Return of the Chocolate Turkey

Chocolate Turkey Cake, aka “belly ache on a plate”

Thanksgiving belongs to roast turkey and pumpkin pie, but Black Friday belongs to the Chocolate Turkey. He is rich and decadent and gooey and he’s all Neil Diamond’s fault.

May have mentioned this before… I grew up listening to a lot of Neil Diamond. A lot. If your Mom was half as crazy about Neil Diamond as my Mom was, you know every word to the Hot August Night album, including the song Porcupine Pie. Look, it’s not his musical manifesto, but it includes as reference to chicken ripple ice cream, thereby making it Officially Awesome. 

Inspired by the song, porcupine pies have been a common occurrence throughout my life. So common, in fact, up until 5 minutes ago, I assumed everyone knew what they were. A quick google image search for “porcupine pie” has just revealed otherwise. Apparently, they are a little more unique than I thought.

Assuming they are new to you, I’ll explain, in a nutshell, a porcupine pie is any sort of dessert with spikes. Sometimes a simple cookie crust filled with ice cream and shards of chocolate inserted all over the surface….sometimes a buttermilk cake that looks like a Thanksgiving turkey…sometimes a cheesecake rimmed with a mountain-like skyline of dark chocolate peaks…

Fun to make. Fun to look at. Fun to eat.

For a long time, we made porcupine pies for all kinds of special occasions…birthdays, report cards, first day of school, big business meetings…any time Mom wanted to make someone feel appreciated and celebrated. She didn’t cook a lot, but she would fancy up ice cream at the drop of a hat. One time a guy came to read the gas meter and they got to talking…turned out his wife had just miscarried a baby…ten minutes later they were at our kitchen table having a heart-to-heart, both of them with a glass of chardonnay and him with a soup bowl of rocky road ice cream topped with a flourish of whipped cream, three projectile oreos, and, as always, a maraschino cherry speared on a plastic cocktail sword.

To this day, I am positive maraschino cherries served on plastic swords will cure just about anything. Served on ice cream or in a good stiff drink, their magical healing powers know no bounds.

Back to the turkey….these days I reserve ice cream as a comfort food and stick to making cake. A post-Thanksgiving turkey cake is one of my favorite things. It goes great with leftovers.

One year I tried to make this on Thanksgiving day, to serve as dessert and a centerpiece. Big mistake; #1 the heat from the candles and other food wafted up and melted the chocolate spears, and #2 no one wants to each chocolate after a big heavy Thanksgiving meal. Except me. I can eat chocolate any time. No time like the present!

To make chocolate turkey cake, you will need:

  • 1 bag of chocolate chips
  • wax paper
  • 1-2 flat aluminum pans
  • freezer space to store a flat aluminum pan (hot commodity in my house!)
  • a cake 
  • template* optional…(I used a turkey head template but you could skip that and draw it free form, or use any animal; what about about a dinosaur cake or a hippopotamus pie? Just about any creature with a strong silhouette and a lump shape in the middle would work!)

******** Pardon the photo quality here folks. My camera does not cotton to kitchen lighting 🙂

Use your microwave or a double boiler to melt one bag of chocolate chips in a glass bowl. Semi-sweet, milk, dark, white chocolate…doesn’t matter, whatever you prefer, just get it good an melted.

Layer your template between wax paper and an aluminum pan. Follow the outline with a piping bag of melted chocolate (you can also skip the bag and use a spoon). Fill in the gaps,and freeze for 30 minutes. The end result will look like a hardened, lumpy turkey head. Just what you always wanted!

Spread the remainder of the chocolate over another aluminum pan lined with wax paper. After 30 minutes in the freezer, it should be hard and you can use a knife to draw vertical stripes down the length of the chocolate. Expect it to shatter. It’s ok. The little bits are the tastiest.

Any cake or pie base will work, just make sure it is cool. NOT WARM. You will find that the chocolate shards slip in the cake easy, unless your cake is warm, in which case, it will all fall apart. It will still taste real good, but it will look all droopy like you left your cake out in the rain.

Slice, eat, enjoy.

Gobbly Gobble ya’ll!


  1. says

    The turkey head: fabulous! The story of porcupine pie: so fun. Why was there no porcupine pie challenge on Top Chef Just Desserts? The cake: yum! Hmm, you put feathers on lots of things, it’s why we love ya! I am going to make ‘some kind of dessert with spikes’ tonight!

  2. says

    I’m with you Peaches! I’ll have chocolate anytime of the day or night, any day of the year. If you bake it or buy it, I will eat it. Your chocolate turkey, whilst in a form that I’m not used to (never had a chocolate turkey before I confess), looks delectable! I could eat that thing by myself. Easy!

  3. says

    Love the chocolate turkey!!!! Agree that chocolate anytime is just fine, being a confirmed chocoholic. This year, just had a chocolate cake for my birthday (which falls around Thanksgiving) but NEXT year, I think I will ask my family to make a chocolate porcupine pie! My neice and I celebrate at the same time, so she might have fun doing that – then we can eat it!!!!

  4. says

    This is great! I’m loving porcupine pie and am going to add it to my extremely limited repertoire of chocolate things to make. Hope you’re having a great week Peaches!

    xo Mary Jo

  5. Anonymous says

    My 9 year old son desperately wanted a homemade dinosauer cake for his birthday – but I don’t bake often and didn’t dare tackle it. He ultimately talked his grammie into baking two sheet cakes and then he cut it up and made one himself – colored frosting and all (show off!). Now I think I need to redeem myself by making him a SPIKEY chocolate stegasaurus cake…that looks kinda like a turkey. Thanks for the inspiration!


  1. […] a hoot about that fingernail necklace. It’s all about you, you, you. Then, last week, again I mentioned your song Porcupine Pie and got more emails, all about you. Don’t get me wrong, I love your music almost as much as I […]

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