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Pig Pickin' Cake a.k.a. Mandarin Orange Cake

User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (19 Reviews)


Pig Pickin' Cake a.k.a. Mandarin Orange Cake
Ralph Daily/Flickr
Thank you for the many insightful emails and comments I've gotten about this cake. Several people wrote to tell me that they know this as an orange cake. Danenew32 called it a Florida Sunshine Cake. The majority of the emails dealt with my incorrect supposition that "Pig-Pickin'" had to do with how people acted when they ate the cake. While most agreed that yes, that's how one could act while eating this very moist cake, but the name actually refers to a southern barbecue or a.k.a. a Pig Pickin'. Enjoy reading more about "Pig Pickin's from Terri B. and Tammy W. at the bottom of this recipe.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1- 18 ounce yellow cake mix
  • 11-ounce can mandarin oranges with juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 9-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 3.4 ounce (4-servings) box instant vanilla pudding


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans. In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, mandarin oranges, mandarin orange juice, eggs and oil. Beat for 2 minutes with electric mixer. Pour into pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, turn out of pans and finish cooling on wire racks.

In a mixing bowl, combine whipped topping, pineapple, juice from can and vanilla pudding mix.

Frost between layers and on top of cake.

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About Pig Pickin's

Again, thanks to all of you, most especially Terri and Tammy, for taking the time to write to me about Pig Pickin's. I don't know about you, but after reading all this about barbecue I think I need to do a little pig pickin' myself. Derrick Riches' About.com Barbecue and Grilling site is the perfect place to find some tasty recipes to get us started.

From Terri B. - "Carroll, I do hope that a "gazillion" Southerners (especially North Carolinians) have contacted you to set you right on the name of this cake... A Pig Pickin is a ritual in the South -- particularly in the Carolinas and Georgia whereby a whole pig is roasted over wood coals for hours until done, when the meat falls off the bones and folks just gather round and "pick off the meat", thus it is called a "pig pickin" , which is in "northern talk" a pig roast. We take our barbeque as seriously as Texans --- knowing everything about a "pig pickin" is almost a religion to us, and this cake became synomous with the event because it was the perfect ending to "a mess" of barbeque, hush puppies, corn sticks, coleslaw and all the fixins. Banana Pudding is also acceptable as the grand finale, but I believe this cake became the hit of the Pig Pickin and Homecoming at Church when it made its appearance back in the '70's."

From Tammy W. - "Carol, I have subscribed to your email group for probably two years now. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and trying your recipes. It's such a great group!... But I did want to alert you to something. You may in fact know it, but I wanted to talk to you about how pig picking cake got it's name. I'm not sure where you live, but I'm from the south. Food here is worth more than money. In the south we have this thing called a "Pig Picking" where you have this HUGE cooker (actually a big old barrel cut in half and made into a grill) and you take an entire pig and roast it. That's really where the south's BBQ comes from, in particular BBQ from the Carolinas. Other parts of the south don't exactly do this, and even across North Carolina in the mountains they would NEVER do anything as redneck as what we do in the east. Once the pig is cooked (and it's really good) they open up the top of the barrel/grill and chop it up. Then there's a huge outdoor feast where there are tables lined up for people to sit and another long table full of every kind of food you can imagine. You take your plate and walk over to the pig and two men (it's always at least two men standing there guarding the pig like he's going to get up and walk away) put a pile of meat on your plate. Pig picking cake gets its name from this feast. It's a common cake to take to such an event, as is punchbowl cake, which is also made with a cake mix. It's more like a southern version of English trifle, as you layer the cake and cherry pie filling and cool whip and nuts and pineapple and some other good stuff all together. So while your blurb about the cake getting it's name because act like pigs when they eat it is true- because you eat and eat and eat at a pig picking (You gain weight during that one meal)- I did want you to know the true meaning behind the name... Thanks again for your work on the website. I look forward to reading your emails each week on the topic! Keep up the good work!"

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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
I make this as a sheet cake, Member maggie1953

I use a 9x13 pan and bake for 30 minutes and it comes out perfect. No need to fuss with all the layers. It's one of the most delicious cakes around! So moist and the icing is not real sickening sweet like some other cakes.

55 out of 55 people found this helpful.

See all 19 reviews

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