Turtle Cupcakes

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These Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes start with a moist chocolate cupcake with a rich chocolate ganache filling and topped with a salted caramel buttercream and crushed pecans. It’s the perfect balance of salty and sweet in a cupcake.

This post is sponsored by Danish Creamery, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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An overhead shot of a few turtle cupcakes on a vintage plate, the cupcakes are dripping with caramel and a pecan is placed on top

 When I was in high school, I worked at an ice cream parlor/ specialty candy store. My favorite candies to eat were chocolate covered pretzel and chocolate turtles.

Turtle are made with pecans or cashew, covered in caramel with chocolate on top. Salty sweet bites of heaven.

That’s exactly what inspired these Turtle Cupcakes.

a pretty chocolate cupcake topped with a buttercream swirl and it's dripping with caramel and there's a pecan on top

These Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes start with a moist chocolate cupcake with a rich chocolate ganache filling and topped with a silky salted caramel buttercream and crushed pecans.

Start with a batch of my chocolate cupcakes. They’re super easy to make. It’s an oil-based cupcake recipe, which makes for a great texture.

Just wait until I tell you about the buttercream! Let me give you a hint, I used half sea salt European Style butter from Danish Creamery! I’m in love.

A close up shot of a turtle cupcake showing the salted caramel buttercream swirl, drizzle of caramel and topped with a pecan

Ganache Filling

Once your cupcakes are ready, prepare the chocolate ganache filling. I really think it takes these cupcakes over the top.

Once you bite into the center of the cupcake, the soft, rich ganache gives you that real punch of chocolate you need.

The ganache starts of as a thinner liquid but as it cools, it sets and becomes a soft piece of chocolate, just like the center of a truffle.

Step by step instructions are included below.

A chocolate cupcake with a big bite taken out of it showing the ganache filling

Salted Caramel Buttercream

I might have found my new favorite buttercream with this Salted Caramel Buttercream. It’s the perfect balance of salty flavor to offset the sweetness of the cupcake.

For the buttercream, I grabbed my favorite Danish Creamery Sea Salt Butter and mix it with half of the Danish Creamery Unsalted butter.

I don’t normally use salted butter in my frosting recipes, because it can easily get too salty. But this buttercream is dare I say….perfect?

Why do I love this butter so much? First of all, it has 85% butter fat which is higher than more other European Style butters.

A round vintage cake plate with a few chocolate turtle cupcakes on it and crushed pecans on the plate

It has a velvety, rich texture which is in part due to the cows and the land they feed on. They are pasture-raised, so they feed on grass in wide open fields. This keeps the cows healthier which produced a better dairy product.

When you’re making a frosting recipe, it’s all about the butter you use.

A Chocolate Turtle cupcakes dripping with caramel and e pecan on top.

You can either make your own salted caramel, or you can use a store brought version, but I do recommend salted caramel specifically.

When adding it to the frosting, it should be at room temperature, do not heat it up. Get your tablespoon right in that caramel and spoon it right into the frosting. It’s gooey and delightful. 

How to make the chocolate ganache filling

For the ganache topping, we are using a 3-1 ratio of heavy cream to chocolate. It’s the best ratio for that nice smooth glaze, that will eventually set to just the right consistency.

  1. Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 60-90 seconds.
  2. Allow it to sit for about 1 minute before stirring and then stir until it’s completely smooth.
  3. Allow the ganache to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  4. To fill the cupcakes with the ganache, you’ll need to remove the centers. For this you can use a cupcake corer, a melon baller or a knife.
  5. Save the center of the cupcake that you pull out, because once you add the filling, I like to place a piece back on top.

A chocolate cupcake with the wrapper pulled down, frosted with salted caramel buttercream and topped with a pecan

Commonly asked questions:

Do I have to use both types of butter? Can I use just salted or just unsalted?

Yes, you can use all of one or the other, but if you have to pick, I would suggest using all unsalted butter and then adding a pinch or two of sea salt.

You can always make a frosting more salty, but if you use salted butter, you don’t have control over the saltiness of the frosting.

Do I have to use Sour Cream?

Sour cream helps keeps these cupcakes very moist. I recommend substituting the sour cream with non-fat Greek Yogurt if you do not have sour cream.

Is there a substitute for the coffee?

This recipe is best when prepared with brewed coffee. You can try substituting with water or milk, but it won’t be the same flavor. Still good, but not the water.

Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, you can’t taste the actual coffee. It also gives it this nice, dark looking color.

A gorgeous turtle cupcake on a vintage gold plate

These Turtle Cupcakes are perfect for any occasion… birthday, holidays or just your average Saturday night.

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A gorgeous turtle cupcake on a vintage gold plate

Turtle Cupcakes

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes

Description

These Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes start with a moist chocolate cupcake with a rich chocolate ganache filling and topped with a salted caramel buttercream and crushed pecans. It’s the perfect balance of salty and sweet in a cupcake.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 ½ cups(285g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup(118 ml) light sour cream
  • 2 cups(280g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (5g) espresso powder (optional)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (355 ml) brewed coffee

For the ganache filling:

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) (177ml) heavy whipping cream

For the frosting:

  • ¾ cup (172g) Danish Creamery Sea Salt Butter, cold
  • ¾ cup (172g) Danish Creamery Unsalted butter, cold
  • 5 ½ cups (716g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (59ml) salted caramel sauce
  • 12 tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Pecans for garnish
  • Caramel sauce for garnish

Instructions

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining coffee and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
  9. For the ganache: Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 60-90 seconds.
  10. Allow it to sit for about 1 minute before stirring and then stir until it’s completely smooth.
  11. To fill the cupcakes with the ganache, remove the centers using a cupcake corer, a melon baller or a knife. Fill each one with about 2 teaspoons of ganache. Place a piece of the cupcake you removed back on top of the ganache.
  12. For the frosting: Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until butter look light in color.
  13. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  14. Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and the caramel sauce and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes.
  15. Add the remaining powdered sugar along with the heavy cream. Beat on low until ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting. Use a large open star tip to frost these cupcakes.
  16. Garnish with a caramel drizzled, crushed and whole pecans.

Notes

  • Sour cream: If you need to substitute the sour cream, use nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Coffee: If you need to substitute the coffee, use milk
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
419
44.3g
147.2mg
21.8g
14.2g
55.7g
1.4g
2.8g
46mg
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Chocolate Cupcakes, Easy Chocolate Cupcakes, Salted Caramel Frosting,

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