Saturday, October 25, 2014

Turtle Cake

I try to make a cake for DH's birthday every year. Past few years it's usually been the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake that has become the go-to for my family. However that is very much not new diet-friendly. But DH loves pecans... and he loves chocolate, so why not a turtle cake? Caramel is traditionally made with cream which is never a goo idea for me. So it took a little creativity and internet searching.

I used four recipes for this but I recommend dropping one of them (I'll talk about that later)

For the Cake I followed Minimalist Baker's One Bowl Chocolate Cake and Frosting as written. No need to reinvent the wheel there. I just froze each layer before frosting (double wrapped in plastic.) I found that coffee wasn't really that noticeable. I used the batter for one layer of the second batch for sad whoopie pies, it yields too flat and floppy cakes. Cool the frosting before using.

I based the filling off Oh Ladycake's Caramel Sauce

For the Caramel Pecan Filling you Need:

2 cups + 2 T unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
10 oz pecan pieces, toasted

1. Combine all ingredients, except the powdered sugar in a LARGE saucepan, use a non-stick utensil
2. Gentle boil on a low heat as possible, I used medium-low. Keep an eye on it in case it comes close to boiling over!
3. After 25 minutes, give it a stir and take off heat.
4. Stir in the powdered sugar.
5. Pour into a glass container and COVER. Store in a cool environment for a couple of hours.
6. Reserve the pecans for decorating

I also used a sticky caramel but it just gummed up everything.

To Assemble:
1. Take one frozen layer out, unwrap, and place on cake plate.
2. Working 3 tablespoons at time, shape into a snake and smooth around the circumference of the layer. You want to make a wall or dam for the caramel.
3. Sprinkle 2-3 oz of pecan pieces inside the frosting wall. Carefully pour caramel over the pecan, flooding the area but don't go over the frosting wall, leave some room betweent eh top of the caramel and the top of the frosting wall. Top with another layer of cake.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each between layer.
5. When you have capped with the final layer, apply a crumb coat with a warm offset spatula, cleaning periodically (this is a soft cake, pourable frosting wouldn't be a bad idea honestly.) Cool for an hour.
6. Use the last of the frosting to cover.
7. Top the cake with the remaining pecan pieces, chocolate chips if you want, and carefully pour the remaining caramel.

Note: The described method creates a sort of chocolate caramel pudding between the layers. To keep the caramel sauce separate I suggest putting a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake layer. I personally liked the pudding layer but DH wished there was more oozing caramel.

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