Restaurant Recipes

Cafe Latte Turtle Cake

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Prep: 30 min | Bake: 30 min | Yield: 12 to 16 servings; 2 1/2 cups frosting



  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1-2 teaspoons freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
  • 3/4 cup caramel ice-cream topping



  1. Grease three 9 inch round cake pans*. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper; dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Set pans aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine egg, buttermilk and oil; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, beating with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually beat in hot coffee. Pour batter into prepared pans; spread evenly (layers will appear shallow)
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
  6. Loosen sides from pans, invert cakes on racks. Peel off paper; cool thoroughly.

Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and milk. Add butter. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add semisweet morsels (2 cups). Using wire whisk, mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly brewed hot coffee.
  2. When cake is cool, place one cake layer top-side down onto a serving plate. Using an icing spatula or wide knife, work quickly to frost top of this layer with one-third of the frosting, pushing it out slightly from edges to make ripple or petal effect. Arrange one-third of the pecans on top and drizzle with 1/4 cup of caramel topping. Top with second layer, top sided down. Repeat with frosting, pecans and caramel topping. Top with Third layer, right side up. Repeat with frosting, pecans and caramel topping.
  3. Chill cake for 1 to 2 hours before serving.


If you only have two 9 inch pans, chill 1/3 of the batter while you bake the other two layers. Clean and prepare one of the pans as above and bake remaining batter.


Source: Midwest Living magazine - Cafe Latte, St. Paul, Minnesota

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