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Creamsicle Cake – tender orange cake layers with an orange cream filling and an orange cream buttercream.
As a kid, there were two ice cream bars I would ALWAYS get from the ice cream truck that drove through our neighborhood in Southern California: a strawberry crunch bar and a creamsicle. I also have vivid memories of eating creamsicles while sitting on my grandparents’ porch with my brothers and cousins in Chicago during the humid summers. Don’t you just love how flavors and smells can invoke instant memories?!
Strawberry Crunch Cake
A few years ago, I took inspiration from the strawberry crunch ice cream bar to create my Strawberry Crunch Cake. With layers of strawberry cake, vanilla cake, strawberry buttercream and lots of crunchy cookie texture, the flavor of this cake was spot on! I knew that when I made a Creamsicle Cake, getting the flavor just right was crucial.
Now that it’s been a few years since the Strawberry Crunch Cake, it’s about time for the Creamsicle Cake! (I always get asked if I ever run out of cake ideas and honestly, I never do! In fact, I have a running list of flavors and because I’m continually adding to that list, some flavors get pushed back – like this one).
But as we approach another summer, I’m not letting it go by without this cake!
As you dig in to each element of this cake, you’ll get a subtle orange flavor that tastes just like the ice cream bar. The whipped filling and buttercream provide the cream element that pairs so perfectly with the tart orange flavor.
For decorating, I used the wide comb scraper from my new scraper set. I’ll be posting a video of this technique tomorrow and will make sure to include it here, as well, so you can see just how easy creating buttercream stripes is. In the meantime, make sure to check out this Instagram video for a quick tutorial.
Enjoy! If you like this post, make sure to follow me on Instagram @cakebycourtney for the best tips and recipes on all things cake!
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Tender and moist creamsicle cake layers, filling and buttercream.
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups (339 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups (500 g) granulated sugar
- 1 oz orange Jell-O
- 3/4 cup (180 g) sour cream at room temperature
- 7 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 tsp (4 g) orange extract
- 4 1/2 cups (508 g) cake flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp (15 g) baking powder
- 3/4 tsp (8 g) salt
- 1 1/2 cups (360 g) buttermilk at room temperature
- orange food gel optional
- *This amount of cake batter makes an additional half batch compared to my normal recipes so your layers will be thicker in height.
FOR THE WHIPPED FILLING
- 1 cup (231 g) heavy whipping cream cold
- 1/2 cup (70 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1 tsp (4 g) orange extract
- 1 tbsp E-Z Gel or other cream stabilizer like gelatin
- *If you can't find E-Z Gel, you can refer to my Strawberry Shortcake post for using gelatin.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
- 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1/4 cup (57 g) heavy cream
- 2 tsp (8 g) orange extract
- Orange food gel optional
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping (beyond what you see in my images), you’ll want to make an extra 1/4 to 1/2 batch.
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch pans (or four 6-inch pans) with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and Jell-O on medium-high speed for about 3 to 5 minutes. You want the mixture to get lighter in color and texture. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the mixture has combined well.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg whites in three additions, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Once all of the egg whites are added, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the sour cream and the orange extract. Don't worry if the mixture looks a little curdled. It will come back together when you add the flour mixture and buttermilk.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until combined.
- Divide the batter between the three 8-inch pans, about 22 ounces of batter in each pan. Bake on the middle rack for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
- Let the cakes cool on write racks, in the pans, for about 15 minutes and then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. TIP: spray your write racks with nonstick spray.
FOR THE WHIPPED FILLING
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and extract. Whisk on medium-high speed. While the whipping cream is mixing, gradually sprinkle in the E-Z Gel.
- Once combined and stiff peaks have formed, store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy and pale in color.
- With the mixer on slow, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, and orange extract.
- Once all of the ingredients are combined, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a couple minutes more.
- Before using the buttercream, make sure to beat it by hand with a wooden spoon or large spatula to help push out the air pockets.
