Orange Creamsicle Cake

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This two layer easy orange creamsicle cake is bursting with citrus and vanilla flavors! Moist, fluffy vanilla layer cake is made with fresh orange juice and orange zest to give it a wonderful sweet orange flavor then frosted in a orange vanilla frosting for even more orange flavor!  If you love orange desserts, then this cake is for you! No Jello or cake mix needed!

orange creamsicle cake slices on a plate with a fork with an orange slice


 

Growing up I’ll be honest I wasn’t a fan of creamsicles. You know the frozen treat on a stick? I was more of a fudgesicle kind of girl. Or those chocolate crunchy ice-cream bars (you know the ones). Who knows maybe I could taste the artificialness going on. 

But put real orange and vanilla flavors inside an easy orange layer cake, and I’m on board. And I love baking with citrus in the wintertime. Citrus is in season in the winter months, so why not embrace it! 

Yes this orange creamiscle cake was a tough one to not sneak bites of when walking by. “I’ll just take one more bite” I kept saying. Mmhmm, I think you can all guess how that battle ended. 

Now most orange cake recipes on the internet use orange jello that gets poured over the top of the cake, you know like an orange poke cake, and is topped with whipped topping. But I wanted a fresh orange layer cake made from scratch.

And this orange cake made from scratch and not a white cake mix is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!

Orange creamsicle cake – 1, Me – 0. Oh well, moving on. Let me wave the white flag while I take another bite.

See Also:

  • Layered with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream this vanilla sponge cake is a beautiful cake to make any time of year!
  • If you’re looking for a showstopping cake, this Milk Bar cake is the perfect dessert to make for a birthday!
  • Calling all peanut butter lovers with this super easy peanut butter cream cheese frosting to use on all your favorite cake recipes!
  • This easy vanilla cupcake recipe uses melted butter so it comes together in minutes and no mixer is needed!
  • When it’s summertime then you have to make these S’mores cupcakes with toasted meringue frosting and graham cracker bottom!
  • Get a mixing bowl and make the easiest cake ever! This Tornado cake recipe (aka do nothing cake) made with crushed pineapple, coconut, and pecans!

Why You Will Love This Orange Creamsicle Cake

  • Completely From Scratch! – No cake mix needed here! This orange creamsicle cake is made from scratch making for the fluffiest, tastiest cake ever. Most orange cakes are made from an orange cake mix, or use powdered orange gelatin.
  • Lots of orange flavor! – I used orange juice and orange zest which gives lots of fresh orange flavor. I recommend using fresh orange juice, but bottled juice will work just fine.
  • Makes a great make ahead dessert – Layer cakes take a lot of work! So it’s great that you can make the cake layers and frosting the day before. You can also make and frost the entire cake the day before, so it’s ready to enjoy the day of making for a perfect birthday cake!

Note: The entire recipe, with ingredient quantities and recipe directions can be found at the bottom of the page. Scroll to the bottom or click “Jump To Recipe” button at the top of the post.

Orange Cake Ingredients

ingredients prepped for orange creamsicle cake

Frosting Ingredients

orange creamsicle cake frosting ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Cake Flour – Cake flour has a lower protein content than regular AP flour, so you end up with a lighter, fluffier cake in the end. Lower protein = less gluten formed. And gluten is the protein that gives a cake structure. So less structure means a fluffy cake for you! If you don’t have cake flour on hand, you can make a DIY cake flour version. It won’t be exactly the same but will do in a pinch! For more recipes that use cake flour, check out my 41 cake flour recipes.
  • Oil – I add some oil to this cake to help keep it moist. You want to use a neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable or canola oil.
  • Orange zest – The cake has fresh orange zest grated into it to give it maximum flavor. I add the orange zest to the sugar, so it can really be worked in and have the orange oils release. You will use this in the cake and the frosting. 
  • Eggs – You want room temperature large eggs. Room temperature eggs will bind and emulsify better than cold ones. And they will also create more volume as well. If you add cold eggs it will also seize up the butter in the bowl as well. I place my eggs into a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using. 
  • Buttermilk – This helps to moisten the cake and give it great flavor. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a DIY buttermilk instead. Your results won’t be exactly the same, but it will come close. 

How To Make This Orange Creamsicle Cake

  1. Preheat and prepare pan. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. Combine your dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together your cake flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. Combine wet ingredients. In a second bowl add the butter, oil, sugar, and zest.
  4. Cream wet ingredients. You want to cream together until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Your mixture may slightly curdled looking at this point due to the oil. Don’t worry this is normal!
  5. Add eggs and vanilla. Once the butter is properly creamed, you can add the eggs and vanilla. Make sure to add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. You want each egg properly incorporated before adding the next. You may need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Sometimes ingredients will stay unincorporated at the bottom.  Then go ahead and add in the vanilla extract.

