Chocolate Turtle Pumpkin Torte

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

Frosting/topping

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

Chocolate shavings

Fleur de sel, if desired

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, or spray with flour based baking spray.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pie spice and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together; set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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!). 
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

Argh! I am in love your pumpkin fall cake is perfect. OMG at the carmel on the top too. SO DROOL worthy

Nikki B
Nikki B
8 years ago

Wow, this looks amaizing! I am putting this on my list for Thanksgiving celebration. I have discovered your site a month ago and already made 5 of your deserts, each one outstanding — i trust you completely with your deserts, they have not failed me. Do you get your dulce de leche online? Do you mind sharing? I guess i have not really looked, but i have not seen it in my local stores. Thank you for your amaizing deserts!

Bryn
Bryn
8 years ago

Holy moly! This will definitely be on my Thanksgiving dessert table. Do you think it will be ok if made the day before? Stored room temp?

Tieghan
Tieghan
8 years ago

Why stop when you have got a combo that is insanely delicious and endless possible ways in which to eat them??!?! Chocolate and pumpkin together are just too good!
Heather, this cake is gorgeous. The filling, all the pecans and chocolate! YUM! I love it all!

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
8 years ago

Hi Nikki! I use La Salamandra dulce de leche. I buy it at my local Fresh Market but it looks like Amazon carries it too.

Bryn – yes! It can be made the day before and served the next day. Definitely bring to room temperature before serving.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
8 years ago

Girrrrrl, you can't be serious…but you are! Amazing, as usual. LOVE this freaking torte/cake/orgasmic sweet thing!

Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate
Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate
8 years ago

Beautiful, I think pumpkin is a wonderful base to carry all of these flavours!

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

I´ve never baked with the combination of pumpkin and chocolate together but this fall I´ve seen many recipes and
I´ve fallen in love with it! This cake is simply beautiful.. I love the idea of adding dulce de leche to the mix 🙂 Xx

Heather
Heather
8 years ago

Ooohh Heather this is so rich I could sop it up with a biscuit! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Cookbook Queen
Cookbook Queen
8 years ago

Oh to live a day in your brain…LOVE the stuff you come up with!! This is SO SO major!!

Pane e Pomodoro
Pane e Pomodoro
8 years ago

one minute on the lips one life time on the hips!!!
Sara

bridget {bake at 350}
bridget {bake at 350}
8 years ago

I just fainted.

Biochimist la cratita
Biochimist la cratita
8 years ago

Astonishing! I'll try it soon. Thank you!

Mallorca Cupcake
Mallorca Cupcake
8 years ago

I love it!!

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

Heather, I can't wait to make this one! It has so many of my favorite things in one place! And like you, I have grown to love pumpkin and chocolate the past few years.

I was wondering something, though. Since I live in Turkey and dulce de leche is not sold here, could you suggest a home-made caramel sauce that would work? Of course, the easier the better, but if I must use a candy thermometer, I will!

Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
8 years ago

Absolutely gorgeous! I'd almost feel bad about cutting it. Almost.

Kassandra
Kassandra
8 years ago

saw this just before I walked out the door… ingredients have now been added to my shopping list! It looks so yum.

Laura@baking in pyjamas
Laura@baking in pyjamas
8 years ago

I love how you take simple combinations and turn them into beautiful creations.

Noelle
Noelle
8 years ago

This is gorgeous! And I'm sure, true to Sprinkle Bakes form, it's to-die-for delicious!

Ana
Ana
8 years ago

Me enamoran tus tartas…un saludo desde España!

Luli
Luli
8 years ago

Eeeh, so much dulce de leche! Isn't it overly sweet? Not complaining here, I LOVE it. I'm from where La Salamandra is from 😉 haha

Tracy | Pale Yellow
Tracy | Pale Yellow
8 years ago

Wow! Great shortcut idea for using prepared dulce de leche, every bit helps! You can't go wrong with chocolate, salted caramel, nuts, and pumpkins; gorgeous!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

I made this cake for special occasion last night and they couldn't believe I made it myself even if they now I love baking; this turned amazing!. My mother in-law who always has something to say, she made a comment, "this is too sweet", so when she was saying goodbye she ask for a piece of cake and my husband said, oh no! that is not good for you, is to sweet!
You can get dulce de leche at Walmart, in the Latin Food section.

verdeoxido
verdeoxido
8 years ago

Acabo de entrar en bucle leyendo el título una y otra vez…

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

This cake looks positively fabulous. Seriously, I'm going to need to find time to make thins! 🙂

Sue
Sue
8 years ago

Heather, You've done it once again! The pumpkin cake sounds delicious, and added with the dulce de leche and chocolate frosting…out of this world!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

I'd love to think about bringing this to Thanksgiving dinner 🙂 I'm on a layered cake roll right now, so this might be it. Thanks for sharing this gem!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet
Lauren at Keep It Sweet
8 years ago

This is such a gorgeous cake… and it sounds so delicious, too! I can't get enough of the chocolate / salted caramel combinations.

Natasha @ The Cake Merchant
Natasha @ The Cake Merchant
8 years ago

I cannot think of a better combination than chocolate, salted caramel, and pumpkin. And I love the drippy caramel on top. Gorgeous!

Medha
Medha
8 years ago

Love your photography and styling! Beautiful blog.

Renee @ Awesome on 20
Renee @ Awesome on 20
8 years ago

This cake is so beautiful. And I love that you left the pecans in big pieces so that they're easy for people like me who don't like to eat them to remove. Gorgeous!

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

Cake looks gorgeous… Totally fell in love with ur clicks.. glad to follow u

Dina
Dina
8 years ago

the cake is beautiful and looks yummy!

Colette (Coco)
Colette (Coco)
8 years ago

GOR
ge
ous!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

That looks amazing, well done on such a creative concoction!

Tricia Buice
Tricia Buice
8 years ago

How do you keep cranking out these fantastic creations and stay so beautiful?!! This is gorgeous and sounds amazing 🙂

Christine Snyder
Christine Snyder
8 years ago

I love this!!! Your caramel recipes are always on point! I made your Triple Salted Caramels cupcakes and my friends and husband are still talking about them! Quick question… that spoon where did you get it from? I LOVE IT!

Stephanie
Stephanie
8 years ago

Would love to know your tips about making cakes ahead of time. I would like to make this for thanksgiving, but am wondering if I can freeze the cake or premake frosting to cut down on work on Turkey Day.

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
8 years ago

Hi Stephanie!
You can certainly make the cakes and freeze them ahead of time. Just be sure to wrap them well and store them in freezer bags. Make the frosting on the same day you plan to assemble it. It's a quick confectioners' icing, which means it will crust, so it's really best to make it just before you're ready to frost. The entire cake keeps well in the refrigerator. The dulce de leche will "set" over time too, which means it won't stick to plastic wrap when placed over it for storage. – In my experience anyway.

Natalie
Natalie
4 years ago

YUM!!!