Pig Pickin' Cake - Mandarin Orange Cake

Ralph Daily/Flickr
  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings

Pig Pickin' Cake​ is a funny name for a truly delicious cake! This Southern classic features a mandarin orange cake and a unique, refreshing pineapple frosting. This cake is also known as a mandarin orange cake, and a Florida Sunshine Cake. For more information about the history of this unique name, please see the note below the recipe.

​If you are not a fan of cakes made with boxed cake mix, you can make a very good version of this recipe with your favorite homemade yellow cake recipe--just be sure to add mandarin oranges before baking, and don't forget the iconic pineapple-whipped cream frosting!


  • 1- 18 ounce yellow cake mix
  • 11-ounce can mandarin oranges with juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 9-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 3.4 ounce (4-servings) box instant vanilla pudding (not sugar-free variety)

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.

  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, mandarin oranges, mandarin orange juice, eggs and the oil. Beat the mixture for 2 minutes with an electric mixer.

  3. Pour it into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 5 minutes, carefully turn out the cakes and finish cooling them on wire racks.

  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the whipped topping, pineapple, juice from can and the dry vanilla pudding mix. Use a knife to roughly divide the frosting into 4 portions. Frost the top of the bottom layer with 1/4 of the frostings. Add the next layer, and frost the top of it with 1/4 of the frosting. Add the top cake layer and frost the top and the sides with the remaining frosting.

  5. Keep the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The frosting is delicate and will soften an melt at warm temperatures. Pig Pickin' Cake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

The History of Pig Pickin' Cake

This cake gets its unique name from "pig pickin's"--a Southern barbeque tradition. In these gatherings, a whole pig is roasted and is the centerpiece of a large communal feast. In addition to the roasted pig, many side dishes are served, and the meal often ends with this iconic orange-pineapple cake. Although the recipe has spread far beyond the South, and is now served at any occasion and not just a pig pickin', the colorful name has remained!