Moscow Mule…err…make that Kentucky Mule Cocktail Cake

Inspired by the more famous Moscow Mule, my take on ginger, bourbon and lime as a cake. Photo by Krista Smith.

Inspired by the more famous Moscow Mule, my take on ginger, bourbon and lime as a cake. Photo by Krista Smith.

A birthday brunch is just the place to spring a cocktail inspired cake on the party-goers. Right? For this recipe I was inspired by the birthday girl’s cocktail love, the Moscow Mule.

The cocktail: Moscow Mules are traditionally served in a copper mug and famous for it’s kick at the end. The ginger, lime, vodka blend its bright, sweet and just right for summer.


2 oz. Vodka


1/4 Lime

6 oz. Ginger beer

I had a bottle of bourbon on hand and no vodka, so I made a “Highball” or “Kentucky Mule” instead. In a highball glass, squeeze the lime over ice. Add the vodka and ginger beer. Imbibe promptly!

The cake: I wanted a ginger cake with a lime frosting. So I searched and searched until I finally found this amazing sounding ginger cake recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini. The recipe seemed far more complicated than what I usually do. (It has molasse for Christ’s sake!) But no other recipe seemed like it would do, so I took a shot and baked.

I’m not going to rewrite the recipe here, as I followed it almost exactly. Just two quick notes.

1. I could only find dark molasses. I did not ,as the recipe suggests, mix it with a lighter syrup. This was a mistake. Use light molasses or mix dark molasses with agave syrup to get a less harsh flavor.

2. For the spice mix, I blended cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and black pepper together in a coffee grinder. I loved it! I wish I had the foresight to grind up some extra for carrot and spice cakes in the future. So good!

Even though this recipe is a lot of work, it is totally worth it. If you like ginger and cake, it’s a must try. Moist, spicy and enough noms to make everyone happy.

The glaze: Clearly this cake was in need of an alcoholic element. And ever since Chef Andrew let me know that galettes (cakes in French, yo) were meant to be served soaked in a syrup, I knew exactly where this cake was headed: brown sugar bourbon!

As I mentioned I did not have vodka.

In thinking about this cake, I wanted something that would truly stand up to the ginger-y cake, up there. Look at it! Four ounces of raw ginger! That’s like sushi-level ginger, bakers! And the molasses! And spice blend! So much flavor! I needed an alcohol that could take that kind of sucker punch and still hold it’s own, so bourbon it was.


1/2 C. brown sugar

1 C. water

1 tsp. vanilla

2 oz. bourbon

First, make a simple syrup out of the brown sugar, water and vanilla. In a small pot add the brown sugar and water. Boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and bourbon.

Pour evenly-ish over your cooled ginger cake.

The frosting: I opted for a lime cream cheese frosting as I wanted something bright to offset the heavy, holiday like ginger cake. Although the cake itself needed no frosting (truly), I was extremely pleased with how this blend turned out.


2 limes, juice and zested

1 8 oz package cream cheese at room temperature

4 C. (or so) of powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, lime juice and lime zest together until it is whipped and smooth. This should take about 5 minutes on low. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time. Beat in each addition until the frosting is smooth. Depending on the consistency of the frosting you want, you could get away with as little as 3 cups and as much as 5 cups.

I loved the idea of a frosting drifting down the edges, so I let it be a bit runny. Then gently spoon on top of the cake letting the excess drip down the sides.

Although this cake was a time-consuming bake, it was so much fun! Something about it was nicely vintage with a little whimsy. The super rich cake in the end served 20 people or so. It’s heavy enough a small bite is a mouthful and feels like a full serving.

Mmm…just thinking about it makes me want to bake again.


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