Raspberry Pretzel Crunch Cake – raspberry Jell-O cake layers with a whipped cream cheese frosting and a raspberry pretzel crunch filling.
Raspberry Pretzel Salad
I love traditions! Whether it’s a simple one like family night on Mondays or big ones like yearly trips to San Diego for 4th of July, they all mean the same thing to me – happy memories! One of my favorite kind of traditions is when it’s about food. I can think of so many meals and desserts that my mom would make every year for our birthdays or holidays. And every time I think of a particular food related to a birthday or holiday, I feel so much joy because it always makes me think of the memories from those special days.
One my favorite Christmas Eve dinner desserts growing up was the Lion House Raspberry Pretzel Salad. I’m sure many of you have had this dessert in some form or another, and maybe even with strawberries instead of raspberries. For those who haven’t, it’s a simple pretzel crust, topped with a whipped cream cheese filling and then raspberry Jell-O with fresh raspberries in it.
From Christmas Dessert to Summertime Cake
I was thinking about this dessert the other day and even though it is a Christmastime special at my house, the flavors are perfect for summertime and just felt so idea for a cake flavor.
To create the flavors of the raspberry pretzel salad in a cake, I decided to do a raspberry cake with a whipped cream cheese frosting and a raspberry pretzel crunch filling.
Also… can we just note that this is the first “salad” I’ve turned into a cake!!!
Raspberry Pretzel Crunch Cake
In order to keep the flavors pretty similar to the original dessert and not hiding them too much with lots of buttercream, I decided to stack this cake “Milk Bar” style (i.e. as a naked cake). That means we’ll be baking the cake in a 9″x13″ pan, cutting out the cake layers with a cake ring, stacking it inside acetate strips, and chilling it before serving. I love using this method of stacking cakes when I’m not using a traditional buttercream to hold up and cover the layers.
For the cake layers, we’ll be using my strawberry cake from my Strawberry Lemonade Cake, but with raspberry Jell-O (our flavoring) instead of strawberry. I also split the original recipe in half for my layers (recipe below), but if you want really thick layers (double this size), you can double the recipe below and bake for an extra 10 to 15 minutes.
For some extra flavor and to ensure the cake retains moisture and doesn’t dry out since it doesn’t have frosting to lock in the moisture, we’ll use some of the extra Jell-O to create a soak for the layers.
Cream Cheese Frosting
The cream cheese filling is very similar to the original raspberry pretzel salad recipe I grew up with. We’ll be mixing cream cheese and sugar, and then folding in homemade whipped cream. One thing to note is that this filling doesn’t set up like a buttercream, which is one of the reasons I decided to stack it in acetate strips. Even when we chill the cake, this frosting never hardens like buttercream. Just something to keep in mind.
Raspberry Pretzel Crunch Filling
For the pretzel element of the cake, I adapted the Milk Bar pretzel crack recipe. I love that this recipe has a coating of white chocolate over it. The coating of white chocolate goes on after we bake the pretzel and butter mixture, which means the pretzels maintain their crunch even when covered with the cream cheese frosting!
- Preheat oven 20 to 30 minutes before baking.
- Use room temperature ingredients.
- Spray your pan. Line with parchment paper.
- Beat butter and sugar on high for a few minutes.
- Turn mixer to LOW once you add dry ingredients.
- Don’t over bake your cake layer. When you insert a toothpick in the center of the cake it should come out with a few moist crumbs on it.
- Use a 6-inch cake ring to cut your layers from the 9″x13″ pan.
- Stack the cake with acetate paper around the layers. Use THIS video for a how-to.
- Refrigerate the cake before serving.