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Texas Turtle Sheet Cake is a rich and indulgent dessert that combines the flavors of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. This moist cake is topped with a luscious chocolate frosting and finished with a generous drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of pecans and chocolate chips. Perfect for parties, potlucks, or any special occasion, this cake is sure to impress. Let’s dive into the recipe and learn how to make this delicious treat 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

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 13×18 inch sheet cake pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of granulated sugar and 2 cups of self-rising flour. Set aside.
  3. Make the Chocolate Mixture:
    • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of strong black coffee, and 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Combine with Dry Ingredients:
    • Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add Eggs and Buttermilk:
    • In a separate small bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Add this mixture to the batter and stir until smooth.
  6. Bake the Cake:
    • Pour the batter into the prepared sheet cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 2: 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 to combine and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Add Powdered Sugar:
    • Remove the saucepan from heat and gradually whisk in 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar until smooth and well combined.

Step 3: Frost the Cake

  1. Frost the Cake:
    • Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. Pour the warm chocolate frosting over the warm cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula.

Step 4: Add the Turtle Topping

  1. Top with Pecans and Chocolate Chips:
    • Sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips evenly over the frosted cake.
  2. Drizzle with Caramel Sauce:
    • Drizzle 1 cup of caramel sauce over the top of the cake, allowing it to flow over the pecans and chocolate chips.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Serve the Cake:
    • Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. Enjoy this decadent Texas Turtle Sheet Cake!

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Coffee: The strong black coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, but you can substitute with water if preferred.
  • Buttermilk Substitute: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
  • Caramel Sauce: You can use store-bought caramel sauce or make your own from scratch.


Nut-Free Version

  • Omit the chopped pecans for a nut-free version, or substitute with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

Extra Chocolatey

  • Add an extra 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the cake batter for an even richer chocolate flavor.


Q: Can I make this cake in advance? A: Yes, you can make the cake a day in advance. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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

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

Q: Can I use a different type of nut? A: Absolutely! You can substitute the pecans with walnuts, almonds, or any other nuts you prefer.

Q: What can I serve with this cake? A: This cake pairs wonderfully with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Texas Turtle Sheet Cake is a rich, indulgent dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. With its moist chocolate cake, creamy frosting, and decadent turtle topping, it’s sure to be a hit with everyone. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or try one of the variations, this cake is easy to make and always delicious. Enjoy baking and sharing this delightful treat with your family and friends!

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