Cosmopolitan Cake

Cosmopolitan Cake (slice cut to show inside of cake)

The classic cocktail in cake form!

Cranberry, lime, orange / Triple Sec, and Vodka - the Cosmopolitan is a classic for a reason, and this Cosmo cake was a big hit with my taste testers and coworkers! The richness of the cake and frosting is offset by the slight bitterness of the cranberry and tang of the orange and lime flavors - it's a pretty perfect pairing! 

My original make of this recipe (if you got to this page via Pinterest) can be found at the bottom of the page. It's needed a make-over for a while: 

  1. you can see I was a bit aggressive with the food coloring! I always wished I'd been a little lighter-handed with the frosting color especially.
  2. I also made a 2-tiered cake for my first go - not really considering the fact that it could be a bit on the intimidating side for the average cake decorator.

Anyway - if tiered cakes are your cup of tea - scroll on down and go for it! That recipe and accompanying instructions are past the recipe card, near the bottom of the page. 

But! That said -  below in the recipe card is the 8-inch single-tier 3-layer cake I've since made and would be much more likely to recommend to anyone wanting to try out this Cosmopolitan Cake recipe! 

FAQs - 

Can I leave out the vodka and triple sec? 

  • Absolutely! You'll lose a bit of the classic 'cosmopolitan' flavor, but it's not a bad idea to leave it out if you just don't like it, or for any group not all over 21. (Mostly referencing the 'cake drizzle;' the alcohol will almost all bake out of the cake layers.) Replace the vodka and triple sec in the cake layers with buttermilk and add an extra teaspoon of orange extract. Skip the 'cake drizzle' (or just use cranberry juice) and replace the vodka in the frosting with a bit of milk if needed. 

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

Don't forget to pin for later!

Cosmopolitan Cake (1 tier) pinterest pin

Cosmopolitan Cake

Vodka, Triple sec, cranberry, and lime - mix all the gorgeous flavors of the Cosmopolitan cocktail into this delicious Cosmopolitan cake!
Prep Time55 minutes
Cook Time37 minutes
Decorating time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 52 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cosmo Cake, Cosmopolitan Cake, Tiered Cosmopolitan Cake
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 745kcal
Author: Sarah H



Cosmopolitan Cake Layers

  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks, room temperature)
  • 1 cups egg whites (about 7 eggs, or use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting the yolks)
  • ½ cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  • cup Triple Sec
  • cup vodka
  • cup cranberry juice reduction (simmer ¾ c juice until reduced; see instructions)
  • 2 teaspoons lime extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 small drops soft pink gel food coloring

Cake soak (optional)

  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup vodka
  • ½ cup triple sec

Cosmopolitan Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (one package; room temperature)
  • 16 Tablespoons butter (two sticks, softened)
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons vodka
  • 2 teaspoons lime extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 drop lime green gel food coloring
  • ½ teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)

Cake drip & Decorations


Cosmopolitan Cake layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans pans with baker's floured cooking spray, or grease and line with parchment rounds.
  • (Cranberry juice reduction - I had trouble finding cranberry flavor extracts, so I bought juice and reduced it on the stovetop (3/4 cup to 1/4 cup). If you can find an extract, using a Tablespoon plus an extra 3 Tablespoons of buttermilk will save you some time!)
  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a stand mixer (or large bowl with a hand mixer) until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  • Pour in egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk, vodka, triple sec, cranberry reduction, and food coloring on a low speed. Add in extracts and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part – I ended up with about 650g per pan). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  • Bake for 34-37 minutes, (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans – it helps to run an offset spatula or knife around the perimeter of the pan first. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
  • Once the layers have fully cooled, they can be leveled and any caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.
  • While you’re waiting…make your frosting!

Cosmo Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with vodka and extracts until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add salt if needed and beat until well combined.


  • Place a smear of frosting on your large cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first 8-inch cake layer in the center of the circle.
  • (I wanted a bit more of a liqueur kick to the cake layers, so I used a squeeze bottle to infuse each one with about 30mL/2T of a mix of vodka, cranberry juice, and triple sec. Optional but recommended!)
  • Spread the layer with frosting). Zest a bit of lime and orange over the frosting (if desired), and add your next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.


  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
  • Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Place in the refrigerator to chill the cake slightly so the drip will set more easily.

Cake drip & decorations

  • Place heavy cream and white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between. Add food color and stir until smooth.
  • When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to your piping bag or squeeze bottle. Slowly drizzle ganache around the edge of the cake, pausing about every ¾ to 1 inch to let ganache drip down the side of the cake to create a drip. Pour a few tablespoons over the top of the cake (and into your glass if desired) and spread gently with an offset spatula, then turn your martini glass over and press it into the top of the cake.
  • Add a few spiraled lime slices or wedges and a few lime and orange zest curls - and you're done! Step back and admire your amaaazing cake! Enjoy!



(Please note nutrition information is an estimate and may not be exactly accurate.) 


Serving: 1slice (1/24th cake) | Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Cosmopolitan Cake?

Let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

You can also add a comment or a recipe rating at the bottom of the page! 🙂

Other recipes you may love…

(Click / tap links or photos to be taken to the recipe pages!)
Tiered Berry Sangria Cake
Grasshopper Martini Cake 
Raspberry Lemon Drop Cake
Lemon Drop Cake

Strawberry Prosecco Cake
Berry Sangria Cake 

Cosmopolitan Cake - tiered pink and green cake flavored with cranberry, lime, vodka, and triple sec

For my more adventurous cake decorators - a tiered Cosmopolitan cake! 

I…got a wild hair just before Easter one year, and decided I wanted to try a tiered cake. ("How hard could it be, right?")

Harder than I thought, it turns out! My top tier ended up being far heavier than I’d expected, and with no support underneath it SANK probably a good centimeter into my base tier.

My coworkers didn’t care how messy it looked by the day I brought it into work. The fact that it was covered in Cadbury chocolate eggs may have had something to do with that.

While baking fails happen to all of us sooner or later - you don't have to make every mistake yourself! A few straws and a cake circle would've prevented the whole disaster. So - completely with instructions on how to avoid a cake-tastrophe similar to mine – recipe for this Cosmopolitan Cake!

What if I've never made a tiered cake before??

  • First time for everything - I can almost guarantee it's easier than you think!
    Give the video a quick watch; it's less than a minute long (you can hit the 'Jump to Video' button above).
    For a more in-depth overview I like this video - 'How to make a Tiered Cake' by Chelsweets - to see the whole process! I like using plastic straws instead of wooden dowels personally, but that's up to you. Any questions please send me an email


Tiered Cosmopolitan Cake Recipe




Cosmopolitan Cake Layers

  • 4 ⅞ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter (or 3 sticks, room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cups egg whites (about 10 eggs, or use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting the yolks)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  • ½ cup vodka
  • ½ cup Triple Sec
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 drops soft pink gel food coloring

Cake soak (optional)

  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup triple sec


  • 12 oz one and a half packages cream cheese, softened
  • 16 Tablespoons two sticks butter, softened
  • 10 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vodka
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons triple sec
  • 1 drop lime green gel food coloring

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