Chocolate Turtle Layer Cake

This chocolate Turtle Layer Cake has three layers of chocolate cake paired with caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache. A stunning dessert!

Drip cakes. Aren’t they gorgeous? This lovely 3 layer cake has both caramel and chocolate cascading in beautiful drips down the sides of this caramel stuffed cake.

This cake reminds me of that famous homemade turtle candy that we all love…but it also reminds me of a Snickers bar, which happens to be my favorite candy bar!

Chocolate Turtle Cake with dripping chocolate and caramel

Why you’ll love this cake:

  • 100% homemade
  • Caramel buttercream, milk chocolate ganache, from-scratch caramel
  • 3 sky high layers
  • a show-stopper in both taste and beauty

Tips for Making the Chocolate Cake

This is a fool proof chocolate cake. If you’ve never made a chocolate cake before, this is the perfect place to start. We get great results, every time!

  • Bake the cake in 3 8″ round cake pans. Make sure to grease them well with shortening, then dust with flour. Or you can use our cake release which helps cakes come out beautifully every time.
  • Don’t have buttermilk? Here’s a substitute. For a cup of buttermilk, simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Stir to combine, then allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. This is called clabbering. After 10 minutes, clabbered milk should appear curdled. If not, allow it to sit for another 2 minutes.
  • Many of you may not want to do this step, but we highly, highly recommend to add coffee to the cake batter. The cake does not taste like coffee. The coffee only enhances the flavor of the chocolate. You can use instant coffee if you’d like.
  • After you remove the cakes from the oven, let cool in pans for about 5 minutes before turning out onto cooking racks to cool completely.
unfrosted 3 layer chocolate cake

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

This recipe makes A LOT of frosting. You’re building a 3 layer cake and need enough frosting to cover the layers and have additional frosting for piping on top. If you want to save calories, make a half recipe and just put a thin layer of frosting on. This will look more like a naked cake but that should be fine since you have the dripping caramel and ganache.

Cake Toppings:

  • Chocolate Ganache. Chocolate ganache sounds fancy but it is actually really easy to make. The heated heavy cream makes the chocolate melt slowly and evenly, preventing it from burning.
  • Caramel Topping. This will harden slightly has it sits. Allow the sauce to cool slightly before drizzling it on the cake. If the cake is cold, it will firm up more quickly without melting the frosting.
  • Pecans and Turtle Candies. A simple sprinkling of pecans around the bottom and turtles on the top give this cake a simple elegance.
overhead view of Chocolate Turtle Cake with swirls of frosting

How to Store Chocolate Turtle Layer Cake

This cake is safe to store at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Turtle Cake
Chocolate Turtle Cake

Chocolate Turtle Layer Cake

4.67 from 6 votes
Sky high and full of chocolate and caramel goodness this Chocolate Turtle Cake is the perfect sweet indulgence that you need in your life at any given moment!
Servings 15
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes



For the frosting:

For the ganache:

For the caramel:

For topping:


Make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease with shortening then dust with flour 3 8" round cake pans.
  • In large bowl whisk together your dry ingredients until combined.
  • Add in your eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and eater and stir until combined well.
  • Pour the cake batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until center us set and toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 5 minutes before turning out onto cooking racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  • In large bowl beat together your butter and shortening until smooth.
  • Add in your caramel sauce and continue beating until incorporated.
  • Add in your powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until mixed in well.
  • Add your heavy cream as needed to reach desired consistency.

Assemble the cake:

  • To assemble cake place one layer of your cake on a turntable or cake board and spread with about ¾ cup frosting and smooth to sides.
  • Place another layer on top and repeat topping with last layer.
  • Frost around your sides and over top until cake is covered and smooth, reserving about 1 cup of your frosting for decorating.
  • Place cake in fridge to harden slightly (helps the ganache and caramel set).

Make the ganache:

  • Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it is very hot and steaming, but not boiling.
  • Place the chocolate in a small glass bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Cover the bowl with a plate and allow the bowl to sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the plate and stir the chocolate and cream together. This will take maybe 2 minutes of stirring to get it completely combined, but eventually you’ll get a smooth, dark, silky chocolate.
  • Allow the ganache to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Remove your cake from the refrigerator and drizzle your ganache over the sides of your cake, return to fridge to set up.

Make the caramel:

  • While ganache is setting up make your caramel by adding all the ingredients to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly for about 5-10 minutes or until mixture turns golden in color, set aside to cool just slightly.
  • Remove cake from refrigerator and drizzle your caramel down sides over ganache then return to refrigerator to set up again removing after about 10 minutes.
  • Add your remaining frosting to piping bag fitted with a 1M tip (open star tip) and pipe swirls on the top edges of cake.
  • Top with pecan turtle candies and press your crushed pecans up the sides of the cake about 1 and a half inches.
  • Cut and serve!
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Inspired by Liv for Cake
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 968kcal | Carbohydrates: 128g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 604mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 95g | Vitamin A: 712IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 968
Keyword 3 layer cake recipe, caramel, chocolate cake

Other Chocolate Cake Recipes

You can never go wrong with a slice of chocolate cake!

About Julie Clark

We are Julie, Maddie, and Kinslee – a mother and daughter team sharing with you the best cakes to satisfy any need or sweet craving that you may have. Welcome to our family’s kitchen!

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I made this cake for my daughter-in-law’s 40th birthday celebration and it was a hit. I wanted to share that I made a 2 layer cake. I made 2 recipes (I don’t have any luck with doubling a recipe.) I made 2 13×9 cakes and layered them. It worked well that way, too, for anyone who may be in need of a cake that can serve many people.

Where do I find this receipe?