having a heat wave – creamsicle cake

having a heat wave – creamsicle cake

This has been one of the hottest summers I’ve spent in New York. The rolling waves of steamy days make the endless humidity unbearable–even for someone who grew up in sub-tropical Hong Kong, known for its schvitzing spring and summers.

So, you understand why I crave frozen treats. It’s easy to make popsicles, such as Strawberry-Watermelon and Saffron-Apricot popsicles, but to make frozen treats and be able to bring them to a gathering to share with friends is quite the challenge.

I decided to turn one of my all time favorite childhood treat, the Creamsicle, into a cake. It’s not the same as the frozen treat, but it’s more portable–and evokes the same kind of memories with its sweet tart orange curd filling sandwiched between two creamy orange cake layers. The use of malted milk gives the cake a creaminess, and the tangy filling gets your mouth watering, as if the orange shell of the iced treat is melting in your mouth.

Happy Summer!

Creamsicle Cake


Orange Curd Filling
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks (reserve egg whites for another use)
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces/1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen
Orange Cake
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups (10–1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3-3/8 ounces) malted milk powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
Orange Frosting
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1-1/4 cups (5-5/8 ounces) malted milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (12 ounces/3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1-1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 drops orange food gel (optional)




Orange Curd Filling

1. Measure 1 tablespoon lemon juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over top. Heat remaining lemon juice, orange juice, sugar, and salt in medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot but not boiling. Whisk eggs and yolks in large nonreactive bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot citrus-sugar mixture into eggs, then return mixture to saucepan.

2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with heatproof spatula, until mixture is thick enough to leave trail when spatula is scraped along pan bottom, 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Stir in frozen butter until incorporated. Pour filling through fine-mesh strainer into nonreactive bowl. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm enough to spread, at least 2 hours.

Orange Cake

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Grease two 9-by-1-1/2-inch cake pans with butter and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper or wax paper. Grease parchment rounds, dust cake pans with flour, and tap out excess.

2. Whisk eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla with fork in small bowl. Combine sugar and orange zest in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on low speed until resemble wet sand. Add flour, malted milk powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt ; continue to mix  until combined. Add butter, one piece at a time; mix until combine, only pea-size pieces remains, about 2 minute.

3. Add half of egg mixture, increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low and add remaining egg mixture. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

4. Divide batter equally between prepared cake pans; spread to sides of pan and smooth with small off-set spatula. Bake until tops are light golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotate pan half way through to for even baking. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen. Invert cake onto large plate, peel off parchment, and re-invert onto lightly greased rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

Orange Frosting

1. Warm coconut milk in small saucepan, do not boil. Remove from heat, add malted milk powder, orange zest and vanilla extract, stir to combine, set aside to cool.

2. In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until combined, about one minute.

3. Add malted milk mixture and food gel (if using), increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl if necessary. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready.


1. Place one cake layer on the bottom of cake stand or serving platter. Spread Orange Curd Filling evenly over cake layer; top with second cake layer.

2. Spread frosting on top and side of cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve.