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Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe (Pig Pickin Cake)

4.95 from 51 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
4.95 from 51 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. Zanilu says

    5 stars
    I did not make the topping but used canned frosting and the cake was still great. REALLY moist! This is a keeper!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it!

  2. Lynn says

    5 stars
    I make this cake for special occasions and have only used a bundt pan and it comes out beautiful. I also toast some flaked coconut in the oven and sprinkle on top of the frosting. Yummy

  3. Sandra Noah Smith says

    There is a Peach Cobbler style on the internet similar to your Mandarin Orange cake. Is it your recipe as well? I lost my copy.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so sorry, it’s not.

  4. Karen Peacock says

    The frosting seemed to not set up as in the picture. I used 12oz cool whip, 20 oz crushed pineapple and 1 box instant pudding. Any suggestions? Hopefully the frosting sets up more overnight in the fridge.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so sorry, Karen. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t set up. It’s not going to be firm like a frosting made with powdered sugar, but it definitely holds on the cake while you slice it.

  5. Rebekah Tolliver says

    4 stars
    I made this last night and today. Today, I doubled the recipe, and used my stand mixer instead of hand mixer.

    Last night: I sifted the sugar twice, and followed instructions exactly as stated. It tasted great and I put it in the fridge to use for today. It was in a lidded jar. I went to taste it this morning and it was on the thinner side, which was disappointing. So I made another batch today.

    Today: Using my stand mixer, I followed directions again perfectly. Again, tasted great, but was a little on the thinner side. Not as thin as last night, but thinner. I mixed until it was very thick.

    **What is the recommended time to get it to the proper consistency? I used the whisk attachment on high (6) for 2-3 minutes. It was thick, and I didn’t want to go too much longer, because I didn’t want to turn it into butter :)

    • Lisa Longley says

      Rebekah, are you referring to making the Stabilized Whipped Cream instead of using Cool Whip? On its own, it will be thick enough to pipe. When you mix that with the mandarin oranges and the pudding mix, it will be thinner and no longer able to pipe, but it should spread just fine on the cake.

  6. Ann Woods says

    Do you think I could substitute an orange cake mix for the yellow?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t tried that Ann, but from a baking stand point, I can’t think of a reason that won’t work.

  7. Carrol Ginger says

    I don’t have any pineapple and I was wondering if I could just use mandarin oranges, along with the pudding and cool whip?

    • Lisa Longley says

      If you want to skip the pineapple in the frosting you will need to replace it with a fruit, using the same amount as is called for. Mandarin oranges will work great!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners