Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes ~ Holy mother of cupcakes, grab your fork and for the bold and the brave that will skip the fork . . . open wide. This is going to be a session of symphonic sweetness.

Chocolate Turtle Cupcake

The faint of heart need not apply. By that I mean, if you are a tepid dessert partaker this won’t be your thing.

Case and point, the gentlemen that surveys my messy kitchen wanderings, asking questions more often than tasting, gave a big pass on this. Reason: Too much going on in that thing.

I will admit it’s a sweet one, but sweet in the best of ways. I first saw these at Cavelli Bakery’s site and being that it’s located in Texas, there was no way I could order some. So like any foodie, I set out to recreate it in my kitchen.

This chocolate turtle cupcake has everything. It’s a chocolate cupcake with a pocket of caramel sauce tucked inside, and on top of that is caramel buttercream with some sprinkled brown sugar pecans and to finish everything off . . . drizzled caramel and chocolate sauce.

Are you ready? 

A few notes:
1. The cupcakes can be made the night before and stored airtight in the refrigerator.
2. You can use the cheat version of caramel sauce or the purist version to make your own caramel sauce.
3. The Purist: For step-by-step pictures to making caramel sauce see my previous post Salted Caramel Cheesecake  Cups.
4. The Cheat: For step-by-step pictures to making fast caramel sauce see my previous post Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies.

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes
{Printer Version}

Magnolia’s Chocolate Cupcake
Makes 2 dozens
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 12 cup muffin pans.



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted (*see  note)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Note: To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for approximately 5–10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool to lukewarm 5–10 minutes.

Caramel Sauce (to fill cupcake hole):
5 tablespoons  water
3/4 cup  sugar
2/3 cup whipping cream

Caramel Buttercream:
½ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
2 tbsp water
½ tsp salt
¼ cup whipping cream
¼  cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dark rum

Brown Sugar Pecans:
1cup pecans
6 tablespoon butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 salt



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
6. Bake for 20–25 minutes.. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before filling with caramel.

Caramel Sauce:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute.
3. After approximately 3 minutes you will see a light shade of amber.
4. Another 30-90 seconds and the mixture will turn a dark shade of amber.
5. Once the mixture is a dark amber, turn off the heat and add the cream. Whisk to combine, do not worry about the bubbles as they will subside upon cooling. Set aside.

Caramel Buttercream:
1. Add water and sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side.
2. Increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute.
3. After approximately 3 minutes you will see a light shade of amber.
4. Another 30-90 seconds and the mixture will turn a dark shade of amber.
5. Once the mixture is a dark amber, turn off the heat and add the cream and milk. Whisk to combine, do not worry about the bubbles as they will subside upon. Set aside and let cool .
For a step-by-step picture of this portions see previous post Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cups.
6. Whisk egg yolks, two remaining tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Slowly add hot caramel while whisking mixture.
7. Pour combined mixture back into saucepan over medium low heat, stirring continuously until mixture coats the back of the spoon.  (See panel picture #2 and #3)
8. Remove from heat. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the stand-mixer bowl. Beat the mixture with the wire whip at medium speed until it is light and cool. Make sure the mixture at this point is completely cool before adding the butter.9. Replace wire whip with the paddle attachment. Gradually add 2 tablespoons at a time, beat in the softened butter at medium speed. When all of the butter has been incorporated, beat the buttercream on high until mixture is light and fluffy (approximately 1 minute). Reduce the speed and beat in the vanilla and rum. Increase the speed once again and beat the buttercream for another minute, until it’s light and creamy. (See panel picture #4)
Adapted from

Brown Sugar Pecans:
1. Line bake sheet with foil.
2. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat, add brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir for one minute and remove form heat.
3. Continue stirring until brown sugar dissolves.
4. Toss pecans in mixture and spread over baking sheet, making sure to break up any clumps that may have formed. (See panel picture #1)
5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, stirring half way through.

1. Cut hole in top of cupcake and fill with caramel sauce.
2. Trim hole cut out into a flat disc and place on top of caramel.
3. Using a close star tip pipe top of cupcake.
4. Drizzle chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.
5. Sprinkle brown sugar pecans on top.

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  1. says

    Oh wow, those look decadent! Great idea – I’ll definitely have to try them but only after I find someone to take them off my hands so I don’t eat them all myself :)


  2. says


    Really, just wow.

    I’m going to have to find time to try these soon! They look amazing and what a brilliant idea. I love the way the chocolate and caramel sauces have settled into the grooves of the piped buttercream. YUM!
    .-= Amy Kelly´s last blog ..Shop Update =-.


  3. says

    Major props for you having all the ingredients still left to take pictures of at least one of these completed beauties. In my kitchen I think the only thing I’d have to take a picture of is two people laying on the floor, comatose, with crumbs around their smiling mouths and wiped clean bowls strewn around the bodies. LOL


  4. says

    Love it!

    How much of that cream and milk do we use? Is that in cups? And when do we add the milk?
    .-= Jane Ko´s last blog ..Firehouse Crab Boil =-.


    • Naomi replied: — June 11th, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for bringing that to my attention. The measurement for the milk and cream is 1/2 cup. You will add both at step 5.

      And thanks for reading.



  5. Sarah Ehrhart says

    These cupcakes turned out amazing! The only one change I did was add 3 cups of powdered sugar (sifted) to the buttercream. The family loved them. Thanks for a great recipe!


  6. cindy says

    I about to attempt making these. Thanks for recipe…Photo looks awesome! How ell do these hold up…like if I made the day before..would they hold in refrigeration until next day?



  7. Kandy says

    I would love to make these, but i do not have a stand mixer what could i do to make these without one??


  8. Sonia says

    I’m sorry I must have missed something, what cream and milk? I have made these before the way they are and they were great did I miss something?


  9. JenQ says

    Hi Naomi!
    I just stumbled on your blog yesterday and Oh. My. God! I am in heaven just looking at all the delicious desserts you’ve made! My birthday is on Monday and I was looking for a cupcakes recipe. I am fairly certain I’m going to attempt these chocolate turtle cupcakes; they look devine! I’m a fairly advanced baker, and not afraid of a challenge. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!



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