- If you want to do stripes, reserve two cups of buttercream and add a drop or two of orange food gel to the remaining bowl of buttercream.
- Spread a small dollop of frosting on your cake board. This will act like glue to hold your cake in place.
- Place your first cake layer, top side up, on your cake board. Pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
- Spread about 1 cup of the whipped cream filling over the cake.
- Place the next cake layer on top of the filling and repeat steps 2 and 3.
- Set your final cake layer, top side down, on your second layer of filling. Apply a thin layer of buttercream over your entire cake. This does not need to look pretty or be even. This coat of frosting is simply to lock in the crumbs. Freeze your cake for about 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- After the crumb coat is set, finish frosting your cake with the buttercream
Can you use this recipe for cupcakes? Can the recipe be cut in half for smaller batch?
Yes and yes.
Does orange Jell-O mean prepared Jell-O or the powder mix?
I would love to try many of your recipes but I live in Salt Lake. I have seen your high altitude recipe for chocolate cake and love that but is there any way to find out if you have made your other cakes successfully while living near here at this higher altitude?
I have been asked to make a wedding cake and spent many days testing recipes but I am still having issues. Could you let me know which ones work here? It would be more than amazing to be able to make your delicious flavored cakes. Thanks for listening and for any help you can give me!
All of my cake recipes are made for high altitude. And any of my cakes that don’t have a soft filling are great for wedding cakes.
Hey Courtney, love your site and cakes. We’re you going to post a tutorial on how you got the stripes like this?
If you look at my instagram I talk about how to do these stripes on my July 2nd red 4th of July cake!
Do you think this would work using just the orange buttercream, instead if the whipped cream filling, so it would be okay to keep out of the fridge?
Hi! I made this cake, and it’s lovely. But my cakes don’t look nearly as orange as yours and don’t taste very orangey. I’m wondering if the recipe is correct in calling for only 1 oz of orange jello rather than the whole 3 oz package? Thanks
That’s correct, it’s a light orange flavor and you can definitely add food coloring to brighten it.
I made this and it tastes so good and am not even a fan of anything orange! I will say I accidentally used prepared jello instead of the powder? Do you think it’s still okay to use the cake layers?
This cake is so much fun! It’s a huge recipe and made a bit of a mess in my kitchenaid mixer, but I was able to make two 3-tier 6″ cakes with the cake batter. The orange Jello powder in the cake batter really adds that sweet orange nostalgic flavor. To give it an ice cream bar feel, i made the whipped cream filling vanilla flavored though.
Hello Courtney! First time making one of your recipes. Quick question, on the ingredients you indicated we can use gelatin in place of EZ-gel. Do I incorporate it using the steps from your Shortcake or do I just add it into the ingredients for this cake?
Use it in the steps for the shortcake, you have to bloom the gelatin before you put it into the whipped cream.
How many cups of batter does this yield?
This cake turned out dry for me and the texture just seems off. I’m an experienced baker and have had good luck with most of your cake recipes. (The grapefruit poppyseed turned out like this as well though 😞) I know it wasn’t over-baked. I watched it very closely. The only thing that I think I might have done wrong was to use low-fat sour cream. (The recipe didn’t specify not to.) Would that really make it turn out so dry??? I’ve used Greek yogurt before in baked goods with good results so I didn’t think it would matter. But I’m at a loss as to why it would turn out dry 🤷♀️
I would just say it’s likely the baking time and needs a few minutes less in your oven.
I love making this cake and I always get compliments! I have been asked if it’s possible to make it sugar free. Do you have a sugar free orange creamsicle cake recipe? Can this recipe be turned into sugar free, if so, what would change? Thank you in advance!
You could use monk fruit sugar replacement. I haven’t tried it with this cake but I use it in my SF cake.
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Can you freeze this cake assembled? I’m not sure if the filling freezes well. Thanks so much!
Yes, you can.