Milk Bar aficionados are undoubtedly familiar with crack pie, cereal milk-flavored soft serve and many of the New York City-based bakery’s over-the-top layer cakes. But a certain blast from the past — which recently resurfaced at the bakery’s CityCenterDC location — seems worthy of immediate attention: salted pretzel cake.
A Milk Bar spokeswoman told Eater that founder Christina Tosi developed the signature treat, which features stout beer-laced chocolate ganache and burnt honey frosting, nearly a decade ago, but noted that it's popped off and on the regular menu for years. It’s undergone some tweaking since then, reentering the dessert rotation in D.C. in early February.
Here’s six takeaways from the Milk Bar kitchen:
- "If you're trying to make a baller layer cake, try baking the cake in a flat pan first. And then cutting out the rounds," Tosi advised.
- When assembling layer cakes, Tosi suggests filling in unexpected breaks/cracks/tears with leftover scraps.
- The clusters of "pretzel crunch" woven throughout are composed of ground Snyder's mini pretzels, butter, malt powder, light brown sugar and white chocolate (acts as a binder).
- Native Northern Virginian Tosi copped to being a fan of Carvel sweets. "Fudgie the Whale was a little bit of an inspiration for these cakes," she said of the nostalgic goody.
- Tosi squirts beer-flavored milk (the "cake soak") in between each layer to bolster the boozy flavor and seal in moisture.
- Don't have an offset spatula handy? Tosi said Milk Bar staff buy cheap metal spoons, bend them 90 degrees and use the now-flattened front to smooth things out. "That's what we use to get into all the nooks and crannies," she shared.
Ready to try this at home?
Tosi’s never-before-published recipe for salted pretzel cake is presented below.