Orange Dreamsicle Cake {A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe}

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If you love Orange Dreamsicles or orange desserts, this Orange Dreamsicle Cake Mix Recipe is the perfect dessert for you!

It is so easy, moist and fluffy with a bright citrus flavor.

Why we Love It

There are many reasons to love this easy orange cake!

  • It is easy to make
  • Starts with a cake mix but the add-ins give it a from-scratch flavor and texture
  • Perfect for picnics, potlucks, and summer birthdays and parties
  • The orange layers paired with the easy orange cream filling are heavenly!
  • We love the convenience of cake mix recipes- don't miss our full collection of favorite box mix cake recipes!

One of our most popular cakes over the years has been our scratch version of Orange Dreamsicle Cake, and we're excited to now have a doctored cake mix option of this orange cake recipe for everyone who prefers working with cake mixes!

This cake consists of three moist orange cake layers, a luscious (and easy!) orange cream filling and orange cream cheese frosting.

How to Make an Orange Doctored Cake Mix Recipe

  • First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8x2 inch round cake pans as usual- I like to also line my pans with parchment circles.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, add the dry ingredients and whisk 30 seconds to blend.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula and mix for 1 more minute. If you are using a hand mixer, mix for a bit longer.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Check at 25 minutes, if a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached, it is done!
  • Cool in the pans 5 to 10 minutes on a wire rack,  then turn out.

 

Orange Dreamsicle Cake Filling

The orange cream filling that we used in this recipe is the same as we used in our scratch version. It is just SO easy and delicious, and works great when paired with the orange cake layers to give us the Orange Dreamsicle flavor that we're looking for!

This recipe is also known as a "mock mousse" for its lovely mousse-like consistency but is as simple & quick as combining heavy cream and instant pudding! I like to use a small hand mixer to mix this cream filling up quickly but you can whisk it by hand also.

We added a bit of orange extract to the filling to boost the orange flavor, and if you'd like you can even stir in a little more orange zest.

If the consistency is too thick, simply add additional heavy cream in small amounts.

**For more "mock mousse" recipes, check out our Chocolate Mousse Filling, Pineapple & Cream Filling, and Baileys Irish Cream Filling just to name a few!

YUM! Orange Cream Filling A delicious, quick & easy recipe by MyCakeSchool.com. Online Cake Decorating Tutorials & Recipes!

Dreamsicle Cake Frosting

We frosted our cake with a delicious Orange Cream Cheese Frosting- if you love cream cheese frostings  , this recipe will be no exception. It is based on a classic cream cheese frosting, but with a little orange extract mixed in (and also a bit of orange coloring gel for an optional boost of color)!

If the Cream Cheese Frosting is Too Soft

Cream cheese frosting is always going to be a bit on the softer side when compared to American buttercream (like our classic vanilla buttercream). If you find that it is too soft, simply pop the bowl (or piping bag) in the refrigerator for several minutes to thicken up the consistency.

Also, whenever I'm decorating cakes, I like to place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm them up after crumb coating- it makes the process much simpler!

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

Assembling the Orange Dreamsicle Cake

To assemble the orange dreamsicle cake, place the first orange cake layer on the pedestal or cake plate.
 
Next, pipe a dam of orange cream cheese frosting about ½ inch from the edge of the cake layer using a piping bag with the tip snipped away.
 
Then, spread the orange cream filling within the dam and add the next layer of cake- repeat. Finally, top with the last cake layer and frost the cake with orange cream cheese frosting.
 
Orange Dreamsicle Cake- A Doctored Cake Mix
 
 
Whenever frosting cakes, I like to crumb coat first, then chill for about 15 minutes or so in the freezer to firm up the frosting. Then, I applied the second coat of frosting and smoothed away any excess with my bench scraper. (I rotate the cake on the turntable while doing this step). 

Decorating the Cake 

 
Decorate the cake however you like, whether smooth or swirly or textured-- I used a small cake comb to create textured designs around the sides of the cake, and created little swirls of frosting on top with a small offset spatula.
 
Finally, I topped it all off with an orange slice. Because of the filling and frosting, you should refrigerate this cake until a couple of hours before serving.

 

Orange Dreamsicle Cake- A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe- SO moist and delicious!

More Orange Cakes and Fillings

If you love orange desserts, here are a few more recipes to add to your collection! Some of our favorites are our scratch Orange Cake, Orange Spice Cake (from cake mix), and Orange Coconut Cake!

Enjoy the Recipe!

Thanks so much for stopping by! We hope that you enjoy this orange dreamsicle cake mix recipe. If you give it a try, we would love for you to leave a comment and photo below!

