Turtle Cupcakes

My office threw a sur­prise party for a co-worker’s new house. My co-worker’s favorite type of cake is Ger­man Choco­late Cake, and she loves tur­tles (the ani­mals). At first I had planned to make fon­dant dec­o­ra­tions in the shape of tur­tles for the top, but didn’t have any fon­dant! I ended up mak­ing an abstract take on the word “tur­tle”, instead choos­ing to use the tur­tle candy (caramel nut clus­ters dipped in choco­late) as my inspiration.

I made these late the night before the party and it was my first time bak­ing just a plain choco­late cake from scratch. I adapted a recipe from one of my favorite sites, Cup­cake Bake Shop by Chock­ylit. I used her choco­late cup­cake recipe because I loved the use of espresso pow­der. I added in mini-chocolate chips because I wanted the cup­cakes to have dif­fer­ent tex­tures between the choco­late cake, chips, and the filling.

One of the best things about Ger­man Choco­late Cake is that thick, gooey, coconut-pecan frost­ing from a tub. I wanted that gooey tex­ture in the mid­dle, so I bought the frost­ing pre-made instead of mak­ing it myself. A straight apple corer made quick work of the cen­ters, my handy-dandy assis­tant piped in some frost­ing, and I filled the holes with the pre­vi­ously removed cake.

I was wor­ried the cup­cakes would be too sweet with the fill­ing, choco­late cake, and choco­late chips, so I opted for a thin layer of semi-sweet choco­late ganache glaze. Half of the cup­cakes were topped with tur­tle can­dies and the other half were sprin­kled with some more mini choco­late chips. Before top­ping the cup­cakes with tur­tle can­dies, I spelled out “Con­grats!” with my co-worker’s name and her fiance’s.

Since this was a sur­prise party, I couldn’t bring my cam­era to take pic­tures of the fin­ished set-up since that would have been sus­pi­cious. I wrote on the can­dies using Williams-Sonoma writ­ing icing, heated up. I pre­fer this icing to oth­ers because it dries very quickly, and when you’re done using the icing, it becomes solid for easy stor­age. The only down-side is that it some­times clogs when writing.

Old-Fashioned Choco­late Cupcakes

adapted from Chock­ylit
24 reg­u­lar cup­cakes / 350 degree oven

  • 3/4 c. (1-1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. bak­ing soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mini choco­late chips

Cream but­ter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beat­ing 30 sec­onds after each addi­tion. Mea­sure remain­ing dry ingre­di­ents into a medium sized bowl and whisk to com­bine. Mea­sure the milk and vanilla into a mea­sur­ing cup or bowl with spout. Add a third of the dry ingre­di­ents to the butter/sugar and beat to com­bine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to com­bine. Add in the choco­late chips, how­ever much you want. Con­tinue alter­nat­ing between dry and wet ingre­di­ents, fin­ish­ing with the dry. Scoop bat­ter into cup­cake cups about 3/4’s full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-27 min­utes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Choco­late Glaze

  • 4 ounces choco­late, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tea­spoon vanilla extract

Heat cream in a saucepan until bub­bles form around the edge. Place choco­late in a bowl, pour hot cream over choco­late and stir until smooth. Add vanilla and stir until com­bined. Refrig­er­ate to cool. If the mix­ture becomes too thick to spread, heat it up again.

Every­one in my office loved the cup­cakes, though some pref­ered the Banana Pud­ding Cup­cakes I made a lit­tle over a month ago. My co-worker said she liked the “font” I used for cup­cakes, but she never said if she liked them or not.

A few peo­ple said they didn’t like coconut, so I made some non-filled cup­cakes in a sil­i­cone mold…that didn’t work out. I tried to get the cup­cakes out and they fell apart. I guess the sil­i­cone mold is only meant to be used for muffins!

Has any­one suc­cess­fully cooked cup­cakes in sil­i­cone molds? I also had over­flow with these cup­cakes, do you think it was because I cooked them in lin­ers and a pan (as opposed to the min-souffle cups I usu­ally use)?


  1. […] party a day or two before, so I was lim­ited to the local Whole Foods for ingre­di­ents. I only had one choco­late cup­cake recipe on hand and that hadn’t turned out per­fect last time I baked it. I decided to use the same […]

  2. […] These sweet look­ing cup­cakes are made out of Ger­man choco­late cake, which is known to have a sweet and gooey taste. But don’t fret because the ganache glaze is made out of choco­late that is semi-sweet to avoid the cup­cake from becom­ing too sweet. It also has a banana pud­ding inside to bal­ance out the sweet­ness of the cup­cake. Match these cup­cakes with your favorite espresso to com­pli­ment the taste. Source Hapatite […]

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