Turtle Pie Cake with Chocolate Cake, Salted Caramel and Pecans

Turtle Pie Cake – tender and moist chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream.

Turtle Pie Cake - rich and tender chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream #cakebycourtney #pecan #turtlepie #turtlepiecake #turtlepiecakerecipe #turtlepierecipe #chocolatecake #thebestturtlepiecake #thebestturtlepie

Turtle Pie Cake

Hi friends! Getting back into the groove of weekly cakes and I’m so excited to share a new one with you today. I hope you loved the Disney’s Grey Stuff Cake from last week. Today, we’re sticking with chocolate and making my Turtle Pie Cake.

This chocolate cake is a new recipe and is stacked with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream. It’s seriously heaven! So many great flavors and textures!

Turtle Pie Cake - rich and tender chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream #cakebycourtney #pecan #turtlepie #turtlepiecake #turtlepiecakerecipe #turtlepierecipe #chocolatecake #thebestturtlepiecake #thebestturtlepie

Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake has a similar texture to my Malt Chocolate Cake. It’s incredibly tender and moist, packed with chocolate flavor, but it’s not as rich and dark as my Dark Chocolate Cake you’ll see in a lot of recipes on here.

To get this beautiful volume and height in the cake, we’re beating the butter, sugar and eggs really well at the beginning – we’re talking 3 to 5 minutes! You’ll notice the color and texture lighten – that’s a sign you’re doing things right. Of course, once we add dry ingredients, we turn the speed down and only mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated. And then we add a mixture of vinegar and baking soda at the end to help our cake rise so tall.

Turtle Pie Cake - rich and tender chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream #cakebycourtney #pecan #turtlepie #turtlepiecake #turtlepiecakerecipe #turtlepierecipe #chocolatecake #thebestturtlepiecake #thebestturtlepie


To achieve the classic Turtle Pie flavors and textures, I of course added pecans, caramel and chocolate ganache. However, if you’ve been around here a while, you know I don’t love raw nuts in my cakes or fillings. I love them on their own, but call me crazy, I just don’t love them raw in my cakes. So, I always toast and candy them. I also really love how making candied nuts give the filling an extra crunch!

In addition to the candied pecans, we’re making my homemade Salted Caramel and Chocolate Ganache. Both are staples in my kitchen and really easy to make.

A few things to know about making caramel:

  • Once the sugar, water and corn syrup are combined and the sugar is dissolved, don’t stir. Stirring encourages crystallization. We don’t want that. Just let the mixture start to boil.
  • To avoid the sugar crystalizing along the edge of the pan, you can dunk a pastry brush in warm water and lightly brush along the sugar line.
  • Once the mixture starts turning yellow, the color changes quick. Don’t walk away for long.
  • Look for a caramel-amber color and temperature of about 375 degrees F.
  • Heat your cream first, before adding it to the sugar mixture. This helps it blend and mix better together, without the sugar mixture turning into a sugar ball.
Turtle Pie Cake - rich and tender chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream #cakebycourtney #pecan #turtlepie #turtlepiecake #turtlepiecakerecipe #turtlepierecipe #chocolatecake #thebestturtlepiecake #thebestturtlepie

For the pecan buttercream, we’re making homemade pecan butter from some of the toasted pecans. You are going to love this! The flavor is incredible, thanks to that extra step of toasting the pecans. You’ll make this buttercream similar to how you make my Peanut Butter Buttercream. It’s butter, powdered sugar, pecan butter, and some heavy whipping cream. Easy peasy!

Turtle Pie Cake - rich and tender chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream #cakebycourtney #pecan #turtlepie #turtlepiecake #turtlepiecakerecipe #turtlepierecipe #chocolatecake #thebestturtlepiecake #thebestturtlepie


Don’t forget to follow my go-to tips for getting your cakes to rise and bake well:

  • Preheat your oven for 30 minutes prior to baking.
  • Use good quality pans like Fat Daddio.
  • Spray your pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. 
  • Don’t overmix your cake batter once you add the dry ingredients.
  • Use room temperature wet ingredients.
  • Use fresh baking powder.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

Video Tutorial

Turtle Pie Cake - rich and tender chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream #cakebycourtney #pecan #turtlepie #turtlepiecake #turtlepiecakerecipe #turtlepierecipe #chocolatecake #thebestturtlepiecake #thebestturtlepie

Turtle Pie Cake

Chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toated pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream.
5 from 10 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Servings 20 people



  • 3/4 cup (169.5 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large or extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 1/4 cups (373.75 g) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (8 g) salt
  • 2 cups (480 g) buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. (21 g) white distilled vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. (10 g) baking soda
  • ½ cup (120 g) sour cream at room temperature


  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp. (118.3 g) water
  • 1 tbsp. (20.5 g) light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup (154 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. (8.4 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. (11.2 g) kosher salt


  • 3 cups (450 g) chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. (13.6 g) olive oil


  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured then sifted
  • 1 Recipe pecan butter recipe above & instructions below
  • 3 tbsp. (43.3 g) heavy whipping cream
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.