Don't miss our full collection of hundreds of recipes and free cake decorating video tutorials! You can find them here: Cake Recipes & Free Cake Decorating Tutorials

Yield: 15 servings

Orange Dreamsicle Cake {A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe}

Orange Dreamsicle Cake {A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe}

This delicious Orange Dreamsicle Cake all starts with a simple cake mix! We love the combination of the orange cake layers with orange cream filling and orange cream cheese frosting!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

Orange Cake Layers

  • 1 box (15.25 oz.) white cake mix, sifted
  • 1 cup (114g) all purpose flour (plain in the UK)
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cups (322g) orange juice
  • 1 cup (242g) sour cream (we use full fat sour cream)
  • 1 Tablespoon (10g) orange extract (*See note below for alternative)
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange
  • *A little orange coloring gel for additional color is optional

Orange Cream Filling

  • 1 small box instant Vanilla pudding (3.4oz/96g) We used Jello- Brand
  • 2 c. (464g) heavy cream or whipping cream.
  • 1 tsp. (4g) Orange Extract (we used McCormick)

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) (226 g) unsalted butter, let it sit out until slightly softened.
  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (total weight 452g) I use full fat cream cheese. Using reduced fat or the spreadable cream cheese will cause the frosting to be too soft. Do not soften the cream cheese.
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) clear vanilla extract (we used clear to keep color lighter)
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt (2g) optional - it will cut the sweetness, popcorn salt is best to use because it is fine and dissolves faster
  • 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g to 747g) powdered sugar
  • Orange Coloring Gel (optional) We used a very small amount for tinting.

Instructions

For the Orange Cake Layers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8x2 inch round cake pans.

In the bowl of your mixer, add the dry ingredients and whisk at least 30 seconds to blend.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for 1 more minute. If you are using a hand mixer, mix for a bit longer.

Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Check at 25 minutes, if a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached, it is done.

Cool in the pans 5 to 10 minutes then turn out.

Makes 7 ½ cups batter. Works well for cupcakes

Orange Cream Filling

Combine the pudding mix and heavy cream and orange extract in a mixing bowl. I prefer to mix with a hand held mixer, but a whisk is just fine too. If using a mixer, start on low speed until well combined. Then, switch to high speed and whip the pudding until thick and fluffy. If mousse is too thick, mix in small amounts of heavy cream to reach desired consistency.

If mixing by hand, simply whisk rapidly for a couple of minutes or until mixture is nice and thick.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Cakes with this filling should be chilled until close to serving time.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is softened and smooth.

Cut the cold cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated.

Add the vanilla and orange flavorings. Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended. Cover the bowl with a towel to keep down the cloud of powdered sugar.

Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy. Don't over beat.

This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.

Will frost a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake. When decorating our Dreamsicle Cake, we frosted our cake and then went back in with swirls of lightly tinted orange frosting for a pretty effect.

Assembling the Cake

Place first cake layer on pedestal or cake plate. Pipe a dam of cream cheese frosting about ½ inch from the edge of the cake using a piping bag with the tip snipped away. Filling with the orange cream filling. Repeat for the next cake layer and top with the final layer. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

I added additional texture with a small cake comb and topped with an orange slice.

© Melissa Diamond
CATEGORY: Recipes

Notes

If you don't have Orange Extract, you can substitute 4 tablespoons (48g) Orange Jello powder in the cake batter.

If using orange jello powder as an orange extract substitute for the filling or frosting, dissolve a few tablespoons of jello powder with a tablespoon or two of very hot water and add to the filling or frosting in small amounts until you reach the desired amount of orange flavor.

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30 Comments

  1. Made this for a get together a couple of days ago and so many people said it was the best cake they have ever had and have already messaged me requesting it for future get togethers. I’m calling it a win! No leftovers from this big cake either- everyone wanted a big slice to take home and savor later! Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Hi. I was wondering if you would need to make any alterations to this recipe if I am baking at an altitude of 4200 ft. I would be making cupcakes with this recipe. My cakes and cupcakes always flatten out and I am thinking it is the elevation I am at. Any helpful comments would be appreciated.

  3. I can’t wait to try making this. :) How does it hold up if making a day in advance? Would you freeze the unfrosted cake layers?

    1. Hi Olivia! Glad that you are making the recipe! If you baking a day in advance, it is fine to double wrap the layers in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature-preferably under a cake dome or airtight container.

      Of course, wrapping and freezing the layers individually in the freezer is fine too- you'll just need to remove the next morning to allow time to defrost (still wrapped). enjoy the cake!

  4. I need to make a cake in a 9x13 pan, not round. Do you think it would work to put a full recipe in each 9x13, make 2, and do 2 layers? I.E. would the recipe for 3 rounds fit in a 9x13 and still cook well? Any suggestions on how long to cook in a 9x13?

    1. Hi Laurie! Yes, I think that would work just fine! I would use the back of the box for a guideline on time, maybe plus a few minutes more since this doctored recipe increases the amount of batter. My guess would be around 30 minutes or so.

  5. This sounds amazing and can't wait to have it this weekend for my birthday. I love Orange Dreamsicles. I was looking at reviews for the best cake mixes, and was thinking about using a French Vanilla cake mix. But when I looked at your recipe it says any cake mix where the pudding is not in the mix. Is there an adverse effect if you do? The 3 different review sites say the BC Delights Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix is the best. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Rodney! I'm glad that you are making this cake! ;0) - Thanks for your question. You won't have problems, even when using a box mix that contains pudding. I have updated the recipe- it used to be our standard advice for recipes that contain sour cream also but we have changed our view on this! ;0)