Hawaiian Wedding Cake Recipe

Hawaiian Wedding Cake has oranges in the batter, pineapple in the frosting, and is so easy to make! A fun tropical dessert you can enjoy year-round.

First: This cake is made with a boxed mix.

I just thought I’d mention that right away. It’s important we are honest with each other, and I thought you’d want to know.

I first had Hawaiian Wedding Cake about 10 years ago, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I mean, I knew I was eating some kind of life-changing, lusciously fruity dessert, but I didn’t know what it was.

Hawaiian Wedding Cake has oranges in the batter, pineapple in the frosting, and is so easy to make! A fun tropical dessert you can enjoy year-round.

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It turned out to be the best idea since from-scratch baking! A pillowy-soft, ultra-moist yellow cake studded with sweet mandarin oranges buried in light, airy frosting bursting with crushed pineapple.

My heart sings just thinking about it.

So why the boxed mix? Well, that’s how the original recipe was made, and it tastes phenomenally delicious.

Hawaiian Wedding Cake has oranges in the batter, pineapple in the frosting, and is so easy to make! A fun tropical dessert you can enjoy year-round.

Once the cake is baked, cooled, and frosted, you’ll want to chill it for at least 30 minutes. As you can see, there is a LOT of frosting on the cake, but since it’s whipped topping-based, it’s extremely light. It’s not like eating two inches of buttercream. And, the pineapple really cuts through the creaminess.

Serve oversized slices and watch people devour them in minutes. It’s the kind of cake that I, personally, can just keep eating. You know how there’s always room for ice cream? There’s also always room for Hawaiian Wedding Cake.

5 from 8 votes

Hawaiian Wedding Cake Recipe

Hawaiian Wedding Cake has oranges in the batter, pineapple in the frosting, and is so easy to make! A fun tropical dessert you can enjoy year-round.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, pineapple
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Calories 290kcal

For the cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges and juice

For the frosting:

  • 1 (16 ounce) container whipped topping thawed
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding (dry mix)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple and juice
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish, optional
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and oil together until well blended. Whisk in the cake mix until smooth. Carefully fold in the mandarin oranges and their juice.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 25 to 35 minutes (check at 25 minutes). Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
  • When the cake is cool, blend whipped topping and dry vanilla pudding mix in a large bowl (do not prepare the pudding mix into pudding). Carefully fold in pineapple and juice. Spread the frosting in a thick, even layer on the cake.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish individual slices with maraschino cherries if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Calories: 290kcal


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  1. Linda Fitzgerald

    I made this yesterday for a party. Big hit. Would make it again for sure.5 stars

    1. Meggan

      That’s great! Thanks Laura! :D

  2. Genevieve

    325 degrees and at 25 minutes my cake is still watery.  I can’t wait u til it’s done.  It sounds delicious 

  3. Anthony M

    I have a quick question, how would I go about doing this from scratch and not a box? Is it possible? Amazing recipe by the way! Couldn’t stop eating it LOL 5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Anthony, this has actually been on my list for years – figuring out the from-scratch situation. Glad we’re on the same page! I am going to test it myself to figure out the exact recipe, but if you are anxious and need it in the next 5 minutes, you could use any from-scratch vanilla cake recipe. Are you hoping to ditch the cool whip in the topping, too? My thoughts on that are using some sort of whipped cream frosting with the pineapple mixed in. Again, untested now but going on top of my list of things to test. We need answers!!! I’ll report back once I’ve cracked the code. It’s probably going to be a couple of weeks since I’m still traveling for the holidays. I can commit to having this figured out by the end of January for sure. Sorry for the delay! Thank you! -Meggan

  4. Melissa

    Can you substitute the mandarin oranges for crushed pineapple? My mom used to make this cake, but it didn’t have mandarin oranges in it. The rest of the recipe sounds very similar.

    1. meggan

      Hi Melissa, yes you can do whatever you want! I imagine there are a lot of versions of this cake, not all quite the same, but all very tasty. :) Good luck! Thanks!

  5. Constance

    Does it normally take a little longer to cook depending on the oven? How do you check that it’s done toothpick test or something else

  6. Heather

    I have made this several times now. It’s always being requested! Everyone just loves it. What I like mostly is its not sweet. Light and fluffy. Making it again for Easter Sunday. Can’t wait!!5 stars

    1. meggan

      Heather, thank you SO MUCH! I mean, I feel the exact same way. I feel like my photos don’t even do it justice, but once I tried one bite of that cake I was sold. Like you said, it’s not overly sweet which is SO LOVELY. And so perfect for Easter. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your thoughtful comment! Happy Easter!

