Caramel Turtle Cake

I can count the number of times I’ve left my house since last Wednesday on my hands.

I came home from celebrating the end of my 2L year (with Blue Moon pitchers and cheese fries. As it should be), got in bed, and pretty much never left.

I have watched everything on the internetz. Literally everything. I started watching shows I’ve never heard of because I can. Because I signed up for Hulu+ (Hulu Plus? HuluPlus?) in the last week of finals like a totally dedicated student. I’ve watched movies that didn’t even make it to DVD. Because those are on Hulu+. I’m not proud. I’m also not unproud. I’m ambivalent to my low standards for entertainment.

So I don’t feel totally worthless, I sometimes get up and go to yoga. I promptly get back in bed once I return, though.

…this is the upside of grad school. This week of pure, unadulterated lazy.

So subtract four for yoga. That leaves about six times I’ve left the apartment. Here’s what I did with the remaining six:

1. Got my haircut. Like a lot. I mean, actually not really. But it’s bobbed again. It’s super short so it feels like I cut six inches off my hair when it was really like one and a half. Feels good to have my hair tamed a bit again.

2. I went to the store to get guacamole fixins. How’s a girl supposed to live a whole week without fresh guac? I’m not depriving myself here. Please. …okay fine I got some kale too while I was there. Stop with the judging.

3. I went to campus for a little while to wrap up my work with the Actual Innocence Clinic for the semester. Dropping off case files and sending clients letters like a boss. NBD. Also to look for a fax machine or scanner so that I could send in my employment paperwork for the job I start… on Monday (eek (but that’s another post)).

The makings of delicious.

4. I ran (Not literally. Gross, Hannah) to the post office to put my parking ticket and payment in the mail. Yes, somehow I’ve lived in Austin for two years without getting a parking ticket. Then I get two in the same week. One wasn’t even because I didn’t pay! It was because I put the sticker on the wrong side of my windshield. I mean, come ON. Gimme a break, Austin. Gimme a break.

5. Okay.  I honestly can’t think of another time I left the house that isn’t already listed (above or below) or wasn’t to go to yoga. So make the count nine total. Let’s pretend this number isn’t here, okay? I plan to go out tonight to see a movie. Does that count? Should we count that or is that cheating? I don’t even know at this point. My brain is actually mush from a week of staring at a computer screen and watching soapy TV shows.

6. I went to an end of the semester party. Thank goodness because I needed a reason to make this cake. It was one of those ideas that takes a hold of my brain and won’t leave. I mean, it’s been done before. Just not quite my way (which was unintentionally mostly vegan). So I made it my way and it is delicious if I do say so myself.

Caramel Turtle Cake

Makes one 9×13 sheet cake



2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup veggie oil

2 tsp white vinegar

2 cups cold water

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)


1 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

2-3 tbsp milk (Any variation of milk will work. I used unsweetened almond.)


1 batch of salted caramel (Again, I used almond milk instead of heavy cream because that’s what I had. Also nixed the sour cream because I didn’t have any. It worked just fine!)

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease your baking pan. Whisk together dry ingredients (including sugar!) in a large bowl.
  2. Mix together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. Add wet to dry. Add chocolate chips if you’re using them. Mix until combined. Think of it like pancake batter- it’s totally cool if there are still lumps in there! Don’t overmix. I promise any lumps will bake out.
  3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester in the middle comes out clean. This cake is super moist, so it might feel a little mooshy to the touch. If the tester comes out clean, you’re golden.
  4. Let cool on wire rack.
  5. While baking/cooling, make your buttercream! Cream butter until smooth. Add in your sifted cocoa powder and 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until smooth.
  6. Add vanilla and milk. Mix til smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.
  7. While the cake is still a bit warm (about 15 minutes after taking it out of the oven), prick prick prick it with a fork. Drizzle about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of caramel on top. Spread it around and let it sink into the cake.
  8. Once the cake is completely cool (this took about an hour for me), spread with buttercream. The recipe makes the perfect amount for the cake, so use it all.
  9. Sprinkle your chopped pecans evenly over the cake. Drizzle caramel on top of your frosting. I didn’t measure how much, just kinda eyeballed it. Do what feels right.
Cake adapted from Joy the Baker, frosting adapted from my brain. 

Halo around the fork so you know what to do next.

This week also gave me some time to mellow out. I no longer feel the need to use an excessive amount of punctuation or capital letters. Did you notice that in the last few posts? It got aggressive there for a second. So unattractive. Sorry you had to see that. Mostly a product of overcaffeination and high levels of stress, I think.

Get yourself some of this cake. And when you do, bake with love!



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