Orange Creamsicle Cake ~ layer cakes are the ultimate dessert luxury, but this orange cake has a casual, vintage vibe that makes it perfect for laid back summer gatherings, potlucks, family birthdays, and everyday occasions. If you haven’t had a Creamsicle cake, you’ve been missing out!
I’m on a tear with easy little layer cakes lately, they’ve got me hooked. Who knows why, but let’s just enjoy the ride. These irresistible cakes will come in handy for so many occasions this season, there are going to be birthdays and barbecues, and potlucks…you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. And come fall and winter, I’m sure I’ll dream up a few more that will be perfect for the holidays. So get your forks ready and let’s make cake!!
Sue’s crazy little layer cake obsession thus far…
- Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake
- Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream
- Raspberry Lemon Cake
- Gluten Free Carrot Cake
My latest is a riff on the all-American Creamsicle, a flavor experience that all of us remember but most of us haven’t enjoyed in many years. It’s got a vintage Americana vibe that makes it perfect for the 4th, too.
You might have had orange cake before, and I’m sure you’ve had vanilla, but until you’ve tried this orange/vanilla combo cake you haven’t had the Creamsicle Cake experience, and it’s a good one 🙂
What’s a Creamsicle?
- The Creamsicle is a classic popsicle invented in the 1930s that combined a creamy vanilla ice cream center surrounded by orange popsicle ice.
- The flavor/texture combination was and still is pretty unique, making it an unforgettable taste experience.
- The Creamsicle has inspired lots of drinks and desserts in its name.
What’s the difference between a Dreamsicle and a Creamsicle?
- Dreamsicles are a regional variation of Creamsicles.
- Dreamsicles have a filling of ice milk, whereas Creamsicles are filled with ice cream.
- Dreamsicles are no longer made, while you can still find Creamsicles in the freezer aisle.
If you’ve seen other Creamsicle themed cakes around the Internet you might have noticed that most of them are made with a cake mix and a box of orange jello. That’s one way to go, but not quite my style…I set out to create a creamsicle cake with a more natural ingredient list and a homemade cake base. The flavor is spot on, and the texture is heavenly.
Here’s how I naturally infuse the flavor of your childhood Creamsicle into my cake ~
First I make my special orange sugar. For this I process the zest of an orange with granulated sugar to make a moist orange flavored sugar that jumpstarts the Creamsicle vibe. Fresh orange juice goes into the cake batter as well. For more details check out my post on How to Make Citrus Sugar. I’ve used this same orange sugar in my Orange Blossom Bundt Cake and it really brings the orange flavor alive.
The buttercream frosting made with real vanilla and more fresh orange juice.
It’s that combination of creamy vanilla and fresh orange that conjures up the Creamsicle ice cream bar.
This recipe makes a generous amount of frosting, so don’t skimp on that important middle layer!
Be sure to use every drop of the irresistible vanilla frosting. You’ll have enough to do a crumb coat along the sides to seal in any stray crumbs, and then a second layer over top. This way every bite will have that magical combination of orange and vanilla cream.
If you’re more of a cake person than a pie person (raising hand here) this orange layer cake is a great discovery. There aren’t too many cakes that seem appropriate for the warmer months, and this one with its cool popsicle namesake just screams summer.
Make this cake once and I’m pretty confident it will become a family favorite.
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- 2 3/4 cups or 360 grams all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup or 35 grams cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 and 3/4 cup or 368 grams, granulated sugar
- zest of 1 orange peeled with a vegetable peeler (no white pith)
- 1 cup or 226 grams, unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup or 240 grams buttermilk
- 1/3 cup or 81 grams fresh orange juice
- 1 cup or 226 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 cups or 600 grams, confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 4 Tbsp or 60 grams fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- about 4 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
- Preheat oven to 350F Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, putting a round of parchment paper at the bottom of each one.
- Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- Put the sugar and orange zest into a food processor and process until moist, pale orange, and no large pieces of zest remain. This will take under a minute.
- Cream the butter and your newly created orange sugar together in a stand mixer for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the machine as necessary.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture, and just before it's completely mixed in, add the buttermilk and orange juice. Blend until combined, but don't over-mix. I like to finish by hand to get everything incorporated. Pay special attention to the bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and spread out evenly. Bake in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched lightly, and is just beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the pans. Let the layers cool completely (completely!) before frosting.
- To make the frosting beat the butter gradually with the sugar, adding the orange juice, vanilla, and enough cream to thin it to a nice spreadable consistency. If the frosting seems too thin, add a bit more sugar, and if it seems too thick, add a touch of cream. If your frosting is very lumpy, you can process it briefly in a food processor, it creates a perfectly silky texture.