This pig pickin’ cake recipe hails from the American South. Pig pickin cake got its unique name because it’s a popular follow-up to a long afternoon or evening of eating juicy, tender meat (and other rich sides) at pig roasts.
What is Pig Pickin Cake?
Who wouldn’t want to follow up all of the meaty goodness at a southern barbecue with a moist, fluffy cake topped with light and airy whipped topping, all infused with bright, citrusy flavors?
While this recipe for the classic southern dessert is in sheet cake form, you can also do tiered layers — just use round cake pans.
The next time you have a sweet tooth and are looking for a sweet cake accentuated with bright citrus flavors and a light topping, try this traditional southern dessert that’s as perfect for a special occasion as it is to keep around the house for a sweet end to your day.
Why You’ll Love Pig Pickin Cake
If you’re a fan of easy dessert recipes, you’re going to adore this simple, delicious cake.
- Easy – This super simple cake uses a boxed cake mix and simple ingredients so that you can make it quickly, anytime.
- Delicious – The tropical pineapple flavor combines with creamy whipped topping and a moist cake for a treat that will please nearly any palate.
- Versatile – You can make this cake for so many occasions, from casual cookouts to birthday parties or baby showers.
Don’t be fooled by what appears to be a long ingredient list. This cake is a cinch to make, and all of the basic ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store.
- Box of yellow cake mix: You can make your own, but using a prepared mix makes this recipe super easy.
- Mandarin oranges with juice: Juicy citrus fruits infuse this cake with a refreshing and tangy flavor.
- Large eggs: The eggs contribute richness to the cake and are essential for structure and moisture.
- Vegetable oil: Oil keeps the cake tender and moist.
- Vanilla extract: The warm and sweet notes of the extract balance the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Coarse kosher salt: Just a little bit of salt brings out the other flavors.
- Frozen whipped topping (like Cool Whip): Frost the cake with this creamy topping.
- Crushed pineapple: Pineapple brings sweet flavor and a slight touch of tanginess to the cake.
- Instant vanilla pudding mix: The creaminess of the frosting, as well as the warm flavor, comes from this simple instant pudding mix.
- Vanilla extract: Boost the vanilla flavor with a touch of extract.
- Maraschino cherries: Add a burst of flavor and a pop of color with these sweet cherries.
- Pineapple slices: Add even more flavor and color with bright pineapple.
- Mandarin oranges: Impart a bit of tart flavor with some citrus.
How To Make Pig Pickin Cake
This recipe for a moist, tropically flavored cake couldn’t be easier.
- Make Cake Batter. Add the cake mix, oranges with juice, eggs, oil, vanilla extract, and salt to a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer until completely combined. Alternatively, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and allow the mixer to do the work.
- Pour. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish sprayed with cooking spray before placing it in the preheated oven.
- Cool. Once the cake is a light golden brown color and passes the toothpick test, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- Make Frosting. Prepare the frosting by mixing together whipped topping, crushed pineapple, pudding mix, and vanilla extract.
- Frost. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.
- Garnish. Garnish the cake with oranges, cherries, and grapes, if desired.
What to Serve with Pig Pickin Cake
Switch up this easy cake with your own fun twists.
- Extract: For a nutty flavor, try using almond extract.
- Fruit: Decorate with the fruit you prefer. Or you can also use fresh pineapple.
- Cake: Instead of using a box, try making your own recipe from scratch.
- Nuts: Add crushed nuts like pecans or walnuts on top of the cake.
- Frosting: Instead of the whipped cream, add some tanginess with a cream cheese frosting. Try adding a little bit of pineapple juice for extra flavor.
Common Questions About Pig Pickin Cake
This citrusy cake got its name for its popularity of being served at southern barbecues.
This succulent cake consists of a moist yellow cake with citrus fruit, a whipped topping, and bright garnishes like maraschino cherries.
Mandarin orange cake is this dessert’s alternative moniker.
Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing
This cake is easily stored in the fridge or freezer.
Make ahead: You can make the cake ahead of time and frost it before ready to serve.
Refrigerator: Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.
Freezer: Freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
More Easy Cakes
Pig Pickin Cake
- 15.25 ounce package yellow cake mix
- 11 ounces mandarin oranges with juice
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 16 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed (like cool whip)
- 1 15 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 3.5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Maraschino cherries
- Pineapple Slices
- Mandarin oranges
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, oranges with juice, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and salt.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake passes the toothpick test. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
- When ready to frost, fold together the whipped topping, crushed pineapple, pudding mix and vanilla extract.
- Top and garnish with pineapple, cherries and oranges, all optional.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!