A couple weeks ago Jeremy and I found ourselves stranded in the longest line at the Michael’s check-out counter that we’d ever seen. But I needed those craft supplies, so we stuck it out and meandered through the shelves of merchandise they station along the line to try to lure you into making last-minute purchases. I found myself staring and the box of turtle candies and we got to discussing how addicting they were, and then Jeremy said “what if you made just one GIANT turtle?” And we both fell silent and stared at each other wide-eyed while nodding our heads in unison for a good 5 seconds, and we knew at that moment that I had to make it.
I used a wider variety of nuts for the giant turtle because I like all varieties and had a bunch of extra almonds and walnuts in my cabinet that I wanted to put to good use, but if you’re more of a pecan or an almond person feel free to stick to just your favorite kind. I made a chocolate ganache for the chocolate layer so that you would be able to slice the cake, rather than having to break it into pieces if it was just a solid block of chocolate. And I added a little extra salt to the caramel layer since salt goes so wonderfully with any and all varieties of nuts. This cake requires zero baking, everything can be prepared on the stovetop. Once assembled, it just needs to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to solidify before serving.
1/4 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
First make the chocolate ganache. Pour the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small pot until it becomes hot and just begins to have bubbles coming up along the sides. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate is melted and they are completely combined. Allow it to cool for 2 hours, then whisk it with an electric mixer for a minute or two to help it gain some air and fluffiness.
While it is cooling, make the caramel. In a small thick-bottomed saucepan mix together the water and the granulated sugar until well blended. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and continue boiling until the mixture turns a light caramel color, only stirring once every four minutes. This took me about eight minutes, but the speed will depend upon the heat of your stovetop. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the heavy cream, butter, and brown sugar until incorporated. Be careful as the mixture will spit and hiss a bit. If the sugar begins to clump up when you’re stirring do not fret, just stir as best as you can for about 30 seconds and then put the pot back on the heat and bring it back to a boil again over medium-low heat. Once it is boiling again stir until the sugar chunk dissolves and the mixture is smooth. Once it smoothes out, reduce heat to low and stir it every two minutes, allowing the mixture to simmer for at least 15 minutes or until it has thickened significantly. Remove from the stovetop and stir in the salt. Allow to cool completely to room temperature.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and flip the pan over onto the serving surface. The cake should come out when you pull up on the pan, and the cake should still have the plastic wrap stuck to it. Gently peel the plastic wrap off of the cake and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.