Mandarin Orange Cake with Pineapple Frosting is so light and refreshing and begins with a cake mix and mandarin oranges, then topped with a frosting made with crushed pineapple and vanilla pudding. Also known as Pig Pickin’ cake, this simple cake recipe is absolutely amazing!
Mandarin Orange Cake is so easy to make and the “frosting” is much lighter than traditional frosting which I love. I don’t really like traditional cake frosting, but the pineapple topping for this cake recipe is completely different. The frosting is so light that you could just eat it by the spoonful – it is just so delicious! I also love that this cake starts with a boxed cake mix and only requires a handful of simple ingredients – definitely my favorite kind of recipe!
Not sure why this cake is sometimes referred to as pig pickin’ cake – I think it’s a southern thing?! I’ve been making and eating this cake since I was young and never heard that until I posted the recipe here a few years back and all of the comments started coming in! Apparently this is a popular recipe and is often referred to as pig pickin’ cake! I really don’t understand that name, but regardless of what you call it, this cake is amazing. And has nothing to do with pigs!
Mandarin Orange Cake has been one of my absolute favorite desserts for years and I’m not even a huge fan of cake, so that’s saying something. There is just something about a light, fruity flavor in cake that makes it the perfect dessert. Even if you don’t consider yourself a cake person, you need to try this one. It is so moist and full of flavor and you eat it chilled which makes it seem like a much fancier dessert than just plain ol’ cake! With the combination of the refreshing and light flavors of this Mandarin Orange Cake and the frosting – I promise this cake will be a big hit at your next party!
Ingredients in Mandarin Orange Cake
To make Mandarin Orange Cake, you will need:
-a yellow cake mix
-1/2 cup oil (You can use regular vegetable oil, but the last couple of times I have made this cake, I have used coconut oil and it’s perfect for this cake. You really can’t taste much of the coconut flavor – I was kind of hoping that the flavor would be a little stronger because it would pair so well with the oranges and pineapple! But the consistency is still the same and I like to feel like it makes the cake just a little bit healthier too!
-11 oz can mandarin oranges (with the juice!)
To make the pineapple topping for the Mandarin Orange Cake, you will need:
-an 8 ounce container of Cool Whip
-1 small can crushed pineapple (8 oz) – don’t drain the juice!
-1 small package of vanilla instant pudding
How to make Mandarin Orange Cake:
To make the cake, mix all ingredients together pour into a greased pan. If you are using a 9X13 pan, the cake will bake at 350 for 35 minutes. If you make the cake in a bundt pan (rather than a 9X13), the cook time will be closer to 45 minutes.
Once the cake is cooled, make the pineapple frosting. Mix the pineapple and pudding together in a medium mixing bowl. Let the mixture set for a few minutes until slightly thickened and then fold in the Cool Whip.
Spread the pineapple topping on the cake and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Keep any leftovers refrigerated also. I think that’s part of why this is my favorite summer cake – it’s served cold!
Tips for making a cake in a Bundt pan (and getting the Bundt cake out of the pan too!)
There is nothing worse than making a delicious bundt cake and then having it get stuck when you are trying to get it out of the pan! It may take a little bit of trial and error depending on which kind of Bundt pan you are using, but over the years I have learned a few tips that help make sure your cake comes out successfully!
–Use a quality non-stick pan like this one. They aren’t very expensive and the investment will be worth it when your cakes come out beautifully every time!
–Grease your pan! I know. You are wondering why you need to grease a non-stick pan because usually you don’t! In fact, most of your non-stick pans will tell you not to use cooking spray at all because it will build up on the pan and make it less effective over time. That is true, but you still need to grease the pan somehow or it will likely stick. I have a very nice non-stick Bundt pan and I was excited to try it out because I was told that nothing would stick to it and that it didn’t need to be greased at all. The cake was totally stuck in the pan when it was done baking!!!
If you have a non-stick pan, grease it with melted shortening. I have had better luck with shortening than with butter. Just melt a little bit of shortening and then apply to the entire inside of the Bundt pan with a pastry brush.
If you don’t have a non-stick pan, you can use this type of cooking spray – it works miraculously because there is flour mixed in with the spray. I have an older pan that is not non-stick and when I use this spray, my Bundt cakes come out perfectly every single time. If your pan is really old and the inside is really scratched up and your cakes keep sticking, it may be time to get a new pan!
Also, make sure to grease your pan right before pouring the batter in. If you grease the pan too far ahead of time, the oil may drip down to the bottom of the pan, leaving the sides less coated.
-Let the cake cool before trying to get it out! If you try to get the cake out immediately after pulling it out of the oven, it will probably fall apart. You don’t want to let it cool completely either, but letting the cake rest for about 10 minutes should allow the cake to be cool enough to come out of the Bundt pan easily.
-Loosen up the edges of the cake with a knife. If you turn your Bundt pan upside down and wait a couple of minutes and it still isn’t coming out, try to identify which part of the cake is stuck. Often, there is just one or two parts that are stuck and you can very gently slide a butter knife in between the cake and the side of the pan to get it unstuck.
MANDARIN ORANGE CAKE WITH PINEAPPLE FROSTING
- 1 yellow cake mix
- 1/2 cup oil
- 4 eggs
- 11 oz can mandarin oranges with the juice
- 8 oz Cool Whip
- 1 sm. can crushed pineapple 8 oz
- 1 sm. pkg vanilla instant pudding
- For cake: Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. If you make the cake in a bundt pan (rather than a 9X13), the cook time will be closer to 45 minutes.
- Once the cake is cooled, mix the pineapple and pudding together. Let set for a few minutes until slightly thickened and then fold in the Cool Whip. Spread on cake and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!
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Can you replace the Cool Whip?
If you can’t find Cool Whip where you live or you prefer not to use it in recipes, you can use stabilized whipped cream instead. If you just use regular whipped cream, the consistency will be too light and the cream will not hold up very well when mixed into the jello salad. It’s very simple to make your own stabilized whipped cream and it just takes a few minutes!
See Homemade Whipped Cream recipes here.
Love cake? So do we! Here are some of our favorite cake recipes:
- Lemon Poke Cake Recipe
- Cookies & Cream Poke Cake
- S’mores Poke Cake
- Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake
- Orange Chiffon Cake
- Easy Zucchini Cake
- Milky Way Cake
- Buttermilk Banana Cake
- Pumpkin Poke Cake
- Easy Apple Spice Cake
- Strawberries and Cream Cake
- Raspberry Chocolate Cake
- Coca-Cola Cake
- Oatmeal Cake
Mandarin Orange Cake with Pineapple Frosting is a light and refreshing dessert that begins with a cake mix that is mixed with mandarin oranges. This delicious cake recipe (aka Pig Pickin’ cake) is topped with an amazing topping made with crushed pineapple and pudding mix.
Cheri A Magistro says
Hi! Can I use fresh oranges? If so, do I need to add more moisture? Thank you
I’ve never tried using fresh oranges before! I’m not sure that you need to add more moisture, but I would be concerned about the texture of the oranges since fresh oranges are a lot more stiff and chewy than mandarin oranges. The mandarin oranges kind of divide up and mix into the cake really well since they are so soft and fragile and I don’t think that regular oranges would break up and mix in very well. Let me know if you try it though!
Cheri A Magistro says
Lol..I ended up trying the fresh. I also added the zest and the juice from a can of drained fruit cocktail. I did notice the white parts of the oranges did mix well. I probably over mixed it hoping to remove them. You were right, the texture was more “solid” than cakey. A little dense, but was very moist. I also baked it close to an hour. I made a glaze with the juice of the oranges. Over all, it tasted great, but it definitely not a cake I serve to guest, all though my husband loved it. I really like to try it again using canned. Thank You!
Sandy A says
I made this as a 9×13, I flipped it out and frosted everything. It was a HUGE hit. The only change I made was to use stabilized whipped cream in place of cool whip, just because of preference. I might consider a tiny bit of orange extract in the cake next time for a stronger flavor. I will definitely make it again! Thanks for the recipe.
Virginia Glass says
I made this cake for my husband last year. Since then he’s asked for it several times. He even asked for it on his birthday. He loves it. So do I.
can you make this in a 13 x 9 pan and if so, how long does it need to cook?
You can definitely bake this in a 9X13, just adjust the cooking time to about 30-35 minutes.
