Easy Mandarin Orange Cake (a.k.a. Pig Pickin Cake)

Mandarin orange cake is affectionately called pig pickin’ cake because it’s so good that it makes such pigs out of us! A Southern classic, it includes a tender yellow cake bursting with mandarin orange flavor and topped with a refreshing pineapple whipped frosting.

Taking A Bite Of Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake

This is a beloved Southern cake recipe you’ll find at family reunions, church picnics, potlucks, and warm weather get-togethers. Surprisingly easy to make, this cool cake has always been a hit wherever it goes!

We start with a tender yellow cake base, which is positively bursting with mandarin orange flavor. All we have to do is beat the cake batter ingredients together and bake our three cake layers. Oh yes, this is a multi-layered cake recipe! Once we cool our cake, we’re going to add layers of the most refreshing, light, and fluffy frosting imaginable. It’s a combination of whipped topping, vanilla pudding, and diced pineapple. 

This mandarin orange cake recipe is truly full of fruity flavor but isn’t too rich or dense. Basically, it’s the perfect summer cake recipe that you can store in your fridge. It also lives up to its Southern nickname, pig pickin’ cake. Just you wait – your guests won’t be able to keep their hands off this delicious cake!

Who’s ready to give this recipe a go? I promise it’s probably the easiest layered cake recipe out there!

Ingredients for Mandarin Orange Pig Pickin Cake

Recipe Ingredients


  • Yellow cake mix
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Eggs
  • Oil

Icing Ingredients for Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake


  • Frozen whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Crushed pineapple

How To Make Mandarin Orange Cake

cake ingredients, unmixed, in a glass bowl.

Combine all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl.

I usually beat the mess out of this with an electric mixer but if you wanna burn a few calories (to help justify eating the cake later), you can do it by hand.

Mix until well incorporated (about 2 minutes with an electric mixer or 4-5 minutes by hand).

cake batter in a mixing bowl.

Here we go, how easy was that?

divide batter evenly between 3 cake pans.

Divide the cake batter evenly among well-greased cake pans.

I’m using three round cake pans for these photos but I usually just make it in a single 9×13 for ease.

Y’all are worth the extra trouble, but don’t tell that to my family as they enjoy their 9×13 cakes!

baked cakes cooling on wire racks.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (depending on how many layers you have, thinner layers cook quicker) and allow the cakes to cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

If you are a low fuss, low muss person as I usually am, it will bake for about 30 minutes in a 9×13 pan and is just cooled in the pan.

Regardless of which pan you bake your cake in, it is done when it is golden brown all over the top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Icing one layer of cake.

Making the Pineapple Frosting

First, stir together the canned pineapple and juice with the instant pudding mix until well blended.

An electric mixer works best for this.

Then, add in whipped topping and gently beat on low speed until it is all incorporated together (about 1 minute or so).

Ice your cooled cake however you like to ice your cake.

This part is when I am happiest that I’ve made a 9×13! But again, y’all are worth the extra trouble!

Add icing between each layer of mandarin orange cake.

Pretty! Let’s keep going…

Finished Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake

Now, this mandarin cake needs to sit in the fridge, ideally, for two to three days before serving.

GASP. Yes, I’m serious. Of course, you can eat it now if you want but it will be WAY better after a couple of days.

Cutting into Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake

And then, enjoy!


  • This cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. You will find that if you do not refrigerate it the cake will spoil. The frosting is made with whipped cream so you’ll need to cover it well and store it for 3 to 5 days.
  • Go right ahead and freeze your cake for up to 3-4 months as well. Just place it in the proper container and freeze. When you want a slice, remove it and allow it to quickly thaw on the counter for 30 minutes, or opt to thaw in the fridge overnight.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a white cake mix?

In this recipe, I use a yellow cake mix, but you are more than welcome to reach for a white cake mix in replacement, or even a golden cake mix or angel food cake mix. It will alter the flavor a bit, but you will find overall it is going to give a similar flavor. In terms of the brand of cake mix, feel free to use any brand of cake mix you like, or buy what is on sale. I personally prefer Duncan Hines.

Can I make the mandarin orange cake in advance?

Yes, this mandarin orange cake actually tastes better when you make it 2 to 3 days ahead of time and let the flavors marry together in the fridge.

You may also like these other sensational cake recipes:

Cappuccino Cake With Cappuccino Buttercream Frosting

Cherry Crumb Cake With Cake Mix

S’mores Poke Cake

Vanilla Wafer Cake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Chocolate Sundae Cake

Mandarin Orange Cake

Mandarin orange cake (pig pickin' cake) is a Southern classic: yellow cake with mandarin orange flavor topped with pineapple whipped frosting.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, orange
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 337kcal



  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, diced and undrained
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup oil


  • 1 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding
  • 16 ounces whipped topping
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained


  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour three round cake pans or grease one 9×13 baking dish. 
  • Place all cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well blended and fully combined (about two minutes). 
    1 box yellow cake mix, 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, diced and undrained, 4 eggs, ½ cup oil
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (25-30 minutes, slightly less if you use three pans). If using round pans, allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely. If using 9×13, allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.
  • For the frosting, place the canned pineapple (with juice) and the pudding mix in a mixing bowl. Beat until just mixed. Add in whipped topping and beat on low speed for about one minute until blended in. Frost cake.
    1 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding, 16 ounces whipped topping, 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • Cover well and refrigerate. Best if made 2 or 3 days ahead and refrigerated before serving.


Calories: 337kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. This has been my favorite cake since I was a little girl. I always requested it for my birthday even though it’s in November!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I want to make one of these! Mama or my Aunt pearl used to make these when we had a pig picking! Loved my Lexington Style BBQ! I look forward to reading your emails so much! Keep it up!

  3. Christie, I know Duncan Hines makes an orange cake mix. Do you think it would be Orange Overload to use that flavor instead of yellow cake? Just wondering…….

    1. For me, I think it would be wonderful, but if someone is expecting the original cake they might be a little disappointed. This one has a LOT of flavor already with the yellow. Here is an idea, why don’t you make it both ways and let’s meet up, eat them both, and then decide! lol

  4. We had a family reunion abut 6 months ago and only those of 60+ showed up! The younger generation couldn’t be bothered or had to work. So, I guess you are right! The younger generation missed a great party! LOL!

      1. 5 stars
        I have been making this cake for my Dad’s birthday for over 20 years. Today is the first birthday after he has passed. I have made it again in his memory. He’s only gone 1 month. I thought it would be hard to make today, I shed a few tears but I feel good. A smile is on my face for the first time in over a month. Thanks for the memories.

  5. This is one of my most favorite cakes. I have such fond memories of my mom making this in the spring and summer. It’s the perfect dessert for those summer BBQs and potlucks!

      1. I love the idea of this cake and wonder how to replace a few of the convenience ingredients. Can I use a conventional yellow cake recipe and just replace some of the liquid with the mandarin oranges. If I use whipped cream instead of Cool Whip how long will it hold up in the refrigerator?

    1. After our parents passed, 14 years ago, my two sisters and I decided we had to commit to getting together so we would stay connected and our children and grandkids would know each other. The first weekend in August we have our Christmas In August Family reunion. Everyone attends. One of my sisters lives in Ohio, one sister lives in Illinois and since I live in the middle in Indiana, we gather here. Good food all day, games, pool play, and just sitting to visit happens from 9:00 – 6:00. Our kids have started taking over so, we’re hoping they will feel the commitment to stay connected. I am planning on making this cake this August…it was a favorite of our mom’s ! Thanks

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