That Skinny Chick Can Bake
A piece of turtle poke cake on a square white plate

Turtle Poke Cake

Home » 900+ Best Dessert Recipes » Turtle Poke Cake

With a caramel filling and a pecan topping, this Turtle Poke Cake is a twist on my family’s favorite Triple Chocolate Poke Cake. Pure decadence!

A piece of turtle poke cake on a square white plate

Turtle Poke Cake

I’ve loved turtles since I was a youngster. No, not the four-legged reptile, but instead the pecan candies with chewy caramel and chocolate. My family went crazy when I made my first poke cake and from there, the wheels started turning. How about a turtle version?

I poked holes in the baked cake and filled them with homemade caramel sauce. Followed up with a creamy chocolate buttercream and a sprinkling of pecans and chocolate chips, all the components for a turtle dessert were fulfilled. Unless you wait till the cake is fully cooled, the caramel will partially absorb into the cake, making it one of the richest, moistest chocolate cakes you’ll ever encounter.

I like an additional drizzle of caramel sauce over my slice before diving in. This isn’t a dessert for the faint of heart nor the calorie-conscious. I can’t think of a turtle dessert that is! But it’s worth the splurge.

A slice of turtle poke cake with a forkful in the foreground

Caramel Sauce

Two batches of my Microwave Caramel Sauce will be plenty for this recipe. You’ll have enough left to make a turtle sundae with some vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce, and toasted pecans. You can certainly use jarred caramel sauce but buy a premium brand. Check the ingredients and look for sugar, cream, vanilla, etc. You definitely want to avoid any artificial flavorings. Be forewarned, this turtle poke cake is hard to cut into beautiful slices. I refrigerated first, but it tastes best if left out on the counter for a bit before serving. But I don’t think anyone would complain if you used a spoon and scooped out a generous portion!

Collage of 3 trutle poke cake images

You’ll Need:

More Poke Cakes:

Needless to say, my kids (and they’re BIG kids now) loved this Turtle Poke Cake. I won’t deny that they all scraped off the pecans, but that’s a given around here.

A piece of turtle poke cake on a square white plate

Turtle Poke Cake

A moist chocolate cake saturated with caramel sauce and finished off with chocolate buttercream, pecans, and chocolate chips

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield 24 servings



  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coffee, cooled
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 1/2-2 cups caramel sauce (I used my homemade microwave caramel sauce, but any good quality store-bought is fine)


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk


  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Caramel sauce to drizzle over slices, optional


  1. Spray 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º.
  3. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. In a large pyrex measuring cup or medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, coffee, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
  5. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and beat for a couple minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. When cake is done, let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Then take a wooden spoon and using the handle end, poke rows of holes across the cake. Pour caramel sauce into the holes. Reserve any leftover sauce to use as a garnish. Cool to room temperature before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, beat together butter and cocoa. Add vanilla and mix well.Then alternate adding milk and powdered sugar till all is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Frost cake.
  8. Sprinkle cake with pecans, then chocolate chips.
  9. To serve, cut slices and drizzle with caramel sauce.


This is a moist and gooey cake. You may want to refrigerate to make it easier to slice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 341mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 2gSugar: 55gProtein: 4g


Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest



Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

29 comments on “Turtle Poke Cake”

  1. This is super rich and tempting chocolate cake!

  2. I recently bought a can of caramel sauce from the Borden sweetened condensed milk folks-it’s pretty good! I’ve only been adding it to iced coffee, cake would be better:@)

  3. I love turtles too! Who couldn’t love chocolate, caramel and pecans?!

  4. I’m ready to splurge! Spoon me up a nice big bowl please!

    These brownies are really AMAZING !! Chocolate and caramel – I can only imagine the heavenly taste

  6. I’ve always loved the amazing chocolate, caramel and nut turtles…I knew we thought alike the first time I read your blog and every time I come back it gets better and better. This is amazing. I have the Granddaughters two afternoons a week and we bake. This is first on the list!

  7. I’m not a big sweet eater, Liz, but I have a weak spot for caramel and pecans. Your poke cake is gorgeous!

  8. Okay, I am so making this with carob. That ooey gooey goodness is irresistible!

  9. Lovely. Beyond words, Liz. I recently made a Whiskey Cake that was a four stage process. I am turning it into a poke cake the next time I make it. Great recipe for Sunday Suppers.

  10. How decadent! While I don’t have a huge sweet tooth I do love both pecans and caramel.

  11. When I read the word “turtle” in your recipe title, I knew right away that I’d love it since it means all things caramel and chocolate to me from growing up with “turtle’ candy. My mother would always slip them into both my brother’s and my Christmas stockings since she knew we craved them so much. But your cake is so many times better! I’ll take turtle cake over turtle candy any day. This will be a new winner in my family of caramel and chocolate lovers!

  12. Saving your microwave caramel recipe! I can see why you and Kim B are friends =) She’s a turtle fan, too. Next time I see you I’ve got to gift you with Japanese caramels and get your caramel connoisseur opinion =)

  13. I am so craving a decadent dessert and a slice of this cake is exactly what I need!

  14. This cake sounds decadent and very, very appealing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  15. I love the little candied turtles, I bet this is delicious Liz!!!

  16. I have recently made microwave caramel and I must say it was super easy. Turtle cake name has always intrigued me, and this looks super rich and super delicious! Would love to try this soon.

  17. Great poke cake, Liz! My Bill would flip over this and the family would devour it quickly. Thanks for the recipe and have a great week!

  18. That cake looks incredibly tender. I love chocolate and caramel together.

  19. I LOVE TURTLE DESSERTS! and the gooeyness factor with this poke cake is seriously irresistible!

  20. I love turtles too. This looks like my kind of cake. I would be afraid that I would eat the whole cake myself it looks so yummy.

  21. Fabulous! So many comments…my mouse was giving me trouble trying to get to the bottom of them. Several tries later! lol 😉

  22. Oh my! I bet this cake doesn’t last long! Sounds delicious. What a great treat.

  23. Liz this sounds amazing! My favorite candy growing up were turtles and I still love them this would be a huge hit in my family and especially with my mom the biggest turtle fan of all of us great recipe. Saving to try soon.

  24. The name is so cute, Liz. I’m still trying to figure out why the name turtle. Hahaha! Sounds like such a fun dessert. Have a good week, dear! xoxo

  25. That cake looks so rich and decadent!

  26. Poke me with a bite of that please! I can see why this is a hit. All my faves in one bite!

  27. Really a nice texture of the cake. I appreciate the way you prepared it.
    Should be great in taste too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.