HEATHER’S BAKING TIP: For the best results I always recommend measuring your ingredients, especially your flour, by weight using a digital kitchen scale. This always ensures you get the correct amount and don’t end up with too much flour in your bowl which can greatly affect the overall texture of your cake. 

step by step photos of making orange creamsicle cake

Finish batter and bake

  1. Add 1/3 of the flour to the creamed mixture. You are going to alternate the dry with the buttermilk and orange juice, so don’t add it all.
  2. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and orange juice.
  3. Repeat alternating the dry ingredients and buttermilk/OJ mixture. When the last of the flour is mixed in, stop stirring so as not to create too much gluten and create a tough cake.
  4. Then it’s time to bake! You want to divide the cake batter between your two prepared cake pans, smooth the tops and bake in the center of your oven. I always test the center of the cake with a toothpick to ensure there’s no wet batter before removing the pan. Then I let the cakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan to cool further. 

Baking 101: Alternating the ingredients will help reduce the amount of time you need to mix everything together to get a smooth batter, so this will ensure a tender cake in the end. 

step by step photos of making orange creamsicle cake and placing the cake batter into round cake pans

Make the frosting

While the cake is cooling, I like to make the frosting.  In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter and powdered sugar. You want to mix on low speed at first so you don’t end up with sugar all over your kitchen! Then increase the speed to medium until combined. 

Once the sugar is incorporated, add the heavy cream, vanilla, orange juice, and zest. I mix my frosting for a very long time – for 7-8 minutes until light and cream. It might seem excessive but I will ensure you get the fluffiest and best frosting ever.  And then the cake is cooled frost the cake and serve. 

bowl of orange creamiscle frosting

Recipe Tips

  • Prep Your Pans The Right Way. I recommend greasing your cake pans and lining the bottoms with parchment paper. I love using Baker’s Joy spray that has flour in it for the best release. I like to spray the pans, then line the bottom with parchment paper, then give it another spray. Here is a tutorial on How To Prepare Cake Pans (in 4 easy steps!)
  • Careful when zesting. When zesting the citrus, make sure to go only down to the white pith layer. The white pith layer is bitter so you want to make sure to not zest this layer, just the outer layer.
  • Soften Your Butter. You want properly softened butter so that you can cream mixture properly. The sugar punches holes into the butter creating air pockets, which helps to aerate and help the cake to rise. Here are 3 quick ways to soften your butter
  • Don’t Overcream! – Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. If you cream for too long and too high of a speed you will end up incorporating too much air and softening the butter too much. 
  • Bring your eggs to room temperature.  You don’t want cold eggs being added to your creamed butter mixture. It will seize up the butter. So place your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using them. 
whole orange creamsicle cake on a cake stand

Recipe Variations

  • Make Gluten Free – You can swap all purpose flour with 1:1 gluten free flour blend in this creamsicle cake.
  • Make a cream cheese frosting – Instead of this orange buttercream frosting, make a cream cheese frosting instead! Stir in some orange juice and orange zest.
  • Use orange extract – You could always add in orange extract for a little more orange flavor.
  • Add orange food coloring – If you want more of a pop, you can add a few drops of orange food coloring to the batter, or the frosting.
  • Add mandarin orange slices – I decorated with fresh orange slices, but you could swap and decorate with mandarin orange slices. Or add some in the middle of the cake!
  • Skip the frosting – You could always serve a slice of this cake without the orange vanilla frosting, and just a dollop of whipped cream, cool whip, a dusting of powdered sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Storing This Cake

When it comes to cakes I highly recommend making them ahead of time. There’s a lot of work that goes into them so it’s great to make them ahead!

You can store the creamiscle cake layers, unfrosted and then frost them later.  You can also store the cake layers, or the whole cake at room temperature. 

You can also freeze the cake layers too if you need to!

Cake Layers only: 

  • At room temperature: You can make the cake layers 2-3 days ahead of time. Leave them unfrosted, and wrap in plastic wrap or tin-foil. Just make sure they are completely cool before doing so. 
  • Freezing: You can also wrap the cooled cake layers and freeze for up to 3 months if you don’t plan to use the layers in a few days. I let them thaw at room temperature before icing them.

