Mandarin Orange Cake (Made From Scratch)

LAST UPDATED: Jun 14, 2019 | PUBLISHED: Dec 09, 2017 | By: Julie Blanner

This beautiful made-from-scratch Mandarin Orange Cake is easy to make, especially with the help of little hands. It’s a fresh twist on an old classic – Mandarin Orange Cake made without Cool Whip or cake mix. Just fresh, flavorful, beautiful cake.

Mandarin Orange Cake

A New Take On A Vintage Citrus Cake

I love the holiday season and all of the parties, traditions and family fun that comes along with it. For a moment, it seems everyone is more focused on family, friends and giving – the way it should be all year. It brings me so much joy.

how to decorate a cake for Christmas

The holidays remind me a lot of my mom and the fun we shared together during the holidays. I am blessed that my sister has been joining me in the kitchen for a little family fun! The girls enjoy holiday baking as well. My sister, Isla and I made this beautiful Mandarin Orange Cake to celebrate.

It’s a fresh twist on an old favorite, because it’s made from “scratch”.

mandarin orange cake on stand

A Fresh Twist on Classic Mandarin Orange Cake

My mom always made Mandarin Orange Cake with yellow cake mix, Cool Whip, pudding and canned pineapple. I’m convinced that’s simply because 80’s advertising made everyone feel like they couldn’t do it on their own.

This Mandarin Orange Cake recipe is truly quick and easy and worth the extra steps for fresh flavor. With just a couple additional (staple) ingredients, you can whip up this amazing cake on a whim!

Let’s skip the boxed cake mix and cool whip and give this easy recipe a whirl!

peeling mandarins

Ditch The Cake Mix

This made from scratch Mandarin Orange Cake is foolproof and will make you wonder why you’ve ever bought a mix. It comes together in just 25 minutes and is so easy to decorate. It’s the perfect dessert to wow your guests for spring, summer, fall and winter. It’s one of our summer favorites for every outdoor gathering!

There’s nothing better than Mandarin Orange Cake with fresh oranges. It makes the cake so moist!

Cuties mandarin oranges

Don’t be intimidated making a layer cake, it’s truly so simple and gives a nice cake to frosting ratio!

This Mandarin Orange Cake recipe is light and fluffy, much like it’s fruity icing.

how to decorate a mandarin orange cake

Pig Pickin’ Cake- A Funny Name For A Delicious Cake

Did you know that Mandarin Orange Cake is also known as Pig Pickin’ Cake?  It’s a southern classic that’s been served for generations. It’s often called that because it is frequently served at pig roasts. The name refers to picking the tender meat off the pig. (But trust me, there’s no pork in this cake!)

While it’s typically deemed as a summer dessert, I feel oranges lend themselves well to fall and winter, too. It’s a delicious dessert any time of the year!

mandarin orange cake with oranges on top

Mandarin Orange Cake on cake stand

How to Make Mandarin Orange Cake

You can get the full printable recipe in the recipe card below.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 2 cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl or mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, mandarin oranges and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder and salt together.
  4. Gradually incorporate into wet mixture alternating with milk until just incorporated.
  5. Pour into baking pans. Bake 25-28 minutes or until the cake springs back after being touched or a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool completely (approximately 20 minutes) before turning onto rack or pedestal.

mandarin orange cake slice

Mandarin Orange Cake Filling

Let’s be honest, the filling in this cake is everything! Fortunately, it’s quick and easy, even when making it fresh!

I make Mandarin Orange Cake filling with homemade whipped cream. You can even add a little cream cheese or coconut if you’d like! The options are endless!

If you’re not a big frosting fan, you can always cover it in my orange glaze, but this pineapple topping can’t be beat!

  1. Beat heavy cream until stiff (if you must, you can substitute whipped topping).  
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla pudding mix and crushed pineapple. 
  3. Place one layer of cake onto your serving dish and fill with icing before placing the second layer on top. 
  4. Ice the top and sides until the cake is completely covered.
  5. Garnish and refrigerate until ready to serve.

slice of mandarin orange cake

How to Decorate a Mandarin Orange Cake

I couldn’t decide how to decorate the cake – to use mandarins whole, quartered, sliced or peeled. The options are endless!

So Isla peeled a few for me to test with – and snacked on them to reward herself for her efforts. That’s one of the many things we love about mandarin oranges, the kids can peel them themselves! After a few trials, we decided we liked using them sliced to create a star. Garnishing it with rosemary to makes the Mandarin Orange Cake feel festive for the holidays.

eating mandarin orange cake

How to Store Pig Pickin’ Cake

Of course fresh is always best, but you’ll want to savor this cake as long as possible. Cover and store refrigerated, ensuring any exposed cake is covered in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. You can also freeze Mandarin Orange Cake for up to 30 days covered. Bring to room temperature to enjoy.

Mandarin Orange Cake made from scratch

I hope your family loves this Mandarin Orange Cake recipe as much as ours! Please write a five star review and help me share on Facebook and Pinterest!

More Cake Recipes You'll Love

Now you can have your cake and eat it too! Here's a selection of some of my favorite cake recipes. Enjoy!

The Easy Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe

Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe Made from Scratch without a Cake Mix

Mandarin Orange Cake

A fresh twist on an old classic - Mandarin Orange Cake made without Cool Whip or cake mix. Just fresh, flavorful, beautiful cake.
4.89 from 34 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 18
Calories: 383kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 c butter softened
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 c mandarin oranges crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 2 c cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 3.4 oz vanilla pudding mix instant
  • 16 oz pineapple fresh, crushed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8" round pans and set aside.
  • In a large bowl/mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, Cuties and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Gradually incorporate into wet mixture alternating with milk until just incorporated.
  • Pour into baking pans and bake 25-28 minutes when cake springs back after being touched. Allow to cool 20 minutes before turning onto rack or pedestal.
  • Beat heavy cream until stiff. Add powdered sugar, vanilla pudding mix and crushed pineapple. 
  • Place one layer of cake onto your serving dish and fill with icing before placing the second layer on top. Ice, garnish and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

 For Christmas, garnish with rosemary

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 16.1mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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