  7. Priscilla

    Thanks for posting this! I love fruit with my desserts. Heck the one time I had fruit cake I didn’t think it was bad at all even though most v people seem hate it. ANY WAY. Adding this too my fruit salad recipe as a favorite! Thanks again.5 stars

  8. Ruby

    This is the first time I have seen this recipe on the internet!  My mom used to make this cake all the time, but she called it Mandarin Orange Cake.  She passed away two years ago, so it is wonderful to see this recipe posted, it brings back fond memories.    It is a light wonderfully simple cake to make, refreshing in the summer and cheery in the winter.  Sometimes she would sprinkle toasted coconut on the top as a garnish.  It was one of her go to recipes for church pot luck dinners, and it was a favorite dessert for family gatherings.5 stars

  9. Hello! 
    This sounds amazing and perfect for the Hawaiian baby shower I’m hosting this weekend. Do you know if it’s possible to cook the cake in 8″ rounds instead of a 9×13″ pan? I’m hoping to bake three layers (thin) and stack them with the whip in-between. I’m a little concerned that it will be very slippery and slide around. Since you’ve worked with this recipe first hand I’m hoping you might be able to share a little insight to the texture and take a guess if I could make it work or not. I could use straws through the cake to hold it in place better as well. 


    1. Patricia A Campbell

      I’ve made this cake for years and always baked two layers and sliced them into crossways, making four layers. Icing between each layer and the top. Cake is so very moist and yummy!5 stars

    2. Thank you thank you thank you!! Such great tips! I’ll be sending you the results next week! 

    3. Thank you Meggan for such a fast response!! I think the points you make are all very very good. I actually like the idea of a “naked” cake, maybe I’ll go that route anyways. It’s a thing to do these days! Plus, that means I’d use less flowers for the decoration making the cake the decoration. I’ll definitely let you know how it goes!

      Another thought I’m just curious for your take on is making the cake a few days in advance. In the past I’d make the layers a few days in advance, wrap them in plastic and keep them in the fridge. I’d take them out the day of to frost and decorate. Do you think this cake recipe would function just fine? I typically make a box cake and tweak it a bit, so I’m guessing it’d be fine. Just curious what you think!


    4. meggan

      Hi Jessica! I think you can absolutely make the layers in advance. The only thing is, I’d frost it and chill it the night before. Part of the glory of this cake is that the frosting has time to soften the top layer of the cake and, well “melt” is the wrong word, but they bind together a bit. As an example, I tried making this recipe as cupcakes one time, but dolloping frosting on right before serving time didn’t have the same effect. The frosting needs time to soften the cake and bind to it. That’s where the magic really happens! But other than that, yes make the layers in advance, just frost it the night before if you can (or early in the morning) and chill it. I hope this helps! Good luck and I’m excited for you! :D

    5. meggan

      Hi, Jessica! I’ve never tried stacking the cake in this way, but I don’t think it would slide off. The only thing I would worry about is whether you have enough frosting to cover 3 layers AND go in between – I’m also not sure if you would like the texture of the cake for spreading. It’s quite thick and a bit chunky because of the fruit in it. You can see from the pictures, maybe, that it sits quite heavily on top of the cake. However, if you were going to do a “naked” cake and just frost the layers in between, not the outside, I am pretty sure that would work just fine! Frosting the outside *might* work too, I’m just less confident about that. I don’t think the cake will slip at all. It’s just a matter of whether the frosting itself would weigh too much and slide of the side of the cake, if you did that. Please let me know if you go ahead with the idea and how it turns out; I’d love to know! If I had time to test it before this weekend, I would. Good luck and thank you for the question! Sounds like a fantastic baby shower. :)

  10. Oh my goodness this sounds delicious! I bet the oranges make the cake super moist and delicious! Can’t wait to try!

  11. Malia

    I looked yesterday at a few stores! and there was some (imported) canned fruit… But no mandarin oranges at all! And no crushed pineapple, only chunks…. I’m in dubai and they are real big on fresh fruit here tho most if not all of that is imported as well lol! They actually did have instant jello pudding tho. I’ll see if I can do with “real” whipping cream maybe? 

    1. meggan

      You could certainly try real whipped cream, I would just whip it up really well! Fact is, that is going to taste a lot better than the non-dairy whipped topping I suggest here. ;)

  12. Malia

    This looks interesting! But a challenge for me as they don’t sell “cool whip” and I doubt I’d find canned fruit either. Looks good though! 

    1. meggan

      Hi Malia, where abouts do you live? No canned fruit?! I can see Cool Whip being hard to find, and you’re probably better off for it. :)

  13. I’m actually a huge box cake mix convert now – though I certainly was not one a few years ago! I guess the busy hours are finally catching up. I love all the flavors in this cake and will most definitely be making this one soon! Hope all is well, dear lady!5 stars

    1. meggan

      Ala, we should totally get together sometime! We could even get together at DreamWorks again, my husband could create a drive-on for you! I hope you are doing well, I’d love to catch up sometime. Re: boxed cake mixes. They have such a bad rap, but sometimes they are totally convenient. And if I’m making a cake that is “supposed” to be made via a boxed mix, who am I to say no?!

  14. We eat something that’s 99.9% the same here but we call it a Pig Pickin’ Cake. LOL. I make mine with a box of instant cheesecake filling and sour cream in the frosting too. It’s no joke! 

    1. meggan

      THAT’S IT!!! That’s the original name the lady called it! I seriously could not even remember. I was thinking like, prickly toes or something. It’s Pig Pickin’ Cake. Thank you for making my world a better place. :)

  15. I love the mandarin oranges in the cake itself. Fruity cakes are one my faves and that frosting sounds so good I would lick the cake naked first before eating it :)5 stars

    1. meggan

      Lick the cake naked. That is all. LOL!!!

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