Sweet & Salty Pretzel Nutella Cake Recipe

Pretzel Nutella Cake Recipe by Sugar and Sparrow

Have you ever tried dipping pretzels in Nutella? My, oh my. If you have, you know that it’s sweet and salty heaven. These two flavors belong together, and I love the pairing so much that I decided to make a cake recipe out of them: layers of pretzel-flavored cake with Nutella buttercream, topped with Nutella ganache and pretzel bits for added crunch. I was a little skeptical of whether or not I’d be able to pull these flavors off in cake form, but it totally worked!

pretzel cake with nutella buttercream recipe

Let’s talk about this pretzel-flavored cake, cause you’re probably wondering how that’s done. I essentially used the same method as my Milk & Cereal Cake – ground up some salted pretzels into a fine crumb with a food processor, whisked them together with the dry ingredients, and added them right into the cake batter. Surprisingly, it worked! The cake has a wonderful flavor of salted pretzel, yet it’s still cakey, tender, and sweet. It even smells like pretzel when you’re baking it! The little tiny flecks of pretzel in the cake crumb end up flavoring it perfectly without going stale or getting lost in the sweetness of the cake. 

pretzel nutella layer cake recipe

Next, I whipped up some Nutella buttercream for filling and frosting these pretzel cake layers. I’m not gonna lie, this stuff is so tempting. I found myself dipping the extra pretzels into it along the way and I feel like I could write a whole separate post about how delicious that is! It’s silky smooth and the chocolate hazelnut flavor of Nutella really shines in this recipe. It’s not subtle at all, nor is it too over-the-top in sweetness. I want to try this stuff with my Chocolate Cake recipe next!    

nutella buttercream with nutella ganache recipe

To take this cake beyond, I added a Nutella ganache drip and plenty of crushed pretzels for extra crunch. The Nutella ganache uses the same method as any chocolate ganache: bring some heavy whipping cream to a scant boil, pour it over the Nutella, and whisk it until smooth. It works beautifully as a drip, and I think it’s the best tasting ganache of all time. Then again, I’m really just a sucker for Nutella

pretzel nutella cake with nutella ganache drip
pretzel cake recipe with nutella buttercream and nutella ganache drip cake

This cake recipe is a little non-traditional when it comes to flavor, but it is so delicious! If you’re a fan of pretzels dipped in Nutella and salty-sweet flavor combos in general, you’re going to love this cake. If you’re not sure if you’re a fan of pretzels dipped in Nutella, go drop everything and try it right now. You will not regret it!

Pretzel Nutella Cake Recipe by Sugar and Sparrow
5 from 5 votes

Sweet & Salty Pretzel Nutella Cake

Layers of salty-sweet pretzel cake paired with decadent Nutella buttercream, Nutella ganache, and pretzel bits.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


Pretzel Cake

  • 1 1/2 Cups (70g) salted pretzels (equals about 2/3 Cup when finely ground)
  • 2 1/4 Cups (220g) cake flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 Cups (358g) granulated white sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup (112g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 Cup (300ml) whole milk, room temperature

Nutella Buttercream

  • 2 Cups (452g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 7 Cups (840g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup (300g) Nutella
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Nutella Ganache

  • 1 Cup (300g) Nutella
  • 3/4 Cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream


Make the Pretzel Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and prepare three 6-inch cake pans or two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with cooking spray and fitting a parchment or wax paper circle to the bottom of each pan. 

  2. In a food processor, grind the salted pretzels into fine crumbs. Keep in mind that 1 1/2 Cups of whole pretzels equals about 2/3 cups of finely ground crumbs. Place the ground pretzels into a medium sized bowl and add the sifted cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside. 

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter for on high for two minutes until it's light and fluffy. Add in sugar and continue to mix on high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix for one minute on high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more. 

  4. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the milk slowly and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps (without over-mixing). The batter will be slightly thick, but pourable. 

  5. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans (no more than 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 30-35 minutes. They're done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they're entirely room temperature before applying any frosting. 

Make the Nutella Buttercream

  1. With a hand mixer or paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high until it’s creamy and light in color, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the sifted powdered sugar a few cups at a time, scraping down after each addition and making sure each cup is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Add the Nutella and beat on med-high for a full minute. Add vanilla, milk, and salt and mix on medium-low for another minute until fully incorporated. 

Make the Nutella Ganache

  1. Measure Nutella into a heatproof bowl and set aside. In a saucepan over medium-high, heat the heavy whipping cream until small bubbles form (just before the start of a rolling boil), stirring constantly with a whisk. Once the cream begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the Nutella. Let sit for about 30 seconds before whisking together until the consistency is uniform and well blended. Let it cool to room temperature before using on the cake. 


  1. Once the Pretzel Cakes have cooled completely, use a cake leveler to torte them before filling and frosting with the Nutella Buttercream. To create the design pictured, create a smooth Nutella Buttercream finish and add salted pretzel bits around the bottom third of the cake.

