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.
Can this be made in 3 8in round pans? Is the frosting thick enough to support the layers?
I’ve never tried to layer this cake, but I think it would work great! The frosting is pretty thick so it should hold up well!
Do u beat mandarins into the cake mix?
Yes, just add them right into the cake batter and mix them in. I try not to beat them too much so that they stay intact a little bit once folded into the batter.
Can you make this with sugar free pudding?
I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure it would work fine!
Marsha Tilby can this be made with a white cake or an angel food cake mix says
Can this be made with a white cake or an angel food cake
I think a white cake mix would work, but I don’t think the angel food cake would work because the consistency is so different.
olivia campos says
can I use real mandarin orange?
I’ve never tried it, but I’m not sure it would work as well as the canned ones because the canned ones are much softer and kind of fall apart a little bit in the cake. Plus, you use the juice from the canned ones!
Peggy M Lampkins says
Sounds delicious! I wonder if the frosting would be good with a little coconut flakes added? Anyone tried that?
Sounds like an excellent addition Peggy!
It is called pig pickin’ cake because it was served, traditionally, at pig pickin’s.
Best cake I have EVER put in my mouth. So full of flavor and so moist. This is my go to cake for anything and I make it for my special friends and they are absolutely in love with it. 😋
Love it when one of our recipes becomes a go-to! Thanks Laurie!
I used 1/2 cup of butter instead of any other kind of oil.. fingers crossed it comes out! Just placed it in the oven! 🙏🏼
I made this into a trifle… years ago I was making it for a family reunion and my cake fell apart and I thought well here we go… I’m not throwing it away so I’ll make it into a trifle. It was a success… I even toasted some cocnut for between layers. I just made it again for Easter. Delicious and a success 😁😋❤️
That sounds like a really delicious idea, i might have to try that soon for myself 🙂
We all love this cake.
Im happy to hear that
Very moist cake. Everybody loved it. Had a larger can of mandarin oranges than called for so I put all the oranges in but not all the juice and it turned out great. The cake was actually better the next day after being refrigerated over night.. Will definitely make again.
that sounds great
Nancy Power says
Do you mix up the pudding before adding it in or just the powder mix?
You just use the powder mix!