Thursday, May 23, 2013

No-Bake Turtle Upside Down Cake



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.



Ingredients:

Nut Layer

1 Cup Pecans
2/3 Cup Almonds
2/3 Cup Walnuts
1/4 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Salted Caramel

3/4 Cup Heavy Cream, at room temperature
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 Cup Butter, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons Water
1 Teaspoon Salt

Chocolate Ganache

2 Cups 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.


Line an 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap, making sure there is excess wrap that is hanging over the sides. Evenly spread the nuts and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the bottom of the pan, keeping the nuts at the very bottom flush with the bottom surface so that they are more visible when the cake is eventually flipped over. Then spread the caramel sauce over the nuts. Once there is an even layer of caramel, evenly spread the chocolate ganache over the caramel layer. Place the pan in the refrigerator uncovered, for 4 hours or overnight.



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.



74 comments:

  1. This looks so good I want to swear!! Love the look of this!

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  2. A line at Michael's inspired this...wow. All I get is the urge to RUN out of the store. lol

    A giant turtle. Love it. And that salted caramel layer. All I need it that to be forever happy! And the ganache!

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    1. Lol, I feel that way about Michaels sometimes too, especially the candle isles. They smell WAY too intense for me.

      And hurray for turtles! Adorable animals and tasty candies.

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  3. Ok this is just unreal! Unreal! So creative. I love the concept of this!!

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    1. Thank you Jocelyn!! It was really delicious, although it is very hard to go wrong with nuts, caramel, and chocolate haha :)

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  4. this looks absolutely INCREDIBLE. there's a birthday coming up here and this might have to make an appearance! amazing, as always! x

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    1. Awww thanks Ffion! It would make for an excellent birthday treat :o)

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  5. Oooh, I just picked myself up off the floor.

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  6. You and Jeremy need to have more lightbulb moments in the checkout line because HOLY MAMA, this looks amazing. :)

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  7. Wow. I'm so glad this isn't my kitchen right now. I wouldn't be able to resist it!!! (Lightbulb moments are the best, aren't they?)

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    1. Hahaha, best comment ever! Thanks Mindy! :)

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  9. I am out of words how spectacular this cake looks! Absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you so much! It was a very addicting little guy :)

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  10. OMG. I love those spark of genius moments, especially when it leads to something as epically delicious as this!! I cannot get over how crazy awesome this thing looks. Also, zero baking = yes. It has been SO rainy here, to the point where it feels like we're experiencing 200% humidity. So totally gross, I have only been able to bring myself to turn on the oven once in the past week! :)

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    1. Aww man humidity is the worst. I don't really have much of it here on the west coast, but I experienced it once when I was 13 in New York in the summer and it was HORRIBLE. So yes, ovens are best to be avoided! Now you need to make yourself some tasty raw salads and balance them out with some good ol' no-bake cookies and cakes ;)

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  11. Eva...Every time I open your blog I wish we lived closer, everything looks so delicious! Miss you!
    xoxo, Jenn

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    1. Thank you so much Jenn! I wish so too and miss you too!! Hope everything is going well out in the midwest :)

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  12. I love how you described the moment you decided you were going to make this! Too funny. The other day, it was super cold and super rainy, and Kevin and I were trying to figure out what to eat. We knew we wanted baked potatoes, but we were trying to figure out what to serve with it when he goes "What about chili?" I SCREAMED. "Oh my gosh, CHILI! That is the BEST idea!" Never mind that it's nearing the end of freaking May or anything. Your moment reminded me of that moment. Also, way to execute the idea! This sounds so good. I'm starting to worry about how to cook and bake this summer if it ever gets crazy hot. This is just perfect.

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    1. Haha, I am glad you enjoyed it! :o) And I love those moments, when you think of the exact right thing you're craving and get SOOOOO excited about the idea of eating it in a couple hours once its all finished. That usually happens to me with garlic bread. It's my go-to moment. And I do hope it warms up for you soon! I think the world is getting tired of this gray and dreary spring we're having. Although I am afraid of the 100-degree summers that we got here last year...might finally have to invest in a AC unit for the bedroom!

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  13. Ohhh emmm geeee. This is one of the most drool-worthy cakes I have ever seen, and I don't even usually like cake! I would take this over the pineapple upside down cake HANDS DOWN!

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    1. Awww thank you Ari!! It's surprisingly easy to put together considering the nice presentation of the nuts on top :) Plus if you're not normally a cake person, there's no actual "cake" cake inside of it :D

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  14. I love anything caramel. Especially turtle candies! This is such a fantastic idea!!! :)

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    1. Thanks so much Puja! Turtle candies are delightful and probably my favorite confection treat :) Well, turtles and nougat. Perhaps I should eventually combine them...it could be a turtle candy with a large nougat mound! I could call it a tortoise. :D

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  15. This is an amazing idea and so stunningly executed. You two make a great team!

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  16. i am truly frightened by your genius here. A giant turtle. otherwise known as "the thing which can never exist in my house because i would consider a serving size 'one turtle' and go into some sort of turtle coma."
    it looks amazing! :) it reminds me a little of a candy bar tart, which i've seen here and there, but never like this. it's gorgeous, Eva.

