Sunday, February 24, 2008

Turtle Cake Tutorial

There's a fun cafe in St. Paul called Cafe Latte. It is THE best place to go for a nice soup and sandwich, salad too. Or even better, coffee and dessert. Located on Victoria and Grand, it is easy to find and usually easy to find a seat.

Their most famous cake is the Turtle Cake. If you like chocolate, pecans and caramel, then you're ready for this one. I made it for the first time for my sister-in-law Katie who had made it many times for other people, but no one had ever had it made for her. She turned the big 4-0 and was in town to celebrate with us.
Here's her cake.... Happy Birthday, Katie!

Cake Ingredients:
• 1 Egg. • 2/3 cup Vegetable oil. • 1 cup Buttermilk. • 2 cups Flour. • 1 3/4 cups Sugar. • 1/2 cup Good quality cocoa. • 1 tsp. Salt. • 1 tbsp. Baking soda. • 1 cup Hot coffee

• 1/2 cup Milk. • 1 cup Sugar. • 6 tbsp. Butter • 2 cups Good-quality semisweet chocolate chips. • 3/4 cup Caramel. • 1 1/2 cups Toasted pecans.

Prepare oven and pans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Cover each bottom with disk of parchment paper. It works well to trace the bottom of the pan with a pencil on the parchment paper, then cut out.

Prepare the ingredients. The recipe calls for a good-quality cocoa, but I only had Nestle. It still tasted great. (Notice the vintage canisters... they belonged to my grandparents. My mom remembers them from her childhood!)

I used this powdered buttermilk because it keeps for a long time in the fridge, always handy for a recipe at midnight or when I don't have a chance to pick up fresh buttermilk. If you use this, make sure you mix it VERY well, or you'll get little white floaties on top of your cake of buttermilk powder. (Not a pretty sight!)

To make cake: In bowl, combine egg, oil and buttermilk. In large separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda.

Gradually add wet ingredients to dry until well mixed.

Gradually add hot coffee. Pour yourself a cup too. Mmmmm. (I recently found an amazing new coffee at Costco-- Rwandan coffee. Comes in bean form in a big 3 pound bag. Cheap, strong and DE-LISH!)

Scrape batter into prepared pans.

To bake cake: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Let cake rest in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool. Note the parchment paper still on the bottom, waiting to be peeled off.

To make frosting: Mix sugar and milk in saucepan. Add butter. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips to pan. Using wire whisk, mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons hot coffee.

Spread 1/3 of the frosting on the first layer, top side of the cake down.

Here is the first layer with the frosting, 1/2 cup caramel and 1/4 cup chopped pecans. I like to leave a few of the pecans whole or large pieces.

Add next layer, again top-side down. Repeat frosting and sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans and drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel. And final layer top-side up, frost carefully and finish with remaining pecans and caramel. The top looks best when you arrange the pecans in a pattern, leaving most or all of them whole.

We had no problem eating it. Hope you enjoy it too.


noradawn said...

What a great post! Love the pictures. Isn't it fun to make a giant, fancy cake every now and then?

justgrandma said...

It's gorgeous!! And your tutorial is super! No need for it!!

katiemomof3 said...

Thank you, Jenn! A Cafe Latte cake made in my honor: a much-appreciated first!

You forgot to mention your secret ingredient--lots of love.

I enjoyed the great cake and company of my visit to Minnesota. I love the image of Soren, sticking his little fingers in caramel, giggling, sucking his fingers clean, then going for more. Such fun!

village mama said...

I can see why your gang had no issues enjoying chocolate homebaked heaven!

Jena said...

I made this for my hubby's birthday, except that I doubled it, made it only two layers, and baked it in two 9 x 13 pans. I found the chocolate icing wasn't really spreadable--I just poured it on and let it spread of its own accord, which was probably much easier and just as tasty. I also made my own caramel sauce ( -- it made almost four times as much caramel as I needed). It received rave reviews. Thanks for your excellent directions!

Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor said...

Oh I totally love you for posting photos and food from a place I miss and crave! Thank you for the recipe. I am going to follow in your footsteps and try it!

Anonymous said...

Hey cityfarmgirl, I work with Erik and he finally showed me your blog. I know we are soul mates. I love what you are doing. Your kids are so fortunate to be growing up in that environment. I love the farm dream and WOW the cheese!!! I want to learn how to do that. Very inspiring!! What a mom!! Keep it up. Deb Finch

BoonsMom said...

This looks great - thanks for sharing the terrific tutorial! I may have to give it a try this weekend...