Double Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake (LF)

Cake… Chocolate… Caramel… Toasted pecans… More chocolate… More caramel… Low fat…

Wait… what? How is that possible? The experts at Cooking Light are AMAZING when it comes to making the impossible, possible – creating delicious food for half the calories! I highly recommend any of their recipes for baking or cooking “light.”

Unlike many other light recipe books, Cooking Light doesn’t just build a recipe using low-fat ingredients – They actually experiment with different ingredient substitutions and combinations in order to find what tastes BEST for each individually recipe, and for you! The health nut with a sweet tooth.

I loved this recipe SO much that I actually wrote a paper for my Technical Writing (Engineering) course in college – with detailed instructions how to create this beautiful masterpiece.

Now – as I have mentioned in my other posts, this recipe may not be “considered healthy” by everyone. Someone on a Whole30 or Paleo diet, might consider this recipe too high in sugar or too full of processed ingredients. But, eating healthy is different for everyone! So here in NOMaste Kitchen we will explore all types of recipes – low fat included.

Since then I have made some adjustments of my own – the following recipe is my adaptation of Cooking Light’s original recipe.

Double Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake


Cooking Light

Yield: 16 servings

This is hands down one of my favorite low-fat recipes that I have found. The cake is fluffy and decadent. The frosting is rich and unique in flavor. And the caramel-nut topping can’t be beat. If you are looking for a dessert to impress – this is it. Not to mention, the use of pre-made fat free caramel makes the recipe a lot easier and faster.


Pan preparation:

2, 8-inch round, cake pans

Cooking spray

Wax paper

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


1 1/2 cups boiling water

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 to 3 tablespoons milk (fat-free is fine!)

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Caramel, Nut Topping:

2/3 cup fat-free caramel apple dip (such as T. Marzetti’s)

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped and toasted

Note: Don’t care about having a low fat dessert? Try making a real caramel sauce!

Baking Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare cake pan by coating the bottom of each cake pan with cooking spray (no need to spray the sides!); line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with more cooking spray; then dust with 1 tablespoon flour.

Cocoa mixture: In a small bowl, combine boiling water and unsweetened cocoa, stirring well with a whisk until completely combined. Let cool completely.

Sugar mixture: In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons butter, and vanilla – beat with a mixture at medium speed until well blended (this should take about 5 minutes). One at a time, add eggs, beating between each addition.

Flour mixture: Lightly spoon 1 2/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups to measure. Scrape off any extra flour with the back of a straight-edge knife (butter knife will do). Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate small mixing bowl; stir well with whisk.

Add flour and cocoa mixture alternately to sugar mixture; beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Once poured, sharply tap each pan once on the counter to try and remove an air bubbles that may linger in the batter.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes (or until wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake, comes out clean). Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Frosting: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and milk, cooking until sugar is fully melted (at least 1 minute). Remove from heat, cool slightly. Pour butter mixture into a large mixing bowl, add vanilla extract and beating with a mixture at medium speed. Gradually add powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed (frosting should be of spreading consistency).

Assembly: Place first cake layer on plate (make sure this is the plate you plan to serve on because it is unlikely you will be able to move the cake after it has been prepared). Spread half of frosting on top of first cake layer.

Place small zip-top plastic bag in a drinking glass/cup, fold top edges of bag over outside of glass. Pour caramel dip or topping into plastic bag. Snip off one corner of the plastic bag, opening up a small-hole. Drizzle half caramel over frosting – then sprinkle with half of pecans.

Top with second cake layer – spread remaining frosting, drizzle remaining caramel, and sprinkle remaining pecans.


Double Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake – a dessert to impress the eyes and the taste buds, without affecting your pant size!

A recipe adaptation from Cooking Light.

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