Shadi Hasanzadenemati says
Love this idea! Looks so delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
This is one of my favorite cakes! It’s soft, moist, fruity and super easy to make. It’s always a hit at potlucks!
Could I make this without eggs? I’m trying to make it vegan for my daughter’s birthday. I can substitute most other ingredients for non dairy ones, but the eggs are tricky, obviously. Haha thanks!
I’ve never tried making this without eggs so I have no idea. I know you can google “egg substitutes” and there are a lot of things you can use – let me know if you have success with any of them in this recipe!
can’t wait to try it
Denise Noseworthy says
This is also called Sunshine Cake. I’ve made this cake several times. I use a lemon supreme cake mix and add crushed pineapple to the cake batter as well. I also use applesauce for the oil.
I never put oil in my cake mixes.. It makes a lighter cake. And NO I don’t put more liquid in the mix and it is just fine. . I’ve done this for 40 years.
I had no idea you didn’t need the oil! Good to know!
Do you use the oranges in syrup? Thx!
I usually buy the mandarin oranges in juice, but you can use ones with either light or heavy syrup too. Pretty much any can of mandarin oranges will work!
Pam Newlands says
How long would I have to bake cupcakes?
I would start at about 15-18 minutes, checking them around that time. They made need a little longer depending on how full the cupcakes are. Enjoy!
Would it be ok to use fat free vanilla pudding. One box is ok
That should work fine!
Do you break up the mandarin oranges or leave them whole? In your pictures there do not appear to be any orange chunks. Thanks!
Never mind! A mixer will take care of that. Haha. I have quarantine brain!
Haha! Totally understand the whole quarantine brain thing! Hope you enjoyed the cake!
It came out beautiful but I didn’t care for the frosting. It tasted bitter to me for some reason. I would like to make it again and make a cream cheese frosting.
I’m sorry you didn’t like the frosting – that’s my favorite part! But a cream cheese frosting sounds delicious too!
Do you make the pudding according to the directions on the box before combining with the whipped topping or do you mix it in right out of the box, dry?
Just mix the dry pudding mix right out of the box with the can of crushed pineapple and then mix it with the whipped topping.
I purchased mandarin oranges in syrup, can they be used for this cake
Yep, just make sure not to drain the juice (syrup) out before adding them to the cake!
Judy Grubbs says
Made it as above instructions with these substitutions: Duncan Hines Supreme Orange cake mix and used DelMonte Mandarin Oranges with light syrup 15 oz. and 1 tsp Coconut Extract and baked it in a 9×13 glass pan was very moist!! I used 8 oz sliced pineapple in its own juices that I mixed with the boxed pudding with an electric mixer since I didn’t have crushed pineapple. Everyone loved it, and my 85 year old Dad is hard to please!! Would definitely make this again!! Thanks!!
Thanks, Judy for sharing your adjustments! I’m glad you and your dad/family enjoyed this one!
gayle a alvey says
I was wondering if I could use strawberries in stead of pineapple to make this frosting
I’ve never tried strawberries! I think you might have to add the strawberries to the pineapple though because the juice from the crushed pineapple is what provides the moisture for the frosting. But maybe you could use milk as the liquid and then add the strawberries? I think I would just add diced strawberries to the top of the cake after adding the pineapple frosting – that actually sounds delicious!
Dené Cizek says
My Mom made this 35+ years ago for the firemen at my Dads Fire Station but added rum. It’s truly delicious and was always requested!
Love that memory! Thank you, Dene!
Julia Sutton says
I love this cake, but how do you get the frosting not to be like a sauce? I followed the recipe to the letter but the icing would not go thick enough to spread on. I had to pour it on over the cake when I served it.
Did you make the pudding with milk before adding it to the frosting? You don’t need to make up the pudding- just add the powder in with the other ingredients. It should be pretty thick!
Julia Sutton says
AAAhhhhh yes, I did make the pudding with milk.
Thank you for the tip….next time I will make it right….although the sauce on the cake is very yummy.
Margaret Guarino says
You say a small pkg of vanilla instant pudding the pkg I purchased is 153g is that the correct size?
I just checked a small box and it’s 3.4 oz or 96 grams. So I’m guessing you have a large box! Which will work fine, just use about 2/3 of it.
Ellen Thing says