Sometimes I'll fall in love with a song and listen to it on repeat for hours. It satisfies some longing in the soul. That's kind of how I feel right now except it's not for music, it's for pumpkin and chocolate. I keep using this combination in my fall baking with no signs of stopping!
This torte combines yummy pumpkin cake layers and the flavors of chocolate turtle candies. It's so good and so easy (yes, easy!) I might bring it home for Thanksgiving dinner this year.
I use prepared dulce de leche for the filling in this cake and it's also in the topping. It provides all of the milk-caramel flavor you'd want without any sugar-boiling or candy thermometers. This is a great shortcut, but I must speak a few cautionary words - we all know that quality ingredients make quality food; it's a universal truth that bears repeating. Use the best prepared dulce de leche you can find.
Since salted caramel turtles are my favorite chocolate thing in all the land, I couldn't hold back a sprinkling of fleur de sel on top. That little sprinkle works its magic well on pecans, caramel and chocolate. I highly suggest you give it a try!
Chocolate Turtle Pumpkin Torte
[click for printable recipe]
Yield: One 8-inch double layer cake
Source: Sprinkle Bakes and Hershey's chocolate frosting recipe
Prep: 1 hour, total time about 2.5 hours
Pumpkin cake layers
2 cups/250g all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup/200g granulated sugar
1/2 cup/ 115g dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup/ 50g vegetable oil
4 large eggs
15 oz. pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup/113g unsalted butter
2/3 cup/53g unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups/330g confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup/80g whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
28 oz. prepared dulce de leche
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 lb. pecan halves
Fleur de sel, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, or spray with flour based baking spray.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pie spice and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together; set aside.
- Combine sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil in a separate large bowl. Mix well with an electric hand mixer until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, mix well after each addition. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla, mix until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture while mixing on low speed. Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until cakes spring back when pressed in the center. Let cake cool 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out on to cooling racks. Allow cakes to cool completely.
- For the frosting, melt the butter in a microwave at 30 second intervals or on the stove-top in a small saucepan over low heat. Combine the butter and cocoa in a large bowl. Mix with a spoon until smooth and well combined. Add powdered sugar and milk alternately while beating with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Torte each cake layer so that there are four even layers. Use about 18 oz. of the dulce de leche to cover three cake layers. Stack the layers so that the unfrosted layer is on top. Frost the entire cake with the chocolate frosting. Place a line of pecan halves all the way around the bottom edge of the cake (be sure to do this before the frosting sets or they won't stick!).
- Place the remaining dulce de leche in a microwave safe bowl. Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave; stir well. Mixture should be loosened enough so that it falls from your spoon in a ribbon. If mixture is not to consistency, add another tablespoon of heavy cream and heat for another 30 seconds; stir. Add additional cream and heat as needed until the mixture comes to consistency.
- Pour mixture over top of the cake and spread gently with the back of a spoon so that the caramel drips down the sides of the cake. Top with remaining pecans chocolate shavings. Sprinkle fleur de sel over the top of the cake, if desired.