Delicious 3 Layer Reese’s Take 5 Cake

With pretzel cake layers, peanut butter filling, chocolate covered pretzel crunch filling, salted caramel and chocolate buttercream, this Reese’s Take 5 Cake is the epitome of sweet and salty perfection!

Chocolate cake on a cake stand

Reese’s Take 5

Have you ever had a Reese’s Take 5 candy bar? It’s all of my favorite things in one candy bar: chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, pretzel! Amazing, right?

This is a flavor combination my little brother, and several of you, have requested for some time now. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to create this one, but it’s finally here!

Chocolate cake on a cake stand.

Reese’s Take 5 Cake

When I started to create this cake in my mind, I knew that I didn’t want to use my chocolate cake as the base because I didn’t want chocolate to overpower the cake. You’re probably thinking, “What? Courtney doesn’t want chocolate to take over? I’m so confused!”

I know, I know… I do love chocolate so much, especially my dark chocolate cake.

Here’s the thing, though: when you bite into a Reese’s Take 5, chocolate isn’t the primary element, especially because it’s milk chocolate. The flavor definitely takes a back seat to the peanut butter, caramel, and pretzel.

As I was planning my cake, I decided to use pretzel cake layers and then pair it with a peanut butter filling, a chocolate covered pretzel crunch filling, salted caramel, and chocolate buttercream.

Slice of cake on a plate.

In my mind, that’s still a good amount of chocolate.

In fact, it’s the perfect amount, in my opinion. However, if you ask my 14-year-old son, it wasn’t even close to the right amount of chocolate. He wanted MORE! I definitely couldn’t argue that my chocolate cake would be awesome in this cake, but I stand behind my decision to use the pretzel cake layer because it really allows all the elements of the cake to have a moment.

I think you’ll love how moist these cake layers are, and how perfectly the sweet and salty crunch filling and caramel balance the sweetness of the peanut butter filling and the chocolate buttercream.

Want more chocolate?

If you’re like my son and want more chocolate in this cake, I suggest using my chocolate cake recipe and/or adding a chocolate drip.

For the chocolate cake, you’ll use THIS recipe. Instead of two layers, you’ll use three cake pans (as mentioned below) and you’ll bake time will be about 25 minutes.

Another option, or an addition option, for more chocolate is to make a chocolate drip.

Chocolate Drip Recipe

  • 1 cup (180 g) dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (173.25 g) heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream.
  • Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and stir the chocolate chips until they melt and they cream and chocolate is well-blended.
Slice of cake on a plate.

What is milk powder?

You’ll notice in the recipe below that the crunch filling calls for “milk powder.” You may know this as powdered milk. Both will work. This is an element of the crunch I learned about from Milk Bar recipes. It helps to hold the ingredients together once the butter is added. Definitely don’t leave it out.

Chocolate cake on a cake stand

Reese’s Take 5 Cake

Pretzel cake layers with a peanut butter filling, chocolate coated pretzel crunch filling, salted caramel and chocolate buttercream.
4.82 from 11 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake

Ingredients
  

For the Cake

  • 2 cups (100 g) pretzel sticks, finely ground
  • 2 1/4 cups (270 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (7 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 g) salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (480 g) buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Pretzel Crunch Filling

  • 3/4 cups (90 g) crushed pretzels, mostly pulverized but some chunks are okay
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) milk powder, divided
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) salted peanuts, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons (10.4 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces (112.5 g) dark chocolate, meltef

For the Caramel

  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) water
  • 2 teaspoons (14 g) light corn syrup or honey
  • 3/4 cup (180 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt

For the Peanut Butter Filling

  • 1 cup (250 g) peanut butter smooth
  • 1 cup (230 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (62.5 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract

For the Buttercream

  • 1/3 cup (77 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 10 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
  • 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions
 

For the Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch pans with non-stick cooking spray, line the bottoms with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
  • Place the pretzel sticks in a food processor or blender and pulse until the pretzels are finely ground and resemble flour. When you remeasure, you should have about a cup.
  • In a medium-size bowl, combine the pretzel crumbs, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until the ingredients are well-blended.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Slowly add half of the buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Continue alternating the flour and buttermilk until it has all been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly mix for another 20-30 seconds.
  • Divide the batter evenly among your pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the Pretzel Crunch Filling

  • Heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine ½ cup milk powder, pretzel crumbs, peanuts, and sugar. Toss with a fork to mix. Add the melted butter and toss again, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
  • Spread the clusters on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool the crumbs completely.
  • Put the crumbs back in the medium bowl. Add the remaining milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  • Pour the melted chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are covered. Pour the chocolate covered clusters back onto the parchment paper to cool and set completely before using.
    The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

For the Caramel

  • Heat the cream in the microwave for about a minute. Set aside.
  • Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then stop stirring.
  • You want the mixture to cook on its own. Stirring creates crystallization. If you notice sugar crystallizing on the sides of the pan, soak a pastry brush in warm water and run the brush along the sides of the pan where the sugar is building up.
  • Once the mixture turns amber in color, remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream, while stirring the caramel.
  • Add the vanilla and salt, and stir to combine.
  • Cool to room temperature before using. The caramel will thicken as it cools. If needed, add more heavy whipping cream to thin consistency.
  • Caramel can be refrigerated for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

For the Peanut Butter Filling

  • In a stainless steel bowl, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until still peaks form.
  • Fold the peanut butter into the whipped cream.
    I like using this right away (so you can make it when you're ready to assemble your cake), but you can also make it ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. Allow to sit at room temperature for about a half hour to soften a bit.

