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Turtle Cupcakes

Turtle Cupcakes – The perfect chocolate cupcakes that are filled with pecans and topped with caramel buttercream frosting and even more pecans. This indulgent dessert is so delicious!

Turtle Cupcakes

I love the flavors of turtle desserts. Chocolate, caramel, and pecans create the perfect combination of flavors and I wanted to showcase them in a cupcake! To do so, I made chocolate cupcakes that I then topped with a caramel buttercream frosting. To get the pecans in, I scooped out a bit of the cupcakes and filled them with chopped pecans. Additionally, I put an additional pecan on top of each cupcakes! Trust me, these cupcakes are SO good!

Common Questions About Making Turtle Cupcakes

What are turtle cupcakes?

Turtle cupcakes are simple chocolate cupcakes topped with a homemade caramel buttercream frosting and pecans.

How many servings does this recipe make?

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

What is a turtle dessert?

Turtle desserts are typically anything from pies to cakes that combine chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

How long do these cupcakes last?

These cupcakes last up to two days when stored in a refrigerated airtight container.

How can I make the perfect cupcakes?

  • Follow the recipe – While I totally understand dietary restrictions, if you plan on making changes to the ingredients, I cannot guarantee the recipe will work.  If you are facing this problem, I will gently suggest that you may want to consider finding a cupcake recipe on a site that specifically develops for the diet you are on such as a keto baking website or vegan baking website.  Too many times have I seen recipes for wrong for people because they started to adjust the recipe too much.
  • Don’t over-mix the cupcakes – If you want to keep cupcakes light and airy, avoiding over-mixing is key.  Mix until just barely combined.
  • Let the cupcakes completely cool before frosting – This is a classic mistake that people constantly make (including me).  Your cupcakes are done baking, you are ready to sit down and eat one so you touch the cupcake and say “this is most definitely cool” even though it’s only been out of the oven for like, 5 minutes.  Wrong.  Your frosting will just slide off the cupcake and it’ll be really sad.  To be safe, I’d say give them 1-2 hours before frosting.
  • Don’t over fill the cupcake liners – If you overfill the cupcake liners, you will definitely have some overflow which isn’t pretty and elegant.  Stick to filling each liner about 3/4 full.
  • Spin the cupcake tin halfway through cooking – An oven’s heat is generally not terribly even so a simple way to make sure all of the cupcakes cook all the way through is to spin the pan about 1/2 way through baking 180 degrees.

Ingredient Notes – Cupcakes

  • Flour gives the cupcakes structure. Make sure to measure using the scoop and level method.
  • Granulated sugar sweetens the cupcakes.
  • Cocoa powder makes these cupcakes chocolatey! Make sure to use unsweetened baking cocoa.
  • Baking powder helps the cupcakes rise.
  • Milk keeps the cupcakes moist.
  • Vegetable oil adds richness and moisture!
  • Eggs bind the cupcakes together.
  • Vanilla extract enhances the flavor of the chocolate!

Ingredient Notes – Caramel Buttercream

  • Butter is the base of our frosting– make sure it’s fully softened (but not melted) so you don’t end up with clumps.
  • Make sure to use a good quality caramel sauce in this recipe!
  • Vanilla enhances the flavor of the caramel!
  • Sea salt helps balance out all the sweetness in the icing!
  • Powdered sugar adds sweetness and structure to our icing.
  • Pecans bring together the turtle theme in the cupcakes!

Looking for more cupcake recipes? Check these out!

Yield: 12 Cupcakes

Turtle Cupcakes

Turtle Cupcakes

Turtle Cupcakes - The perfect chocolate cupcakes that are filled with pecans and topped with caramel buttercream frosting and even more pecans. This indulgent dessert is so delicious!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


For the Cupcake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Caramel Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted pecans


For the Cupcake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until they are combined. Make sure not to overmix.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pan - filling each tin about 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.

For the Caramel Buttercream

  1. Add the butter, caramel sauce, vanilla, and sea salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth and well combined.
  2. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar.
  3. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy - about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip. I used a Wilton 2A.
  5. To assemble, scoop a small hole from the center of each cupcake and fill it with pecans. Then, pipe the frosting on top and enjoy.
  6. Store any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

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