Look past the fact that there is some serious clashing going on in the orange coloring department…and listen up about these bars.

Orange Cream Bars

I think I’m in love with orange curd. I’ve never made lemon or orange curd before, although, apparently, making it is supposed to be quite easy. I’ve always been turned off by the word “curd.” It sounds weird and not at all appealing.

But I bucked all of my phobias and made these Orange Cream Bars to test them out for Sugar Rush, even though the middle layer is completely, 100% homemade orange curd.

And as I mentioned, I think I’m in love. Even my picky dad, who was in town, licked the spoon and said, “Wowsers, that’s good.” These bars start with a buttery shortbread crust and are topped with a creamy, dreamy layer of orange curd that I’m not kidding, is some of the most heavenly, silkiest stuff you’ll ever eat, and then they are finished off with a sweetened sour cream layer that cuts the tartness of the orange curd perfectly.

A completely different take on traditional lemon bars, these Orange Cream Bars taste like an orange creamsicle (you know the one!) that has gone through a huge (might I say extreme) makeover.

Orange Cream Bars

Orange Cream Bars

Yield: Makes 16 squares

Orange Cream Bars


    Shortbread crust:
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold butter cut into chunks
  • Orange Curd filling:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • Sour Cream Topping:
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil so that the foil extends 2 inches beyond two opposite sides of the pan, like little handles. Lightly grease the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Place the flour, sugar and salt into a medium bowl and whisk together. Scatter the butter pieces over the mixture and mix the ingredients together using a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and large clumps hold together. (You can us a food processor for this step.)
  3. Scrape the dough into prepared pan and pat it into an even layer. Using a fork, prick the dough at 1-inch intervals. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown around edges. Set pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. Set a fine-mesh sieve or colander over a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium-sized heavy, non-reactive saucepan, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and sugar until well blended. Stir in the citrus juices, orange zest, salt and butter and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 7 to 8 minutes (do not let it boil or it will curdle). Immediately strain the mixture through the sieve, pressing it through with a rubber spatula.
  5. Transfer ¼ cup of the curd to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate. Scrape the remaining warm curd onto the cooled shortbread crust and spread it into an even layer. Place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the curd is cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Whisk the sour cream, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract into the reserved 1/4 cup orange curd. Transfer ¼ cup of the topping to a small bowl and set aside. Scrape the remaining topping over the cooled orange curd layer and spread it evenly.
  8. Add a small amount of orange food coloring to the reserved ¼ cup topping, just enough to turn it a pale orange. Scrape this mixture into a small sealable plastic bag and seal the bag. Snip a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag. Pipe the colored topping in a free-form filigree pattern over the bars.
  9. Bake the bars for 10 minutes, just until the topping is set (inner filling will be very jiggly but that is ok – just make sure the topping is set). Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely, then chill the bars for at least 2 hours (or up to a day).
  10. Using a thin sharp knife, cut the bars into 16 squares, wiping the blade after each cut. Serve chilled.

Recipe Source: adapted from The Good Cookie

22 Responses to Orange Cream Bars

  1. Luda says:

    Mel- Thanks again for a great recipe. I doubled it, used a 9×13 pan, the cooking time for the crust was the same, but I cooked the sour cream layer a little bit longer. The only thing I recommend is leaving it in the fridge for a bit longer than 2 hours, the curd and the sour cream layer were sliding off after being chilled for 3 hours. Maybe because my layers were a bit larger. Although they were absolutely delicious!!! And everyone loved it!!!! I am having leftovers right now, and it’s like eating a creamsicle only better!!!! Thanks!!!!!

  2. Melanie says:

    Logan and Motion DeSmiths – the sour cream topping needs to be set, even though the inner orange curd will be melted and jiggly (but will set up in the fridge). Motion DeSmith’s comment summed it up – after the sour cream layer has baked for 10 minutes, gently press on the sour cream layer and if it doesn’t leave a gooey, sour cream residue on your fingers and feels soft yet firm then you can take it out. It may leave a slightly sticky residue on your fingers but you don’t want it to still be wet sour cream. You won’t mess it up by not letting it set completely – the bars may be a little bit gooier but they’ll still have the same taste. Sorry for the confusion!

    Motion DeSmith: thanks for the additional laugh…

  3. Motion DeSmiths says:

    I’m having the same problem with the top layer not setting. I baked for about 20 minutes and finally I think it was set when I touched it with my finger very lightly and it didn’t leave any goo and basically held its shape.

