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FOOD HOLIDAY & RECIPE: National Creamsicle Day & A Creamsicle Cake

Many foods—from yogurt thousands of years ago, to cream cheese, fudge, ganache, ice cream soda and Toll House Cookies in the late 19th/early 20th century—were invented as the result of happy accidents. The Popsicle, first of the “sicle” ice cream novelties, was no different.


In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson mixed together a fruit drink (believed to be orange-flavored) from powder and water and inadvertently left it on the porch. It was an unseasonably cold night in the San Francisco suburbs, and when Frank found his drink the next morning, it was frozen. He eased it out of the glass and, holding it by the stirrer, ate it.

While Frank may have enjoyed his frozen fruit drink over the years, the public story doesn’t continue until 1923. A 29-year-old husband and father working in the real estate industry, Frank made what he called Epsicles for a fireman’s ball. They were a sensation, and Frank obtained a patent for ”a handled, frozen confection or ice lollipop.” His kids called the treat a Popsicle, after their Pop. So Frank created Popsicle Corporation and collaborated with the Loew Movie Company for the nationwide marketing and sales of the product in movie theaters.

By 1928, Epperson had earned royalties on more than 60 million Popsicles.* But his happy days ended with the Great Depression. In 1929, flat broke, Frank had to liquidate his assets and sold the patent to, and his rights in, Popsicle Corporation. (Following three more sales over the years, Popsicle is now part of Unilever’s Good Humor Division).


The Creamsicle: a vanilla ice cream pop
coated with orange sherbet. Photo courtesy


*Today, hundreds of millions of Popsicles are sold each year in the U.S., in more than thirty flavors. The most popular flavor over the years continues to be the classic orange.

While the record isn’t clear, Frank may also have invented the twin Popsicle, with two sticks so it could be shared by two children. Over the years, the Popsicle Corporation continued to create frozen treats on a stick: the Fudgsicle (a chocolate-flavored pop with a texture somewhat similar to ice cream), the Creamsicle (vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet) and the Dreamsicle (a Creamsicle filled with ice milk instead of ice cream).


August 14th is National Creamsicle Day.† You don’t need to buy a Creamsicle to celebrate: Have a scoop of vanilla ice cream with one of orange sherbet.

To celebrate today, you can make vanilla cupcakes with orange frosting or top vanilla ice cream with orange liqueur. Or, enjoy this recipe for Creamsicle Ice Cream Cake:



  • 1 loaf pound cake
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 pint orange sherbet
  • Grated orange zest (optional)

    1. Soften ice cream at room temperature until it is just spreadable.

    2. Using a bread knife, slice the pound cake into three even layers.

    3. Using a spatula, cover the bottom cake layer with orange sherbet. Place in the freezer as you prepare the next layer.

    4. Cover the middle layer with vanilla ice cream.

    5. Place the middle layer atop the bottom layer, then top the middle layer with the top layer.

    6. Cover in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to slice and serve. Garnish sliced pieces with a sprinkle of fresh orange zest.

    Using a graham cracker pie crust, you can make an ice cream pie instead of an ice cream cake. And there are other ways to celebrate: Creamsicle-flavored cakes, cookies, cupcakes, cocktails, fudge and martinis. (While the word “Creamsicle” has become generic, like Kleenex, the trademark is the property of Unilever.)

    Thank you, Frank Epperson.

    †There seems to be no National Popsicle or National Fudgsicle Day, but National Grape Popsicle Day is May 27, National Cherry Popsicle Day is August 26th and National Blueberry Popsicle Day is September 2nd.


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