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Turtle Cupcakes

Review Recipe
a close up shot of Turtle Cupcakes on a cooling rack
Just as delicious as the turtle candy, these turtle cupcakes feature a decadent brownie topped with creamy whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and crunchy pecans.
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Table of Contents
  1. Turtle Cupcakes Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Turtle Cupcakes Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

With creamy Cool Whip frosting, gooey caramel drizzle, crunchy pecans, and rich chocolate brownie cake, these turtle cupcakes are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. As decadent as the classic candy, you will wonder where these heavenly cupcakes have been all your life.

a close up shot of a Turtle Cupcake on a plate

Turtle Cupcakes Ingredients

Turtle Cupcakes raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Brownie Cupcakes

  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking bar, broken into pieces
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

For the Cool Whip Frosting

  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3.4 ounces instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed 

For the Garnish

  • Bottled chocolate sauce (I used the Ghirardelli brand)
  • Bottled caramel sauce (I used the Ghirardelli brand)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 12 whole pecans

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CHOCOLATE: You can substitute the unsweetened baking bar with a semi-sweet one in these easy turtle cupcakes. I would not use milk chocolate as that will make these brownie cupcakes far too sweet and rich. If you choose to use milk chocolate, I suggest cutting back on the light brown sugar to ¼ cup. Be sure to use a good-quality baking chocolate bar, not a candy bar. I like to use Ghirardelli, Baker’s, or Lindt chocolate baking bars for taste and quality.

PUDDING: You can substitute the vanilla-flavored instant pudding mix for an instant white chocolate pudding flavor or even a cheesecake-flavored instant pudding. You just want to make sure that you are using instant pudding and not a cook & serve variety.

How to Make This Turtle Cupcakes Recipe

For the Brownie Cupcakes

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.

STEP TWO: In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the salted butter and broken, or chopped, pieces of the unsweetened baking bar in thirty-second increments, stirring between, until fully melted and smooth.

STEP THREE: Stir the granulated sugar and light brown sugar into the melted chocolate.

granulated sugar and brown sugar stirred in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Stir until fully incorporated.

STEP FIVE: Add ½ cup all-purpose flour to the chocolate batter and stir until incorporated.

STEP SIX: Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips, ½ cup chopped pecans, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to a small bowl. Stir to coat all the chips and nuts in flour. This helps to keep the pieces from sinking to the bottom of the brownie cupcake batter when baked.

chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and flour added to the sugar mixture in a bowl

STEP SEVEN: Fold the coated chips and nuts gently into the batter.

STEP EIGHT: Using a 2-inch ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop out the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

The brownie cupcake batter will not expand much in the oven while baking, so you can fill each muffin cup as full as you want your cupcakes to be.

scoop out batter and place in the muffin cups

STEP NINE: Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until the brownie cupcakes are cooked through.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cupcakes at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

batter baked in a muffin pan

STEP TEN: Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them to cool completely on a cooling rack.

STEP ELEVEN: Be sure to allow the brownie cupcakes to cool completely before frosting and garnishing them.

For the Cool Whip Frosting

STEP ONE: Using a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on low speed, add the cold whole milk and powdered sugar. Beat for 30 seconds to combine.

STEP TWO: Sprinkle in the instant vanilla pudding mix and beat for 1 to 1½ minutes, until thickened. Set it aside for 3 minutes to fully set up.

vanilla pudding mix whisked in a bowl

STEP THREE: Fold in the thawed whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Tightly cover with plastic wrap, or transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip, and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.

whipped topping folded and transferred to a piping bag

For the Garnish

STEP ONE: To garnish these chocolate turtle cupcakes, pipe the Cool Whip frosting onto the top of each cupcake.

PRO TIP:

If your kitchen is particularly warm, you can return this Cool Whip pudding frosting to the refrigerator to re-chill periodically while frosting your baked goods.

