Pig Pickin’ Cake is a southern recipe that’s a favorite for taking to barbecues (Pig Pickin’s), potlucks, and church suppers. Bright mandarin oranges and sweet pineapple combine with boxed butter cake mix (or use this homemade mix) for a dessert that goes together quickly and just couldn’t be easier. My version uses homemade whipped cream in place of the traditional whipped topping for a creamier, tastier cake.
For this recipe you’ll need: 1 box yellow butter cake mix, butter, mandarin oranges, eggs, spiced rum, vanilla, French vanilla instant pudding mix, heavy whipping cream, Confectioner’s sugar, crushed pineapple
Why THIS Pig Pickin’ Cake Is Special
I tried to find out when the recipe for this mandarin orange cake first surfaced. Since it uses a boxed cake mix I figured it was one of those 1950s/1960s things but I think it must have been long before that and this is an adaption of an earlier recipe. Let me explain –
When I was a teenager I dated a guy who’s great grandmother just absolutely adored me. It was the 1970s, so his mom would have been born in 1950 or before, his grandma in 1930 or before…I’m thinking this woman was born in the very early 1900s — and she said she’d been making this all her life.
ANYWAY every time I went to see her (even after we’d broken up) she had a Pig Pickin’ Cake on the table. She’d smile and cut a big square of it, put it on one of her pretty bone china plates and push it to my side of the table.
She had a soft voice with a thick southeastern accent and she’d alway say she needed to “put some meat on you, honey!”. I was pretty picky about what I ate but I absolutely could not resist that cake.
Apparently I still can’t.
I hadn’t thought about it in a long time then a month or so ago my son was eating mandarin oranges and I had a flashback of her sweet smile and that luscious cake and I knew I had to find her recipe for it. It was written in faded, shaky handwriting on the back of an electric bill envelope and I hadn’t made it in probably 20 years or more.
A Little Rum Never Hurts
The biggest difference in her cake and the other recipes that I’ve seen is that her cake contains a splash of spiced rum and uses real whipped cream instead of whipped topping.
I think these small differences add up to a HUGE difference in taste and texture. It’s made in a 13×9-inch pan so it’s easy to grab and go for potlucks and such – it’s always one of the first things to disappear.
Pig Pickin’ Cake Recipe Notes
Easiest cake in the world to make, I promise! Here are some of my tips and variations –
- ALWAYS use room temperature ingredients unless otherwise noted in the recipe… except whipped cream, of course – that should be ice cold.
- This works really well with a homemade cake mix if you don’t want to use boxed.
- You can also use my homemade whipped topping instead of whipped cream. 🙂 It’s especially good if you are making the cake ahead of time or it will be outside in warm weather.
- Bourbon is a nice substitute for the rum.
- Add a teaspoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate to the reserved mandarin orange juice for more orange flavor.
- Substitute white chocolate instant pudding for the vanilla.
- Stir in some sweetened, flaked coconut to the topping.
- Make sure the pineapple is drained very well and patted dry with paper towels before folding into the topping otherwise it will get watery..
- You can freeze this cake without the topping.
- You can make this cake into 2 8-inch layers and fill and frost it with the topping.
- Drizzle some of the pineapple juice over the warm cake for a moister cake with more pineapple flavor.
- This cake is better the second day.
- PS…there probably won’t be any leftovers for the second day.
More Great Cake Recipes
- Coconut Layer Cake – there’s nothing more southern than a coconut layer cake! This one is filled with nutella and has three proud layers of goodness.
- Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake – some people call it trifle. Whatever – it’s easy to make and absolutely delectably delicious!
- Lemon Cream Cake – is full of tangy lemon flavor and topped with a thick layer of airy whipped lemon buttercream. Since it’s made in a 13×9-inch pan it’s super easy to bake and take!
- White Texas Sheet Cake – if white fudge and brownies had a baby it would be this.
- Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake – layers of moist, fudgy chocolate cake with thick layers of creamy dark chocolate frosting between them -so good you’ll wish you had two stomachs.
- Holy Cow Cake is a poke cake soaked in 3 different syrups, sprinkled with Butterfingers, and lavishly topped with whipped cream
Mississippi Mud Cake from Tastes Better From Scratch is another one that is perfect for those potlucks and summer parties.
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This cake is so easy – there’s no special ingredients at all. However, a covered baking pan makes it SO much easier to take to those potlucks!
Pig Pickin’ Cake Recipe
Don’t wait too long to make this cake! Invite some friends over for coffee and put this on the table – you’ll definitely win the good neighbor award! Looking for something deliciously different? Try this Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars.
Pig Pickin’ Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 box yellow butter cake mix
- 1/2 cup butter, , softened
- 14 ounces mandarin oranges, , 1/2 cup juice reserved
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons spiced rum, , optional
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 4 ounce box French vanilla instant pudding mix – dry
- 20 ounces crushed pineapple, , juice reserved
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup Confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 13×9-inch pan – set aside.
- Remove 2 tablespoons of the mandarin orange liquid and replace with 2 tablespoons of spiced rum (optional).
- Add the cake mix, butter, vanilla and eggs to the bowl of an electric mixer and blend on low for about 1 minute.
- Add the oranges and the reserved juice to the bowl.
- Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
- Spoon into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake at 350F for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely.
- Blend the instant pudding mix, 1/2 cup Confectioner’s, and reserved pineapple juice – set aside.
- Whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup Confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold into the pineapple mixture.
- Pat any remaining moisture off the pineapple with paper towel – fold into the topping.
- Spoon on the top of the cake.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours – overnight is better.
- Store in the refrigerator.