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Pig Pickin’ Cake

Pig Pickin’ Cake: What the HECK is that? The name of this cake alone confuses everyone who weren’t born in the South. Is there pork inside of it…. Is this cake for pigs? Of course NOT!! However, how this cake got its name is just as interesting as the cake itself. This simple, traditional dessert was born in the South, but different variations have found their way into homes all over the country. Here’s everything you need to know about Pig Pickin’ Cake

Pig Pickin’ Cake

Pig Pickin’ Cake is a traditional Southern dessert that is often eaten at barbecues, picnics, or church gatherings. A vanilla cake batter is tossed with mandarin oranges which help keep the cake moist and add a sweet citrus flavor. Once baked, the cake is traditionally topped with a whipped frosting that includes chunks of pineapple and its juice.

Most of the recipes for Pig Pickin’ Cake include one box of yellow cake mix, canned mandarin oranges, eggs, and butter or vegetable oil. Canned crushed pineapple, whipped topping, and instant vanilla pudding make up the sweet frosting. Some people like myself like to add vanilla extract to the batter for more pronounced flavors. I also like to top the whip topping with extra seasonal fruit to give it the extra punch of tastiness.

This cake has NO actual pig inside of it!! It appears that the cake’s nickname came from being commonly served during barbecues where an entire pig was being roasted.

The Southern specialty got its name because it was very common at pig roasts and barbecues. Guests “picked” the tender meat off the cooked pig, which is how a Southern barbecue became known as a “pig pickin’.”

Macaroni & cheese, potato salad, baked beans, and “slaw” for cold-slaw were usually served alongside the roasted pork at pig pickin’s. This mandarin orange cake became a regular on the dessert table of most Southern pig roasts too. It wasn’t long before the nickname stuck.

Pig Pickin Cake

A simple southern cake for any BBQ
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: desserts, cake, mandarin oranges, pineapple



  • 1 package Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 11 oz can Mandarin oranges save the juice from 1 can for use in the cake
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  • 1 15 oz can crushed pineapple well drained
  • 1 3.5 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 16 oz container frozen whipped topping thawed


  • 1 11 oz mandarin oranges well drained
  • Any seasonal fruit


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Or 2 9 inch round cake pans.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, canned oranges with the juice of ONE can, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Mix for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until center is done by inserting a toothpick and having it clean when it's removed.
  • Let the cake sit & completely cool.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the well-drained pineapple and the pudding mix until the pineapple is evenly coated with the mix. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes, 1-3 minutes.
  • Fold in the thawed whip topping until evenly combined. Spread frosting evenly over the top of the cake and garnish, if desired with well-drained mandarin oranges, pineapple or any fruit of your choice that pairs well with oranges.
  • Enjoy!!

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

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