Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It’s so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!
Easiest Recipe for Turtle Cake
I love turtle anything. Gooey caramel contrasted with crunchy pecans and decadent chocolate is a combination I can’t resist!
Put that in poke cake form and you’ve got yourself a mega hit. This turtle chocolate poke cake is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made and we absolutely loved it.
Poke cakes get their name because after baking you poke holes in the cake and drizzle in a sweetly satisfying mixture usually consisting of sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce, but it can vary.
The sauce seeps into the holes, which renders poke cakes incredibly soft and moist and this turtle cake is no exception. When you put a slice of the cake on a plate, you can literally see the caramel mixture oozing out of the bottom of the cake.
I topped this chocolate turtle cake with whipped topping (you can use whipped cream, but whipped topping holds up better at room or warmer temps and doesn’t deflate like whipped cream), salted caramel sauce (which is a great salty-sweet contrast to the sweet elements in the cake), chocolate chips, and Chopped Fisher Pecans. So many textures and flavors in every bite!
I love the sensation of taking a bite of chilled cake on warm days. It just hits the spot.
This turtle cake will be a guaranteed party favorite and I highly recommend putting it on your summer party menu — or any party menu, for that matter.
Chocolate Turtle Cake Ingredients
This turtle cake recipe couldn’t be simpler to make! You’ll need just seven ingredients to make this cake, most of which are pantry staples.
To make this cake, you’ll require:
- Devil’s Food chocolate cake mix
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Caramel sundae topping
- Whipped topping
- Chopped Fisher pecans
- Mini chocolate chips
- Salted caramel sauce
Can I Make This Recipe From Scratch?
Yes! If desired, you can swap out the store-bought ingredients I’ve listed for homemade versions.
Just do whatever is easiest for you! This turtle chocolate poke cake will turn out perfectly no matter which route you go.
How to Make a Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake
This turtle cake is quick and easy to make, thanks to the baking shortcuts I used! Here’s a look at how the turtle caramel cake comes together:
- You’ll first need to make the boxed cake according to package instructions (note that you’ll likely need a combination of oil, water, and eggs to do so).
- Once the cake is out of the oven, poke it all over with the end of a wooden spoon, then pour over the sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping.
- Spread the whipped topping over the cake, then sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
- Cover it with foil and let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours to give the flavors time to come together.
- I prefer to let me cake chill overnight, but two hours should do the trick if you’re in a rush!
When you’re ready to eat the cake, drizzle the salted caramel sauce over top and slice. You’ll definitely want a second slice of this cake!
Which Boxed Cake Mix Should I Use?
I used this Classic Devil’s Food Cake Mix from Duncan Hines, but any box mix should work!
However, I find that with most box cakes I have to take my cake out of the oven a good 5 minutes before instructed, otherwise my cake turns out too dry. So keep an eye on your cake the last few minutes it’s in the oven!
How Long Do Poke Cakes Last?
This turtle chocolate poke cake will last up to five days in the fridge. Just keep in mind that the cake will soften over time as it soaks up more of the caramel sauce.
Can I Halve This Recipe?
Since this recipe uses boxed cake mix, it can’t be halved. If you make the cake batter from scratch, you could fiddle with whatever recipe you’re using to halve it, but I can’t give you any more tips besides that.
Storage Instructions for Turtle Caramel Cake
You’ll want to store this chocolate turtle cake in the fridge after you’ve served it. It’ll last up to five days in the fridge, and I personally think it gets better with age.
The caramel-condensed milk filling may settle into the bottom of the cake, but that’s normal!
Tips for the Best Turtle Cake
Lining your pan: I highly recommend placing aluminum foil on the bottom of your baking pan before pouring in the cake batter. This makes cleanup so much easier, and will ensure that the poke cake doesn’t stick to the pan at all.
Poking the cake: When poking holes into the cake, make sure you go to the edges of the cake. You don’t want a single bite of poke cake to be missing that delicious gooey filling!
Before adding the whipped topping: Before spreading the whipped topping over the cake, I recommend chilling it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes. If the cake is too warm when you spread the topping on, it may slide around and melt.
Pin This Recipe
- one 15.25-ounce box devil’s food chocolate cake mix*
- one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- one 12-ounce jar caramel sundae topping
- one 8-ounce container whipped topping, thawed (I used fat-free)
- 1/2 cup Chopped Fisher Pecans
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (full-size okay)
- 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce, or as desired (homemade or store-bought, or regular caramel sauce okay)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- Make cake according to package directions (likely adding 3 eggs, water, and oil) and bake as directed (I find my cakes are done about 3 to 5 minutes faster than the box directions and if baked as long as indicated, I find the cake is too dry but bake as necessary).
- While the cake bakes add the sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping to a medium bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
- Remove cake from the oven when it’s done and using the blunt end of a wooden spoon, poke holes over the surface of the cake. I didn’t count but I estimate I poked about 60 holes, evenly spaced over the surface.
- Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk and caramel mixture over the holes, taking your time to evenly distribute it so that all the holes receive some.
- Place cake in the fridge for about 10 minutes to cool slightly before adding the whipped topping so it doesn’t melt.
- Remove cake from the fridge, evenly spread the whipped topping over the surface, evenly sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips, cover cake, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).
- Evenly drizzle the salted caramel sauce before slicing and serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 4g
More Poke Cake Recipes:
Chocolate Poke Cake — A FAST and EASY cake that’s perfect for all the chocaholics! Moist and tender chocolate cake, filled with chocolate syrup, and topped with whipped chocolate frosting!
Better-Than-Anything Chocolate Cake — Worthy of its name and one of the BEST cakes you will ever eat! Doesn’t get any better than chocolate, caramel, whipped topping, and candy in an easy, no-mixer cake!
S’mores Cake — Chocolate cake gets poked all over and soaked in a marshmallow creme mixture before being topped with crushed graham crackers, toasted marshmallows, and hot fudge sauce.
Better-Than-Anything Peanut Butter Cake — A peanut butter lovers dream: PB, PB chips, and PB cups! An easy, no-mixer poke cake that’s drenched with caramel to keep it super moist! Lives up to it’s name and tastes amazing!
Strawberries and Cream Poke Cake — This Strawberry Poke Cake uses just four ingredients and is a hit at parties and potlucks! It’s a moist, refreshing dessert you’ll definitely want seconds of!
Caramel Poke Cake — Poke cakes are always supremely moist and this one reminds me of a cheater’s version of Tres Leches Cake because it’s sweet and creamy.
Caramel Coconut Poke Cake — An incredibly EASY super moist cake thanks to a creamy caramel mixture that’s poked into the cake. Topped with crispy toasted coconut, this cake is a DELISH winner!
The BEST Tres Leches Cake— This easy tres leches cake melts in your mouth and requires just 15 minutes of hands-on prep!! This is an authentic three milk cake your family will love!
This post is brought to you by Fisher Nuts. The recipe, images, text, and opinions expressed are my own. #fisherunshelled
Originally posted August 19, 2016 and reposted with updated text February 4, 2022.