Orange Cream Cheese Bars are cool and delicious. Every bite of crunchy bottom, refreshing orange filling, and fresh orange zest makes them a treat indeed. Top them off with an orange juice drizzle, and it’s a party.
Fresh orange zest helps give this dessert its fantastic flavor.
The crust is both crunchy and chewy, while the filling is smooth and refreshing with the orange zest.
Lastly, what would this dessert be without an orange juice drizzle? It’s only the perfect icing to this sweet treat.
Making Orange Cream Cheese Bars
Three ingredients go into making the crust: cake mix, unsalted butter, and chopped pecans.
I used a French Vanilla cake mix for this recipe, but you can also use a white, orange, or plain vanilla cake mix.
The unique twist comes by using only half of the cake mix.
Yes, that’s right…only half. We’ll get into what to do with the other half later.
For now, mix 1 1/2 cups cake mix with the melted butter and pecans.
The batter will be crumbly, which is perfect for pressing into the bottom of your sprayed baking dish.
In addition, press the crust about 3/4″ up the sides.
The Cream Cheese Filling
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and cream.
Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.
I say, “gradually,” because if you dump it in all at once your kitchen will look like a bomb went off.
Next, add the eggs, zest, and extract. Beat just until thoroughly combined.
Pour the filling over the crust and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until set.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Orange Extract vs. Fresh Orange Juice
NOTE: this recipe calls for orange extract, because extract is more sour, more intense than fresh orange juice.
Fresh juice can, however, be substituted for extract if necessary.
In place of the 1/4 teaspoon extract, substitute with 1/4 teaspoon juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest.
You should get a similar flavor since orange extract is made from the oil of orange skins.
Orange Juice Drizzle
Last in line is the drizzle.
This adds a bit of sweetness, plus a pretty pattern and texture.
Simply mix the orange juice with powdered sugar until thin enough to drizzle over the top.
You can do this with the fork you used to mix it, or pour into a baggie and snip a corner tip off.
Keep these treats refrigerated in a sealed container.
More “Orange” and “Cream Cheese” recipes:
- Cinnamon Orange Swirl Cake
- Cherry Orange Frosty
- Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
- Mango Cream Cheese Pie
- Pineapple Cream Cheese Bites
- No Bake Lemon Blueberry Dessert
- No Bake Oreo Cookie Balls
Orange Cream Cheese Bars
- 1 1/2 cups French Vanilla cake mix, (or plain vanilla, orange, yellow, or white)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp. pecans, chopped
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. orange zest
- 1/4 tsp. orange extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp. orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease (or spray) an 8 x 8" baking dish.
- Combine cake mix, butter, and pecans in bowl. Stir until blended. (Mixture will be crumbly.) Press in bottom of baking dish.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar until blended.
- Add eggs, zest, and orange extract until thoroughly mixed. Pour over crust.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack.
- Mix powdered sugar and orange juice until thoroughly mixed. Add more juice if needed. Drizzle over cooled bars. Enjoy!
What to do with half a box of cake mix
Yay! I remembered to put this part in, because I almost forgot.
Here are some of my ideas.
Start by making the batter according to the box, only you’ll need to half the water, half the oil, and use 2 eggs, not 3.
First, make a dozen cupcakes. You don’t even need to eat them right now, you can also freeze them.
Second, make a 3-layer cake. In other words, this is the 3rd layer. Grab another box or recipe for the other 2 layers and frost away. You could even mix and match flavors – how fun!
Third, bake the batter and cut into small cubes for trifles.
Fourth, bake in a 9″ cake pan and freeze for future use.
Fifth, bake batter in 2 6″ pans for a mini cake.
Sixth, seal the dry cake mix for future use.
Lastly, make another Orange Cream Cheese Bars dessert, or double the recipe in a 13 x 9″ baking dish.
Orange Cream Cheese Bars
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