Fair Trade Turtle Cake

Chocolate. Caramel. Cake. Need we say more?

The Fair Trade ingredients in this rich, sumptuous chocolate-caramel cake keep it from being too sinful. Based on Café Latte’s Famous Turtle Cake recipe, it’s a visually stunning crowd-pleaser that’s surprisingly easy to make. Bring it to your next holiday party and you’ll be the hit of the season.

Fair Trade Turtle Cake



For the cake 

  • 1 egg 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups Fair Trade Certified sugar
  • 1/2 cup Fair Trade Certified cocoa
  • 1 tsp. salt 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup hot, Fair Trade Certified coffee

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup Fair Trade Certified sugar
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 2 cups Fair Trade Certified semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup caramel
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans

Preparation Instructions

To bake the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
  3. Cover the bottom of each pan with a disk of parchment paper.
  4. In a bowl, combine egg, oil, and buttermilk.
  5. In a separate (large) bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  6. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry until everything is well mixed.
  7. Gradually add in the hot coffee.
  8. Scrape batter evenly into the three prepared pans and insert into oven.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
  10. Let cake rest in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool.

To make the frosting

  1. Mix sugar and milk in a saucepan.
  2. Add butter.
  3. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
  4. Add chocolate chips to the pan and mix until smooth using a wire whisk. If the frosting is too thick or grainy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of hot coffee.


  1. Place one cooled cake layer, top-side down, on your cake plate. Spread one third of your frosting on it, pushing out gently from the edges to make a petal effect.
  2. Sprinkle with ½ cup pecans and drizzle with ¼ cup caramel.
  3. Add next layer, again top-side down. Repeat frosting and sprinkle with ½ cup pecans and drizzle with ¼ cup caramel.
  4. Add final layer top-side up, frost with petal effect and finish with remaining pecans and caramel.
  5. Once you’re done, we suggest doing what Café Latte recommends: “Call your friends and enjoy!” And don’t forget to tell them you used Fair Trade Certified ingredients, either.