  • 8 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (231 g) heavy whipping cream



  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round pans with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for another minute.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure to mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Once all of the eggs are added, continue to beat on medium-high speed for about two mintues, until the mixture gets lighter in color and bigger in volume.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by 1 cup of the buttermilk. Continue with another ⅓ of the flour, the second half of the buttermilk and then the remaining flour mixture. Stir until combined.
  • In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda. The mixture will bubble. Add the mixture to the cake batter and stir on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for another 20 seconds.
  • Fold in the sour cream until no streaks remain.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (21 ounces in each of the 8-inch pans). Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.


  • Mix the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture to boil, but DO NOT STIR! (Stirring encourages crystallization). Let the mixture cook until it turns to a golden brown/amber color. It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.
  • Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from the heat and very slowly stir in the cream, pouring it in little by little, to temper the cream and sugar syrup. If you pour it in all at once, your sugar will turn into hard candy. You can start adding more and more as you go along.
  • Once the cream is mixed in, add the salt and vanilla. Stir to combine and then set aside to cool to room temperature before using.  


  • TOASTED PECANS: Over medium heat, toast the 3 cups of pecans in a frying pan, stirring frequently. Once toasted, remove one cup of the pecans and cool them on parchment paper.
  • While the 1 cup of pecans is cooling, add the sugar to the remaining pecans and stir until the sugar is dissolved and is coating the pecans. Pour the sugared pecans over another sheet of parchment to cool and use for the filling.
  • FOR THE PECAN BUTTER: In a food processor, combine the one cup of (non-sugared) toasted pecans with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until you've created a smooth nut butter.


  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. This helps to soften the butter without the butter getting too warm by sitting on the counter half the day.
  • Add your homemade pecan butter. Mix on medium-high speed until well blended, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the cream. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the buttercream for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets. 


  • Heat the cream in a microwave safe bowl and then pour over the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes and then stir till smooth. Let cool to room temperature before using.


  • Place the first cake layer top side up, in the center of the cake board. Gently spread ½ of the buttercream over the cake layer. Pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
  • Sprinkle about ¾ cup of the chopped, toasted pecans over the buttercream and pat into place.
  • Drizzle ½ cup of the salted caramel over the pecans, followed by ¼ cup of the chocolate ganache.
  • Repeat with second cake layer.
  • Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of filling.
  • Apply a thin layer of buttercream around the cake. Freeze the cake for 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream. Decorate with extra ganache and toasted pecans.
Keyword Banana Chocolate Cake, pecan buttercream, salted caramel, turtle pie, turtle pie cake,
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Recipe Rating


  1. This looks amazing and I think I am going to make it for my aunts retirement coming up but when you say dark cocoa powder, what percentage do you use?

  2. Hey Courtney,
    My family isn’t usually a fan of dark chocolate but do you think the ganache needs to be dark here to combat the rest of the sweetness in the cake, or do you think semi-sweet would be a better option for people who aren’t dark chocolate fans?
    Thank so much!

  3. Can I make this cake on a Thursday and freeze till Sunday? Is making ahead and freezing an option?

  4. 5 stars
    Wowww! I saw the chocolate cake layers on your IG and how thick they were! You said it was this cake, so I tried our this recipe…and y’all… these layers were SUPER thick, fluffy…amazing. My Asian family will be the first to tell you if cake/desserts are too sweet (they hate “American sweet”, haha) and they said this cake was really good and not overly sweet!!! If you could see the expression on my face! Finally!! Great chocolate cake recipe! Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    Each layer of flavor is yummy! The crumb is fluffy and not too sweet. The icing tastes just like butter pecan ice cream! This is a winner!

  6. 5 stars
    I have made this cake for 4 occasions. It is delicious. About 1/3 of my tasters say they taste a coffee flavor I couldn’t taste it myself but just wondering if you have noticed it? Thanks for sharing.

  7. I’ve been following your Instagram for a while now but this is the first cake of yours I’ve made. It’s hands down one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Aiming to make it as one tier of my wedding cake.
    Can’t wait for your book to be back in stock!

  8. 5 stars
    Made this for Thanksgiving last year for my family. SO GOOD! My dad, who is a self proclaimed frosting hater, loved the frosting. It was a hit with everyone!

  9. Making this cake for a 50th birthday and like all of your cakes I know it will be amazing! Was just wondering if there could of been a word missing in the assembly section of the cake at point 1. Is it possible that you meant to put 1/2 cup of the frosting on the first layer and not 1/2 of it? Thanks in advance!

  10. This looks delicious and I may attempt it for my husband’s birthday 🙂 I have two questions: our family doesn’t like overly sweet, therefore will this turn out nicely without candying the pecans? Second question, how long would this keep in the fridge after baked before the initial serving? Would you say make it a day in advance? I don’t want to freeze as it may not taste as fresh. Somehow, my Eastern European mother will know if it was frozen. 😆 thanks so much.