Crazy for Crust

Mar 04

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll #chocolateparty

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This Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll is out of this world! A chocolate cake rolled and filled with a whipped caramel then frosted with chocolate and pecans. Turtle indulgence to the max!


Have you ever been so afraid to try something that you worked yourself up into a frenzy about it and then convinced your brain you couldn’t do it so why try?

Yeah, that was me and cake rolls. Until now.


My mother-in-law makes a killer pumpkin cake roll every holiday season. It’s something I look forward to eating every year. She’s sent me the recipe, and even bought me a jelly roll pan a few birthdays back. But I’ve never made it. I’d never made any cake roll. I was too scared to.

Like, you have to de-pan a hot cake, for one. How does that even work? Then you have to somehow roll it up? Without breaking it?

Nope! Too scary to try! I proclaimed. Until now.

Are you scared of cake rolls? Don’t be. Don’t make my mistake. Don’t pine away for a pumpkin cake roll 360 days a year for 11 years like I did.

Get your bottom into your kitchen and use that darn jelly roll pan for what is was made for. I command it!


I am serious, the ease of making this cake is unfathomable. It was easier to make than any cake I’ve ever made, ever.

It starts with a box cake mix. I found the recipe in one of those Betty Crocker books you get at the grocery store. It used only part of a cake mix, and fills exactly one jelly roll pan. And, because it’s cake mix, it bakes up great.

When the cake is hot, straight from the oven, you turn it over a (clean) kitchen towel that’s been dusted with powdered sugar. It comes out the pan easy, because there is foil lining the pan. Peel off the foil, and roll up the cake in the towel. It rolls easy – no ripping or universe exploding.

I filled this cake with the caramel filling I used in the Banana Caramel Cake. Basically it’s caramels melted with heavy cream, chilled, and then whipped, almost like a ganache. A caramel ganache. It’s so easy to make and spreads like frosting. It’s true magic!

Once the cake is cool, you simply unroll it carefully. It does not break or sprout a cape and fly across the room. It’s just…bendy cake. Frost the center with the caramel and roll it right back up. It’s happy to do so.

Frost it with a chocolate glaze and top with toasted pecans. (You could also fill the center with some pecans. Which would be wonderful. I didn’t because my dad was eating some of it, and he can’t eat nuts.)

Slice, and enjoy the fact that you have accomplished something amazing and magical. Something that should have been hard, but wasn’t. Something that everyone will think you slaved over and worked super hard for hours to make.


And well. Why not let them think that? What they don’t know won’t hurt them…and they’ll think you’re amazing. :)

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.


    For the Cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker SuperMoist)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • For the Caramel:
  • 30 caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans


  1. Add caramels and heavy whipping cream to a large, microwave safe bowl. Heat about 2 minutes (up to 2 1/2) on HIGH, stirring every 30 seconds, until the caramels dissolve into the cream. Stir until smooth. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled, about 2-3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll (15x10x1-inch) pan with foil and spray with baking spray that has flour in it.
  3. Beat eggs in a large bowl on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until they are thick and lemon colored. Add cake mix, water, and oil. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and then medium speed for 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
  4. Bake 11-14 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Do not overbake - mine cooked in about 11 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan if the foil did not cover the whole thing to make sure the cake does not stick.
  5. Lay a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface. Sprinkle with the powdered sugar. Turn the cake upside down on the towel and remove the foil. While hot, roll up the cake in the towel, starting at the short end. Cool completely on a cooling rack, while rolled up, about 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, make the frosting: microwave the heavy whipping cream uncovered on HIGH for 1 minute, until it just starts to boil. Stir in the chocolate chips and corn syrup. Let stand 3 minutes and then beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Refrigerate about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until it is spreading consistency.
  7. Once cake is cooled, remove caramel from refrigerator. Using a hand held mixer, whip the caramel until it is spreadable, like frosting, about 3 minutes.
  8. Unroll the cake carefully. Spread the caramel evenly over the cake. Reroll the cake. It should roll easily.
  9. Place the cake on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drips. Frost the cake with the chocolate frosting. Top with toasted pecans.

This post is part of this month’s Chocolate Party! Click that link for all the information on how to participate in the chocolate party, or see the rules below.



Want to party with us? Here’s how to do it:

  • Blog about your chocolate treat. Your recipe must include the two ingredients we choose. It can be a simple no bake treat or a sophisticated layer cake, the complexity level of the recipe is totally up to you.
  • Include a link back to the Chocolate party page over at Roxana’s Home Baking. You can also use that handy graphic up there.
  • Your recipe must be published during the current month.

