pea pickin cake with mandarin oranges

Pea Pickin Cake

Cakes, Southern Desserts

Here you’ll find a moist winning recipe for Pea Pickin’ cake. Whether this is your first time cooking this or you’re trying to re-imagine an old family favorite, you’ve come to the right place for this classic Southern recipe.


Using easy to find ingredients at your local grocery store, you can make this moist refreshing cake in under an hour.

It’s nostalgic and a crowd pleaser. 

Much like our chocolate chip cake.

My grandmother used to make Pea Pickin’ cake for my mom and aunts as they grew up. When we were thinking up awesome Southern Recipes, this one made the list!

Before we move on…

Pig Picking or Pea Picking?

Some people refer to this cake as a Pig Pickin’ Cake, which… I don’t know… is not how my grandmother referred to it… so there.

The cake is an old fashioned traditional Southern dessert often served at “pig pickin’s”, aka pig roasts, hence its pig pickin cake name. Today we still serve it at barbecues, picnics, or other any gatherings!

But other folks call it by its other name – the Pea Pickin’ cake. I have so many memories of my grandmother ACTUALLY shelling peas. So… I’m thinking she clocked so many hours sitting down in her chair with those peas, that she made up a cake to celebrate when she got done.

Either way, we have two names for one delicious cake.

Psst… my grandmother also loved pecan praline! Did yours?

white pea pickin cake, mandarin orange cake pig pickin cake

What We Love About The Pea Pickin’ Cake

  • It’s super moist!
  • It’s easy to cook.
  • Ingredients are easy to find.
  • It’s inexpensive!
  • It’s a Southern nostalgic favorite!

That was a lot of exclamations.

What’s In The Cake

At its base…. a pea pickin’ cake is a standard vanilla layer cake topped with some mandarin oranges that give it a citrus kick. It is light and airy and a great after-dinner dessert.

What’s In The Frosting

The frosting in the pea pickin cake contains the following.

  • Whipped topping (cool whip is an option)
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Instant Vanilla pudding mix
  • Mandarin oranges

So without further ado… here’s how to make the Pea Pickin’ Cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups mandarin orange slices, well drained
  • 1 (9 oz) tub of whipped topping (cool whip, for example)
  • 2 cups crushed pineapple, making sure the pineapple juice is completely drained
  • 1 large vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained, for topping (or fresh if they’re in season!)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes for the frosting and some additional for garnish

Here’s the basic process.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
  2. Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, coconut milk, and drained mandarin orange slices together in a large bowl.
  3. Split the cake batter into your pans, and bake the cakes for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and cool completely in pans for 15 minutes.
  5. While cakes are cooling, mix the frosting ingredients: the whipped topping, crushed pineapple, coconut flakes, and pudding mix.
  6. Put one cake on your cake plate, then put a layer of frosting.
  7. Top with the second cake and frost the whole cake.
  8. Garnish with coconut flakes and oranges and enjoy!

How Long Will The Pea Pickin Cake Keep?

Because this cake is so moist, it’ll taste best eaten within a couple of days. After making, store in the refrigerator covered so the moisture doesn’t escape and cause you to lose one of the best features of the pea pickin cake itself.

It can be frozen as well, but it’s best to use within 3 months. The icing will not be at its best when you thaw it out, so if you are wanting a cake you can make ahead, I’d suggest another type and leave this one for a day when you can cook it fresh, then eat it quickly.

It’ll go quickly once it’s up for serving, that’s for sure!

What Foods Go Well With A Pea Pickin’ Cake?

This cake is great for potlucks, barbecues, and family gatherings. Particularly during the summer. Here are a few things that would pair well with a pea pickin’ cake for fun times together.

  • Fried Chicken
  • Potato Salad
  • Barbecue Pork, Beef, or Chicken
  • Baked Beans

Or…. anything else you feel like cooking!

Check out our full list of BBQ Menu Ideas and Easy Potluck Ideas for a great spread at your gathering!

Pea Pickin’ Cake

Rachel Norman
This Pea Pickin' cake is a good old fashioned Southern dessert served at potlucks, barbecues, and family gatherings.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Cooling Time 15 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 12
Calories 378 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups mandarin oranges drained

Frosting/Filling

  • 2 cups crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 large vanilla pudding mix
  • 9 oz whipped topping
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes

Topping/Garnish

  • 1 small can mandarin oranges
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
  • Mix all cake ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Split the batter between your 2 pans and bake the cakes for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool in pans for 15 minutes.
  • While cakes are cooling, mix whipped topping, drained crushed pineapple, coconut flakes, and pudding mix.
  • Put one cake on your cake plate, then put a layer of frosting.
  • Top with the second cake and frost the whole cake.
  • Garnish with coconut flakes and oranges and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 5gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 335mgPotassium: 243mgFiber: 2gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 402IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 143mgIron: 2mg
Keyword coconut, mandarin oranges, pineapple
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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