Rich and decadent, this delicious Pumpkin Turtle Cake is a must-have Autumn recipe! The combination of moist pumpkin spice cake, homemade caramel, chocolate ganache, and toasted pecans makes for a rave worthy Fall dessert!
Disclosure: I partnered with ALDI for this recipe post, but all opinions expressed here are my own. I am grateful for authentic partnerships like this.
Having just moved to Texas, started the process of building a home, and being the mom of a rambunctious toddler, a sis is busy and on a budget! I love to develop recipes for my incredible audience, and I love to cook or bake in my free time but groceries can add up, especially when you’re trying to buy high-quality, healthy food for the whole family.
Luckily for you and I though, ALDI has got us covered! My family and I have been shopping at ALDI for as long as I can remember; their convenient locations, low prices, and high-quality food just keeps pulling us back.
Today’s recipe is inspired by a few of my favorite products there, and is absolutely the ultimate recipe you need to start fall baking with. In fact, each of the ALDI-exclusive brands used in this recipe are staples in my home.
So what’s the recipe that will end all fall baking competitions you may be wondering? Here’s the hint: Crunchy pecans, rich chocolate ganache, sticky homemade caramel sauce, and moist delicious pumpkin cake layers……Pumpkin Spice Turtle Cake is HERE! And yes, it’s just as good as it sounds!
What Is a Pumpkin Turtle Cake?
When you boil it down, this unique cake is quite simple. There isn’t a crazy long list of ingredients, there’s no frosting to spread, and assembly takes about 5 minutes! With a cake this straightforward, the components that bring it together need to be on POINT.
Here’s what we’re working with:
PUMPKIN CAKE- You’ll need a darn good pumpkin spice cake to use as the base for this recipe. And luckily for y’all, I got one! Earthy pumpkin purée combines with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to create a wonderfully moist and perfectly spiced cake. This batter comes together super quickly and can be made by hand without a stand or hand mixer. The ease of it is what makes it so special to me. But it tastes like a million bucks!
CARAMEL- To know me is to know I love all things caramel. Rich, sweet, and sticky, caramel adds an indulgence like none other. I prefer to whip up a quick homemade caramel but if you want to make it even easier, ALDI also has some wonderful caramels you can melt down to use instead.
CHOCOLATE GANACHE- What would a turtle be without smooth, silky chocolate? Each freefalling drizzle of chocolate ganache adds decadence and deliciousness!
TOASTED PECANS- If you’re not toasting your pecans, you’re doing it wrong. Crunchy, toasted pecans are the key textural component of any turtle-inspired dessert.
How to Bake and Assemble
Wanna know how to make this fabulous cake? Ok, I’ll let you in on the secret!
- Batter & Bake- First things first, you’ve gotta beat the batter! When combining wet ingredients with the dry ones, work slowly and only stir until just combined. Avoid overworking the batter. Review the section below and bake cake(s) according to the size you’ve chosen. Allow the cake to completely cool before topping!
- Caramel & Chocolate- These two components go together like Bonnie & Clyde! When making the caramel, whisk continuously and don’t walk away. The ganache should be made last, it will begin to cool and harden as soon as it’s out of the microwave. Allow both to cool slightly (about 10-15 minutes ) before topping.
- Assemble & Serve- Time for the best part! Set one layer of your cake on the desired serving platter, then spread your chocolate and drizzle on caramel. Sprinkle a layer of pre-toasted pecans over the top. Repeat the steps with your desired amount of layers. Allow the cake to set up for about 30 minutes and serve!
What Size Cake does this Make?
There are actually a few options here! You can make this recipe in the following formats:
- A 3-layer 6 inch cake
- A 2-layer 8-9 inch cake
- A single layer 9×13 inch sheet pan
NOTE: Baking time for the cakes will vary based on size. Bake 8-9-inch pans 24 to 29 minutes, 6-inch pans 22 to 27 minutes, 9×13 pan 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
How to Store Leftovers
Pumpkin adds an incredible amount of moisture to the batter, which keeps the cake fresher for longer. This cake will keep for 4-5 days in a sealed container at room temperature. If you live in a warmer environment, I’d recommend refrigerating the cake to avoid any melting.
Best Turtle Recipes
I keep the turtles coming all year long! Try out a few more of my FAVORITE recipes:
Pumpkin Spice Turtle Cake
For the Cake
- 2 cups Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 cup Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar packed
- 3/4 cup Simply Nature Organic Cane sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 15 oz pumpkin puree can
- 1 cup vegetable oil
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter Quarters
- 1 cup Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar packed
- 1/3 cup Friendly Farms Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1/2 tsp Stonemill Pure Vanilla Extract
- pinch of salt
For the Ganache Sauce
- 1 cup Baker’s Corner Semi Chocolate Morsels
- 1/2 cup Friendly Farms Heavy Whipping Cream
For the Pecans
- 1 cup pecans toasted if desired
For the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 6” round cake pans and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add flour, both sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and whisk together until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree and oil until smooth.
- Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients and whisk until completely combined.
- Evenly distribute batter into the 3 cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove pans from the oven and allow cakes to rest in pans for 10 minutes before inverting and removing cakes from pans and cooling on cooling racks. Allow cakes to cool until completely at room temperature before decorating.
For the Caramel
- Melt butter in a saucepan.
- Add brown sugar and heavy cream and whisk constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3-4 minutes. Don’t go over that time.
- Remove from heat, stir in a pinch of salt and allow to cool.
For the Ganache
- In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate chips and heavy cream.
- Microwave for about 1 minute or until chocolate chips have melted then whisk everything together until completely smooth and pourable.
- Set one layer of your cake on the desired serving platter, then spread with chocolate ganache and drizzle on caramel.
- Sprinkle a layer of pecans over the top.
- Repeat the steps with your desired amount of layers. Allow the cake to set up for about 30 minutes and serve!