Our contributor, Lindsay Conchar, is sharing a chocolate turtle cupcakes recipe. Rich chocolate cupcakes topped with caramel pecan frosting, caramel drizzle and chopped pecans.
One thing you will regularly find flying around my kitchen is caramel. It’s just heavenly. I have loved it since I was a kid and will never stop. You know how boxes of chocolates usually have at least one that’s filled with caramel? That’s the one with my name on it. My grandmother was known for her love of chocolates so it was sort of a tradition to get her favorite box for just about any occasion. I always lobbied to get the big box so that there were two levels of chocolates, meaning at least two caramel-filled ones. The caramel love runs deep and I’m dedicated to it.
So it makes perfect sense that chocolate turtle is a flavor combination (and candy!) that I love. I regularly find a way to get caramel into desserts, and with turtle flavor, you also get chocolate and the crunch of pecans. It makes for a fun mix of flavor and texture. These cupcakes start with a wonderfully moist and fully chocolate cupcake. I’m a big fan of them. Sitting on top is the most wonderful caramel pecan frosting, drippy caramel sauce and chopped pecans. So, so good.
The frosting is made with a combination of butter and shortening, which I prefer because I find it’s more stable and better at room temperature. If you prefer all butter frostings, feel free to swap out the shortening for more butter using a one-to-one ratio. I added caramel sauce to the frosting to give it a wonderful caramel flavor. I used my favorite caramel sauce, but you can use whichever sauce you prefer. The one I used is fairly firm at room temperature and doesn’t thin out the frosting too much, so keep that in mind as you choose a caramel sauce to use – thicker will allow you to add more caramel. And more caramel is definitely better!
After getting the caramel flavor just right, I added some chopped pecans to the frosting. It adds just enough crunch, without being too much and taking away from the caramel. With a little drizzle of caramel on top and few pecan crumbs, they finish off beautifully. These cupcakes were a huge hit! In fact, one taster (who has tasted his fair share of my recipes) declared it his new favorite. That’s quite an endorsement!
CHOCOLATE TURTLE CUPCAKES
a cupcake recipe by Lindsay Conchar
(makes 14-16 cupcakes)
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Beat butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended.
- Combine vanilla, water and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and whisk until smooth. Mixture will be thick.
- Add chocolate mixture to batter and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the batter. Begin by adding half of the dry mix, then mix well. Add the milk and mix well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.
- Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
- Allow cupcakes to cool about 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
For the Caramel Pecan Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
7 tablespoons caramel sauce
1-2 tablespoons water or milk, as needed
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Caramel sauce, as needed for drizzle
Chopped pecans, as needed for topping
- Combine the butter and shortening in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
- Add 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
- Add about half of the caramel sauce and mix until smooth.
- Add remaining confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
- Add remaining caramel sauce and mix until smooth, keeping an eye on the consistency of the frosting so it doesn’t get too thin. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water, if needed, to further thin frosting.
- Stir in the chopped pecans.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a large round piping tip. (The pecans will get stuck in a star tip.)
- Finish off the cupcakes with a drizzle of caramel and additional chopped pecans.