4.50 from 4 votes

Pig Pickin Cake

Pig Pickin Cake is a light, sweet and moist cake perfect for spring or summertime. This sunshine cake is studded with mandarin oranges and topped with a creamy and fluffy vanilla pineapple frosting. Perfect for potlucks, family reunions, BBQs and picnics.

Pig Pickin Cake on a cake stand.


This simple cake is a traditional dessert popular in the American South. It gets its unique name because it was commonly served at pig pickin’ events. It’s a traditional Southern barbecue with pig roasts. Yes, a whole actual pig is roasted to be enjoyed with family and friends. I have a friend here in Canada whose family has pig roasts every summer. 

It’s a scrumptious fruity cake with a light and fluffy texture and the tropical flavors of mandarin oranges and pineapple. You don’t have to be from the South to enjoy it. Make this easy dessert any time your sweet tooth comes calling. No special occasion required! Who knows it may become your new favorite cake.

 If you’re looking for a unique and delicious cake that will impress your guests, look no further than Pig Pickin’ Cake.

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Why You’l Love Pig Pickin’ Cake

  • Layer cake with lots of fruity tropical flavor and sweetness
  • Made with a boxed cake mix
  • Traditional southern dessert served at whole pig roasts
  • Easy cake that is quick to prepare
  • Made with pantry ingredients
  • Super moist with a dreamy frosting
  • Perfect summer dessert

Ingredients

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    The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

    • Box of yellow cake mix
    • Water
    • Vegetable oil
    • Large eggs
    • Can of mandarin oranges (drain the mandarin orange juice in the can)
    • Can of crushed pineapple (drain the pineapple juice in the can)
    • Vanilla instant pudding mix (don’t make the pudding, just use the mix in the box)
    • Frozen whipped topping (thawed) – Try my homemade Cool Whip.
    • Maraschino cherries
    Pig pickin cake ingredients.

    How to Make Pig Pickin Cake Recipe

    • Step One: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. 
    • Step Two: In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix with a hand mixer until combined.
    • Step Three: Stir in mandarin oranges, but set aside a few for garnish. 
    Steps to make Pig Pickin Cake.
    • Step Four: Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
    • Step Five: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Step Six: Cool layers in pans for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and cool on racks until completely cooled.
    Steps to make Pig Pickin Cake.
    • Step Seven: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crushed pineapple with the vanilla pudding mix. Fold in whipped topping.
    Steps to make Pig Pickin Cake.
    • Step Eight: Spread frosting on the first cake. Add second cake on top of the first cake and cover with frosting, making sure to cover the sides and top. 
    Steps to make Pig Pickin Cake.
    • Step Nine: Garnish with maraschino cherries and mandarin oranges. 
    • Step Ten: Chill 4 hours before serving.

    Equipment Needed

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    What to Serve with Mandarin Orange Cake

    Pig pickin cake with a slice cut out.

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Garnish with orange slices,
    • Add 1/4 teaspoon of orange extract or orange zest to the cake batter for extra orange flavor.
    • Experiment with different cake mixes. You could try lemon, orange or white cake mix instead of yellow cake mix.
    • Substitute the mandarin oranges and pineapple with other canned or fresh fruits.  Try peaches, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
    • For a stronger orange taste, use a package of orange jello to the cake batter.
    • Add chopped nuts like pecans or almonds to the cake batter.
    • Use a cheesecake or white chocolate dry pudding mix instead of vanilla.
    • ​Use a cream cheese frosting instead of the whipped cream topping. 
    • Add shredded sweetened coconut to the cake layers and on top of the whipped topping for extra tropical flavor.

    Storage Instructions

    Cover leftovers in plastic wrap or in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 

    Can I Freeze?

    Yes, you can freeze Pig Pickin Cake. Make sure it’s wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

    When you’re ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge or let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.

    A slice of Pig Pickin Cake on a plate.

    Recipe Tips

    • Use a good quality cake mix. I like Betty Crocker box cake mix.
    • Don’t use pineapple tidbits or chunks in the frosting. It needs to be crushed pineapple or it will not work the same.
    • Don’t forget to drain the canned fruit. Your cake will be wet and soggy if the cans of mandarin oranges and pineapples are not drained. Add only the fruit and not the liquid in the can!
    • Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing any cake batter can cause the cake to become tough and dense. Just mix enough until the ingredients are combined.
    • Let the cake cool completely before assembling the layers and frosting. If the cake is still warm, the whipped topping frosting will melt and make it soggy.
    • Chill the cake before serving. I chill mine for 4 hours to allow the flavors to mingle together and the frosting to set. If you’re in a rush, the absolute minimum chill time is 1 hour.
    • Make ahead. You can make this cake ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    FAQ

    What is Pig Pickin Cake?

    Pig Pickin Cake is a layered cake that is a Southern tradition at barbecues, picnics, and other gatherings. It’s made with yellow cake mix, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple and whipped cream.

    Why is it called Pig Pickin Cake?

    The origin of this cake is said to be the Southern USA where pig roasts are popular. Some say the name comes from the practice of picking meat off the roasted pig (pig pickin’). 

    What else is it called?

    *Mandarin orange cake
    *Pig cake
    *Sunshine cake
    *Tropical delight cake
    *Pineapple-orange cake

    A slice of Pig Pickin cake on a plate.

    Cake Mix Recipes

    You’ll also like this Pineapple Cake.

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    4.50 from 4 votes

    Pig Pickin Cake

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 12
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Chill Time 4 hours
    Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
    A light, sweet and moist cake perfect for spring or summertime. This sunshine cake is studded with mandarin oranges and topped with a creamy and fluffy vanilla pineapple topping. Perfect for potlucks, BBQs and picnics.

    Ingredients
     
     

    • 1 package yellow cake mix 15.25oz box
    • 1 cup water
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 can mandarin oranges 11oz, drained
    • 1 can crushed pineapple 15oz, drained
    • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix 3.4oz
    • 1 container Cool Whip 12oz, thawed
    • Maraschino cherries for garnish

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans.
    • In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix with a hand mixer until combined.
    • Stir in mandarin oranges, but set aside a few for garnish.
    • Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
    • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Cool layers in pans for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and cool on racks until completely cooled.
    • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crushed pineapple with the vanilla pudding mix. Fold in Cool Whip.
    • Spread frosting on the first cake. Add second cake on top of the first cake and cover with frosting, making sure to cover the sides and top.
    • Garnish with maraschino cherries and mandarin oranges.
    • Chill 4 hours before serving.

    Video

    Nutrition

    Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 257IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 1mg

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Dessert
    Cuisine American
    Keyword cake, pig pickin cake, sunshine cake

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    4.50 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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    One Comment

    1. Melissa A Henley says:

      5 stars
      I love all these recipes..

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