Cake Citrus Dessert Favorites Summer

Orange Creamsicle Cake

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A big slice of Creamsicle Cake, with fork

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!

A slice of Creamsicle Cake with fork

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…

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.

Taking a slice from a Creamsicle 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.

slicing a Creamsicle Layer 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.

Making orange sugar for an orange blossom bundt cake

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.

Cooling cake layers for a Creamsicle Cake

Vanilla frosting for a Creamsicle Cake

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.

Frosting a Creamsicle Cake

Frosting an orange Creamsicle Cake

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.

Orange Creamsicle Layer Cake, with a slice taken out

Make this cake once and I’m pretty confident it will become a family favorite.

A big slice of Creamsicle Cake, with fork




A big slice of Creamsicle Cake, with fork
Add to Your Recipe Box
3.66 from 172 votes

Creamsicle Cake

Orange Creamsicle Cake ~ layer cakes are the ultimate dessert luxury, but this orange cream 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!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Yield 10 -12 servings


  • 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.

Orange Creamsicle Cake pin


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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    May 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    5 stars
    I Love Cake! I can’t wait to try this one. It is a beautiful looking cake……..nothing that looks this good could be bad. So I’m giving it 5 stars from looks alone. I’m sure I will love it when I get around to baking one :o)

    Thank you for sharing

    • Reply
      May 29, 2020 at 5:43 pm

      I love cake too Fikisha 🙂

  • Reply
    May 29, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Hello. I am going to test this out as my wedding cake and I see you’re mixing flour and cornstarch. That makes cake flour, correct? Could I just use cake flour if I have that? I would just use 3 cups total. Thanks so much! This sounds delightful and delicious so I think it would be really great as my cake!

    • Reply
      May 30, 2020 at 9:44 pm

      Yes, that would be fine 🙂

      • Reply
        June 1, 2020 at 3:43 pm

        5 stars
        Thanks for getting back to me! I did use the cake flour and it was just fine. My icing was too thick so next time I’ll thin it out more. I might add some rosemary either into the sugar mix or in simple syrup to add a little herbal flavor to it as well. I think it’ll be a great cake for my backyard wedding ?

  • Reply
    May 12, 2020 at 11:11 am

    5 stars
    What if I don’t have buttermilk ? What can I use ?

    • Reply
      May 25, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      You can use any type of milk, even non dairy.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe today as an activity to try with my son and it took some time as it was his first time baking but the result was wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!!!!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2020 at 8:48 pm

      Wow Shakira ~ your son’s future wife is going to thank you!!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    5 stars
    I made this today for a friends 50th birthday party. I made 2-14 inches cakes, put them together and decorated them. Looks so pretty, and my house smells all citrusy and yummy! I wish this allowed me to post the picture.

    • Reply
      September 28, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      That sounds awesome Marcy!

      • Reply
        January 28, 2020 at 7:34 pm

        5 stars
        This cake was wonderful. Nice light orange flavor. The crumb was perfect. Not to light, not dense. How should it be stored? Outside of fridge or in thr fridge?

  • Reply
    Tanis Gunderson
    July 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    5 stars
    I made this today but made it into cupcakes, they are so light and fluffy and the hint of orange is perfect. I will keep making this recipe for sure.

    • Reply
      July 14, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Oh that’s great to know, I would love this in cupcake form!

    • Reply
      August 30, 2019 at 6:59 am

      How long did you bake your cupcakes?

      • Reply
        August 30, 2019 at 1:45 pm

        I would start with 18 minutes.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Hello, I made the orange sugar and have it in an airtight container, how long does it stay fresh?

    • Reply
      July 13, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      I don’t recommend keeping it for very long, Lisa, the citrus oils won’t last. Keep it in the fridge and use is as soon as possible.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    If I make this a day ahead do I store it in the refrigerator?

    • Reply
      July 11, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      No, you can leave it out up to a day without any problems.

  • Reply
    Pam O’Brien
    July 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    I’m a HUGE orange fan….not much for chocolate and I will definitely be making. LOVE you use THE REAL STUFF! *Retro Info: Dreamscicles were just like Creamscicles but pink/cherry flavored.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Ooh, this looks so good! We recently had some mango creamsicle popsicles, so I’ve been feeling nostalgic for all things of this flavor. I also love the chocolate/orange combo and wonder how this would taste adding chocolate to the frosting… adding it to my list!

    • Reply
      July 11, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      That’s such an interesting idea, maybe for a winter version!

  • Reply
    Rusty H Briggs
    July 5, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    5 stars
    This was the hit of Independence Day. Thank you for sharing the perfect cake for summer — also for winter when our backyard trees are heavy with oranges and grapefruit. I’m **so very** grateful for your generosity and amazing expertise.

  • Reply
    Dottie Pal
    July 5, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Sounds so good. Any idea what adjustments I would need to make if I wanted to do in a 9 x 13 sheet pan?

    • Reply
      July 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Not sure you need to change anything, check the cake at 35 minutes and go from there.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    I’ve got a recent allergy to artificial red dye, so there’s so much I’ve had to cut out of my diet. I was thrilled to see your newsletter was the one with this recipe since it sounded wonderful and you always post the best recipes without the fake stuff added in. Thank you, and I can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    This looks so good! Remember Orange Julius? It’s similar to a Creamsicle/Dreamsicle, but in a cup with orange slush and vanilla soft serve. Can I make cupcakes instead? And, how many would this recipe yield? Thanks!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm

      Yes ~ we used to have one down the street, I forgot 🙂 And this would make good cupcakes, I like that idea. I’m guessing it would make somewhere around 20 cupcakes, depending on size.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 9:48 am

    I love creamsicles, so I can’t wait to try this cake! It looks absolutely delicious- the perfect summer cake!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 9:47 am

    What a beautiful looking cake! I love how you have made the orange sugar too – must try this for other things too!

  • Reply
    Andrea Metlika
    July 3, 2019 at 9:43 am

    OH MY, this is divine. I’m really interested in the orange sugar. I could use that in other things too. Yum!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2019 at 9:49 am

      The orange sugar makes this extra special, and it literally takes about a minute to do!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Yum! If I could make my layer cakes look this gorgeous I’d be obsessed with them too! I really love that this recipe uses real orange flavor, it’s a lovely combination!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2019 at 9:47 am

      This is really a simple one, Mikayla, nothing fancy to the styling, just like my mom used to make!

  • Reply
    Mindy Fewless
    July 3, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Best cake ever!! So moist and yummy!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 7:53 am

    You said vanilla frosting. Am I missing something in the ingredient list? I don’t see vanilla.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2019 at 7:59 am

      Thanks Joli 🙂 There’s a whole tablespoon of vanilla in the frosting.

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    July 3, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Creamsicles! Loved them when I was a kid. Probably still would, actually. 🙂 But this cake looks better — won’t melt on my chin. 😀 Good stuff — thanks.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2019 at 7:53 am

      Truth be told I was much more of a chocolate ice cream popsicle kid, but I do love this flavor combo in a cake 🙂

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 4:05 am

    Pass me a big slice of this lovely cake! This is absolutely dreamy 🙂