This Texas turtle sheet cake recipe includes a moist chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that’s topped with those quintessential Turtle candy flavors: chocolate chips, pecans, and caramel sauce.
Hi, y’all! I’m so happy to be here with you on Southern Plate, sharing this fun twist on the classic Texas sheet cake. If you spend any length of time in Texas, eventually someone is going to give you a slice of Texas sheet cake – it’s just inevitable. This big ol’ cake is a symbol of Texan hospitality. I love that they’re large enough to feed a crowd, so they’re the perfect dessert to take to a party or potluck.
Today we’re taking a traditional Texas sheet cake recipe and transforming it into a Texas turtle sheet cake recipe. We start with a rich homemade chocolate cake, which is made with buttermilk so you know it’s extra moist. That’s then topped with homemade chocolate frosting. But we don’t stop there! We then add semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and caramel sauce on top. This cake is a chocolate lover’s dream. It’s decadent but oh so good!
The name comes from the Turtle candy, which is made with pecans and caramel dipped in chocolate that looks like… you guessed it, a turtle. If you like this candy, you’re going to love this turtle cake. I can’t wait for you to give it a go. Shall we get baking?
- Self-rising flour
- Granulated sugar
- Black coffee (water can be substituted)
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Powdered sugar
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Caramel sauce (you can also use my homemade dulce de leche recipe)
How to Make Texas Turtle Sheet Cake
Preheat the oven to 350.
Grease and flour a large 13×9-inch baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine self-rising flour and granulated sugar, and then set it aside.
In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of butter, 1/3 cup of cocoa, and 1 cup of coffee.
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Make sure you truly stir it constantly. I tell you nothing smells quite as bad as scorched cocoa and butter. It’ll curl the hairs in your nose. Stirring constantly will keep the heat evenly distributed.
Once this mixture has reached a boil, remove it from the heat.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour/sugar combination.
Combine mixtures using a hand-held mixer on medium speed until thoroughly blended.
Try not to lick the beaters – or at least don’t let anyone catch you.
Add eggs and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Beat for another minute or so, until well mixed.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick or fork inserted into the middle of the cake should come out cleanly.
Make the Frosting
In a saucepan (I just use the same one from earlier, which saves on doing more dishes later) combine 1/4 cup of butter, 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and 4 tablespoons of buttermilk. Bring to a boil using medium heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and use a wire whisk to blend in 2 cups of powdered sugar. It’s best to add 1 cup first, whisk until smooth, then add 1/2 cup at a time until frosting is as thick or thin as you’d like. You can add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time) or more buttermilk (1 tablespoon at a time) if needed until it’s just how you want.
Some folks like thick frosting and some like more of a glaze. There’s no wrong kind of frosting – as long as you can still spread it on your cake.
Immediately spread (or pour) the frosting over the warm cake.
Next, sprinkle chocolate chips and pecan pieces on top of the frosting.
It’s best to do this while the frosting is still warm, so the chocolate chips will melt slightly. It’s just heavenly, really.
Just before serving, drizzle caramel sauce over the top.
You can choose to drizzle directly onto the entire cake before slicing or drizzle over each piece before serving. Remember, this is your cake so y’all do what you like.
I prefer a little of both: drizzle first and drizzle some more later.
Enjoy your Texas turtle sheet cake.
- Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 1 week. If you live in a warmer climate, pop it in the fridge so the icing and chocolate chips don’t melt.
- You can also freeze leftovers for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
- If you prefer, chop up the pecans into smaller pieces.
- Speaking of the pecans, for added flavor toast them in a skillet first for up to 5 minutes.
- You don’t have to add coffee to the Texas sheet cake, but just know you can’t really taste it. Instead, it works to enhance the chocolate flavor. You can use espresso or instant coffee, whatever you have on hand.
Can I make my Texas turtle sheet cake with a boxed cake mix?
We all know I’m a big fan of boxed cake mix recipes, so you can definitely use your favorite boxed chocolate cake mix instead of making a homemade chocolate cake from scratch. Simply prepare it as directed and then pour the cake batter into the baking dish and bake as directed. Then you can continue with the remaining instructions.
How do you serve Texas turtle sheet cake?
While it’s delicious as is, for extra decadence serve your Texas sheet cake with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
You may also like these recipes:
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup strong black coffee water can be substituted
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 tablespoons buttermilk an additional tablespoon or two may be needed
- 2 to 2.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Grease and flour a large 13x9-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine self-rising flour and granulated sugar and set it aside.2 cups self-rising flour, 2 cups granulated sugar
- In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and coffee. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once this mixture has reached a boil, remove it from the heat.1 cup butter, 1 cup strong black coffee, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour/sugar combination.
- Combine mixtures using a hand-held mixer on medium speed until thoroughly blended.
- Add eggs and buttermilk. Beat for another minute or so until well mixed. Pour batter into the prepared pan.2 eggs, 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick or fork inserted into the middle of the cake should come out cleanly.
- In a medium saucepan, combine butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, and buttermilk. Bring to a boil using medium heat, stirring constantly.1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons buttermilk
- Remove from heat and use a wire whisk to blend in powdered sugar. It's best to add 1 cup first, whisk until smooth, then add 1/2 cup at a time until frosting is as thick or thin as you'd like. You can add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time) or more buttermilk (1 tablespoon at a time) if needed until it's just how you want. Some folks like thick frosting and some like more of a glaze.2 to 2.5 cups powdered sugar
- Spread (or pour) the warm frosting over the cake.
- Next, sprinkle chocolate chips and pecan pieces on top. It's best to do this while the frosting is still warm, so the chocolate chips will melt slightly.1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Just before serving, drizzle caramel sauce over the top.1/2 cup caramel sauce
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
Submitted by Stephanie. Click here to add your quotes to our collection.