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A legendary dessert that’s plated up at pig roasts throughout the South, Pig Pickin’ Cake, aka Pig Cake, is as fluffy, fruity, and fabulous as it gets. And good news: This sunshiny orange and pineapple cake is the easiest thing in the world to make.
Ultra moist and irresistibly fruity, this cake has lot of other names: pig lickin’ cake, pineapple orange dump cake, picnic cake, orange delight or orange sunshine cake. To me, it’s a ray of sunshine disguised as a dessert.
You need a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangular cake pan to make the recipe exactly as it’s written. And because it’s so easy, you don’t even need a mixer.
- To start, preheat the oven to 325 degrees ( with a rack in the middle) and coat the baking dish with non-stick spray.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the oil until smooth. Next, add the cake mix, and whisk until blended. Pour in the mandarin orange segments and the juice, then fold gently with a spatula to combine.
- Then scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes.
- Check the cake after 25 minutes. If a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out mostly clean, with a crumb or two, then it’s ready to come out of the oven. Let the cake cool completely, at least 30 minutes (or overnight in the refrigerator) before beginning the frosting.
- To make the frosting, whisk together the thawed whipped topping and the dry pudding mix. Then carefully fold in the crushed pineapple, along with the pineapple juice.
- To frost the cake, spread a thick layer of the frosting over the cake. (It may look like too much, but don’t worry because it’s much lighter than buttercream and the pineapple balances it out.)
Recipe tips and substitutions:
- Chill the cake before you serve it. The frosting stays on the cake better when it is completely cool, but after that, pop it in the fridge again to let the frosting bond with the top of the cake. That’s where the magic happens.
- Cut big, fluffy pieces. Trust me, everyone will love it.
- Make ahead. For the moistest cake, bake the cake a day or two ahead of time, and frost it a few hours before you need it. The fruit will really soak in and get extra delicious.
- Using fresh pineapple. You can make this with fresh pineapple that you crush fine, yourself. Pulse chunks of pineapple in a food processor, but hold on to the juice for the frosting.Bromelain, the natural enzyme found in fresh pineapple, will break down gelatin, which can soften the frosting if you use a gelatin-based pudding. Most instant pudding doesn’t contain gelatin, but double check your brand, just to be sure.
- Using fresh oranges. Not as easy as the canned oranges, but you can use fresh oranges, tangerines, Cuties, or clementines instead. Cut the segments from their membranes into supremes, and squeeze the extra juice from the fruit for making the cake.
- Real whipped cream. You can, but keep in mind that whipping cream doubles once it is whipped. Since the recipe calls for an 16-ounce carton of whipped topping, whip 3 cups of whipping cream, which will yield 6 cups for this recipe.
Pig Pickin’ Cake Variations:
Here are just some of the ways other people like to enjoy this beautiful cake.
- Low-sugar cake. Make it with sugar-free vanilla pudding mix, sugar-free whipped topping, and sugar-free cake mix.
- Layer cake. If you are up to the challenge of baking the cake in two 8″ cake pans, make a layer cake. You may need to make an extra batch of frosting, depending on the number of layers you want. Be sure to assemble the cake the night before and chill it in the refrigerator so it has a chance to set up properly.
- Cupcakes. Not recommended. If you frost a cupcake with the whipped topping mixture, it won’t cover enough surface area to really soak in and flavor the cake the way it’s supposed to.
- With coconut. Add shredded toasted coconut to the frosting, or sprinkle it on top at the last minute.
- Nuts. Toasted walnuts or toasted pecans have always been a welcome addition to the cake batter.
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Pig Pickin' Cake
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 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. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.