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 birthday cake recipe, potluck or picnic dessert, and more!
  • 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 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 Bundt Cake, Orange Spice Cake (from cake mix), and Orange Coconut Cake!

Thanks so much for stopping by! We hope that you enjoy this orange dreamsicle cake mix recipe.

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

You'll find our favorite tried and true cake recipes from scratch as well as cake mix recipes! We also have a huge collection of cake decorating tutorials.

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
Course: Dessert
Servings: 15 servings
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


Orange Cake Layers

  • 1 box, white cake mix, sifted 15.25 oz. (We used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (plain in the UK) (114g)
  • 1 cup sugar (200g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (5g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cups orange juice (322g)
  • 1 cup sour cream (we use full fat sour cream) (242g)
  • 1 Tablespoon orange extract (*See note below for alternative) (10g)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (2g)
  • 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 cups Heavy cream or whipping cream. (464g)
  • 1 tsp. Orange Extract (we used McCormick) (4g)

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (226 g)
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened (total weight 452g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (4g)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (2g)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (690g)
  • Orange Coloring Gel optional We used a very small amount for tinting.


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 DiamondCATEGORY: Recipes


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.
4.58 from 91 votes (87 ratings without comment)

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  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)

  6. 5 stars
    Oh goodness...I made it for a co-worker, to say thank you for covering part of my shift and let me say...I received so many thank-yous over this cake!! The cake is moist, fluffy. The icing is yummy, the cream cheese is not overpowering, just the right mix. And I could make a meal of the mock mousse! Thank you for sharing the recipe and I'll definitely make this cake again!!!

  7. 5 stars
    I need help please! I can't do the 3 cake layers! would it work to cook the cake in a bundt pan and cut it in half to add the filling ? everything's sitting on my counter getting to room temperature! thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Ellen, yes that should be fine- You could also do a two layer 8 inch or 9 inch cake. If doing a bundt cake, just make sure that it has fully cooled before you fill it. (We recently made a banana pudding bundt cake and sliced it in half for the filling.). Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this cake this past weekend and it was absolutely delicious! The frosting ... it tasted just like a dreamsicle. I changed nothing; the recipe was perfect! Thank you for sharing your time and dedication to getting this cake just right!

    1. Hi Christy! Thank you so much for your feedback on the cake, we're so happy that you enjoyed it! xo

  9. 5 stars
    Easy directions for a wonderful cake! Love the summer dream cycle taste, was definitely worth making. Used jello as instructed, worked out really good ! Everyone loved it, thank you


  10. I love making your box mix cakes! So delicious and moist! My granddaughter requested a mango flavored cake for her birthday. Would this cake work using mango jello and puréed mangos in the filling? Or is there a better recipe to use? Thank you!

  11. I only have two 8" rounds. Would this be too much batter for the two 8" pans? Could I bake the two and hold the remaining batter in the fridge until I have a free pan? Can't wait to try this recipe. One of our favorite restaurants in Florida serves this and it is awesome. Thank you in advance for your input.