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.
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).
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).
Sprinkle with chopped pecans, serve with ice cream and you have an absolutely delicious Dutch oven cake!
If you haven't done any Dutch oven cooking, I recommend my series on Getting Started with Dutch Oven Cooking.
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