A boxed cake mix and few pantry staples are all you need for this utterly irresistible light and fruity cake.
The perfect summer treat for any event, Pig Pickin Cake is one of my favorite potluck desserts. Ultra moist, and fruity this cake is equal parts yummy and easy, this traditional Sounthern cake is a picnic staple all across the country.
History of Pig Pickin’ Cake
Pig Pickin’ Cake has such an unusual name, that you just know there is a backstory! There are 2 generally accepted versions of the orgins of this southern cake.
In many southern states, picnics featuring pig roasts are said to be called pig pickins’. At Pig Pickin’s or, pig roasts, a whole pig is roasted over a barbecue for several hours, once it is fully cooked, the meat is picked off and served, which is commonly known as pulled pork. These barbecues featuring pulled pork and potluck style side dishes are special events and every family brings their best dishes and desserts to pass. This cake became a familiar favorite dessert at these events and became known as pig pickin’ cake.
Another telling of how the Pig Pickin’ cake got its unusual moniker, comes from the Tennessee area, where during hog harvesting time local farms would work together to slaughter the hogs, and make pork products, the collaborative effort was a seasonal event among local farmers, and wives and women would provide a picnic style meal for the farmers, each bringing a covered dish.
Regardless of how this cake got its name, there is a reason the recipe was a hit then, and continues to stand the test of time. It is utterly irrisistable.
Ingredients to Make Pig Pickin’ Cake
Pig Pickin’ Cake is a vintage cake, and like many vintage favorites from the same time period, utlize the convenience of a boxed cake mix, and canned fruit, mandarin oranges in this case.
- For the cake:
- Yellow cake mix
- Can of mandarin oranges (I use mandarin oranged packed in juice)
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract
- For the fluffy whipped topping:
- Vanilla instant pudding mix
- Crushed pineapple (I use crushed pineapple packed in juice)
- Powdered sugar
- Frozen whipped topping (COOL WHIP), defrosted
- Extra mandarin orange slices, for garnish
How Do you Make Pig Pickin Cake?
Making Pig Pickin’ cake is almost as easy as eating it!
- For the cake, combine cake mix, butter, 1/2 cup juice from the mandarin oranges, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 3-4 minutes at medium-high speed with a hand mixer. Add drained oranges and stir until combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
- When the cake is cooled, blend juice from drained pineapples with the vanilla pudding mix. Stir in powdered sugar. Then fold in the whipped topping. Finally, stir in drained pineapple.
Some people enjoy the pretty presentation of a round layered cake, but I like to keep it simple and bake pig pickin’ cake in a 9×13 cake pan. If you’d like to bake your cake in two 9-inch round cake pans, pour the batter into 2 prepared pans and bake for about 20-22 minutes.
How to Store Pig Pickin Cake
Because of the whipped topping, you will need to store this cake in the fridge. Store in a well-sealed container in the fridge. If you’re serving this cake at an outdoor event, be sure to keep it cool, the topping can get a little runny in hot humid weather!
Can You Freeze Pig Pickin Cake?
Not only have I successfully frozen a whole pig pickin’s cake, I actually perfer to eat Pig Pickin cake frozen! If you’ve ever eaten a Pepperidge farm cake directly out of the freezer, you know what I am talking about.
But if frozen cake isn’t your thing, you can still freeze this cake, but it’s recommended to do so without the frosting. A major benefit to making the cake in advance and freezing it is that when you’re ready to frost, your cake is completely cooled. You are completly omitting the possibility of runny frosting, from frosting a too warm cake!
For the cake:
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup) softened
- 1 (14 oz) can mandarin oranges drained, 1/2 cup juice reserved
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 1 (4 oz) box vanilla instant pudding mix
- 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple (juice reserved)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 4 ounces Cool Whip (half a regular tub)
- extra mandarin orange slices, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- For the cake, combine cake mix, butter, 1/2 cup juice from the mandarin oranges, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 3-4 minutes on medium-high speed with a hand mixer.
- Add drained oranges and stir until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Once cake is cool, blend juice from drained pineapples with the vanilla pudding mix.
- Stir in powdered sugar. Then fold in the whipped topping.
Finally, stir in drained pineapple.
- Spread frosting on cooled cake.
- Optional: Top with slices of mandarin oranges.