Strawberry Moscato Layer Cake

This Strawberry Moscato Layer Cake is made with layers of Moscato cake and strawberry buttercream! The Moscato wine is reduced on the stove to add even more flavor to the cake. This cake is a wine-lovers dream!

A slice of strawberry moscato cake on a white plate with another slice and some wine glasses in the background.

Strawberry Moscato Layer Cake

What’s not to love about a cake filled with wine?! It’s such a fun cake for a ladies night, wine-lovers birthday or random Tuesday night. Why just drink your wine when you could eat it in cake form? Between the wine in the cake and the strawberry buttercream, I’m in love.

This recipe is actually getting an update today. It was originally posted back in 2015 and even though I’ve always loved the cake, I felt like it could use a little updating. The cake layers are actually the same, with one exception. In the original cake, I just added Moscato strait from the bottle. Since then, I’ve discovered that reducing things on the stove works beautifully at adding additional flavor, so it now uses twice the amount of wine in the cake, but reduced down to the original amount. That’s 2 whole cups!

I also added a Moscato syrup that’s drizzled over the cake layers as you’re building the cake. While you could skip that, I’m always down for adding MORE flavor! You certainly don’t need it to keep the cake moist. It’s really just about having all the flavor you can.

And then finally, the buttercream. The original recipe just used regular strawberry puree. This updated version actually uses freeze dried strawberries that are ground into a powder. You could still use strawberry puree, but I’d recommend reducing that on the stove as well. You could check out my strawberry buttercream frosting recipe for some tips, if you’d like to do that, but in the interest of not adding more time at the stove, I went with freeze dried strawberries.

fully frosted strawberry moscato cake on ruffled white cake stand with sliced strawberries around the base

What You’ll Need

The ingredients in the cake are fairly simple, but you will need to grab a bottle of your favorite Moscato wine and likely need to pick up some freeze dried strawberries. Not everyone has those on hand, like I do.

For the Moscato Cake

  • All-Purpose Flour: Measure with a food scale to ensure accuracy or fluff up the flour and spoon it into your measuring cup bit by bit, then level off with a knife.
  • Baking Powder: For a proper rise.
  • Salt: For flavor. Don’t leave it out!
  • Unsalted Butter: Bring this to room temperature.
  • Sugar
  • Large Egg Whites: Egg whites add structure to the cake without adding additional flavor, which helps the flavor of the wine shine through. They are added straight to the batter, without whipping them first.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Milk: I use 2% milk.
  • Moscato Wine: For flavor, of course. You can really use any type of Moscato. If you have a favorite, feel free to use that. You could even use other types of wine, if you prefer. The wine is reduced on the stove before adding to the cake to increase the flavor.

For the Strawberry Buttercream

  • Freeze-Dried Strawberries: Grind them into a powder for the buttercream. I usually find them at the grocery store, but they are also usually available at Target or Walmart. Amazon is also always an option.
  • Butter: Should be at room temperature. I use unsalted butter and add my own salt. All salted butter would be a little too salty.
  • Powdered Sugar: Adds sweetness and volume to the buttercream. It’s an American style buttercream, so it does use a good bit of powdered sugar. You can always reduce it, but you’ll end up with less buttercream to work with.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Salt: The salt will help add some flavor and cut down on the sweetness a bit. Add it to taste. I recommend starting with a couple pinches and adding from there.

For the Moscato Syrup

  • Moscato Wine
  • Powdered Sugar
slice of strawberry moscato cake on white plate with a bite taken out

How to Make a Wine Cake

It’s really not a hard cake to make, but there are a number of steps. The first thing you’ll do is reduce the wine. This can even be done a day or two ahead of time.

To Make the Cake Layers

  1. Make Wine Reduction: Add all of the Moscato wine to a medium sized saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, which will be 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons. Don’t boil. To measure how much wine remains, pour into a glass measuring cup. If you aren’t sure how to measure 6 tablespoons in a measuring cup, it’ll be in the middle of 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup, so in this case it’ll be right in the middle of 1 ¼ cups and 1 ½ cups. Add it back to the pan if it needs longer to cook down. When done, refrigerate until cool.
  2. Prep for Baking: Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment circles on the bottom.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  4. Cream Butter and Sugar: Add the butter and sugar to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  5. Add Egg Whites and Vanilla Extract: Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
  6. Alternate Dry Ingredients and Wet Ingredients: Add about half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until mostly combined. Add the milk and 1 cup of the wine reduction and mix until mostly combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  7. Bake and Cool: Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 25-26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 2-3 minutes, then flip them out onto cooling racks and let them rest until they reach room temperature.

