Totable Cakes for Celebrating

Creamsicle cake
Coconut topped cupcakes

We’re heading into Labor Day, the last hurrah. Celebrate an outdoor gathering with what I call “totable picnic cakes.” 

Start with a box cake mix and a little imagination. 

The creamsicle cake has been shared so many times it’s in my recipe hall of fame. 

The cupcakes look fancy but are simple to make with a boxed mix and your own special touches.

Creamsicle picnic cake

Ingredients cake

1 box, 15.25 oz., lemon supreme cake mix or yellow cake mix

1 box, 3 oz., orange Jello, not sugar free

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon orange extract

1-1/4 cups orange juice


Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9×13 pan.

Beat cake mix, jello, oil, eggs, and extract in mixing bowl on medium speed.  Add orange juice and blend on low. Increase to medium and beat a few minutes longer. Pour into pan. 

Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Don’t overbake.


If cake humps up in the center after baking, put a folded towel over it right away and gently press down to force air out.  Cool before frosting.

Ingredients frosting

1 can, 20 oz., crushed pineapple, drained 

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

3.5 oz. box instant vanilla pudding, not sugar free

8 oz. or more, to taste, frozen whipped topping, thawed


Beat pineapple, cheese and pudding together, then fold in topping.

Spread on cake and keep refrigerated.

Change it up!

Sub in mandarin oranges, drained, for pineapple.

Don’t like whipped topping?

Sub in whipping cream for whipped topping. Whip 1-1/2 cups whipping cream with a bit of confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.

Fancy schmancy picnic cupcakes


1 box cake mix, 15.25 oz

1 extra egg

Use cupcake liners for easy pickup


Follow directions for ingredients and add 1 extra egg for moister cupcakes.

Homemade vanilla cream cheese frosting


1/4 cup butter, room temperature

8 oz. regular cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 to 1 cup confectioners’ sugar


Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.

Beat in 3/4 cup sugar; add more if desired.

Homemade dark chocolate frosting


1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

2-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar or bit more if needed

Couple pinches salt

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup milk

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Beat butter on medium speed until smooth.

Add sugar, salt and cocoa, beat until blended. 

Slowly pour milk and vanilla in, beat until mixed.
Increase speed to high and beat a couple of minutes.  

Speed scratch whipped chocolate frosting


1 container chocolate frosting

1 teaspoon vanilla


Whip until fluffy. 

Make it mocha

Add 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules or 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, or to taste, to either chocolate frosting.


Coconut frosted cupcakes

Frost cupcakes, then dip tops into flaked coconut, rotating cupcakes gently into coconut to coat entire top. 

Easy to tote:

Put cupcakes into cupcake pans for transporting.

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