Easy Texas Turtle Sheet Cake

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Texas Turtle Sheet Cake is a decadent, rich dessert that combines the classic flavors of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. This cake is perfect for special occasions or whenever you crave a deliciously indulgent treat. Let’s dive into this mouthwatering recipe and learn how to make it step-by-step.


For the Cake:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For the Turtle Topping:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramel sauce, to drizzle


Step 1: Prepare the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of granulated sugar and 2 cups of self-rising flour. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Make the Chocolate Mixture:
    • In a medium saucepan, melt 1 cup of butter over medium heat. Add 1 cup of strong black coffee and 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir until well combined and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients:
    • Pour the hot chocolate mixture over the flour and sugar mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Add Eggs and Buttermilk:
    • In a small bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup of buttermilk to the batter. Stir until smooth.

Step 2: Bake the Cake

  1. Pour Batter into Pan:
    • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly.
  2. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 3: Prepare the Chocolate Frosting

  1. Make the Frosting:
    • In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of buttermilk and 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir until smooth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Add Powdered Sugar:
    • Gradually whisk in 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth and well combined.

Step 4: Frost the Cake

  1. Frost the Warm Cake:
    • Once the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the warm frosting over the warm cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula.

Step 5: Add the Turtle Topping

  1. Sprinkle Pecans and Chocolate Chips:
    • While the frosting is still warm, sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips evenly over the top of the cake.
  2. Drizzle with Caramel Sauce:
    • Drizzle 1 cup of caramel sauce over the top of the cake.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Cool Completely:
    • Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting into squares.
  2. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Serve the Texas Turtle Sheet Cake at room temperature. Enjoy the rich, chocolatey, and caramel-infused goodness!

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Coffee: The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor but you won’t taste the coffee itself. If you prefer, you can substitute with hot water.
  • Buttermilk Substitute: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup of milk. Let it sit for a few minutes before using.
  • Caramel Sauce: Use a good quality caramel sauce for the best flavor. You can make your own or use store-bought.


Nutty Turtle Cake

  • Extra Nuts: Add 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or almonds along with the pecans for extra nuttiness.

Salted Caramel Turtle Cake

  • Salted Caramel: Use salted caramel sauce and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top for a sweet and salty twist.

Turtle Brownie Cake

  • Brownie Base: Use a brownie mix instead of cake batter for a denser, fudgier base.

Serving Suggestions

With Ice Cream

  • Vanilla Ice Cream: Serve warm slices of the Texas Turtle Sheet Cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert.

With Whipped Cream

  • Whipped Cream: Top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream for added richness.

With Fresh Fruit

  • Fresh Berries: Serve with fresh berries such as raspberries or strawberries to balance the sweetness.


Q: Can I make this cake ahead of time? A: Yes, you can make the cake a day ahead. Store it covered at room temperature. Add the toppings just before serving for the best texture.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Q: Can I freeze this cake? A: Yes, you can freeze the cake. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Q: Can I use a different type of chocolate? A: Yes, you can use dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Q: Can I make this cake gluten-free? A: Yes, you can use a gluten-free flour blend instead of self-rising flour to make this cake gluten-free. Ensure all other ingredients are also gluten-free.

Easy Texas Turtle Sheet Cake is a decadent and rich dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. With its moist chocolate cake base, creamy frosting, crunchy pecans, and gooey caramel drizzle, this cake is sure to impress. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or try one of the variations, this dessert is easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy making and sharing this indulgent treat with your family and friends!

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