Moscow Mule Cake

One of my favorite things... fusing the flavors of my favorite cocktails into cakes! The Moscow Mule – traditionally featuring ginger beer, vodka, mint, lime, and often a dash of orange bitters – is one of those cocktails that lends itself perfectly to a layer cake! It’s hard to get much flavor into a cake with ginger beer, but ground ginger with chopped mint and lime zest in the cake layers pack enough flavor to carry strongly without overpowering, and the Moscow Mule-inspired cake drizzle fills it with cocktail flavor! (This alcohol will not bake out of the cake, so leave out for a virgin version!)😉 Recipe and instructions below!


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Moscow Mule Cake Layers
Note - this is a modified layer cake recipe from - I highly recommend checking out her site if you haven't before; she does some amazing work!! 

3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 c.  granulated sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t.  salt
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature
1 cup egg whites (about 7 eggs, or use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting yolks!)
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature (or buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
½ cup vodka
½ cup ginger beer – I used Fever Tree light ginger beer; this stuff is amazing!
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon fresh lime zest
Several drops green liquid food color (if desired)
1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds, and /or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray. 

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle 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.  Combine the buttermilk, vodka, and ginger beer, and mix in in two installments, on a low speed. Add in mint leaves, ginger, lime zest, food color (if using), 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!). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8-inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7-inch cake pans (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, the 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 cake drizzle and frosting!

Cake Drizzle:
¼ cup (2 30mL jiggers) Vodka 
½ cup ginger beer
2 T lime juice (about ½ of one large fresh lime)
1 dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a squeeze bottle or small bowl – use a squeeze bottle or basting brush to infuse your cake layers with equal parts of the drizzle once the layers are cooled.

Moscow Mule Frosting (modified version of my favorite Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting)
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons Vodka
1-2 Tablespoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 dash orange bitters
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with vodka and lime juice until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add ground ginger, orange bitters, and salt if needed and beat until well combined.


Additional Supplies/Equipment:
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- Several small bunches of fresh mint leaves
- 2 large or 3-4 small fresh limes
- Citrus zester/grater tool
- Small paring knife
- Moscow Mule copper mug

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. These layers bake fairly flat though, so I didn’t trim much from the tops. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and zest a bit of lime over the top of desired!
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers, adding the last one on top.

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. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
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. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.

Onto the fun part – decorating!
Set your copper mug down on its side on top of the cake, and place a few lime slice twists around the opening. Add a few mint sprigs around the cup between the lime twists, and add a few quartered lime slices and mint leaves around the base of the cake as well! Refrigerate until ready to serve, and enjoy!  

Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

14 thoughts on “Moscow Mule Cake

    1. Hi Heather! Good question…I think I’d just replace the vodka with buttermilk (use 1 1/4 cups buttermilk total instead of 3/4 cup). Maybe add another 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and another teaspoon of lime zest? The vodka has just a bit of bite to it that the buttermilk won’t have, but I hesitate to add more than 1/2 cup of ginger beer because I’ve had adding too much of a carbonated ingredient make cake layers fall in the center.
      Thanks for asking, and sorry for the response delay! Just coming off a busy string of 12-hour shifts. :/ Have a great week!

  1. Hey 🙂 the cake sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try it out.
    I have just one question: I can’t seem to find the ginger beer and vegetable oil you listed for the cake layers in your recipe. Am I reading it wrong?
    Thank you for your help

      1. Hi Jasmine!
        Thank you SO much for asking! You add the ginger beer at the same time as the buttermilk and vodka but I didn’t make that clear in the recipe. I’ve updated the instructions and re-ordered the ingredient list to make it a bit more straightforward. Thank you again!!

    1. I do! You could switch to the whisk attachment if you wanted before adding in the egg whites and buttermilk, but I don’t know that I find it necessary.

  2. If I leave the vodka out should I replace with another liquid? Or if I don’t use half a cup of vodka and only use 1/4 would it work you think? I was going to test this recipe out into cupcakes. The person who wants this cake said she doesn’t care about having the vodka but I’m afraid if I do not included I will not get the full Moscow mule cake effect. What are your thoughts?

    1. So sorry for the response delay; couldn’t log into WordPress from my phone! I haven’t tried the recipe without the vodka, but to be honest I don’t think vodka has so much of a flavor kick that leaving it out would make a huge impact. I would replace the vodka that you leave out with buttermilk in the cake layers though, and with milk in the frosting. By way of fair warning, these cake layers bake fairly dense and will probably also makes fairly dense cupcakes – just so that’s not a surprise. Thanks for asking, and good luck! Let me know how it turns/turned out!

  3. Hello there, cake looks awesome! I’m about to make this cake for a birthday celebration. I do have a question on the cake drizzle ingredients, the lime juice is mentioned twice. Is it 1 tbsp of lime juice or 2T lime juice? Thank you so much, hope to hear from you.

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