Start with a chocolate cake mix and just a handful of ingredients and whip up these gooey chewy turtle bars in no time.
The classic turtle combination of chocolate, caramel and pecans is popular for a reason. Those flavors are so darn good together! Using a cake mix as a jumping off point makes getting these yummy turtle bars together really easy. Layers of rich chocolate hug the caramel and pecan center. They are sure to be a home run with turtle fans.
These turtle bars may not look like much, but they are AH-MAZING!! Think about this, melty chocolate chips and rich caramel wrapped up in chocolaty brownie-like goodness.
Yup! It’s as good as it sounds.
This recipe comes to me by way of my Great-Aunt Ellen. It has been passed around and enjoyed by several branches of the family and for good reason.
I originally shared this recipe here back in 2016. I figured it was way past time to dust off the recipe and share it with you again.
I hope you enjoy the new pictures, fun video and printable recipe card. All upgrades from the original bare bones post.
Luckily these yummy bars are easy to make, so none of that was necessary the first time. But in case you haven’t given them a go yet, I thought I’d try to entice you. 😉
Making cake mix turtle bars
The recipe specifies German chocolate cake mix because that is what my great aunt always uses. This is likely due to the milder flavor of German chocolate.
Did you know German chocolate isn’t named after the country or nationality? Instead it is a sweeter milder chocolate developed by a gentleman named German.
The namesake cake uses that particular kind of chocolate and is delicious. Feel free to use whatever chocolate cake mix you have on hand though, any would be good.
After you mix up the batter for the cake layer, you partially bake half of the mixture. This creates a good base for the caramel layer and helps keep it from sinking to the bottom.
Feel free to unwrap squares of chewy caramel candy or use the bits you find in the baking aisle that don’t have to be unwrapped. Toss on some chocolate chips and chopped pecans and you can see how wonderfully this is going to come together.
The trickiest part is getting the second half of the batter on top. I wouldn’t try to spread it too much, just gently dot on small spoonfuls of batter and try to distribute it as evenly as possible.
After a few more minutes in the oven, they are done! Let them cool a bit before serving if you can stand to wait.
These yummy bars are delicious on their own, or make a fabulous base for an ice cream sundae. They are sweet, gooey and delicious.
More fun chocolate treats
If you love German chocolate, you have to try making the cake too. I have two recipes so you are sure to find one that speaks to you.
My great-grandma’s german chocolate cake with broiled coconut topping is a fun twist on the flavors you would expect. Or for the more classic coconut frosting, try Ellen’s German chocolate cake.
Another fun way to turn a chocolate cake mix into a fun treat is to make easy whoopie pies. I filled mine with a peanut butter and marshmallow concoction, but you can fill yours with whatever you would like.
- 1 German chocolate cake mix
- 2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
- 3/4 cup butter
- 12 oz bag caramels
- 12 oz chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 9 x 13" pan.
- Stir together 1/3 cup of milk and caramels. Melt over low heat on the stove or in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter and 1/3 cup of the milk. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 6 minutes.
- Pour melted caramel over parbaked cake. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans.
- Drop small dollops of batter over the top of the chocolate chips and caramel, trying to cover most of the caramel. Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 143mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 4g
All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.