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Mandarin Orange Cake AKA Pea Pickin’ Cake

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You may know this Mandarin Orange Cake by another name, Pea Pickin’ Cake. I have no idea the origin of this dessert’s name, but it’s a wonderful, easy cake your family and friends will love.

With a couple shortcuts, this moist, delicious cake is a breeze to prepare!

Mandarin Orange Cake AKA Pea Pickin' Cake slice on a white plate

Mandarin Orange Cake AKA Pea Pickin’ Cake

There are very few recipes I don’t make from scratch: Kahlua cake, Mock Baba Cake and Gooey Bars are the only three that come to mind.  I love a short cut now and then…and this is a delectable cake that uses a few.

I first heard of this Mandarin Orange Cake when my housekeeper raved about it…she’s a good old fashioned cook, loving comfort food and flavorful recipes.  Then my blogger friend, Brandie, posted about her Pea Pickin’ Cake…it sounded awfully familiar.  Yup, it was another name for that same cake.

Mandarin Orange Cake AKA Pea Pickin' Cake
Pineapple topping on the left; plain on the right
Mandarin Orange Cake AKA Pea Pickin' Cake

An Easy Semi-Homemade Cake Recipe

Well, it’s hard to imagine but we were all chocolated out. I still had a large jar of homemade fudge sauce in the fridge in case anyone got the shakes, but I decided to try this highly praised, crazily named cake.

It called for a box cake mix, instant pudding, Cool Whip, canned mandarin oranges and canned crushed pineapple…I had a feeling Katie and the boys would love this…and that Bill would get nervous when he saw the can of pineapple sitting on the counter (yes, I predicted correctly).

Mandarin Orange Cake AKA Pea Pickin' Cake

Adaptations to this Pig Pickin’ Cake Recipe

I made the cake as directed, using a box of Butter Cake mix instead of Yellow
Cake mix as I feel it tastes less artificial.  I also only put the crushed pineapple in half of the icing knowing the big guy wouldn’t touch anything he knew contained pineapple.

He’d claim a fake allergy as he does with mushrooms, coconut, mint and a slew of other ingredients.  As I sampled the icing while putting this together, I knew it was a winner. It was given high praise by everyone. Bill and Katie ate the pineapple free side, but the rest of us enjoyed the addition of pineapple.

Mandarin Orange Cake

Mandarin Orange Cake

An easy, impressive dessert recipe with a couple shortcuts!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 24


  • 1 18.25-ounce box of Butter Cake Mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 14-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained, 1/2 cup juice reserved
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup juice reserved
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces Cool Whip (half an 8 ounce container)
  • Extra mandarin orange slices for garnish, optional


Mandarin Orange Cake…adapted from The Country Cook

1 18.25-ounce box of Butter Cake Mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
1 14-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained, 1/2 cup juice reserved
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup juice reserved
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 ounces Cool Whip (half an 8 ounce container)
Extra mandarin orange slices for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease 9 x 13 inch pan.

Combine cake mix, butter, reserved mandarin orange juice, eggs and vanilla.  Beat for 3-4 minutes on medium high speed.

Add drained oranges, and beat till segments are broken into small pieces.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 25-35 minutes or till cake is golden brown and set in the center.

Remove from oven to rack and cool completely.

Make icing by combining reserved pineapple juice and pudding mix.  Add powdered sugar and mix till combine.  Stir in Cool Whip, then drained pineapple.  Spread on cooled cake and refrigerate a couple hours before serving.  Garnish slices with mandarin orange slices if desired.


Cake can also be made in 2 8-inch round cake pans and baked for 17-21 minutes.

Recipe adapted from The Country Cook

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 48mg Sodium: 99mg Carbohydrates: 26g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 20g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
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28 comments on “Mandarin Orange Cake AKA Pea Pickin’ Cake”

  1. What light refreshing cake. I am bookmarking this and will make it this weekend!

  2. What a beautiful cake 🙂 I love that glorious orange fresh topping 🙂

  3. This looks like a perfect summer treat. Yummy!

  4. We are thinking alike this week – I posted a dreamy orange cake too! I want your recipe for Mock Baba Cake – I have no idea what that is, but I love the name and anything you make is divine!
    Your Mandarin Orange Cake looks very refreshing!

  5. haha, Lizzy, I have also seen the recipe for Pea Pickin’ Cake. Having picked a lot of peas, I’m sure it stems from being out in the heat, coming in to partake of a cool piece of cake and glass of cold milk!

  6. Sounds like your Bill is the twin to my Michael!! How funny they can be!

    The cake looks great, and a nice break from chocolate is okay every now and then!

  7. Hope your trip is going well Lizzy! You are keeping us entertained while you’re Always love Bill’s appearances in your posts! So glad it turned out good for you. Love your pictures!

  8. Your cake looks so refreshing with mandarins in this sunny, hot afternoon of Italian summer…beautiful!

  9. Looks nice, well decorated

  10. This sounds perfect for summer and is beautiful too. Anything with pineapple sounds great to me! I have some favorite cake mix “can’t miss” recipes that I love too.

  11. Such a refreshing and perfect cake for the summer, with little preparation with the help of the box cake which always comes in handy!
    Lizzy, I’m so happy for you that you got a chance to get away, and enjoy a little vacation…just relax and have a great time.
    Thinking of you, my friend!

  12. My grandmother used to make this all the time. It came from one of her old Jell-O/Cool Whip recipe booklets. Now, my grandpa has diabetes and no one will eat the sugar-free version. “Now all I get to eat is crap,” in the words of my straight-talking grandfather. The cake did go really well with their Coppertone 1970s kitchen, though.

  13. Looks so pretty and summer like. Andi the

  14. It looks like such a refreshing cake for the hot summer months! I also appreciate recipes that have shortcuts. I like how you made half with pineapple and half without – that’s what I have to do often at my house!

  15. Pretty and a very refreshing sounding cake.

  16. This looks amazing I just love mandarin oranges this cake is perfect for Florida! I love it!

  17. You OD’d on the chocolate, huh? Well, this is a fantastic substitute. Loving the pineapple, I’d be happy to have it on AAAAAAL the cake 😉

  18. Look delicious I love mandarin, gloria

  19. I want a slice from the pineapple side! This looks so yummy and I like a shortcut cake every once in a while too.

  20. Sounds like a great cake! Nice change from chocolate every once in awhile!

  21. Mandarin oranges remind me of my childhood, but I’ve never used them in a cake before. This looks delicious!

  22. this is almost the exact recipe my mom used to make her orange pineapple cake the other night 🙂 so neat to see this being made all over the US it is so good!

  23. Funny! I never heard of the pea pickin’ cake name. But, my sister’s even heard of it being called “Angel Lush”. Despite all the names, your cake looks delicious!

  24. That looks like a gorgeous cake.. and it’s so pretty too! Love the colors 🙂 Great post, Lizzy!

  25. Loving your cake and the sweet mandarine design in top.

  26. This cake sounds like a great dessert for the summer to make you feel all nice and cool inside and I love how you arranged the oranges so prettily on top.

  27. You are all so sweet! Concetta, I’ll try to bake and share that cake soon~

  28. My fella claims fake allergies too, pumpkin is one of his favourites to claim funnily when he is not aware of it in a recipe he happily eats away at it!!! I have never made a box mix cake before this one does sure look good 🙂

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