Dutch Oven Chocolate Turtle Cake – My Best One Yet!

I've experimented with a Dutch oven Chocolate Turtle Cake a few times, trying different tweaks to get it even better.  I made another try over the weekend and loved how it turned out!

To start, I cut a sheet of parchment paper into six or seven long strips and laid them in my Dutch oven, with the ends hanging over the sides.  This is a big help in getting the Chocolate Turtle Cake out after it's done.

I then used a German Chocolate Cake mix and followed the mixing directions on the box.  I poured a little more than half the batter into the bottom of the Dutch oven.  I used a 12" Dutch oven, since that is the smallest I have, but wondered how this would do in a 10" Dutch oven.  The cake would be a bit higher.

Starting My Dutch Oven Chocolate Turtle Cake

I set the Dutch oven on 10 coals and put 14 on the top, then cooked this bottom half for about 15 minutes.

While the cake was cooking, I started heating 1 1/2 lbs of caramels with 1 1/4 cups of evaporated milk over medium heat for the caramel sauce.  Keep stirring so it doesn't burn.

After 15 minutes, I checked the cake to make sure it was somewhat done on the top.  I didn't want the top to collapse as I did the next part, so I used my finger to see if a light depression sprang back a bit.  Once it did, I poured one bag of milk chocolate chips over the cake and sprinkled them around so they were evenly distributed.  (You could also use semi-sweet chips).

Dutch Oven Chocolate Turtle Cake with Chocolate Chips

Next I poured half the caramel sauce over the cake and chocolate chips, then the rest of the cake batter over everything.

I cooked the cake for about 30-40 minutes more using the same coals, then checked the cake with a toothpick to see if it came out clean.  Warning: if you push it too far down, it hits the chocolate-caramel layer.

Once the cake was done, my wife and I carefully grabbed the ends of the parchment paper strips hanging over the sides, gently lifted the cake out of the Dutch oven, and put it on a large plate.   I trimmed the edges of the parchment strips so they didn't show and poured the rest of the caramel sauce over the top.  When serving, I slipped the parchment pieces out from underneath.  (If you prefer, you can gently flip it over when you remove it from the oven and pull the parchment strips off, then flip it back over and pour on the caramel sauce).

Dutch Oven Chocolate Turtle Cake

Sprinkle with chopped pecans, serve with ice cream and you have an absolutely delicious Dutch oven cake!

Dutch Oven Chocolate Turtle Cake
Fabulous Dutch oven dessert that will get your guests talking about what a great cook you are. Chocolate, chocolate, and caramel!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Dutch Oven
  • 1 pkg German Chocolate Cake mix
  • 1⅓ c. water
  • ½ c. vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ lbs caramels
  • 1¼ c. evaporated low fat milk
  • 1 (6 oz) bag chocolate chips, milk chocolate or semi-sweet (1 c.)
  1. Lay strips of parchment paper across the bottom of the dutch oven, and up opposite sides (use 5-6 strips, spacing them around the dutch oven). This will help you remove the cake when it is done.
  2. Make the cake, using the mix, water, oil, and the eggs.
  3. Pour half of the batter in the Dutch oven and then cook over coals, with the lid on, until done, about 15-20 minutes (check to make sure it's done--toothpick comes out clean).
  4. While the cake is cooking, heat the caramels and evaporated milk in a sauce pan and melt. You can do this on the fire.
  5. When the first layer of cake is done, pour and spread ½ of the caramel mix over the warm cake in the Dutch oven.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the mixture and then spread the remaining cake batter on top of that.
  7. Cover with the lid, add 12 coals on top of the lid.
  8. Cook until done, about 15 minutes.
  9. Using the parchment strips, remove the cake from the Dutch oven and put on a serving plate.
  10. Pour the rest of the caramel mixture on top of the cake.
  11. This tastes great warm (with ice cream, it would be great!) but helps if you let it cool completely before you serve.




If you haven't done any Dutch oven cooking, I recommend my series on Getting Started with Dutch Oven Cooking.

Also, I would love it if you would share this post on Facebook or Twitter -- all you have to do is click the corresponding link below (or you can share on a number of other social media sites)!  Thanks!



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    • michele morrissey on November 5, 2011 at 8:48 am
    • Reply

    I’ll have to try this. I live in Connecticut and we just had a freak October 29 – 30th snowstorm that put the power out over the entire state for a full 8 days. During this time I cooked on the grill. But one day I decided to do spaghetti. I took my dutch oven, put it over maybe 12 coals to heat up. I put olive oil in the bottom, then put in diced onions. Cooked onions until they were transparent, added finely chopped carrots (carrots take the bitterness out and you don’t add sugar like some people do), and chopped celery. Sauted them for about 1o minutes. Then I took a large 1/2 inch thick pork chop and a 3/4 inch thick rib steak and let them brown. Then I dumped in a large can of tomato puree and a large can of petit diced tomatoes. I added italian spices, some crazy mixed up salt, put the lid on and let it cook for about 15 minutes. I took about a half cup of sweet vermouth and about a half cup of water and added that and mixed well. Check the celery to see if it was done enough (I could have cooked it longer, it was a little crunchy), then took the raw spaghetti, (about 3/4 of a box of Berrille regular spaghetti) broke it into half, then half again so the pieces weren’t more than 2 to three inches long, dumped it into the pot, stirred to get it mixed in. I covered the pot, and had a glass of wine while the spaghetti cooked.

    It came out great!!! Took it to work the next day and since noone had electricity, it was greatly appreciated (work was powered by a generator so the microwave worked). Thanks.

    1. Michele, thanks for your comment–your dish sounds delicious, and it’s a big advantage to be able to whip something like this up when there is power outage. Better than eating cold soup or something like that!

    • Gary hard on April 5, 2012 at 8:34 am
    • Reply

    scott i think we have our recipe for a desert at our summer camp in july, sounds good…now we’re looking for a main dish…being from Pensacola Fl. we would like to use shrimp or fish…thanks alot enjoying the infomation from you…gary

    • Eric Davidson on December 2, 2012 at 10:00 am
    • Reply

    I have made twice since the beginning of October, once for my scout troop. Both times were home runs!

      • on January 13, 2013 at 6:58 am
      • Reply

      Glad they enjoyed them!

    • John on April 8, 2013 at 8:20 am
    • Reply

    After you baked the bottom layer of the cake and put the chocolate and caramels on what kinda of coal configuration did you use? I plan to use foil to line my dutch oven when i do this recipe do you think it will turn out the same?

    • Debbie on August 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    • Reply

    This is a great cake. I have made many times and everyone always enjoys it. Have gotten lots of requests for it too. A little time consuming with unwrapping the caramels, but usually no shortage of volunteers to help as they sneak a few caramels when they are done. Always comes out delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

      • on August 8, 2013 at 3:54 am
      • Reply

      Debbie, I agree with the unwrapping caramels part! That took a little time. But I think the result was worth it.

    • Brooke on May 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm
    • Reply

    An easier way to do the caramel is to buy the dipping caramel that you find in the produce section by the apples. That’s actually what us suggested in the Turtle cake recipe in the Lodge Cast Iron cook book.

    1. Brooke, great suggestion! To be honest, it was a bit of a pain unwrapping all those caramels.

    • Sherri on October 1, 2016 at 6:49 pm
    • Reply

    Wow…..make this for our Cub Scout camp out and it was a huge hit.

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