Strawberry-Chocolate Pretzel Salad Cake

Fans of chocolate-covered strawberries, this strawberry pretzel salad is for you.

Strawberry-Chocolate Pretzel Salad Cake
Makes 1 (9×9-inch) cake
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup finely ground pretzels (should resemble flour)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 (4-ounce) bar bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 2 cups (¼-inch) sliced fresh strawberries
  • Garnish: sweetened whipped cream, crushed pretzels
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with foil, letting excess extend over sides of pan. Spray foil with baking spray with flour.
For cake:
  1. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg, beating well. Beat in vanilla.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, ground pretzels, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top.
  3. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and edges are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
For filling:
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave chocolate on high in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Beat cream cheese with a mixer at medium-low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat at medium-low speed until sugar is melted and mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla, thoroughly scraping sides of bowl to make sure chocolate is evenly combined. With mixer running on low speed, add cold cream, in a slow, steady stream until combined. Thoroughly scrape sides of bowl. Slowly increase mixer speed to medium-high, beating until stiff peaks form, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Spread filling over cake and refrigerate.
For topping:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup boiling water and gelatin until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in ¾ cup cold water. Refrigerate until starting to thicken (about consistency of egg white), 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir in strawberries. Pour over filling, making sure strawberries are evenly distributed. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours, or until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream and pretzels, if desired.