Frosted Cake: 

  • At room temperature: If you have frosted the cake, then be sure to cover it properly. I like to store the cake in a plastic cake container, like this one. It will be fine at room temperature for about 2 days. The frosting will lock the moisture in.
  • Freezing: Yes you can freeze a frosted cake! You can freeze a whole cake, or slices. I recommend freezing the cake (or slices) first unwrapped until frozen solid, about 4 hours. Then wrap carefully in plastic wrap (a few layers) and a final layer of aluminum foil. When ready to enjoy, just thaw at room temperature. 
slice of orange creamsicle cake upright on a plate with a fork

Orange Creamsicle Cake Recipe FAQ’s

Why is my cake not done in the middle/sunk in the middle?

This can happen if it cooks too fast, creating a crust on the outside leaving the middle uncooked. This could make your cake sink in the middle. This could mean your oven temperature is too high. Do yourself a favor and get an oven thermometer to double check the accuracy of your oven.  Related post: Baking 101: Getting To Know Your Oven

How can I tell when the cake is done baking?

To test when my ake is done, I like to use a long wooden skewer to insert into the cake and see if there are moist crumbs that cling to it. My biggest worry is overbaking it. So making sure my oven temperature is running correctly, I can then set my timer and check it with the skewer to ensure it’s done properly and not overbaked.

Can I bake this cake in a different pan?

Bake 35-40 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ pan; 24-27 minutes for 8″ layers, or 23 to 25 minutes for cupcakes. The cake is done when it’s golden brown around the edges and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack (unless in a 9×13 pan) to cool completely.

How do I store this cake?

Cake Layers – At room temperature: You can make the cake layers 2-3 days ahead of time. Leave them unfrosted, and wrap in plastic wrap or tin-foil. Just make sure they are completely cool before doing so. 
Freezing – Cake Layers: You can also wrap the cooled cake layers and freeze for up to 3 months if you don’t plan to use the layers in a few days. I let them thaw at room temperature before icing them.
Frosted Cake (at room temperature) If you have frosted the cake, then be sure to cover it properly. I like to store the cake in a plastic cake container. It will be fine at room temperature for about 2 days. The frosting will lock the moisture in.
Freezing Frosted Cake: Yes you can freeze a frosted cake! You can freeze a whole cake, or slices. I recommend freezing the cake (or slices) first unwrapped until frozen solid, about 4 hours. Then wrap carefully in plastic wrap (a few layers) and a final layer of aluminum foil. When ready to enjoy, just thaw at room temperature. 

three slices of orange creamsicle cake on plates with orange slices

More Recipes To Try

Orange Creamsicle Cake

This easy two layer cake is made with fresh orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla to give it the classic orange creamsicle flavor!
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 613kcal

Ingredients

  • For the cake:
  • 3 ¼ cups (390 g) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (reduce to 3/4 teaspoon if using a finer salt)
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (120 mL) vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 2 cups (396 g) granulated white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) orange juice
  • For the frosting:
  • 3 ¾ sticks (423 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 3 ¾ cups (453 g) confectioner sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)

Instructions

To make the cake:

  • Preheat and prepare pan. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  • Combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cream butter and sugar. In a second mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter, oil, sugar and zest together until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract.
  • Alternate dry ingredients with buttermilk. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk and orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Bake. Bake 30-35 minutes (for 9” layers).

To make the frosting:

  • Mix butter and sugar. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter and confectioners sugar. Mix on low speed at first, then increase the speed to medium until combined.
  • Add heavy cream, vanilla, orange juice, and zest. Add in your heavy cream, vanilla extract,juice, and mix on medium to high speed for 7-8 minutes until light and cream. When cake is cooled frost cake and serve.

Notes

  • Different Pans: Bake 35-40 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ pan; 24-27 minutes for 8″ layers, or 23 to 25 minutes for cupcakes. The cake is done when it’s golden brown around the edges and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack (unless in a 9×13 pan) to cool completely.
  • Storage: 
    • Cake Layers – At room temperature: You can make the cake layers 2-3 days ahead of time. Leave them unfrosted, and wrap in plastic wrap or tin-foil. Just make sure they are completely cool before doing so. 
    • Freezing – Cake Layers: You can also wrap the cooled cake layers and freeze for up to 3 months if you don’t plan to use the layers in a few days. I let them thaw at room temperature before icing them.
    • Frosted Cake (at room temperature) If you have frosted the cake, then be sure to cover it properly. I like to store the cake in a plastic cake container. It will be fine at room temperature for about 2 days. The frosting will lock the moisture in.
    • Freezing Frosted Cake: Yes you can freeze a frosted cake! You can freeze a whole cake, or slices. I recommend freezing the cake (or slices) first unwrapped until frozen solid, about 4 hours. Then wrap carefully in plastic wrap (a few layers) and a final layer of aluminum foil. When ready to enjoy, just thaw at room temperature. 

