Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mandarin Orange Pig Pickin' Cake

Mandarin Orange Cake is what this dessert is typically known as in this part of The Deep South, but in many other areas of The South, this is more commonly known as Pig Pickin' Cake.

Mandarin Orange Pig Pickin' Cake

How y'all liking that vintage Tupperware Cake Taker plate up there? I know for photo styling I should have used my mama's fancy footed cake plate, but this is one of those refrigerated cakes so in the cake taker it went. This one, in that classic mustard color, dates back to the 70s of course, and has been used many, many times. I actually have two of them - one was mine from back then and the other my mama's, which she very well may have purchased at a Tupperware party at my house! I also have the rectangular one for sheet cakes. Anybody else still have one of these oldies hanging around?

But, we're here for the cake aren't we? I absolutely adore this cake and always have, and Mandarin Orange Cake is what we typically call this dessert in this part of The Deep South, and in many other parts of the country. In many other areas of The South however, especially in the southeast, and more particularly the Carolinas, this cake is most commonly known as Pig Pickin' Cake.

The name pig pickin' apparently dates back many years, and comes from the regular appearance of this dessert at good ole southern barbecues, particularly in the Carolinas, where the guest of honor is a whole roasted pig. The pig is usually cooked on an open pit, or in an enclosed grill and sometimes even an old barrel converted to a grill, where the succulent meat, once done, is then pulled, or "picked" off. Now that's your original pulled pork y'all. All the usual fare is served at a pig pickin' just as at any other southern barbecue or picnic. Goodies like baked beans, macaroni salad, potato salads, coleslaw, hush puppies and all the usual dishes, with this cake being one of the traditional desserts to finish off the feast.

Bell's Best, some of the first cookbooks I owned as a young bride in the 70s, and from where I first made this recipe, lists this cake by at least three names - Mandarin Orange Cake, Pea Pickin' Cake and Pig Pickin' Cake. Those, however, are not the only name this cake has picked up along the way. Some other names it is known by include, Pig Cake, Pig Pickin' Good Cake, Pig Lickin' Cake, Pig Eatin' Cake, Pineapple Cake, Orange Pineapple Layer Cake, Pineapple Orange Cake, Celestial Snow Cake, Summer Cake, Sunshine Cake, Okoboji Sunrise, Better Than Sex Cake, (or if you're Paula Deen, Not Better Than Sex Cake), and of course, Mandarin Orange Cake. There may even been more, who knows!

This cake dates at least back to then, but these days, seems that folks either love it, or they think it's downright bland and are totally un-impressed with its simplicity. A lot of folks who don't know this cake from back in the day, seem to expect this to be an orange cake by virtue of its name, but it's not and really was never intended to be. It's a cake that has mandarin oranges in the batter which mostly adds tenderness and moisture, and in its traditional form, doesn't have a distinct orange flavor.

You can certainly enhance it by draining the canned juices and substituting orange juice, or by adding in orange zest or extract, or even substituting more oranges for the standard pineapple in the frosting, but to be honest, this ain't orange chiffon cake y'all! Personally, I kinda like it best the old school way myself, and, I can tell you that almost every southerner I know loves this cake in its original form. As always, it comes with a multitude of variations, mostly in the sizes of the products or whether to drain them or not, although these days, folks are using all kinds of different flavored cake mixes, and other add-ins like cream cheese too.

While traditionally a Pig Pickin' Cake is made as a layer cake, anywhere between two and four-layers, I make it more often in a 9 x 13 inch pan. It tastes just as good, and it's actually easier to transport. When I do, I increase the oil to 1/2 cup, use two cans of mandarin oranges, one drained, use 4 eggs instead of 3, but since you won't need as much frosting, you can reduce the pineapple, vanilla pudding and whipped topping to the smaller sizes.

It's been awhile since I made this cake, and two things that I noticed are a reflection of our pay more, get less economic times. In order for manufacturers to provide us a product without an increased price, they've chosen to package everything smaller. The large vanilla pudding that used to be 5.9 ounce is now 5.1 ounce and cake mixes which used to be 18.25 ounce are now 16.5 ounce. Surely I am not the only one who notices these things?

Here's how to make our beloved Mandarin Orange Cake.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. I decided to make three layers and I like to use parchment when I'm making layer cakes, so I butter the bottom and sides of the pan, stick in the rounds and then butter the tops of them. You can also just butter and flour the pans of course. I also love these stainless cake pans.


Add the cake mix, oil and 3 eggs to the mixing bowl and mix on low until well blended.


Set aside three of the mandarin oranges for a garnish in the center. I never manage to remember this one! Actually, the whole sunshine cake theme came from some clever soul who decorated the entire edge of the top with oranges. If you want to do that, set aside about 20 or so pieces from a second drained can, and add the remaining oranges to the batter here, along with the other can and it's juices. Mix on medium for 2 minutes.


Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and transfer to the oven. For these three layers it will take about 20 to 25 minutes.


Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes.


Then you'll turn out the layers onto the rack and carefully peel off the parchment. This is actually Reynolds Wrap non-stick, pan lining paper that The Cajun picked it up for me at the grocery store once when they were out of the regular parchment paper.


Let the layers cool completely. See the little specks of orange in there?


When you are ready to frost the cake, first mix the instant pudding with the pineapple and its juice. Make sure that you are using instant pudding and not the cook and serve variety!


Let this mixture rest for about 5 minutes or so.


Then fold in the whipped topping.


Lay out strips of wax paper on the edge of your cake plate to protect it from getting frosting on it. I'm using the bottom of that trusty cake taker! It sure is handy when you need to refrigerate a layered cake, and you can actually buy a newer version of this by the way. Then place the bottom layer on top of the strips and put about 3 large spoons of frosting on top.


Spread it out and repeat with the remaining two layers. Put the rest of the frosting on top and pull it down along the sides all around, then slowly pull the strips out and discard.


Voila! It's ready.

To go in the fridge y'all, not to eat! Yes, this is the hard part. While you can certainly eat this right away, it's not nearly as good. This cake really must be refrigerated for several hours, or really overnight. Even an extra day in the fridge only does this cake good y'all so go ahead and make it ahead by a day or two.

Recipe: Mandarin Orange Pig Pickin' Cake

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 12 servings

Ingredients

For the Cake:
  • 1 box of butter style yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (11 or 15 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, undrained
For the Frosting:
  • 1 (5.1 ounce) package of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 (16 ounce) carton of whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
  • Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish, optional
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8 or 9 inch cake pans and flour or line with parchment paper; set aside.

Add the cake mix, oil and eggs to the bowl of a mixer and mix on low until blended. Reserve a couple of the oranges for garnish if desired. Add the remaining oranges with their juice, blend in on low then mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Divide evenly into the three prepared cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes back clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cake rack to cool completely.

Blend together the instant pudding and crushed pineapple; set aside for 5 minutes. Gently fold in the whipped topping and spread in between the layers, and frosting the sides and top of the cake. Garnish the top with a sprig of mint and the reserved orange segments, if desired. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Cook's Notes: While any butter style yellow cake mix will work, Duncan Hines butter recipe was the traditional cake mix used back in the 70s, and will give you the best result. Make sure you are using instant pudding and not the cook and serve variety. I actually use just a little bit less than the full 16-ounce Cool Whip. Add 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract to the batter for more orange flavor.

Pan Cake: To prepare in a 9 x 13 inch pan, increase eggs to 4, use 2 cans of mandarin oranges, draining one, and use an 8 ounce whipped topping, 3.5 ounce vanilla pudding package and about a 15 ounce or slightly smaller, crushed pineapple for the topping. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 to 40 minutes.

For Garnish: To garnish, use 2 cans of oranges, but set aside about 20 orange segments from one can to decorate the top of the cake. Use all of the remaining oranges and the juice from only one can in the batter. A light garnish on the top with toasted coconut and maraschino cherries is also very pretty.

Variations: Coconut is a great flavor addition to this cake. Add 3/4 cup of coconut to the cake batter, and 1/2 cup to the frosting. For a different variation, follow the layering directions on my Fresh Citrus Cake.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on April 3, 2012

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66 comments:

  1. I first had this when I worked for the MD General Assembly. I practically ate the entire cake. When I asked for the recipe and it said "Pig Pickin' Cake," I thought it was a mistake. I haven't seen this recipe or even thought about the cake in years but will make it this weekend. And, yes, I still have my Tupperware cake and pie carriers (yellow) and wouldn't trade them for anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same for me! It's that kind of cake isn't it?

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    2. Catinerine BerberetteApril 2, 2014 at 6:16 AM

      I also have this tupperware cake plate. This is a very good recipe. I also have 3 he bell south cook books. I am from Ms.

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    3. It's the only cake taker I own Catinerine! Well, I actually have 2, mine and Mama's, both the same. They are quite aged, but in good shape otherwise so why would I replace it!! I wonder how many are still in use and how many of the Bell's Best yellow cookbooks are still hanging around too!

      I just love this cake so much - it's a perfect cake for spring and summer for sure!

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  2. I just made these as cupcakes 'cept my great aunt called the recipe an "ambrosia" cake. I've also seen it called a Cotton pickin' cake here in S. TX which seems fitting seeing as how we don't do much pig pickin' here! I just love all the names and the cake is especially good.

