Dreamsicle ice cream bars are my Mama's favorite! The mixture of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream is just, well dreamy. When I was a little girl I used to buy Push Up Pops from the general store (Yes I said general store. I lived in the middle of nowhere) Do you remember Push Up Pops? They were a paper cylinder filled with orange sherbet that you literally pushed up to eat. They had The Flintstones on the wrapper if I'm not mistaken. When I was sick, my Daddy would bring home orange sherbet and orange Gatorade to help me feel better. So, orange is a good flavor memory for me. It makes me remember being a kid. So, when I stumbled across this recipe for Dreamsicle Cupcakes, I knew I had to try it.
1 (3oz) box orange jello mix, reserve 2 tsp
1 box white cake mix
1 (4 serving size) box cheesecake instant pudding mix (or vanilla)
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp reserved orange jello mix
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
5 1/2 - 6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
zest of an orange
1 TBS milk, if needed
*Note about the frosting: this recipe makes a lot of frosting! I halved the recipe and had enough but I don't like a ton of frosting on cupcakes. If you like a lot of frosting, make the entire recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 27 muffin cups with liners (because of the added ingredients, this makes more than the usual 24).
Set aside 2 tsp of the orange jello mix (to use in the frosting).
In a large bowl beat remaining jello mix, cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, eggs, oil and vanilla until well combined.
Spoon batter into lined cups, filling 2/3 full.
Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Next, make the frosting. Here's a hint about zesting citrus: Using a fine grater, only take the colored part of the peel. The white part is bitter. Like this:
You can see where I zested is a lighter shade of orange not white. Don't push too hard and you'll be good.
In a large bowl beat softened cream cheese, butter, reserved jello mix, vanilla and orange zest until creamy.
Add powdered sugar (Start with 5 1/2 cups) and beat until spreadable. If it's too thick, add a little milk (about a tablespoon) and mix until smooth.
Frost cooled cupcakes.
These cupcakes came out great! They tasted just like a dreamsicle bar! Orange and creamy and dreamy! I was instantly transported to my childhood. It made my heart smile.