there is?? It is listed twice.

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Thank you so much! I’ve made the change, it’s correct now – thanks for letting me know!

  5. #
    Mom — April 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

    This looks scrumptious! I want some!! Happy 1st anniversary, dear daughter!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks, Mom – you would LOVE this. I promise!!

  6. #
    Andrea @ Simple Organized Living — April 23, 2011 at 10:53 am

    wow — a whole year! Congrats Brenda :)

    Oh, and that cake looks absolutely delicious!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Great to hear from you, Andrea! You’re one of the great things that has happened to me this past year – I’m so glad to know you!!

  7. #
    Amy P. — April 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

    What a gorgeous cake, Brenda! Happy blogiversary!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you – so nice to hear from you, Amy. I’ve been enjoying getting to know you – and we saw eachother 2x this past week!! :)

  8. #
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies — April 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Happy Blogiversary!! I’m so excited to count you as a friend, Brenda. And that cake seems like the most perfect way possible to celebrate your special day. Thanks so much for linking into Forgotten Finds! You’re our first!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you, Amber! I feel the same way about getting to know you. I’m sure I’ll come up with more Forgotten Finds for you!!

  9. #
    Paula — April 23, 2011 at 11:54 am

    What a delicious way to celebrate your blog anniversary. Congratulations on a fantastic year and looking forward to many more.

    I made your Gramma’s Brownies and frosted them with Savory Sweet Life’s Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Your Gramma’s brownies are delicious on their own and with the frosting they are doubly delicious! Thanks for sharing the family recipe.

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you, Paula – it’s been so wonderful getting to know you. You’re a gem. Upon your recommendation last week, I made those brownies again with that frosting. SPECTACULAR!!! The frosting is fab – thanks for sharing!

  10. #

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Your blog has become such a beautiful spot to visit. GORGEOUS photos and delicious recipes. Congratulations on hitting the one year mark & here’s to MANY more.

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Thank you, thank you, sweet Kim! What a lovely and much appreciated comment. I have enjoyed getting to know you!

  11. #
    Beverly — April 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    that looks heavenly!

    • farmgirl replied on April 23rd, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Thank you very much, Beverly!

  12. #
    Harriet — April 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    That looks absolutley gorgeous! And very calorific as well! But it looks great and really fun to make! Another blog for me to save and come back to to bake in the summer!

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Harriet – thank you!

  13. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — April 25, 2011 at 1:17 am

    I can’t stop staring at all the caramel and chocolate oozing out of that cake. What a way to celebrate! Happy Blogaversary Brenda.

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      Thank you so very much, Sylvie.

  14. #
    Rachel - A Southern Fairytale — April 25, 2011 at 7:47 am

    That picture is GORGEOUS! love love love
    Yummy and CONGRATS!

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      thank you, thank you, thank you, Rachel!

  15. #
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — April 25, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Happy anniversary for your blog! This cake looks like the perfect way to celebrate!!!

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you, dear Robyn!

  16. #
    Weekend Cowgirl — April 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    The cake looked amazing. My fear is mine would look like a lopsided version of this! It sounds so very good!! Great for a party. Putting it on my list…

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you so much. You really should give it a try. It came together so nicely.

  17. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — April 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Wow! Now that is one gorgeous cake. Happy one year blogiversary and thanks for sharing this mouthwatering recipe! I’m so happy to have found your blog and am looking forward to exploring your recipes. :) – Georgia

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      Hi Georgia – thank you so much! I’m so glad you left a comment – nice to meet you. Your blog is beautiful!

  18. #
    Stephanie — April 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    It’s a little late, but happy anniversary! What an accomplishment! The cake looks to-die-for!

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie!

  19. #
    Maria @ Scandifoodie — April 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Whoah! Such a scrumptious gorgeous cake! Perfect way to celebrate, happy blogiversary!

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you, Maria. :)

  20. #
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen — April 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    OMGosh! This looks simply scrumptious!!! Happy blog birthday. Wishing you many more :)

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      Hi Renee! Thank you so very much!

  21. #
    Wenderly — April 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Happy Blogiversary love! What a delectable cake! PERFECT for such a joyous celebration! Cheers to many more!

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      Much appreciated, dear Wendy! xoxo

  22. #
    sweetsugarbelle — April 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    This is one of those desserts that you linger around the table waiting for. Gorgeous doesn’t even begin to describe it. Thank you for posting this, and happy birthday!

    • farmgirl replied on April 25th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you so much, so nice to hear from you!

  23. #
    Katy — April 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Ok, I love turtles, and I am definitely going to have to try this cake!! Happy Blogiversary!!

  24. #
    bridget {bake at 350} — April 26, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Happy Blogiversary! I cannot believe you’ve only been blogging for a year! (And I mean that in a GOOD way….you are a PRO!)

    Gorgeous, gorgeous cake!

  25. #
    Rachel — April 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Congratulations on your one year anniversary!
    We love cafe latte! My sister frequently makes this cake for Christmas and other holidays. I need to try the recipe out sometime.
    Your cake looks beautiful and your blog is gorgeous!

  26. #
    Lyuba — April 28, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Happy Blogiversary!
    The cake looks amazing!
    Congratulations on being featured too, can’t wait to see what else you got here!
    Following you from http://willcookforsmiles.blogspot.com/
    Hope you can stop by and see me!

  27. #
    Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls — April 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Gee wiz! That looks sinfully delicious! …what I’d do for a slice of that right now ;)

    Happy 1 year!

  28. #
    cheryl — April 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm


  29. #
    Everyday Art — May 6, 2011 at 10:59 am

    YUM!!! I was looking for a cake to make for Mother’s day, and that little bit of eye candy “took the cake.” :)

  30. #
    darkana — June 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    hi! your cakes are unbelievable! But I don’t understand american metrics. what is c.(cup?if cup, what volume it takes? ), T (tablespoon?) tsp (teaspoon?)?


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