  2. Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before dripping with Nutella ganache (here are some drip cake tips for success if you need them!), then place the cake back into the refrigerator for another 5-10 minutes to let the Nutella ganache set up. Finish by piping swirls of Nutella Buttercream around the top edge of the cake with Wilton Tip 1M and add more salted pretzels wherever you'd like!

Recipe Notes

Make ahead tips: 

  1. The pretzel cake recipe can be made ahead and stored at room temperature, covered tightly in plastic wrap, for one day. Alternatively, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to two months before thawing to room temperature. 
  2. The Nutella buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for one day. Alternatively, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip with your stand mixer to bring it back to piping/frosting consistency.
  3. The Nutella ganache can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it as a drip, microwave it in 10 second increments, stirring after every interval until your ganache is room temperature and uniform in consistency.

Did you make this recipe? I want to know how it went! Leave a comment below and be sure to tag @sugarandsparrowco on Instagram to show me your cake creation. I love to see my recipes out there in the world!


  1. Catherine Bouchard

    5 stars
    This cake a a huge hit with all my friends and family. The frosting turned out perfect and was so delicious. What a perfect a combination for our chocolate loving family. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Hi, gonna try this recipe soon! How many grams of batter does this make?

    • Hi Grace! I have no idea what the weight of the batter is in grams. It makes exactly enough to fill three 6-inch x 2-inch cake tins 2/3 of the way full.

  3. Your cakes are absolutely amazing! I haven’t tried baking any yet, but they look stunning. Do you use a cake board or put it directly on the turntable? Also, how do you transfer the cake from the turn table to a cake stand?

    • Hi Sophie! I always put my cakes on a cardboard cake circle before filling and frosting. That way the cake has a nice sturdy base for moving it around. To move a cake from the turntable, I chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 min to make sure the buttercream is nice and firm, then go around the bottom edge with a heated metal spatula to create a clean edge. You can then slide the spatula beneath the cake and carefully lift it to move it onto a cake stand. Hope that helps!

  4. 5 stars
    I’m back! I made this and it was unreal. Never had a pretzel flavored cake before so I was skeptical but this was so good, 5 stars for sure

    • Yay, Grace!! So happy you love this cake recipe. I was just so curious about whether or not I could flavor a cake with pretzel and I’m so glad it worked!! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  5. Do you think this can be made as cupcakes, and if so, do you have any suggestions as to adjustments? Thanks so much for your great content!

    • Hi Ash! This recipe can be made as cupcakes. Fill the tins no more than 2/3 full and bake at 350ºF for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Enjoy!

  6. I want to make this cake recipe for my friend today-it sounds amazing! I want it with chocolate cake though, and am not sure if I should follow this recipe and just add 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder like your Chocolate Cake recipe, or make the chocolate cake and add the ground pretzels. What would you suggest? The recipes are different in terms of the ingredients and I don’t want to mess up a good cake! Will definitely do the Nutella buttercream and ganache. Thanks!!

  7. 5 stars
    10/5 for the Nutella buttercream alone!! It is to die for….however, I cheated with box chocolate cake and added in the ground pretzels. It tasted good but the texture was different, so I would stick to this cake recipe! I plan on making crepes filled with the extra buttercream and fruit tomorrow. Just that good! Thank you 🙂

    • Yay, Maddie! I’m so happy you enjoyed this buttercream so much and love what you’re doing with the extra!

  8. I was wondering if you think a person could substitute butter flavored Crisco for the butter in the frosting. I was wanting to use this recipe for a county fair entry and they won’t allow any dairy in the frosting…. It looks so delicious!

    • Hi Beck! Since I’ve never made it with shortening before, I can’t say for sure how it will taste but my experience tells me it should work. I’d say give it a try!

  9. I made this for my little brothers birthday and it was amazing! Although could there be a way the make the buttercream not as firm?

    • Hi Stella! So happy you love the recipe. You can make it less firm by adding more milk (1 Tbsp at a time until you reach desired consistency)

  10. Hi Whitney, I want to make this recipe for a friend’s birthday this weekend but I would like to ask about the height of your cake pictured. My cake carrier is 15cm high so I wouldn’t want to make a cake that’s too big to fit. Do you think I should divide the portion by 2 ? Any advice from you would be amazing 🙂

    • Hi Marine! This cake ends up being about 5.5 inches tall when decorated. You could always torte the layers to be a little shorter and make it 5 inches instead.

  11. This looks and sounds amazing! I hate to ask, but I only have 8″ cake pans, do you think I could just fill them 2/3 full and use extra batter for cupcakes? Any idea about bake time?

    I just discovered your site today! Can’t wait to spend a lot more time here!


    • Hi Teresa! You could absolutely use 8 inch cake pans and use the extra batter for cupcakes. I would check the cakes at 30 minutes and see if they need more time. For the cupcakes, bake at the same oven temp (350) for 15-18 min and they should be perfect! Enjoy!

    • Hi Casey! Buttermilk does make a good substitute for sour cream, but plain yogurt is an even better substitute. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

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