Like chocolate and caramel? How about:

Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookies

chocolate chip turtle cookies

Turtle Sandwich Cookies

turtle cookies

Turtle Brownie Pies

Turtle Brownie Pies by Crazy for Crust

Sweets from friends:
Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars by Roxana’s Home Baking
Turtles by A Pumpkin and a Princess
Single Serve Salted Caramel Lava Cake by Something Swanky

This post may be linked to: Chef in TrainingLil’ LunaBuns In My OvenChic-and-CraftyI’m Lovin’ it FridaysStrut your Stuff SaturdayWeekend Wrap Up PartySundae Scoop Link Partyand all of these too!



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108 Responses to “Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll #chocolateparty”

  1. Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories posted on March 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm (#)

    Just beautiful, and thank you for the confidence boost. I’ve always wanted to try a rolled cake. Your instructions are great!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you Karen! I’m mad at myself I was so scared, ha!


    • Linda Gernigin replied on April 17th, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Can this be made 2 days before Easter?


      • Dorothy Kern replied on April 17th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

        Yes, it should be fine!

        • Linda Gernigin replied on April 18th, 2014 at 8:58 am

          Thank You…

          • Linda Gernigin replied on April 18th, 2014 at 9:02 am

            I bomb the first one didn’t follow cake instruction put all cake in pan not thinking gonna give try agin,Birds sure did like it..LOL!!

          • Linda Gernigin replied on April 18th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

            Did another one not happy with it will serve it don’t know why it cracked on me,didn’t roll quit the way I think it should have..

            • Dorothy Kern replied on April 18th, 2014 at 1:50 pm

              I’m sorry about that Linda! So many things can make a cake roll crack. Sometimes I think the universe is just against us! I do know that if it’s over baked and gets at all dry it will crack for sure. When this happens, just pile on more frosting! :)

  2. Jennifer @ Mother Thyme posted on March 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm (#)

    This looks incredible! And whipped caramel frosting? I could eat that with just a spoon!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      I almost did Jennifer!! :) Thank you!


  3. Stephanie @ Back for Seconds posted on March 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm (#)

    This cake is beautiful! My dad would love it, he loves turtley things 😉 I almost can’t handle that frosting. I mean…whipped caramel ganache? WOW!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      I know. I almost ate it all with a spoon….. Thanks Stephanie!


  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on March 4, 2013 at 4:49 pm (#)

    Well good for you for getting over a kitchen fear and making this! I’ve never made a cake-roll either. Not something I totally fear but have to say, yes, rolling up a huge slab of cake sounds tricky! I love the caramel + chocolate combo, too! Mmmm!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Averie! I can’t believe I was ever scared of it!


  5. Tonia@thegunnysack posted on March 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm (#)

    Okay, now you did it…I’m signing off to go find chocolate!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      LOL, you’re welcome! :) Thanks Tonia!


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  7. Laura (Tutti Dolci) posted on March 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm (#)

    I’m drooling! Your cake rolls looks mouth watering!


  8. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts posted on March 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm (#)

    Just look at that filling!!! I so need to eat this cake!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      I wish you could have Erin! Thanks!


  9. Liz posted on March 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm (#)

    OMG Dorothy! This roll includes all of my favorite things – chocolate, caramel and pecans! I need some of this in my life ASAP :)


  10. Baking Serendipity posted on March 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm (#)

    Cake rolls stress me out! But this is seriously, seriously inspirational :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Don’t be stressed about them – it was really SO easy!


  11. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen posted on March 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm (#)

    Good for you for making a cake roll, and such a gorgeous one! The flavors are amazing and it rolled perfectly!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks Paula! I’m pretty proud of myself, ha! :)


  12. Robin @ Bird On A Cake posted on March 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm (#)

    Wow, that looks so good!! I must confess, I have never made a cake roll! I think you just inspired me to try one. I’m brainstorming flavor combinations at this moment…


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      You must – I bet yours would be gorgeous! Thanks Robin!


  13. serena@serenabakessimplyfromscratch posted on March 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm (#)

    Is it possibly I died and went to heaven because this would defiantly be the dessert I ask for! Deliciousness!


  14. Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs posted on March 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm (#)

    Dorothy, this looks amazing!! Wow. You’ve rolled everything delicious up in one cake roll!


  15. Mom posted on March 4, 2013 at 7:15 pm (#)

    This was amazing cake. Very tasty combination of 3 of my favorite ingredients.
    Thanks again,


  16. Summer @ Mallow and Co posted on March 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm (#)

    This hits the spot! I love it when people reinvent recipes like this – any anything turtle sounds good to me!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 4th, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks Summer! I could eat turtle anything all day long!


