Food & Drink

Sugar Buzz: Creamsicle Cake

Is your New Year's resolution to lose weight? I solemnly swear I will not torture you with a calorie-packed, diet-busting dessert this month. Please remember me as Hannah the Merciful.

A perpetual dieter myself, I know how hard sticking to a healthy eating plan can be. But swearing off desserts for all time? Pass. I'd much rather eat sinfully rich desserts in small amounts, or - even better - lighten up those treats and enjoy them in a healthier way.

Creamsicle Cake isn't calorie-free, but it provides a lighter dessert alternative to dangerous trigger foods (such as, in my case, chocolate). For 1/16 of a 13-by-9-inch cake (as shown in the photo - a nice, big piece), you'll consume about 227 calories and 10 grams fat.

If you want to shave off even more calories and fat, try these tricks:

  • Use applesauce instead of oil in the cake (see option on the back of the box).
  • Combine the orange cake mix with a can of diet orange soda and nothing else. This is a trick I learned from my best friend ... 15 minutes after my cake was in the oven. I'll try it next time!
  • Use Cool Whip Free instead of Cool Whip Lite (note: this may sacrifice some of the topping's creaminess).

Preparation: The first step is finding the orange cake mix. I struck out at Kroger but found it at both Bluffton Publix stores. The baking process is simple. Pouring the Jell-O in the cake before it solidifies creates an incredibly moist texture in the finished cake. If you like it, you could use this method with any cake/Jell-O combination you fancy.

Taste: It definitely tastes like a creamsicle. Most of us were reminded of those Flinstones Push-up Pops we ate as kids. The topping contains the most creamsicle flavor; the cake is moist, but very mild (one taster called it "bland"). The flavor was too "orangey" for some, and not enough for others. You'll have to decide for yourself.

The bottom line: Creamsicle Cake is a good option for those cutting calories, and also for folks who like orange-flavored desserts.

Hannah's rating: 3.5 stars

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

Straight from the taster's mouth

"I think the icing totally makes the cake. It tastes just like a creamsicle and I bet it would be a tasty and lighter alternative to thick, ultra-sweet frosting on cupcakes, too." Allison Stice, Bluffton reporter, 4 stars

"Not a fan of the whippy topping - would have preferred more of an icing or cream cheesy-type with a bit more oomph." Drew Martin, photo editor, 2.5 stars

"It's really light, which is a nice change for a dessert. It would be yummy all year because of its airiness. I love the topping, but it has a little too strong of an orange taste." Coleen O'Lear, assistant copy desk chief, 3 stars

The samplers: 18 employees of The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette

The scale:

1 star = Ewww!

5 stars = Seconds, please!

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Try it at home

We want to know what YOU think of Creamsicle Cake - yum or yuck? Whip up a batch at home and give us your verdict at

Creamsicle Cake

Makes: 16 servings

1 (18.25-ounce) Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix, plus ingredients to make it (3 eggs, vegetable oil and water)

2 small packages sugar-free orange Jell-O

1 small package sugar-free vanilla instant Jell-O pudding

1 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip Lite

Bake cake as directed in a 13-by-9-inch pan. When done, use a large fork to poke holes across the entire cake. Let cool.

In bowl, mix 1 box of orange Jell-O with 1 cup hot water. Dissolve Jell-O. Add 1 cup cold water. Pour over cake and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Mix together remaining box of orange Jell-O, vanilla pudding mix, milk and vanilla extract. Beat well. Fold in Cool Whip. Refrigerate and serve.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 227 calories, 10 grams fat