Today is National Cupcake Day! You didn’t really think we would let that pass by unnoticed did you? On a day that was obviously created to pamper our sweet tooth, a little baking is in order! To really taking advantage of this celebratory moment of indulgence, we insist you fulfill all of your chocolate fantasies with this Turtles cupcake recipe, guaranteed to be the highlight of your week. This caramel, chocolate and pecan treat is sure to leave you feeling completely spoiled! If your diet doesn’t agree, save it for a rainy day when you need the palette pleasing pick-me-up –  it’s sure to do the trick!

For the cupcakes:

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream

For the caramel and filling:

½ cup sugar
½ cups heavy cream, warmed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional) 
¼ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:

12 oz. cream cheese, cold
12 tbsp. (6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. caramel sauce (recipe above)
2¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of coarse salt

To finish:

Caramel sauce
Chocolate syrup or chocolate ganache
Additional chopped pecans (optional)

Find the method for these divine creations, here. Happy baking!