  17. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel posted on March 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm (#)

    Oh man, I am totally heebie-jeebies scared of cake rolls. And candy thermoms. And fondant. For some reason, these three things daunt and haunt me to my core. But since you say it’s easy .. and that the universe WILL NOT, in fact, implode upon itself if I make one, then I must. Because I’m kinda sorta swooning over that filling.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:48 am

      It’s easier than frosting a cake. I’m serious! I have so many variations I want to make now.

      Fondant, however? Now THAT will make the universe implode!


  18. Nicole @ youngbrokeandhungry posted on March 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm (#)

    I probably have close to twelve different cake rolls recipe sitting in a binder on a shelf somewhere. But I have always been to afraid to bake them. This post is exactly the push I needed to get over my fear. First up is your recipe. Wish me luck!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:46 am

      I hope you love it as much as we did Nicole! It really is easy. :)


  19. Suzanne posted on March 5, 2013 at 1:00 am (#)

    For goodness sake this cake looks fabulous! I am a little nervous myself to try rolling up cake like this so I’ve really got to try it. I love the whipped caramel filling that sounds perfect.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:45 am

      You totally do, it was SO easy!


  20. Rachel @ posted on March 5, 2013 at 1:28 am (#)

    This looks so amazing!!!


  21. Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking posted on March 5, 2013 at 6:22 am (#)

    I was so terrified to make a cake roll until last Christmas when I made my first one. I kicked myself after that for waiting so long to make one. Yours is gorgeous Dorothy! Thanks for bringing it to the chocolate party


  22. Kristin posted on March 5, 2013 at 8:12 am (#)

    I admit I’m one of the frightened ones. This looks so tasty though!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Really, it’s so easy. You can totally do it!


  23. tanya posted on March 5, 2013 at 8:20 am (#)

    Amazing! Love that this started with a mix! Truly phenomenal! I’ve been trying to make the perfect roll-I too have a mother in law who is famous for her pumpkin roll! I finally made my chocolate roll, but it was work! Wish I read your recipe first!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      There’s something about the famous pumpkin roll! That’s too funny. The cake mix makes it easier, and I was surprised at how easy it was to roll!


  24. Caroline @ Stumbling Upon Happiness posted on March 5, 2013 at 9:02 am (#)

    This looks amazing, thanks for sharing!


  25. Heather @ The Unsophisticated Kitchen posted on March 5, 2013 at 10:35 am (#)

    This looks amazing! Cake rolls are one of my most favorite things and I have been dying to give them a try! Your recommendation gives me the confidence to try! I think I can do this!:) Thanks for sharing this incredible recipe! I pinned it!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      You totally can Heather! It’s way easy. Thank you!


  26. Kristy @ Sweet Treats & More posted on March 5, 2013 at 10:43 am (#)

    This cake roll looks out of this world! And you know I love a good chocolate party!! Linked up:)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks Kristy! Make sure you have the badge on your post! :)


  27. Jett W. posted on March 5, 2013 at 11:59 am (#)

    Oh my gosh you’re killin’ me!! That looks so good! I am so glad I get your emails to alert me of the many yummy things you create :-)


  28. Veronica Gantley posted on March 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm (#)

    I was always scared to make a rolled cake. Your instructions makes it look easy. Isnt carmel one of the best things ever invented?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Yes. Yes it was!! :) Thanks Veronica!


  29. sally @ sallys baking addiction posted on March 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm (#)

    Dorothy – this is beyond gorgeous! I love making cake rolls. My mom makes a mean pumpkin cake roll. :) I love chocolate turtles AND so does my mom. Maybe I’ll make this for her one time!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      I bet she’d love it! Cake rolls are my new fav! :)


  30. Erin @ Making Memories posted on March 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm (#)

    Oh, this looks wonderful! I’ll have to remember this recipe. I always make the same recipe my Mom has always made. I’ll have to venture out a little =o) Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      I am going to be making so many flavors, lol. Thanks Erin!


  31. Liz posted on March 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm (#)

    I’ve made the pumpkin roll, but now I have to make a turtle roll!!! Totally irresistible, Dorothy!!!