Nutrition

Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 246mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @BostonGirlBakes or tag #BostonGirlBakes!


 

34 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ll be making this cake in two days. I was wondering the bake time you would recommend for three 6″ round cakes?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Marah, I can’t say for sure but based on other recipes for 6″ cakes I would say about 18-20 minutes.

  2. Im going to use a maple frosting, will orange extract make it too orangee?

    1. Hi Margie, I would start with very little – like a 1/4 teaspoon and taste from there. I find extracts to be very strong so add little taste and then go from there 🙂 hope that helps!

  3. Anne T DiBona says:

    5 stars
    Unbelievable! My daughters were coming for lunch and I wanted to make an extra special dessert!! Who knew the creamsicle cake would be so delectable???? Everyone loved it! It came out perfect. The only thing I changed was the frosting. I used 1/2 of the amount of butter…and it was still delicious. This will be something that I bake again! Thank you Heather! And…I purchased your baking cookbook for my son’s girlfriend who wants to start baking!!

    1. aw that’s amazing Anne! I’m so glad you loved the cake! And thank you so much for supporting me and the cookbook – I hope she loves it!

  4. 5 stars
    This cake was fantastic. I brought it to a party and it was devoured by kids and adults equally. I altered a few things based on what I had on hand and it worked out great:

    * I used 3 8” rounds and baked for 27 min. The frosting was sufficient for 3 layers – more would have been too much.
    * I didn’t have buttermilk so used just over a tablespoon of white vinegar and then 2% up to the 1.25 c measure.
    * I ended up using the zest from almost 4 large oranges and it was perfect. 2 in the batter. Close to two in the frosting.
    * I also increased the juice in the cake by a few extra splashes.
    * half and half in the frosting bc it’s all I had.

    My only critique is that I felt the frosting was a bit greasy – no one else I asked agreed so it could have been in my head because I knew about the butter. Still, next time I may play around with an egg white frosting to lighten it up. As long as it keeps the flavor! Curious if anyone else has tried this!

    1. Hi Sarah! I’m so glad you loved this cake and was also able to make with the changes you made. You could definitely try with a swiss meringue buttercream or italian meringue buttercream frosting if you want a bit of a lighter textured frosting 🙂

  5. Is this cake stable enough for fondant and tier stacking?

    1. Hi Angel, I’ve only made with buttercream frosting and a simple layer cake so can’t say for sure. But let me know if you try!

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks!! I’m going to try this week 😊

      2. Let me know how it turns out for you! Enjoy Angel 🙂

  6. Am I reading this right? Almost 4 sticks of butter in the orange icing? I want to try this recipe right away. It looks delish!

    1. Hi Diane! Yes that’s correct. It’s almost a double batch of the icing enough to layer and cover the cake. But you can always cut down on the amount of frosting you use if you want. Let me know how it turns out!

    2. thanks for replying so quickly! I am going to make this for family visit this weekend. and will let you know how it turns out. It sounds Yummmy!

      1. You’re so welcome Diane 🙂

  7. Rema K Giridhar says:

    Can oil be substituted with butter ?

    1. I haven’t tried it but I think it would work just fine. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

  8. Can’t wait to make it! Can I make cupcakes 🧁
    with this delicious looking recipe? Thanks for your time!

    1. Hi Mary! I haven’t tried the recipe as cupcakes but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. My guess is about 18-20 minutes in the oven? If you make them as cupcakes let me know how they turn out 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious! I love anything citrus, so I had to try it this morning. It was actually easier than expected. Everyone loves it. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Thanks Melanie! Aw that’s awesome I’m so glad you loved the recipe and found it easy to make too 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    This is such a wonderful flavor combination and absolutely perfect for all the oranges that are in season!

    1. Thanks Katie! Yes I agree great way to embrace citrus season 🙂

  11. Shadi Hasanzadenemati says:

    5 stars
    Just tried this recipe and my family loved it. Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks Shadi! Glad you loved it!

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe is making me so nostalgic. I AM a fan of creamsicles, so this cake looks like it’s right up my alley! Can’t wait to give it a go!

    1. OH yes Nathan then you’re going to love this cake!

  13. Shadi Hasanzadenemati says:

    5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family

  14. 5 stars
    This looks so delicious and yummy! My daughter and hubby are going to love this recipe! I can’t wait to give this a try!

    1. Thanks Beth! Let me know it turns out 🙂

  15. I’ll be making this cake on Sunday. To sounds so good.

    1. Aw thank you Patti! Let me know how it turns out!

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