Turtle Cake with Espresso Ganache

December 16, 2019 |

  • Desserts
  • Cakes
  • Frostings

Yes! Say that a little slower and let it sink into your Espresso loving little heart! If you''re anything like me, it will make you so, SO HAPPY! Turtle treats are loaded with pecans, chocolate and of course, ooey-gooey caramel to round things up. This E is no different, having all the traditional ingredients with a simple addition of well, you guessed it, ESPRESSO!

This post is sponsored by Chocoley. I have received sample products for writing this post. All opinions and images are my very own.

Turtle Cake with Espresso Ganache

About Chocoley Products

The chocolate I used in this recipe is their Bada Bing Bada Boom Candy & Molding Gourmet Compound Dark Chocolate and turned it into my Espresso Ganache. As I was measuring out the chocolate discs, I snuck a few of them for myself…ya know, for 'quality control'. I must say, the chocolate was smooth, creamy and so rich that I actually hesitated for a minute to contemplate my plan of action. Proceed with the ganache or sit and devour this entire bag of chocolate? Needless to say, I decided to behave and made the espresso ganache as was planned. Another Chocoley product that was used in this recipe was the Gourmet Caramel which was deliciously easy to work with. I managed to snag a few bits of this chewy goodness and found myself struggling to resist the urge to gobble it down as well. Melting and handling instructions were provided and super easy to understand.

Chocoley Bada Bing Bada Boom Candy & Molding Gourmet Compound Dark Chocolate:

  • Contains No Hydrogenated Oils
  • Is Peanut Free - Tree Nut Free - Celiac Safe - Egg Free

Chocoley Gourmet Caramel is:

  • Made with Real Butter - No Hydrogenated Oils
  • Gluten Free & Celiac Safe
  • Certified AKC Kosher Dairy

Turtle Cake with Espresso Ganache

Prepping for an Espresso Turtle Cake

If you''re new to the world of Espresso, you might be wondering what is this funky term is exactly? Well, simply put, it''s a mix of chocolate and cream. The cream is gently heated and poured over the chocolate, causing the chocolate to melt. Once whisked together and incorporated, it can either be used immediately or allow it to sit overnight and firm back up before using. If left to sit, it can be whipped up to make the most delicious chocolate ganache frosting for cakes, cupcake or rolled into balls to make truffles! The possibilities are endless. That being said, when making this espresso ganache, a little forethought is needed. The night before you want to make this cake, make the ganache and allow it to sit covered on the counter overnight. The next day, after the cake''s been baked and cooled, whip the ganache in your mixer until light and fluffy. It''ll be the most decadent chocolate espresso frosting you''ve ever had!

Turtle Cake with Espresso Ganache

Turtle Cake with Espresso Ganache

Now at first glance, you might start to think this cake is overly complicated. Really, despite a few little steps, it is relatively easy to follow and may surprise you at how things quickly fall into place once you get started. The three important steps that make this cake are 1 - the Espresso Ganache. But, making this the night before simplifies the process. 2 - Toasting the pecans, which as long as you keep it on low heat and do not walk away from the stove, should be fairly manageable. And 3 - Heating the caramel to the right consistency. The key is to use short bursts in the microwave to keep it from getting too hot to handle. Fair warning, though. This will be messy. Rich, decadent and insanely chocolaty … but messy! So, be prepared to be licking your elbows and have caramel drips all over your counters. But…it''s the best dang mess ever. The kinda mess **you want in your kitchen! The kinda mess that will impress your family and friends, should you decide to share.

Espresso Ganache:

  • 16 oz Chocoley Bada Bing Bada Boom Gourmet Chocolate
  • 8 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 tbsp Espresso Powder

Cake Batter:

  • 1 box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 cup Flour, all purpose
  • 3/4 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/3 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Espresso Powder
  • 2 cup Pecans, toasted and chopped


  • 1 cup Chocoley Gourmet Caramel, melted

Instructions - Espresso Ganache:

  1. Measure out the chocoley chocolate into a heat proof glass bowl. Add espresso powder and set aside.
  2. In a small pot over low heat, warm heavy cream. When you see it start simmering, remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Allow it to sit undisturbed for a few minutes. Then whisk it until it's incorporated and smooth. If you still see a few lumps, place bowl in microwave for 15 seconds and restir. Cover bowl loosely and allow to sit overnight.

Instructions - Cake Batter:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F) degrees. Coat two 8 in. round cake pans with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a small skillet, place chopped pecans and stir over low heat continually. When they begin to deepen in color, remove from heat. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, salt, flour and sugar. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites, sour cream, vanilla, espresso, oil and water. Mix on low speed until well blended.
  5. In a small bowl, add one cup of the toasted pecans and add one spoonful of the dry cake mix. Toss to coat. Set aside.
  6. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly begin adding dry ingredients to the wet. Let mixer run on low speed for 2-3 minutes. Stop and scrape bowl and resume mixing until most lumps are gone. Remove bowl from mixer and add the coated pecans to batter. Stir in with a silicone spatula.
  7. Divide batter between the two baking pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and transfer to cooling racks.
  8. If cake has a 'dome', use a large serrated knife to remove it, making a flat surface to prevent cake from sliding. Do this AFTER the cake has cooled completely and just before assembling it.

Instructions - Espresso Ganache:

  1. Using a hand mixer, whip up the now firm ganache until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Instructions - Assembling the Cake:

  1. Measure out the caramel and heat in microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir. It should run slowly off the spoon yet be smooth and steady. IT SHOULD NOT BE OVERLY HOT, just warmed enough to get it flowing. Set aside.
  2. Place one cake layer on your cake stand or board, dome cut off side up. Spread 1/2 cup of the melted caramel evenly over the top of the cake. Let sit a few minutes to allow caramel to cool if it's still warm. Spread a layer of ganache over the caramel layer. Sprinkle a few toasted pecans on top of that layer.
  3. Take the second cake layer and carefully place directly on top, dome cut off side down.
  4. Gently press down and adjust/align to center both layers. Frost the sides of the cake with an off-set spatula, then gently spin the cake to give a swirled side effect to the cake sides. Spread a thin layer of ganche on top and smooth out.
  5. Pour remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with an open 1M piping tip. Pipe small clusters spaced around the top. Take remaining caramel and reheat if need be, just until lightly smooth and drizzle all over the top of the ganache. (If it is too hot, it will melt the chocolate underneath. If this happens, quickly place cake in the fridge for about 10 -20 minutes to firm things up) Sprinkle remaining toasted pecans over top of cake.
  6. Place cake in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up before serving. Cover and store remaining cake at room temperature.

Turtle Cake with Espresso Ganache

Need some delicious desserts to try out? Take a look at this Pumpkin Pie Cake with Spiced White Chocolate Frosting and this Peanut Butter Blueberry Banana Bread for tasty twists!

Cori - xoxo