Hi guys, sorry for the sudden absence! I lost track of myself the past few days. ^^;
Thanksgiving was a blast, and I hope yours was too. There was turkey, ham, gumbo, mac and cheese, green beans with caramelized onions and mushrooms, and baked sweet potatoes (just plain, none of that marshmallow/syrup for me). Then there was cornbread, gingerbread, and turtle cake! So good.
When I was very young I refused to eat turtle cake because I thought it had something to do with real turtles. But no, it's just chocolate, caramel, and nuts. We make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a favorite and there usually isn't much left over.
I use a guideline, not a recipe, for turtle cake. It's very simple and there is plenty of room to play around. As a result, the instructions aren't very specific. But here's what I did this time:
1 box German chocolate cake mix (and the ingredients required by the box)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag caramels
1/3 c. evaporated milk
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to the temperature specified by the cake mix. Prepare the cake batter as per the instructions on the box. Pour half of the batter into a 9x13 in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (or nearly clean, don't overbake).
Meanwhile, melt the caramels, butter, and evaporated milk in a NONSTICK pot. Remove from heat when the caramels lose their shape.
Spread the caramel, chocolate chips, and pecans evenly over the baked layer of cake. Top with the remaining cake batter. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake until the top layer looks set.
A few notes: (1) Using a nonstick pan and a silicone spatula to make the caramel sauce greatly reduces mess. (2) It doesn't matter which order you layer caramel, chocolate, and pecans; I do it differently every time. (3) There are no specific baking times because it depends too much on the oven and the amount of batter used for each layer. (4) I used too much batter for the first layer, which is why the candy layer is so high. But turtle cake is forgiving!
Some (obvious) variations: (1) You can use a jarred caramel sauce to make things easier. I just like to make my own. (2) You can switch up the type of chips and nuts. (3) You can use a different flavor of cake mix, or make your own cake batter. I've also made this using a brownie batter. I thought it was great, but my mom thought it was too chocolatety.
Too chocolatety? How can there be such a thing?