When I’m talking “turtles,” I am not thinking about the creepy, crawly kind. No. My palate is mentally tasting the wonderful candies of my youth.

These tasty candy treats were originally made by the Johnson Candy Company, which later took the name of DeMet’s. DeMet’s Candy Company has marketed this candy-shop classic for many years.

Although Turtles have been produced since the early 1900s, they have changed hands several times. In 1943, Nestle owned the trademark for Turtles. Then in 2007, DeMet’s, which started out as the producer of Turtles, got the trademark back.

DeMet’s is well known for its specialty chocolates, including Turtles. We are told that the company uses as many as 7,000 tons (yes, that’s TONS) of chocolate and 13,000 tons of nuts each year. Just last week, news came out that chocolate and nuts are going to be more expensive this year. Better stock up now.

When I was young, Turtles were one of my favorite candies, but they were rather expensive and our family wasn’t able to afford much, so we learned to make our own Turtles at home.

After all, how hard could it be? Caramel goes on top of a small mound of pecans, and then chocolate covers the caramel. Small pecan pieces are placed under the candy to look like a turtle’s feet and head.

Not wanting to infringe on DeMet’s trademark, I decided to call the following cake Chocolate Caramel and Nut Cake. This trio of popular flavors comes forth in this cake, but let’s be honest, a cake can never truly give us the flavor we want when we think of the great candy using these same ingredients.

The cake is chocolate with a ribbon of caramel and nuts in the middle. One bite and you will be wanting to make another one for friends and family. It is that good!

I would suggest topping each slice with a dollop of whipped topping or whipped cream, sprinkled with chocolate chips and nuts and drizzled with caramel.

For those who prefer to bake from scratch, you can use a recipe for the popular German’s Chocolate Cake as your cake base.


  • 1 box German’s Chocolate Cake mix
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 (14 ounce) bag of caramels
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (like Eagle Brand)
  • 1 (6 ounce) package chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)

Mix cake batter according to directions. Pour half of the batter into a 9x13-inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool 10 minutes. In a saucepan or in the microwave, melt butter, caramels and milk together. Pour over cake mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on stop of caramel mixture. Pour remaining cake batter on top. Bake an additional 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at