Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake

Mandarin Orange Pig Picking Cake
Mandarin Orange Cake, also affectionately called Pig Picking Cake because it’s so good that it makes such pigs out of us, is a Southern classic! This is a beloved cake of family reunions, church picnics, potlucks, and warm weather get-togethers. Surprisingly easy to make, this cool cake has always been a hit wherever it goes!

This has always been my favorite cake…
This has always been my favorite cake, although I don’t remember Mama actually making it any time other than our yearly family reunion. She would make it three days before, sit it at eye level in the fridge (not sure if that was intentional or not), and keep it there, untouched, until the reunion day. It was pure torture.

On the day of the reunion, her father (My Papa Reed) would hook a huge flatbed trailer up to his tractor and pull it up alongside their farmhouse. The ladies would then appear with an assortment of tablecloths and sheets to cover the wagon before everyone started placing their dishes upon our makeshift table. I would watch for two things: my mom’s Mandarin Orange Cake and whichever little old lady had deviled eggs with red stuff (paprika) sprinkled on top.

It’s been quite some time since we had a family reunion. What used to be one of our most looked forward to events each year just slowly fell away. I’m not sure if it was because people moved away or younger folks just didn’t feel the same connection as they grew up and started families of their own. You don’t hear much about family reunions these days. I’d love to hear if y’all still have them or if you have any special memories of them growing up.

1 box Yellow Cake Mix I prefer Duncan Hines
11 ounce can Mandarin oranges diced, undrained
4 eggs
½ cup oil
3.4 ounce Box Instant Vanilla Pudding
16 ounce whipped topping
1 -8 ounce Can crushed pineapple undrained

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour three round cake pans or grease one 9x13 baking dish. 
Place all cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well blended and fully combined, about two minutes. 
Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes, slightly less if you use three pans. If using round pans, allow cooling for ten minutes before turning out to cool completely. If using 9x13, allow cooling completely in pan.
For frosting, place pineapple (with juice) and pudding mix in a mixing bowl. Beat until just mixed. Add in whipped topping and beat on low speed for about one minute, until blended in. Frost cake.
Cover well and refrigerate. Best if made 2 or 3 days ahead and refrigerated before serving.
*Note: I usually make mine in a 9x13 pan just to save the trouble of fooling with the layers.

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