My Creamsicle Cake is an easy orange layer cake made from scratch for birthdays, family meals, and summer potlucks ~ it’s the perfect orange dessert! If you haven’t had a Creamsicle cake, you’ve been missing out.
my orange Creamsicle cake is for citrus lovers!
It’s 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. This cake is perfect in winter when you can take advantage of citrus season, right through to spring and summer when you need a refreshing dessert. (It’s the best birthday cake for citrus fans.) So get your forks ready and let’s make cake!!
my layer cake obsession…
- Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake
- Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream
- Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Raspberry Lemon Cake
- Classic Carrot Cake
- Chocolate Cake with Cranberry Buttercream
- Bûche de Noël Layer Cake
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.
no jello or cake mix in my Creamsicle cake!
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.
I naturally infuse the orange flavor of a 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.
how to crumb coat a layer cake
The moist, delicate texture of this cake mean that it is a little bit trickier to frost without getting crumbs in your frosting, so I recommend doing a quick “crumb coat,” which, if you’ve never bothered with one in the past, really isn’t as complicated or annoying as it might sound!
- To make a “crumb coat,” simply frost the top and sids of the cake with a thin layer of frosting, getting everything as smooth as you can. Don’t worry if there are crumbs showing.
- Then, refrigerate the cake for at least 15 minutes. This sets the frosting and effectively locks all those crumbs in place before you move on to your next coat of frosting, so they won’t be floating around and getting in your way! That’s it!
how to store your homemade Creamsicle cake
When it comes to layer cakes I’m a firm believer in the cake dome. It’s the perfect way to store (and showcase!) your masterpiece. Look for one that’s high enough to clear a good sized layer cake. I prefer glass to plastic. The dome provides the ideal atmosphere to keep your cake fresh without marring the surface the way foil or plastic wrap can. And unless your cake is made with cream cheese, room temperature is the best way to store it.
cake baking resources
The next time you’re tempted to reach for a boxed cake mix, reach for one of my layer cake recipes. They’re not difficult to make and the rewards are huge. Here are some resources to help:
- My Best Baking Tips for Layer Cakes
- Quickly bring cold ingredients to room temperature for baking!
- How to Make Lemon Sugar
- Flour Alternatives and Flourless Baking Recipes
- Metric Conversions for Baking Recipes
Make this cake once and I’m pretty confident it will become a family favorite.
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- 2 9 inch cake pans
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 4 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 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 granulated 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 confectioner's 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.