  32. Tiffany/MyCrowdedKitchen posted on March 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm (#)

    Love love love this! This could solve allmyproblems right now. Please pass me a fork and a tall glass of chocolate milk. 😉 Beautiful, as always. Thanks for another awesome recipe!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 6th, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Oh yes, I think it could solve my problems too! :)


  33. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl posted on March 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm (#)

    My aunt makes something very similar to this every year at Christmas, and I’ve always been too scared to try making it myself–it looks so hard. But after reading your instructions, I’m going to have to give it a try this year. I love this, Dorothy–it turned out perfect!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 6th, 2013 at 6:20 am

      You totally can Ashley – it’s way easier than we all thought!! SO good too!


  34. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life posted on March 6, 2013 at 4:59 am (#)

    I have one of those jelly roll pans, but it has never seen a roll cake yet! You have me convinced that it is super easy to do though! I need to just get over my cake roll fear and do it!!!! Love the turtle flavor…and caramel ganache? Shut the front door! I want a bowl and a spoon of just that!!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 6th, 2013 at 6:15 am

      Me too! LOL Thanks Jocelyn! Totally, you need to make a cake roll. Think of all the combos!


  35. The Farm Girl posted on March 6, 2013 at 7:42 am (#)

    A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! Pinned and can’t wait to try :)


  36. Julia Kendrick posted on March 6, 2013 at 8:06 am (#)

    Yum!! I can’t wait to try this soon! Thanks for posing! I pinned! Julia


  37. ashley - baker by nature posted on March 6, 2013 at 8:37 am (#)

    Ok, this is seriously awesome, girl! I want it in every way!


  38. Cindy Harris posted on March 7, 2013 at 6:58 am (#)

    i’m linking up to this one soon! Two perfect flavors. Love your roll, it looks excellent.


  39. Ashton posted on March 7, 2013 at 7:01 am (#)

    Yum!! Love that you finally did another recipe with that caramel!!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 7th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      I know, right? Took me long enough!


  40. Katie @ Dip It In Chocolate posted on March 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm (#)

    Oh man, This looks amazing. Should I not admit that I bombed my first attempt at a cake roll (last month)? I’m totally gonna blame it on the recipe… 😉


  41. Trish - Mom On Timeout posted on March 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm (#)

    So, SO gorgeous! Featuring at tomorrow’s party :) Thank you so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!


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  43. Laura posted on March 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm (#)

    This cracked me up because I love cake rolls and am absolutely terrified of making them. It’s on my bucket list. Great job on yours!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 14th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Laura! It’s so super easy, you must do it!


  44. Mamamia posted on March 16, 2013 at 9:48 am (#)

    This looks A-mazing! I’m pinning this!


  45. Becki F posted on March 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm (#)

    Have you tried it with a peanut butter filling? I bet that would be almost as good


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 24th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      OMG. You’re a genius….


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  52. Arati posted on March 25, 2014 at 3:51 am (#)

    this is looking soo yammy cake!! i want this cake,i love cake!


  53. Jeanna posted on May 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm (#)

    My 2-year old granddaughter and I will be attempting this cake, except it will be filled with vanilla ice cream, for Mother’s Day. Her mom (my daughter) is craving it. We’ll be smothering it with hot fudge and whipped cream….


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 5th, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Oh my gosh that sounds amazing!! And what a great idea. I’m so making that!


  54. Genevieve posted on November 3, 2014 at 7:54 am (#)

    Do you have any suggestion of cake recipe when it comes to making the cake from scratch ? 
    I’d rather not use a box


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  56. Dawn posted on March 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm (#)

    I followed the instructions exactly and all went well until I unrolled the cooled cake to frost it.  It cracked BAD.  I used a lot of powdered sugar because I read your rules first, even though the recipe only calls for a small amount.  Perhaps I need even MORE sugar?  Could not enough cause it to crack?  I’m willing to try it again since I bought a pan especially for this.  What do you think  happened?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 5th, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Cake rolls can crack for so many reasons! It could be that it was overcooked or undercooked (one of which is the probably culprit). It could have been that it needed more moisture or less…or that it’s humid or dry…you get my drift. This recipe, from the cake mix, was from one of those little circular cookbooks, so I know it was tested a lot. Did it seem over or under done at all when you were rolling it? The powdered sugar shouldn’t affect it (it just helps it not stick to the towel).


  57. Dawn posted on March 7, 2015 at 5:51 pm (#)

    It might have  been over cooked.  I did it for 11 mins and it seemed perfect but it definitely was not under cooked so Ill try again for 10 mins.  I am at a high altitude and sometimes things get tricky because of that.  Thanks.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 8th, 2015 at 7:44 am

      That can definitely be a culprit – the altitude. And I’m no help there, unfortunately. I need to learn more about that!


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