Who doesn’t like a creamsicle on a hot summer day? The ice cream-filled orange popsicle is a favorite summertime treat for many people – and this is that classic popsicle in cupcake form. These Creamsicle Ice Cream Cupcakes are orange cupcakes that are filled with vanilla bean ice cream and topped with a zesty orange glaze. Like their popsicle namesakes, these are stored in the freezer and ready to serve as a cool treat on a hot day or any other time that a creamsicle craving hits!
The cupcakes are easy to make and turn out to be moist and tender. I used both butter and vegetable oil in the cake, as cakes made with vegetable oil tend to stay a little bit moister after being frozen. Freshly squeezed orange juice is going to give you the best flavor in these cupcakes, and by freshly squeezing the oranges you’ll also have plenty of zest to further boost the flavor. If you don’t have oranges at hand, you can use bottled orange juice. Again, try to go with fresh, not-from-concentrate juice for the best flavor even when using bottled juice. The cupcakes will still turn out well, but the orange flavor might be slightly subdued. To punch it up even further, add a bit of orange extract or a few drops of orange oil to the batter.
The finished cakes have a great combination of orange and vanilla flavors. When I hollowed out the cupcakes to fill them with ice cream, I tried to make as much room for the filling as possible. I also used a good quality vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened, to fill them up. The glaze added some extra sweetness and brightness to the cakes, and really reminded me of the orange “shell” that makes up the outer layer of a creamsicle.
These cupcakes should be stored in the freezer and taken out shortly before serving. Once they are glazed, allow them to set up in the freezer for at least an hour. At that point, you can cover them with plastic wrap and they’ll keep for a week at the very least (probably quite a bit longer if you have a lot of self control!). The orange glaze gives you a nice burst of orange when you take a bite, and it sets up very nicely in the freezer without getting too hard. If you are in a hurry to dig in, just stuff the cupcakes with ice cream, top with a spoonful of glaze and serve right away!
Creamsicle Ice Cream Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice (pref. freshly squeezed)
2 tsp orange zest (or 1/2 tsp orange extract)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 – 2 cups vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3-4 tbsp orange juice (pref. freshly squeezed)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vegetable oil.
Stir half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, followed by the orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract. Stir in remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until no streaks of flour remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.
When cupcakes are cool, hollow them out using the cone method (fully explained, with photos, here).
Simply insert a small knife to cut a “cone” of cake out of the center of each cupcake. Cut off the pointy end of the “cone” and save the top. Make the holes large to fit a generous amount of ice cream.
Fill each hollowed out cupcake with 2-3 tbsp softened vanilla bean ice cream, then replace the tops. Freeze for 15 minutes to allow ice cream to set up before glazing.
To make glaze, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and orange juice until a thick, smooth consistency is reached. Add additional juice to thin the glaze, if needed. Drizzle a generous spoonful over each cupcake, and return cupcakes to freezer to chill before serving.