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Southern Pig Pickin Cake

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Pig Pickin’ Cake is a Southern tradition that starts with boxed cake mix, crushed pineapple, and mandarin oranges! This light and fruity, fluffy dessert is a staple at pig roasts and barbecues all summer long.

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What is Pig Pickin’ Cake?

Simply put, a Pig Pickin’ Cake is a moist mandarin orange layer cake that is layered with a fluffy whipped cream vanilla topping full of crushed pineapples.  Traditionally, this light fruity dessert was served at a Southern pig roast – or pig pickin’ – so that is most likely how this cake got its name.  I just call it plain delicious!

If you’re looking for more easy summer desserts, be sure to try triple lemon poke cake, tornado cake, or strawberry fluff!


pig pickin cake ingredients on white counter
  • yellow cake mix
  • unsalted butter
  • mandarin oranges
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil
  • whipped topping
  • crushed pineapple
  • instant vanilla pudding mix

Step by step

collage of steps to make pig pickin cake
  1. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix, butter, 1/2 cup juice from oranges, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer 3 minutes on medium speed.
  2. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9 by 13 inch cake pans. 
  3. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool layers on wire racks completely. Refrigerate cake until ready to frost.
  4. Fold together COLD whipped topping, drained pineapple, and instant pudding mix.
  5. Spread topping on cooled cake, then top with next layer of cake and repeat. For best results refrigerate frosted cake at least 3 hours before serving.
  6. Top each serving with an additional mandarin orange slice for garnish.
close up of a slice of layered pig picking cake

Tips for best results

  • Cake should be cooled in the fridge before frosting, not just room temp
  • Keep cool whip in fridge until ready to mix frosting, make sure pineapple is drained very well or the pineapple frosting will end up runny
  • Tastes best if made the day ahead of serving to allow flavors to blend


This recipe is pretty straight forward however some versions garnish the top with crushed pecans or walnuts.

You can also make this cake as one single layer to simplify the preparation. The baking time will need to be extended 5-10 minutes.


Do you need to keep the cake refrigerated?

Yes, due to the whipped topping you’ll need to keep this cake in the fridge and serve cold.

Can it be frozen?

You can freeze pig pickin’ cake without the topping by wrapping in two layers of plastic wrap and placing in a freezer safe bag or container. I do not recommend freezing the topping.

What other names is this recipe known as?

Pig pickin’ cake is also called mandarin pineapple cake, pea pickin cake, or simply mandarin orange cake.

bite of pig picking cake on fork

If you try this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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slice of pig pickin cake with orange slice on top

Southern Pig Pickin Cake

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


Pig Pickin Cake is a Southern tradition! This fruity, fluffy dessert is a staple at pig roasts and barbecues all summer long.



For the cake:

  • 15.25 ounce box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained with 1/2 cup of juice reserved
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 16 ounce Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained thoroughly
  • 4 ounce box Instant vanilla pudding mix
  • extra mandarin oranges for garnish is desired



Cake should be chilled before frosting.

Keep Cool Whip refrigerated before mixing frosting, you want it as cold as possible.

Tastes best if made a day ahead.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 191
  • Sugar: 20.7 g
  • Sodium: 212.7 mg
  • Fat: 9.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.1 g
  • Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 3.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 74.7 mg




Its easy! I will show you how.

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  1. I love anything in a jar – this is cute! Looks yummy too!


  2. Yum, Keri! Love the combination of flavors … it sounds like such a great summer dessert! Thanks for sharing with us at Project Inspire{d}.

  3. I have to admit that I came over just to see what Pig Pickin Cake was! lol Sounds good to me- although I thought maybe bacon was in there- I think the orange sounds better!

  4. Wowzers. This looks like the yummiest dessert EVER. I am dying to try it!! YUMMM!

    ~Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

  5. I love jars! Adds character to your foods nicely! I would love for you to link to http://hickorytrailblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/assets-and-efforts-linky-party-2.html


  6. I would love for you to share and link up at my TGIF Link Party.


    Hugs, Cathy

  7. My California is showing a bit here, cuz I had no idea what a Pig Pickin’ cake was, but this thing looks awesome! I’m pinning this and sharing it on my Facebook page this week! Thanks so much for linking it up to my party!

    1. As a seasoned Southerner, allow ,me to tell you that this cake has become a favorite dessert or ‘anytime’ snack, with my family and friends. It’s very easy to make and soooo delicious! Make it, you won’t be disappointed!

  8. I have never heard of this kind of cake before, and I am so intrigued to try this recipe! Thanks for linking up to our Make Bake Create party! I have featured them today on my blog!


  9. This looks so yummy! I would love it if you would come and link this up at my link party
    Dandelion Wishes Wednesday. I’m also pinning this!

  10. Thanks so much for linking up this delicious treat to The Weekly Creative last week! I’m featuring it tomorrow in my 9 Sinfully Delicious Treats round-up. I hope you stop by. 🙂 XOXO

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  13. This cake has been around since the 70’s (you tell how old I am). but I thought it would have to be refrigerated? Have you made it and not kept it refrigerated for a number of hours?

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  15. I made this cake for an actual pig pickin and it was a huge hit. Now 2 weeks later….I’ve been invited to another one and the only thing they requested me to bring was this cake again. They said it was the best thing at the party. Thanks for sharing the recipe. It is phenomenal!!

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