STEP TWO: Drizzle the chocolate syrup over each cupcake frosting. Follow that with a drizzle of caramel sauce over each cupcake.

chocolate syrup and caramel sauce drizzled over the cupcake

STEP THREE: Top each drizzled cupcake with a sprinkle of the finely chopped pecans and a single whole pecan in the center of each garnished turtle cupcake.

chopped pecans drizzled on top of each cupcake and place a single pecan on top

How To Serve

Make a batch of these delicious chocolate caramel turtle cupcakes to celebrate a chocolate lover’s birthday, or enjoy them for an afternoon snack. Serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a homemade hot chocolate.

Our turtle poke cake and turtle pie are two more ways to enjoy this out-of-this-world combination of chocolate and caramel.

Storage

ON THE COUNTER: You can store your (ungarnished) brownie cupcakes in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days. 

IN THE FRIDGE: You can also keep your Cool Whip frosting in a sealed container, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. You should keep these elements separated until ready to garnish and serve. Once you frost and garnish your turtle cupcakes, you can keep them refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If the brownie cupcakes are too cold, you can leave them at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving them.

IN THE FREEZER: Freeze these turtle chocolate cupcakes (unfrosted) for up to 1 month in an airtight container. 

a close up shot of Turtle Cupcakes on a cooling rack

With all of the great flavors of everyone’s favorite candies, these brownie cupcakes are utterly sinful. Add a drizzle of caramel sauce and crunchy pecans, and you just can’t top it. A batch of these is sure to disappear fast.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I leave the nuts out of this recipe?

This amazing cupcake recipe would be delicious with or without the pecans.

Can I freeze turtle cupcakes?

These delicious cupcakes can be frozen for up to one month in an airtight container. We recommend waiting to add the frosting and garnish until you are ready to serve them.

Can I use store-bought brownie mix for these cupcakes?

If you want to save time, you can substitute making your own cupcake batter with a box of brownie mix. Just mix in the chocolate chips and pecans when making the cupcake batter.

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a close up shot of Turtle Cupcakes on a cooling rack

Turtle Cupcakes

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Just as delicious as the turtle candy, these turtle cupcakes feature a decadent brownie topped with creamy whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and crunchy pecans.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Brownie Cupcakes

  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking bar, broken into pieces
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Cool Whip Frosting

  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3.4 ounces instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed

Garnish

  • Bottled chocolate sauce, I used the Ghirardelli brand
  • Bottled caramel sauce, I used the Ghirardelli brand
  • ¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 12 whole pecans

Instructions
 

Brownie Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the salted butter and broken, or chopped, pieces of the unsweetened baking bar in thirty-second increments, stirring between, until fully melted and smooth.
  • Stir the granulated sugar and light brown sugar into the melted chocolate.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Stir until fully incorporated.
  • Add the ½ cup all-purpose flour to the chocolate batter and stir until incorporated.
  • Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips, ½ cup chopped pecans, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to a small bowl. Stir to coat all the chips and nuts in flour. This helps to keep the pieces from sinking to the bottom of the brownie cupcake batter when baked.
  • Fold the coated chips and nuts gently into the batter.
  • Using a 2-inch ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop out the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
  • Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until the brownie cupcakes are cooked through.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • Be sure to allow the brownie cupcakes to cool completely before frosting and garnishing them.

Cool Whip Frosting

  • Using a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on low speed, add the cold whole milk and powdered sugar. Beat for 30 seconds to combine.
  • Sprinkle in the instant vanilla pudding mix and beat for 1 to 1½ minutes, until thickened. Set it aside for 3 minutes to fully set up.
  • Fold in the thawed whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Tightly cover with plastic wrap, or transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip, and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.

Garnish

  • To garnish these turtle cupcakes, pipe the Cool Whip frosting onto each cupcake.
  • Drizzle the chocolate syrup over each cupcake frosting. Follow that with a drizzle of caramel sauce over each cupcake.
  • Top each drizzled cupcake with a sprinkle of the finely chopped pecans and a single whole pecan in the center of each garnished turtle cupcake.

Notes

  • The brownie cupcake batter will not expand much in the oven while baking, so you can fill each muffin cup as full as you want your cupcakes to be.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cupcakes at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • If your kitchen is particularly warm, you can return this Cool Whip pudding frosting to the refrigerator to re-chill periodically while frosting your baked goods.

Nutrition

Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 336IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg
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