Turtle Cupcakes

By Christine Lautner

While these cupcakes don’t exactly resemble the candy by the same name, all the important and tasty components are here.  Chocolate cake, caramel filling, crunchy chocolate covered pecans, and chocolate buttercream PLUS more caramel and a pecan on top! 

Cake Ingredients and Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcakes pans with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the following ingredients together:

• 1 ½ cups flour

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Blend the following ingredients together in a small mixing bowl:

• 1/3 cup oil

• 1 teaspoon white vinegar

• ½ teaspoon vanilla

• 1 cup cold water

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously by hand for 1 minute until well blended.  Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes from the oven and cool for 3 minutes in the pans, then remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a wire rack.  When completely cool, fill the cupcakes as follows:

Core the center of each cupcake and reserve the cut out pieces of cake.  Use one 13.4 ounce can of Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche caramel as filling.  (This can be found in most grocery stores in the ethnic or international food section with the Mexican items or in the baking isle with other condensed milk products.)  Transfer the caramel to a small piping bag fitted with a plain round tip and pipe the caramel into the center of each cupcake.  Cover the filling with the reserved cake pieces.  

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients and Directions

• 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• Pinch of kosher salt

• ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

• Whole milk or cream

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, vanilla, salt, cocoa powder, and ½ cup powdered sugar on low speed until blended.  Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes until fluffy.  Add milk or cream, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed, to reach desired consistency.  Transfer buttercream to a large piping bag fitted with a large 1 M tip.

Chocolate and Pecan Topping Ingredients and Directions

• 1 (7 oz.) container Baker’s Dipping Chocolate, milk chocolate flavor

• ¾ cup roughly chopped toasted pecans

• 12 whole pecans for garnish

Melt the dipping chocolate according to package directions and add the chopped pecans, mixing well.  

Assembly

Top each cooled, filled cupcake with 1 ½ tablespoons of melted chocolate and pecan mixture.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the chocolate.  Pipe a small swirl of chocolate buttercream onto the top of each cupcake and garnish with a whole pecan and a dab of remaining caramel.  Store any leftover cupcakes in a covered container.  Best enjoyed within 3 days.  Recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

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