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Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe (Pig Pickin Cake)

4.91 from 87 votes

posted: 08/11/22

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe is the stuff of legends. You may have grown up calling it Pig Pickin Cake. Everyone who tries this cake needs the recipe and then is shocked by how few ingredients you need to make it.

mandarin orange cake recipe on a white plate

You only need SEVEN ingredients to make this orange pineapple cake, and that includes the frosting!

This is a classic cake recipe that lots of you grew up eating and loving at family gatherings, church picnics, and back yard BBQs. I got this recipe from my neighbor and fell in love immediately.

Anywhere she takes this cake people need the recipe. And for good reason. It is moist, packed with flavor, and best of all it is super easy to throw together.

Reader Review

I made this cake for work and it was a winner! Everyone loved it, I will be making this again and again. Thank you!

overhead view of three pieces of orange cake recipe on plates

Ingredients for Orange Cake

One of the best parts about this cake is how few ingredients you need to make it!

  • Yellow Cake Mix: You can pick your favorite brand. Or you can even use a homemade recipe yellow cake mix.
  • Mandarin Oranges: These are for the cake and you will want to buy a can of these and not use a fresh mandarin orange, because you are using the juice too and want them completely peeled like you get in the can.
  • Oil: I love using vegetable oil most for recipes like this.
  • Eggs
  • Cool Whip: You can also use my recipe for stabilized whipped cream.
  • Vanilla Pudding Mix: This is for the frosting and you want to make sure you buy instant pudding mix, not the cook and serve kind. You will just be using the dry mix.
  • Crushed Pineapple: You will be using a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple for the frosting, and you will use both the juice and the fruit.

How to Make Pig Pickin Cake

  1. Make the cake. Combine the cake mix (you are not following the instructions on the box or using the ingredients it calls for), mandarin oranges, eggs, and oil. Pour into a 9 by 13 inch pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  2. Make the frosting. Combine the cool whip, the undrained pineapples, and the dry pudding mix. Beat until smooth.
  3. Frost the cake. Once the cake is completely cooled, frost it with the frosting, serve and enjoy.
piece of orange cake on a white plate

Making Ahead and Storing

For best results, this cake should be made right before serving or up to 24 hours in advance.

Leftovers should be covered and stored in the refrigerator. They can be stored for up to four days.


Do I break up the oranges before adding them?

Nope! You can add them as they are in the can. They will break up a little as your mixing all the ingredients together, and that is just perfect.

Do you add the pineapple and the juice to the frosting?

Correct! The pineapple and the juice go into the frosting. I promise it won’t be too runny. Don’t forget that you re also adding dry pudding mix.

Should the oranges be drained before being added?

Nope! They get added without draining.

Can I use whipped cream for the frosting?

No. Whipped cream isn’t stable and it alone can’t be used as a frosting. You can, however, use my stabilized whipped cream recipe in place of Cool Whip.

Can this cake be made in a bundt pan?

Bundt cakes are really tricky and can’t be made straight from another cake recipe without tweaks being made.

fork going into a piece of orange pineapple cake

Other Easy Desserts

I have lots of great dessert recipes that take short cuts from store bought ingredients. I love baking from scratch, but I love how fun and easy these are for the kids to make too!

If you make this great orange pineapple cake or any of my other desserts be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

mandarin orange cake recipe on a white plate
4.91 from 87 votes

Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe

Serves: 20 pieces
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
This Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe is the stuff of legends.  Everyone who tries this cake needs the recipe and then is shocked by how few ingredients you need to make it.  Only SEVEN ingredients to make this orange pineapple cake, and that includes the frosting!


For the Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (just the dry cake mix – 15.25 ounces)
  • 1 15 ounce can mandarin oranges (undrained)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

For the Frosting

  • 12 ounces cool whip (or our recipe for stabilized whipped cream)
  • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple undrained
  • 1 3.4 ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix (just the pudding mix)


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, with a hand mixer or a spoon, mix together the yellow cake mix, the can of mandarin oranges, the eggs and the vegetable oil.  Pour into the prepare pan.  Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, being careful not to over bake.
  • Let the cake completely cool.
  • In a large bowl whip together the cool whip, pineapple, and vanilla pudding mix.  Spread over the cooled cake and serve!
Calories: 282kcal (14%) Carbohydrates: 34g (11%) Protein: 2g (4%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 37mg (12%) Sodium: 229mg (10%) Potassium: 81mg (2%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 22g (24%) Vitamin A: 200IU (4%) Vitamin C: 26.4mg (32%) Calcium: 30mg (3%) Iron: 0.7mg (4%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
mandarin orange cake recipe on a white plate

did you make this

Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Jula Zook says

    5 stars
    I just made this dessert for a Thanksgiving carry in this evening so far it was delicious just tasting it I put mandarin oranges in the battery xnd decorated the top with mandarin oranges and a orange pieces on top

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  2. Candace Wilson says

    Can I substitute butter for the oil?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t tried that in this recipe, but I can’t think of why it wouldn’t work.

  3. Uttama says

    If I use the stabilized whipped cream instead of cool whip, do I still need to add the instant vanilla pudding mix?

    • Lisa Longley says

      You do not, but you might want to add some vanilla extract to the stabilized whipped cream so it is similar.

  4. MamaT says

    Try a little coconut in the frosting!

  5. Amanda says

    5 stars
    My mom makes this and just tops with cool whip, because I am not a fan of canned pineapple and its still magnificent

  6. Brenda says

    4 stars
    This cake is better after it’s been refrigerated

  7. Shannon says

    Should I mix up and put the cool whip mixture on the same day, or can I do it 18-20 hours in advance? Does it hold up in the refrigerator?

    • Lisa Longley says

      It should hold up in the refrigerator f made the day before.

  8. Denise Stilwell says

    1 star
    I agree with some of the other comments, the Icing would not thicken up, I used an electric mixer and beat for a long time, honestly the taste was not that great either, my family were not fans, I would not make it again.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Denise, is it possible that you used homemade whipped cream instead of stabilized whipped cream or cool whip? That swap would absolutely explain why it wouldn’t thicken. Either way, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one. It’s a fan favorite for many people.

  9. Darcie says

    Any chance I can freeze this cake after it has been frosted?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Darcie! I haven’t tried freezing this one after frosting. My only concern would be the consistency of the frosting. It would just be something you’d have to test.

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