Ever Heard of a Pig Pickin’ Cake? Here’s the Recipe!Written by Lillian Tram on March 18th, 2016
Living in southeast Missouri, this would be called a not-so-typical typical Mandarin Orange Cake, but in other areas of the United States this delicious dessert is known as something quite different. In the Carolinas, and a few other Eastern states, this would be called a Pig Pickin’ Cake.
What On Earth is a Pig Pickin’ Cake?
You aren’t the first person to ask that question and it’s a safe bet that you won’t be the last, either. The name of this cake dates back to an unknown time (all I know is it was a long time ago!) when it was popular to roast a pig while holding a barbeque, especially in North and South Carolina.
The whole pig is roasted, choosing from any number of roasting methods including barrels, grills and the ground, until the meat is practically falling off of the bone. What doesn’t fall from the bone is pulled – which is where the first pulled pork originated from – yum!
I don’t have to tell you about all of the delicious barbeque side dishes that can easily be found at any Southern barbeque; they were all laid out to go with this delicious pulled pork! I’m sure there was no shortage of baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, macaroni salad and…
desserts! Like this delicious pig pickin’ cake!
You can look up the old recipes for this yummy pig pickin’ cake and find it underneath many other names as well. Bell’s Best alone lists this cake under three: Pea Pickin’ Cake, Pig Pickin’ Cake and Mandarin Orange Cake …and there are plenty more! Some more names this cake has earned include the following:
Pig Cake, Pig Pickin’ Good Cake, Pig Lickin’ Cake, Pig Eatin’ Cake, Pineapple Cake, Orange Pineapple Layer Cake, Pineapple Orange Cake, Celestial Snow Cake, Summer Cake, Sunshine Cake, Okoboji Sunrise, Better than Sex Cake or as Paula Deen says… Not Better Than Sex Cake. I’m sure we can find even more if we try.
The Yummy Pig Inspired Cake Recipe
Upon hearing the name Mandarin Orange Cake, some people will mistakenly expect an orange cake but this recipe was never intended to be such. While there is mandarin oranges in the batter, these are meant to provide moisture and tenderness …but a distinctive orange flavor? Not so much. Most will love this recipe but a few may call it bland, and be disappointed at the cake’s lack of complexity.
Just as many others have likely done, you can easily alter the recipe to suit your personal taste. This is how the Pig Pickin’ Cake has so many variations, I’m sure. Some options to consider include adding orange juice to the mix, tossing in some orange extract or zest, putting more orange and less pineapple flavor in the frosting, or maybe folding in some softened cream cheese.
Too many changes though, and you’ll be making something completely different… like Orange Chiffon Cake. Another great recipe but not the cake for pickin’ pigs, right? Oh and by the way, traditionally the Pig Pickin’ Cake is made in layers – anywhere from two to four will do quite nicely! Anyway, here is the recipe:
Recipe: Mandarin Orange Pig Pickin’ Cake
Yield: Approximately 12 slices
1 box of butter style yellow cake mix (I recommend Duncan Hines Butter Recipe)
1/3 cup of vegetable or canola oil
3 large eggs
1 (11 or 15 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, undrained
1 (4-1/2 serving size) package of instant vanilla pudding
1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (16 ounce) carton of whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter three 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Flour the pans or line them with parchment paper and set aside.
Add together the cake mix, oil and eggs using the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low speed just until blended.
Reserving a couple of the oranges for garnish, add the remaining oranges with their juice and blend on low before increasing to medium speed for about two minutes.
Divide the batter evenly into three prepared cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.
Allow cake to cool in the round pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a cake rack to finish cooling.
Blend together instant pudding and crushed pineapple before setting aside for five minutes.
Gently fold in the whipped topping and spread in between each of the layers. Then frost the sides and top.
Garnish the top of the cake with a mint sprig and the orange segments you reserved.
Cover and refrigerate until serving. After serving, store leftover cake in the refrigerator.
Changing This Recipe? Consider Coconut
Without a doubt, your family will love this recipe – and the name! If you decide to alter the recipe a bit, consider the addition of coconut, either as an ingredient (I recommend about 1/2 cup to the batter and 1/2 cup to the frosting) or a garnish
…and don’t forget the cherries. They’ll look amazing with the coconut!