Make the Buttercream

  • Make Strawberry Powder: Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor and grind into a fine powder. Set aside.
  • Beat Butter: Beat the butter until it’s nice and smooth.
  • Add Half of Powdered Sugar: Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Add Strawberry Powder: Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder and mix until well combined. Add the vanilla extract, salt and 4-5 tablespoons of water or cream. Mix until smooth.
  • Add Cream: Slowly add the heavy cream and the vanilla extract and mix until well combined and smooth.
  • Add Remaining Powdered Sugar and Adjust Frosting Consistency: Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until the frosting is smooth. Add salt and additional cream as needed to get the right consistency of frosting.
fully frosted strawberry moscato cake on ruffled white cake stand with a bowl of strawberries in the background

Make the Syrup & Build the Cake

  1. Make Moscato Syrup: Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons of Moscato reduction and powdered sugar for the syrup in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Flatten Cake Layers: To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
  3. Layer and Frost Cake: Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Drizzle the cake layer with 4 tablespoons of syrup, then spread about 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake layer. Add the second cake layer, another 4 tablespoons of syrup and another cup of frosting. Top the cake with the final layer and frost the outside of the cake. See my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
  4. Decorate Cake: Pipe a shell border with the remaining buttercream around the top outer edge of the cake. Sprinkle some additional ground up freeze dried strawberries around the top and bottom of the cake, if desired.
  5. Serve: Store well-covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Cake is best served at room temperature. Best eaten within 2-3 days.

Tips For Success

  • Grind Strawberry Powder Right Before Using: Moisture can set into the powder VERY quickly, especially if you live in an area with high humidity. I speak from experience. Grind up your freeze dried strawberries just before you’ll use them to avoid any issues.
  • Weigh Dry Ingredients: I always recommend a food scale to be sure things are accurate. Nobody wants a dry cake. If you really don’t want to go that route, you can spoon the flour into your measuring cup, fluffing it up as you go and leveling it off at the top with a butter knife. Just do not pack it into the cup.
  • Cream the Butter & Sugar Well: I urge you not to skimp on the creaming time for the butter and sugar. Keep beating them together until the mixture fluffs up and lightens in color, typically 2-3 minutes.
a slice of strawberry moscato cake on a white plate with strawberries and wine in the background

How to Store Extra Cake

This cake should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days. I recommend serving it room temperature.

Can I Freeze This?

I don’t typically freeze full cakes, but you could give it a try. Place the cake onto a baking sheet and freeze it for 1-2 hours. Once the frosting is frozen solid, wrap in a couple layers of plastic wrap, then transfer the cake to a freezer-safe container and store it for up to 3 months. Unwrap and thaw it out in the fridge and bring it to room temperature before you serve it. You can also do this with individual slices, which usually works well. Alternatively, you could bake the cake layers ahead and freeze them. Again, you’ll want to wrap them well in a layer of clear wrap, then a layer of foil. Thaw them in the fridge before using.

Download the original recipe here.

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Recipe

Strawberry Moscato Layer Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Strawberry Moscato Layer Cake is made with layers of Moscato cake and strawberry buttercream! The Moscato wine is reduced on the stove to add even more flavor to the cake. This cake is a wine-lovers dream!


Ingredients

2 ¾ cup Moscato wine, divided

 MOSCATO CAKE

  • 3 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 cups (414g)sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) Moscato wine reduction, above

STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 ½ cups (about 2 oz | 57g) freeze-dried strawberries
  • 2 ¼ cups (504g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • ½ cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Salt, to taste

MOSCATO SYRUP

  • 6 tbsp (90ml) Moscato wine reduction, above
  • ¼ cup (29g) powdered sugar

Instructions

To start, make the wine reduction. Add all of the Moscato wine to a medium sized saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, which will be 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons. Don’t boil. To measure how much wine remains, pour into a glass measuring cup. If you aren’t sure how to measure 6 tablespoons in a measuring cup, it’ll be in the middle of 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup, so in this case it’ll be right in the middle of 1 ¼ cups and 1 ½ cups. Add it back to the pan if it needs longer to cook down. When done, refrigerate until cool.

MAKE THE CAKE LAYERS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment circles on the bottom.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
  5. Add about half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Add the milk and 1 cup of the wine reduction and mix until mostly combined.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 25-26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 2-3 minutes, then flip them out onto cooling racks and let them rest until they reach room temperature.

