vegan turtle layer cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • *for the caramel*
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt (smoked salt if you have it!)
  • *for the cake*
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Millican pecan pieces
  • *for the frosting*
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1-2 tbsp of nondairy milk, as needed
  • pinch of salt
  • *for topping*
  • additional Millican pecan halves and pieces
  • ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips
  1. First, start on the caramel. Combine the coconut milk and brown sugar in a small nonstick pot. Heat to medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until mixture is thick and golden brown. This should take about 15-20 minutes. The caramel will thicken a little more as it cools as well. Sprinkle in the salt to taste.
  2. Next, make the chocolate cakes. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray two 6" round cake pans with baking spray, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Add in the nondairy milk, water, and oil, and mix vigorously. Add in the vinegar and vanilla, and mix until well combined. Finally, fold in the pecan pieces.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Let cakes cool slightly, then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling off.
  7. When the cakes are completely cooled, you can make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the shortening, vegan butter, and vanilla extract together until completely smooth and creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until a thick frosting forms. Add in the salt. It is normal to need to add 1-2 tbsp of milk to get the right consistency.
  8. To assemble the cake, divide the 2 cake layers in half to create 4 thin layers.
  9. Place one cake piece on your cake stand or platter, and spread some white frosting on top. Pipe a border of frosting all around the edge of the cake. Sprinkle pecan pieces in the middle, and drizzle on some of the prepared caramel. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  10. Next, cover the cake with a layer of frosting. Cover the cake, being sure to fill in any gaps between the layers. Use a bench scraper to remove any excess. I like the naked look, but you can leave a thicker layer of frosting if you want!
  11. Next, go around the edge of the frosted cake and make drips with the caramel. Finish by covering the top of the cake with caramel as well.
  12. To complete the cake, transfer your remaining frosting to a piping bag with a 1M tip, and pipe swirls of frosting around the edge of the cake. Top each swirl with a pecan half. Add the chocolate chips to the center of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve!
Recipe by The Baking Fairy at