For the Buttercream

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and the cream for about one minute. Stir until mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the cooled ganache. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then mix on medium-high speed for about a minute, until the mixture is smooth.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the vanilla and salt.
  • Buttercream can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.
  • When you’re ready to frost the cake, bring the frosting back to room temperature and mix by hand with a wooden spoon to push out all of the air pockets.

Assembly

  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, in the center of a cake board or cake stand.
  • Evenly spread ½ cup of peanut butter filling over the cake layer, followed by ⅓ of the pretzel crunch filling and a generous drizzle of caramel.
    Don't pour the caramel too close to the edge of the cake layers or it will spill over the edges and make it difficult to frost the cake.
  • Place second cake layer, top side up, on top of the layer of fillings. Repeat step 2.
  • Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of fillings.
  • Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream. You can use the remaining filling and caramel to decorate with, as well.
Keyword chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Reese’s Take 5 Cake, Take 5 Cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Comments

  1. So what would be the downfall of putting a single chocolate cake layer in between two pretzel cake layers? Asking for a friend. 😉

  2. Cannot wait to try this but i need some clarification.

    In the ingredients for the ‘Pretzel Crunch Filling’ the dark chocolate is listed as “6 ounces (112.5 g)” but 6 oz really is 170 g just wondering what is the correct measurement.

    1. I would go with with the 6 oz – 170g – since the primary measurements are in cups and ounces –

      since I always weigh everything I prefer everything in grams but that’s how it goes – I’m planning on baking this in a few days so I can let you know how it goes !

      1. Thank you so much.
        I live in South Africa, where our Cup size is 250 ml, but the 1/4 cup is 60 ml. In other countries the cup is 240 ml – it is all too much – so I weigh everything.
        How did your cake turn out?

  3. What kind of sifter do you use? Mine is a hand held one that you have to pump and it takes forever and my hand get tired. I thought you may use a good large one since you make cakes for a living. Wanted to get your advice before I purchase one. Thanks!

  4. Courtney, this is way off topic of cakes. I just saw the news about you and Avery on ABC News. Very impressive about both if you and your strength. Congrats!

  5. 4 stars
    Cannot wait to try this but i need some clarification.

    In the ingredients for the ‘Pretzel Crunch Filling’ the dark chocolate is listed as “6 ounces (112.5 g)” but 6 oz really is 170 g just wondering what is the correct measurement.

  6. 4 stars
    Overall, not overly sweet but very tasty. Lots of components with a lot of different techniques, so a bit fussier than other cakes, but all the components make the cake work together!
    The pretzel cake itself didn’t really taste pretzelly to me. It was still good, but I would probably prefer just a vanilla or chocolate cake next time for that part. Mine was a tad dry, but that may have been my own fault.
    The pretzel crunch did not form clumps, even with a bit of extra butter, but stayed sand-like. I could have tried adding even more butter, but instead I just left it like “sand”, incorporated the chocolate entirely, then used it that way. It still tasted really good- just had a different texture.
    The PB filling really helped the cake not be too rich and sweet. I would do a buttercream rim between layers next time. The weight of the cakes made the PB filling squish down and make the cake lumpy. We were just eating it at home ourselves so it didn’t matter, but heads up!
    It was a tasty cake! Thanks, Courtney! I always send people to your site for the best cake recipes.

  7. 5 stars
    Reese’s Take 5 is my favorite candy bar and I was so excited to make this cake! I almost exclusively make cakes by Courtney now and if you make any of them, MAKE THIS ONE! It exceeded my expectations. I might have to make this for my birthday every year from now on, its that good. I was blown away from the textures and flavor. I used the recipe to make 4 6 inch cake layers, but only ended up making it a 3 layer cake. I definitely recommend piping a buttercream rim in between each layer before adding the crunch filling and caramel to keep everything in, mine did not leak at all, and I put a generous amount of caramel. My cake came out super moist, I really liked the pretzel cake but I can see a chocolate lover making chocolate cake layers instead. The chocolate in the buttercream and the crunch filling was enough for me. I made it for Halloween and took the small candy bars so that everyone could understand the flavor, and they all said the candy bar was really good and the cake did it justice! I made I made everything ahead of time except the peanut butter filling, as suggested. The caramel, buttercream, and cake layers I froze until ready to use and the crunch filling I kept in the fridge, it just needed to be a little more broken up before I used it in the cake. Like Courtney, I absolutely love texture in my cakes and this crunch filling was perfect for that! This cake just really has it all. I just loved it so much, I am writing this review the day after I ate the cake, and am looking forward to eating the leftovers in the fridge!

  8. 5 stars
    The cake was so good, but very rich! You definitely needed some ice cream to help tone down the richness. It was also very time consuming to make, not necessarily hard, but a commitment for sure. Everyone who ate it seemed to really enjoy it, and it tasted just like a Reese’s Take Five!