Turtle Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Inspired by turtle candies, each of these chocolate mud cupcakes are topped with an individual “turtle” made from pecans, Ganache and soft caramel.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cupcakes | Chocolate Cakes
Chocolate Mud Batter:
  • 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • At least 80 pecan halves, about 3 cups
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Soft Caramel:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons whipping (heavy) cream, warm or room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Black sugar pearls or mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans; line with paper cupcake liners.
Chocolate Mud Batter:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa, sour cream, and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the cocoa mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and cocoa mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill ⅔ full, using about ¼ cup of batter per cup. Tip: Avoid over-filling the liners which may cause the batter to run-over the sides when baking. It is better to bake any remaining batter separately after the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking.
  7. Bake: Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Tip: Do not over-bake; a few crumbs on the toothpick are desirable, indicating the cakes are not over baked and will be moist.
  8. Cool slightly in cupcake pan, and turn out of pan when cool enough to handle. Repeat process with any remaining batter. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.
  9. While oven is still hot, spread pecans in a single layer in a baking pan. Lightly toast the pecan halves. Set aside.
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan over medium low heat, heat the cream until it is hot and just beginning to steam. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Add corn syrup and vanilla, stirring until completely mixed.
  3. Let Ganache sit and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, and until it thickens and reaches frosting consistency. Tip: If the Ganache has cooled and thickened too much when ready to frost cupcakes, either slightly reheat the Ganache in a saucepan over low heat or heat for 1 to 2 seconds in the microwave, or stir in an extra one or two tablespoons of corn Syrup.
Soft Caramel:
  1. In a medium heavy saucepan, preferably non-stick, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Use a pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to remove any stray granules of sugar. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 340 degrees F, an amber caramel stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Let stand about 1 minute to let the bubbling subside. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches 320 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 340 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 340 degrees to prevent it from going over 340 degrees. F. Be careful, the caramel is extremely hot and will cause serious burns if you touch it.
  2. Add the butter and whipping cream and stir until combined. Tip: if any caramel mixture is stuck to the bottom of the pan, place the pan on low heat and stir until the caramel liquefies and blends with the butter and cream. Remove from the heat. Let the caramel cool for about 3 minutes, and then stir in the vanilla.
  3. Let caramel sit and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. Tip: If the caramel becomes too cool and hardened before you finish making the cupcakes, place the pan over low heat to reheat it or microwave 1 to 2 seconds.
  1. The quickest and easiest way to apply the Ganache and caramel is with a disposable pastry bag or resealable plastic bag. Twist the top of the bag to create some pressure to make easier to squeeze out. Cut a tiny corner off the tip of the bag. Or, spread the Ganache with a small offset spatula and apply the caramel with a teaspoon.
  2. Pipe or spread about 2 teaspoons Ganache on top of each cupcake. Arrange 5 pecan halves to resemble a turtle head and legs; gently press the pecans into the Ganache.
  3. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons soft caramel on top of the center of the pecans. Let the caramel set for a few minutes to firm up.
  4. Heat or thin remaining Ganache if necessary. Pipe or spread another teaspoon Ganache on top of the caramel.
  1. Press 5 to 7 Black sugar pearls or mini chocolate chips into the Ganache.
Source: Beranbaum, Rose Levy, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New Jersey, 1009Yard, Sherry, The Secrets of Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2003
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two Standard 12-Cup Muffin Pans Pan Prep: Paper Liners Oven Temp: 350° Yield: 16 Cupcakes Storage: Covered, Room Temperature

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Chocolate Types, Sugar and Caramel Stages

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cupcakes/turtle-cupcakes/