Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cake

Strawberry pretzel salad is one of those great Southern staples that can be a side dish or dessert. We took the beloved flavors and turned it into a cake, so there’s no question that this version should be the star of the sweets table.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cake
 
Makes 1 (13×9-inch) cake
Ingredients
Cake
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup finely ground pretzels (should resemble flour)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
Filling
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Topping
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • 1½ cups cold water
  • 4 cups ¼-inch sliced fresh strawberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch baking dish with baking spray with flour.
  2. For cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a medium 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.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
For filling
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar, milk, and vanilla, beating until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. With mixer on medium-low, slowly add one-third of cream, beating until incorporated. Add remaining cream, and beat on medium until thickened. Spread filling over cake, and refrigerate.
For topping
  1. In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups boiling water and gelatin until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1½ cups cold water. Refrigerate until thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in strawberries. Pour over filling, making sure sliced strawberries are evenly distributed. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours, or until ready to serve.