Quarantine has me going crazy! You’d think that with all of the free time I have now, that I’d be getting loads of stuff done and that my productivity would be at a max. Uhm… I’ve definitely been setting a bunch of far-fetched goals for myself that I have yet to complete, in a sad attempt to try and motivate myself. Hopefully some of you can relate to the slump I’m trapped in! These past few weeks, I’ve been mindlessly playing video games and not paying much attention to the schoolwork I should be doing. And, as you can probably tell, since I haven’t posted since January, I’ve clearly been way too lazy to drag myself into the kitchen to bake.
But today, I was feeling a little creative kick, and so I ended up spending the whole morning whipping up a batch of delicious turtle cupcakes, featuring sweet caramel buttercream frosting, an oozy chocolate ganache filling, and some pecans to garnish on top. The cake is perfectly fluffy and moist, and loaded with the rich, chocolatey goodness we all know and love; the frosting has just the perfect hint of caramel flavor; the ganache filling gives another unexpected burst of rich chocolate; and the chocolate and pecan topping ties everything together. These cupcakes are probably one of my favorite recipes I’ve made on the blog!
Turtles are a type of candy made from caramel, pecans, and chocolate, if you’ve never heard of it before (if you haven’t, you’re probably wondering why the cupcakes in the pictures aren’t green and turtle-shaped). I think the combination of pecans+chocolate+caramel is absolutely genius. I’m not usually the biggest fan of caramel, but I’m obsessed with this one flavor combination!
How to make turtle cupcakes:
- Using vegetable oil rather than butter is a critical component here; because we’re aiming for a really moist cake, and the oil really helps with that. I find that oil is a lot easier to work with than butter, which honestly is a big time saver.
- In almost every chocolate recipe I make, I include freshly brewed coffee. Even if you hate the taste of coffee, this is a must! You won’t be able to taste it, I promise, and it enhances the taste and adds a layer of depth. If you don’t have any on hand, just replace it with the same amount of buttermilk.
- Buttermilk is another component that helps the cake retain moisture. It’s kind of a specialty item, so if you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own; otherwise, it’s okay to substitute with regular milk.
- The frosting I used is just a classic buttercream + 1/2 cup of caramel. The trick to making extra fluffy buttercream is to whip the butter for a couple minutes before adding the powdered sugar, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- I actually made my own caramel, and it was a disaster: I burned the first batch, crystallized the sugar into a hard rock the second time, and finally succeeded on my third try. It tasted good, but lesson learned. I’m definitely buying store-bought caramel next time. Here’s the recipe I followed.
- The ganache I made was super easy: I just combined chocolate chips and cream in a bowl, microwaved it, and waited for it to cool.
- For assembly, wait for the cupcakes to cool completely, then use a knife and cut a little divot into each. Using a piping bag or ziploc bag, fill each divot with ganache (you can also just spoon it in, but I find that it gets a little messy). Then, using another piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice, pipe a spiral on top of each cupcake. Using the same ganache bag, drizzle some chocolate over top and sprinkle some pecans and/or chocolate chips to garnish.
That’s it! If it’s your first time making cupcakes, the whole process might be a little messy. You could definitely make things easier by using store bought caramel and chocolate sauce, like I mentioned above, but if you want to challenge yourself, make everything from scratch!
If you give this recipe a try, please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @mysouthernsweettooth!
I hope you are all doing well in quarantine! I’m wishing you lots of peace, productivity, and sleep. Maybe try baking these cupcakes, or feel free to peruse the blog for some other fun recipes to try.
See you all soon <3 Ash
- ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup coffee
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- extra chocolate ganache or caramel sauce
- chopped pecans (about ¼ cup or so)I/li>
- mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 7'' springform pan with parchment paper, and grease the sides. Set aside for later.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Finally, in another bowl, combine buttermilk and coffee. Add half of the wet ingredients and half of the buttermilk/coffee mixture into the dry ingredients; give a rough stir, and then whisk in the rest. Do not overmix; the batter should be relatively thin.
- Scoop batter into prepared cupcake liners, about ¾. Bake for about 20 minutes in preheated oven, until tops of the cupcakes are firm and spring back when pressed. Set aside to cool completely.
- To make the ganache, add chocolate chips and cream into a bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute, and whisk until smooth. Let cool completely.
- To make the frosting, add the butter to a large bowl, and whisk for a couple minutes with an electric whisk until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, whisking until completely incorporated between each addition. Finally, add ½ cup caramel and vanilla, and whisk for an additional minute.
- To assemble, using a knife, cut a divot into each cupcake. Use a piping bag or ziploc bag, fill each divot with ganache (you can also just spoon it in, but I find that it gets a little messy). Then, using another piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice, pipe a spiral of caramel buttercream on top of each cupcake. Using the same ganache bag, drizzle some chocolate over top and sprinkle some pecans and/or chocolate chips to garnish. Enjoy!