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Chocolate cake on a cake stand
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4.8 from 10 votes

Reese's Take 5 Cake

Pretzel cake layers with a peanut butter filling, chocolate coated pretzel crunch filling, salted caramel and chocolate buttercream.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Reese's Take 5 Cake, Take 5 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 1/3 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 1/2 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 1/2 cup of peanut butter filling over the cake layer, followed by 1/3 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.