    They’re cooling right now. I’m so excited! I pretty much madeout with the strainer to lick up every bit of orange curd. Mortifying, yet so worth it.

  4. Logan says:

    —“Bake the bars for 10 minutes, just until the topping is set (inner filling will be very jiggly but that is ok – just make sure the topping is set)”.—

    My topping doesn’t seem to be setting either. Maybe I just misunderstand. What do you mean by ‘set’?

  5. Melanie says:

    Alisha – oh, it’s fun to make the connections. Thanks for letting me know you know Liz. Yes, she is awesome. She and I were inseparable as kids but haven’t seen each other in years. Tell her hi for me!

  6. Alisha says:

    Nope, 9×9 as instructed. Interesting… still yummy though! I’m trying the pomegranate cheesecake next! Can’t wait!!

    P.S. I’m in Liz Pabst ward– that’s how I found your blog. Don’t you love her?

  7. Melanie says:

    Alisha – I definitely didn’t whip the sour cream layer, I just lightly whisked it together until combined. I remember it was fairly thick. Did you bake the bars in a larger pan? I’m wondering if the sour cream layer wasn’t as thick because of that. I’m glad the result was still delicious, though. Let me know if you try them again!

  8. Melanie says:

    Email from my Aunt Marilyn:
    Oh my goodness, the orange cream bars were unbelievable. I made them last night for Sunday dinner (doubled the batch) and we devoured the whole thing. Even Dan and Randy who refuse to eat anything that’s not chocolate, decided to try it and admitted they loved it. Seriously, they were really good.

  9. Alisha says:

    Well, I just ate my first bar. It was, in fact, delicious. But I definitely think I need to make some improvements. First, I think the crust was over baked. I’ll blame that one on hubby since I left him to watch it. Second, I only had little oranges (cuties) so I think I need a real orange. It’d probably offer more flavor. Third– I still don’t think I got the topping right. I baked it for way longer than 10 min trying to see if it would firm up & it didn’t. You’re sure you didn’t whip it? Your top layer looks thick & fluffy in the picture.

    I am a HUGE fan of all things orangie & lemonie & had actually had my very first lemon curd a few months ago– LOVED IT! I’ll give this one another shot for sure! SO yummy!

  10. Melanie says:

    Alisha – so how did they turn out (sorry I didn’t get your comment until today!)? The top layer will seem to slide around a bit on the curd and I remember having the same feelings as you did, but when I gently touched it after it baked it felt slightly firm. After chilling in the refrigerator, it all came together. Let me know how your turned out (good or bad).

  11. Alisha says:

    I am, as I type, in the final stages of making this dessert– but I have a feeling something is wrong. The top layer doesn’t seem to be setting. Was I supposed to whisk the sour cream topping until it was fluffier or something? Help!

  12. grace says:

    i take issue with the word “curd”, too, but i think i can put all that behind me for something reminiscent of a creamsicle. those are still my favorite ice cream novelty, and your bars are gorgeous and wildly creative. excellent recipe.

  13. scrappysue says:

    they are so visually arresting! i get your rss feed every day into my email and i always come and have a look but don’t always comment, but you have been my inspiration for a whole new raft of recipes at my house for the past month or so! love your blog – thanks! no mean feat posting a different recipe every day at this crazy time of year!

  14. cindy says:

    Love your blog–looks delish!

  15. Melanie says:

    Sorry, I don’t know where my brain was but I added the sour cream layer into the recipe!

  16. Veronica M. says:

    Oooh, yes, I will be making these…as soon as you get the third layer ingredients on there! LOL–you’re never gonna live this one down. 😉

  17. Barbara says:

    Never have made orange curd…these look fabulous!

  18. Lady Aurora says:

    I also don’t see the sour cream layer ingredients. They look delicious though and I’d love to try them.

  19. Pam says:

    Maybe I didn’t check the recipe closely enough, but I am not seeing the sour cream layer ingredients… I REALLY wanna try this though.

  20. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    These look heavenly!! I’ve never made curd before either, but of course now I will be trying it!

  21. megan says:

    orange and cream is my husband’s favorite food pairing of all time! As soon as I get through the ridiculous amount of cookies I baked, these are next on the list. haha he’s learned to start asking if your site is where I got a certain recipe. If it is, he’s pretty sure he’ll like it 🙂

  22. Heidi says:

    These bars look amazing! I love the orange cream flavor.

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