MAKE THE FROSTING

  1. To make the strawberry buttercream frosting, add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor and grind into a fine powder. Set aside.
  2.  Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder and mix until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the heavy cream and the vanilla extract and mix until well combined and smooth.
  6. Slowly add the remainder of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
  7. Add salt to taste and some additional heavy cream, if needed to get the right frosting consistency. Set aside.

MAKE THE SYRUP & BUILD THE CAKE

  1. Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons of Moscato reduction and powdered sugar for the syrup in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
  3. Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Drizzle the cake layer with 4 tablespoons of syrup, then spread about 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake layer. Add the second cake layer, another 4 tablespoons of syrup and another cup of frosting. Top the cake with the final layer and frost the outside of the cake. See my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
  4. Pipe a shell border with the remaining buttercream around the top outer edge of the cake. Sprinkle some additional ground up freeze dried strawberries around the top and bottom of the cake, if desired.
  5. Store well-covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Cake is best served at room temperature. Best eaten within 2-3 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 1030
  • Sugar: 116.6 g
  • Sodium: 117.5 mg
  • Fat: 48 g
  • Carbohydrates: 140.9 g
  • Protein: 5.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 127 mg

Keywords: strawberry cake recipe, homemade strawberry cake, strawberry cake from scratch, easy strawberry dessert, strawberry dessert, strawberry dessert recipe, strawberry layer cake, layer cake, layer cake recipe

Categories

More Great Strawberry Recipes

Homemade Strawberry Cake
Easy Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Strawberry Truffle Cupcakes
Strawberry Ice Cream Cake
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
Best Homemade Strawberry Frosting

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Recipe rating

50 Comments
  1. Linda Vanfossan

    This was my very first attempt at something so grand! I baked this for Valentines Day in 3 heart-shaped pans, and it was spectacular! It was a “commission” sort of, for a large clinic office party, and I was very nervous about my capability, but thanks to you, it was a hit! The icing is “moan-inducing”!!

  2. Pam

    What do you think about putting a layer of strawberry jam atop the cake layer and then putting the icing on top of the jam? Too much strawberry?

  3. Viviana

    What other fruits would you use for this recipe? I was thinking changing the strawberries for mango. Maybe peach?

    1. Lindsay

      Both of those sound good and should pair well with the moscato and I think they’d be fine in the frosting. I’d probably choose peach, personally. 🙂

  4. Becca

    So I made this cake for Easter for my family and it turned out pretty okay. My only real complaint is that now where in the recipe instructions are there directions for how to make the icing, just the ingredients. Maybe this is common knowledge for other people but having never made buttercream before I had to just sort of wing it. And I’m not sure I did it right.

    Also, I’m just curious on another thing, is it common for homemade cakes to come out much denser than say box cakes? Cause the few times I’ve made cake from scratch it always ends up really heavy and dense, like it’s not rising properly and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

    1. Lindsay

      Thank you for pointing out the lack of instructions for the frosting. I’m not sure what happened, but it looks like an oversight on my part. The instructions have been added.

      As core homemade versus box cakes, I would say that it does tend to be the case that homemade are a bit denser. It is quite tough to match box cakes in that area for some reason. That said, this should be a fairly light cake. If it turned out a bit dense, it could be due to a few things. The most common is the creaming of the butter and sugar. You really do want to be sure to cream them for at least a full two minutes. You’ll notice a change in the texture and color of the butter/sugar mixture. That process adds a lot of air to the batter which expands while baking (along with a some other ingredients) and gives it that fluffiness.

  5. K

    Would you have to just add extra milk or something if you went without the wine? Or would you just take it out and keep the rest the same??

    1. Lindsay

      You’ll want to keep the same amount of liquid. I’d suggest using an extra 1/2 cup of milk (for 1 cup milk total) and 1/2 cup water.

  6. Preeti

    Hey is the cake in itself soft and moist enough? Not a big fan of icing so will it taste good enough without or very little icing? And I am planning to have only 1 layer.
    Can you give the measurements for just one cake

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Yes, it should be moist enough but I’d add a glaze to it or something. Just cut the recipe in half and bake the one layer a little bit longer.

  7. Chris

    This cake looks great! When you say to use 3 8 layer cake pans do you mean you use one 8×3″ cake pan, use three 8×3″ cake pans or do you mean use three 8×2″ inch cake pans?

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12