Chocolate Turtle Cake

Decadent chocolate cake with caramel frosting, caramel drizzle, toasted pecans, and turtle candies, this recipe from The Southern Cake Book by Southern Living is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
(makes 16 servings)

Hands-on Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 25 minutes


Unsweetened cocoa
1 (18.25-oz.) package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.9-oz.) package chocolate instant pudding mix
3 large eggs
11/4 cups milk
1 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 (6-oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans (available at Marie's Candies by request)
1 (16-oz.) container ready-to-spread cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup canned dulce de leche
2 (7-oz.) packages turtle candies
1 (12-oz.) jar caramel ice-cream topping
1/4 cup pecan halves, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with shortening; sprinkle with cocoa.

2. Beat cake mix and next 6 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Fold in chocolate morsels and chopped pecans. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Wrap cake layers in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour.

4. Stir frosting and dulce de leche in a medium bowl with a whisk until well blended; set aside. Cut 6 turtle candies in half; set aside for garnish. Chop remaining candies.

5. Place 1 cake layer, top side up, on serving plate. Spread with half of frosting mixture; sprinkle with chopped candies. Place second cake layer, top side up, on candies. Spread remaining frosting mixture on top of cake. Cover; refrigerate until serving time. Drizzle caramel topping over top of cake, allowing some to drip down side. Top cake with pecan halves and reserved turtle candies.