Pig Pickin Cake is three things – a Southern delicacy, a summertime must make, and a fun dessert name to say out loud! Yellow cake mix is mixed up with sweet mandarin oranges to make super moist cake layers that are separated by the fruity whipped topping of your summery dreams.

A pig pickin cake is presented on a white serving plate.

Pig Pickin Cake

Let’s start right off the top with the most important information – why in the world is this fruity cake called a Pig Pickin Cake?! If you’re also from above the Mason Dixon Line, you’re probably confused, yet intrigued by the fun name of this layered dessert. Long story short, this cake was (and still is) a popular dessert at pork roasts. Since people would pick the meat off of the pig, this cake was referred to and eventually recognized as a Pig Pickin Cake!

The cake layers are so deliciously fruity and moist from the sweet, juicy addition of mandarin oranges. That’s one of the best things about this recipe – it’s really just a dressed up box cake mix, and you’d never know it. What makes it even more enticing is the frosting, which is made with ingredients like instant pudding mix, whipped topping, and pineapple. It truly tastes like summery sweetness with every bite.

If you’re planning on hosting a backyard barbecue this summer, you definitely need to serve this layered cake. It’s not only picturesque and delicious, but it’s got a fun name and cute backstory as well! It’s a total conversation starter that also will earn you a ton of compliments. It’s fruity, fun, and easy to make. What more could you want from a summertime staple?!

The ingredients for pig pickin cake are spread out across a countertop.

How to Make It

Dressing up a box of cake mix is something that everybody should know how to do, and this is one of my favorite ways to do it.

Preheat. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make the batter. In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer combine the cake mix, water, vegetable oil and eggs.  

Add the oranges. Once combined add in most of your oranges, you can set aside a few to decorate the top if you like.

Bake. Pour the batter evenly into 2 greased 8 inch cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Cool. Cool layers in pans for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on racks until they are completely cool. 

Make the frosting. In a medium mixing bowl combine the crushed pineapple with the pudding mix. Once that in combined, fold in the whipped topping.

Frost the cake. Spread some of the frosting on a layer of cake and top with the other layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with more mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries if you like.

Chill. Chill for 4 hours before serving.

A fork is digging into a slice of cake.

Variations to Try

  • You can add shredded coconut to the frosting if you like, or sprinkle it on top with the other garnishes.
  • Some people like to add a little crunch to the cake batter with pecans. If you add in pecans, I recommend using chopped ones, not halves.
  • This also works great in 9×13 baking dish and makes it easy to transport.

Tips for the Best Pig Pickin Cake

  • Be sure to get crushed pineapple for the frosting, as pineapple tidbits or chunks will not work the same.
  • The cake has to be completely cooled before icing as the frosting can melt easily.
  • While it’s best served on the first day it’s made, this cake will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Just make sure it’s stored in an airtight container. I don’t recommend freezing it!
A slice of pig pickin cake is presented on a round white plate.

This summer, make all of my fruity favorites!

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A pig pickin cake is presented on a white serving plate.

Get the Recipe: Pig Pickin Cake

This Pig Pickin Cake is my favorite cake but I especially love it in the summer! Yellow cake mix is whipped up with mandarin oranges for a super moist cake. The frosting is a dreamy combination of whipped topping, crushed pineapple and vanilla pudding. This cake is always a show stopper and crowd pleaser. It is also the perfect summer dessert for any get together.
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Ingredients

  • 1 15.25-ounce package yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 3.4-ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 12-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

Equipment

  • cake pan

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer combine the cake mix, water, vegetable oil and eggs.
  • Once combined add in most of your oranges, you can set aside a few to decorate the top if you like.
  • Pour the batter evenly into 2 greased 8 inch cake pans.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool layers in pans for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on racks until they are completely cool.
  • Next make the frosting.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the crushed pineapple with the pudding mix.
  • Once that in combined fold in the whipped topping.
  • Spread some of the frosting on a layer of cake and top with the other layer.
  • Frost the top and sides of the cake.
  • Garnish with more mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries if you like.
  • Chill for 4 hours before serving.
  • Serve!

Notes

Refrigerate leftovers for 3-5 days.
You can add shredded coconut to the frosting if you like or sprinkle it on top. Some people like to add a little crunch with pecans.
The cake has to be completely cooled before icing as the frosting can melt easily.
Be sure to get crushed pineapple for the frosting as pineapple tidbits or chunks will not work the same.
This also works great in 9×13 baking dish and makes it easy to transport.
Calories: 171kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 267mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 77IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 1mg