How to Make Turtle Cupcakes




Introduction: How to Make Turtle Cupcakes

Chocolate turtle cupcakes with a turtle surprise on the inside and a cute sugar turtle on top!  Definitely a decadent chocolate cupcake to be enjoyed with a tall glass of milk!

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Step 1: Recipe - Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes

You'll need two recipes to make these cupcakes - the chocolate turtle cupcakes themselves, and the chocolate buttercream icing.

Make your cupcakes first:

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes


2 2/3 cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) coffee
24-28 chocolate *Turtles
*You can buy the name-brand Turtles, but bulk food stores usually carry them as well.  If you can’t find them, substitute some chocolate melts, a few pecans and a caramel square.


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your muffin tin with liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and vanilla extract. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth.
5. Set the mixer to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping thoroughly between each addition.
Alternately add the flour and sour cream mixtures to the butter mixture in two batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
6. Gradually pour in the coffee. Scrape down the bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.
7. Scoop the batter into your cupcake liners with a spoon or ice cream scoop.
8. Bake for 26 minutes or until the center of the cupcake has just set. (I insert a barbeque skewer to check).
9. Take out the cupcakes, make a little hole in the center with a knife and insert a Turtle chocolate as far as the cupcake allows.
Bake for another 4 minutes. Once cupcakes have cooled and you’ve removed them from the muffin tin, top with chocolate icing and optional toppings, such as chocolate turtles, caramel sauce or royal icing turtles.

Step 2: Recipe - Chocolate Buttercream Icing

While your cupcakes are baking, start making your icing:

Chocolate Buttercream Icing


24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups 35% cream
1 tablespoon clear corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces unsalted (room temperature) butter
16 ounces (1 lb) icing sugar


1. Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate and cream together.  (Make your own version by placing a glass or stainless steel bowl on top of a pot with simmering water).   Stir occasionally until the chips are melted.
2. Off the heat, stir in the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture, softened butter and icing sugar on medium speed for a few minutes, until it has thickened.

Step 3: Piping Icing Swirls

Once your cupcakes have cooled, pipe your icing onto your cupcakes. There's a lot of freedom when it comes to this - you can just smooth the icing over the top with a butter knife, or you can use a pastry bag and piping tip to make an icing swirl, for example.

If you'd like to make an icing swirl, you will need:
  • Piping Bag
  • Ateco Pastry Tip #829 or a Wilton 1M (smaller tip, but is easily found at craft stores).
Piping the Swirl

After you've filled your piping bag with icing, make the swirl by starting at the center, go all the way around the cupcake and pull away.

Here's a video for you on how to ice the cupcakes - it's much easier to watch and learn in this case!

Step 4: Making Royal Icing Turtles - What You'll Need...

If you'd like to make the royal icing turtle toppers, you will need:
  • Royal Icing Recipe and Food Gel Colorings
  • Piping Tips #2 and #3
  • Piping Bag
  • Coupler
  • Parchment Paper or Acetate/Transparency Sheet
  • Shortening
  • Black Food Color Pen

Step 5: Making the Icing Turtles

Once you've made your royal icing, you're ready to decorate! Please note that these need time to dry, so it's best to make these a few days ahead of your cupcakes.

Step 1: Using a #3 tip, pipe a circle of green royal icing on slightly greased acetate paper.

Step 2: Using a #3 tip, immediately fill in the center with brown icing.

Step 3: Gently shake the acetate paper on the table so that the icing smoothes over.

Step 4: Wet-on-wet technique – Using a #2 tip, pipe the dots on the brown icing

Step 5: Immediately pipe the second layer of dots.

Step 6: Gently shake the acetate paper on the table so that the icing smoothes over.

Step 7: Using a #2 tip, add the head, legs and tail

Step 8: Let the icing dry for 24 hours and add two dots as eyes, using a black food color marker.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Place turtle toppers on cupcakes. It's best to put them on just before serving, as the royal icing absorbs the buttercream over time.


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    11 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Congrats on first prize. This technique for making turtle decorations is so cool. I can't wait to use it myself!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    These are totally great and beautiful! And I love how your cake is made from scratch and not from a box mix! Great work!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    OMG, these are so precious! They're almost too cute to eat =) Great job!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    very cute and delicious looking! Sadly I'll never get to eat these as I'm allergic to nuts, but you could totally make a nut-free version by putting rolos or pieces of a caramilk bar in the center, instead of turtles.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    What a perfect idea @emm15! I love both rolos and caramilk!