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    1. Hahaha, yes the turtle coma is a thing to be much feared! We must exercise a lot of self control when eating the turtle cake :) I am so glad you like it Shannon, thank you so much for your kind words!

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  17. This is absolutely GORGEOUS, Eva! You amaze me!!! Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thank you so much Carol! You have an absolutely wonderful long weekend, too!

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  18. brilliant, beautiful, delicious!!!! yum!

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  19. Inspiration and ideas pops in without any planning and I love those moments! That looks stunning GOOD Eva :)

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    1. Thank you Kankana! I love those moments, too :)

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  20. Brilliant Eva. I can't even imagine how good this tastes. I just know how evocative the photos are.

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  21. This is gorgeous! And probably good for my breakfast right now!

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  22. cool idea....im going to make and cut into liltte squares what have you,,and wrap in parchment saran..and sell as single at church bake sale...im a turtle lover so this is a win win for me lol

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    1. Ohhhhh that is an excellent idea! You really can't go wrong with chocolate, caramel, and nuts :)

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  23. Hi Eva, first timer here stumbling across your blog and I have to say your photos bring each of your creations beautifully to life. There's such "moodiness" in your upside down cake photos and the ganache photo -- love it! Can't wait to explore more but you have a new fan :)

    Best,
    Danny

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    1. Thank you so much Danny, I appreciate your kind words very, very much :)

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  24. when i made the caramel it didn't turn out like in the photos, it was very watery and didn't thickened at all! do you know what can i do??

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    1. It sounds like the caramel didn't simmer long enough, it should thicken before you take it off the stovetop. You can put the caramel back on the stovetop and continue cooking it until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon.

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  25. I'm just gawking at this right now. Nuts, glorious nuts!! The Michael's anecdote made me smile, too... I miss that place and its miscellaneous crafty doo-dads! I can't wait to go there when I return to the states this summer. Anyway, amazing post as usual.

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    1. Yes, these are so many treasures to be found at Michael's! I love looking at all the different types of craft paint (so many fun painting options for furniture!) And thank you for being so kind! :)

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  26. i could stare at that caramel oozing down the side of the pan for approximately 1.4 seconds before attacking it with my finger. this is luscious, eva!

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  27. mmmm! I made this for a party tonight, It was a big hit! Although mine didn't turn out nearly as pretty yours, My "top" layer of nuts got masked by the caramel unfortunately. I'm not sure what you must have done differently- any suggestions for next time? Thanks!

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    1. I'm glad you all liked it! Hmmm I think that perhaps the nuts needed to be more flush with the bottom of the pan, I will revise the recipe to include this. Thank you so much for the feedback!

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  28. I love nuts and this looks soooooo nutty :D and your pictures are awesome, I can really smell it ;)

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  29. This looks and sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing.
    Have you heard of Demarle at Home? With much of the baking and cooking I see on your blog, you would probably LOVE these products. They are what the professional chefs/pastry chefs use. No oil, butter, sprays...or plastic wrap is used and the food comes right out...nothing sticks! The flexipans clean with just a soap and water wash.I began using them a couple of years ago and cannot imagine using anything else. If you would like to know more, visit my website: www.mydemarleathome.com/janemcmullian
    (not trying to sell anything...just to make you aware of some really awesome tools)

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  30. This looks amazing! Can't wait to try it! I love the pecan mudslide from DQ, so perhaps adding vanilla ice cream to individual servings would be delicious also!!

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    1. Thank you! And yessssss, that sounds like a wonderful idea!

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  31. Your blog is my new site for baking and cooking! All I can say is... WOW! Thanks for the amazing presentations!

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    1. Thank you so much Paul! That makes me very happy to hear :)

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    2. So I tried this out today... and my wife is going nuts (no pun intended, lol).
      Although it did take way longer than I had expected, it was worth it.
      I didn't have any pecans so I just went half and half with almonds and walnuts and added cranberries and sunflower seeds.
      Thanks again Eva. It was fun making it!

      Best~

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    3. So happy to hear that Paul! Cranberries and sunflower seeds sounds like an amazing addition, I am going to try that the next time I make this :)

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  32. You take beautiful pictures. I am going to make this right now. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you so much! Let me know how it turns out for you :)

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  33. there is no cake in this. thats chocolate ganache we are looking at that looks like a cake topped with caramel and nuts??? I thought i missed something so i read the recipe 3 times....There is no cake.? for the bottom?...thats ganache?

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    1. Hi Mary! Yes, that is just ganache. You can't really have a no-bake cake with actual cake in it haha, I don't think the raw eggs would taste very good ;)

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  34. This cake looks, what I like to call, "stupid good"! Your photos are amazing!

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  35. Just found this recipe via Pinterest - what an amazing 'turtle' recipe. Hoping to make it for Thanksgiving.

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  36. I love you. Will you marry me? Don't worry about my husband...He'll understand once I show him.

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