Mandarin Orange Cake — also known as “Dream Cake” or “Pig Pickin’ Cake” — was made from scratch. Whether it began its culinary life as a from-scratch cake, or it’s been a prepared box-cake-Cool-Whip creation all its life, is unknown to me; but these days, it’s usually made with mostly processed ingredients. Most of its charm is deeply rooted in the fact that this cake is not for special occasions. It’s a summer cake, a cake to make at the lake house, or cabin, or eaten while sitting in wet swimsuits while wrapped in beach towels.
While perhaps it may be labeled as a “summer cabin or cottage cake,” I believe Mandarin Oranges are more of a fall-winter flavor.
And, the cake is super easy, super fast, and super delicious ~ so why not make it any time of year?
Marvelous Mandarin Orange Cake
1 pkg. organic vanilla cake mix (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1 11 oz. can organic Mandarin oranges
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbs. organic instant vanilla pudding mix
1 Tbs. pure orange extract
1 Tbs. mandarin orange zest or orange zest
Drain the orange segments, reserving the juice – 1/2 cup. Also reserve 5-10 segments for decorating the cake.
Combine the orange segments, half a cup of juice, cake mix, vanilla, mayonnaise and eggs in a large bowl and beat until well mixed.
Spilt the batter between two 8 inch cake rounds that have been greased and have a parchment round on the bottom. Bake for 35 minutes or until a tester or toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven. Cool on a rack until completely cool.
Place one of the layers of cake onto a cake stand and ice the top. Place the other layer onto the top of the icing and ice the rest of the cake. Fan out the 5-10 segments of orange to make a pinwheel in the center of the cake. Refrigerate or serve.