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    1. You're right - that would be fitting! It really is a great cake.

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  3. Mary, no way tio submit ti facebook any longer?

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    1. Hey Teresa! Sure! Just click that Facebook button above the recipe.

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  4. I am so glad you posted this cake recipe. My mother made this for me every birthday. She has passed now and I miss this cake... It waas like she was talking to me when I saw this on FB, My daughter turned me on to your site she and her hubby and son loves your cooking and I do to and My hubby loves your cooking. Being from the south too Va. It great to fine good southern recipes,Keep it up PLEASE !!
    Thanks Connie

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    1. Aw Connie, you made me cry!! It's in a good way though. I sure will keep it up as long as the Lord is willing. Thank you and I hope that you make this cake for yourself soon. Please also thank your husband, daughter and son in law for me too! HUGS!!!

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  5. Mary, no way tio submit ti facebook any longer?

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  6. Mary, no way tio submit ti facebook any longer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There should still be - there's a share box right up at the top above the recipe.

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  7. Oh my, I am frothing at the mouth over this recipe! Yummy!

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    1. Oh Eva, this one is indeed froth worthy LOL!!

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  8. Wonderful springtime flavors.....!! Working on a new (old time...from Grandma's farm kitchen) updated Orange Chiffon Pie for Easter. Will keep y'all posted on that one!

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  9. Oh Mary, my Mother used to make this yummy cake too! In fact, I ran across her recipe the other day, written in her hand writting. It is for "Pig Pickin Cake". This is one the "oldie but goodies", that we don't want to forget. Thanks for posting it.

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    Replies
    1. It is a good one isn't it Lynda! I love it!!

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  10. I grew up in California and we knew this cake as "Montana Cake". I have no idea why! LOL

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    Replies
    1. That is a new one on me too! Now I'm curious as to why.

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  11. wow, this looks amazing and I love all things vintage! anne

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  12. Hi Mary! I live in the northeastern part of Alabama and I've never heard of this cake but I have tasted one like it. Guess they just called it Mandarin Orange Cake. We always shorten everything around here. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. We always called it Mandarin Orange Cake down here too - so funny how certain recipes get so many different names!

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  13. I've been to a pig pickin' or two but I've never been lucky enough to have this cake. Then again, I'm usually so tired from hours and hours of cooking, I might have just missed it, ha ha.

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    1. In South Alabama, where I'm from, we always called this a "Pea Pickin' Cake". Where the name originated from, I don't know, but one thing's for sure, it is one "delicious" cake!

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    2. It is isn't it? I have heard it called pea pickin' too - I figure it had to have something to do with picking peas! That's such a time consuming process that if you're picking enough to put up you probably earned that cake at the end of the day!

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  14. Can i make my own whip topping? When I moved to Arkansas I had to learn to cook and bake the southern way, as I was told..lol your blog was my go to! Mary you taught me the " only way and right way" to cook. Thank you! I visit daily

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    1. Aw... you are so welcome & thank you so much!! Sure you could! The Cool Whip is a bit more stable than homemade whipped cream and holds up a bit better especially at room temperature, but if you beat the homemade pretty thick and keep the cake refrigerated pretty close up to serving time it should hold up better.

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  15. Glad I found your site! My husband is from NC and I just learned how to make a pig pickin cake lt time we visited. It was his favorite thing his late grandmother used to make for him. Now with your website maybe I can find a few more recipes to bring his "home" and childhood memories to Texas.

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  16. Hi Jennifer & first - Welcome!! I sure hope that you find some recipes here that will help bring him "home" for a little bit. There are so many memories associated with southern food so have fun browsing through my collection here, and thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to say hello!!

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  17. Making this for the 3rd or 4th time today for a teenagers pool party. It's the only dessert I've found that satisfies my daughter's friend that is a very picky eater. Can't wait to surprise them all with it.
    My sister makes this with real whipped cream and it's delicious, but I just can't get the real stuff to stay stable. I'm doing little changes here and there because I never quite follow an exact recipe. Using cool whip lite and sugar free coconut cream pudding. In the past I've added coco lopez over the top after the cake is pulled out from the oven. Oranges, pineapple and coconut.... MMmMmmm

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    1. I agree - it's hard to stabilize real whipped cream for this as a layer cake. This really is a great cake though - guess that's why it's stood the test of time. Have fun with those teens!! We had a birthday pool party this past weekend for my granddaughter - it was so hot I thought I was gonna melt! My DIL brought the cake and stuff down to the pool at the last minute, but it was even too hot for the kids & the cake fondant started to melt in just those few minutes! C'mon fall is all I can say LOL!!

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  18. hi there I have just saw this great looking recipe for manderin/pig picking cake and I was wondering could you tell me what I could use intead ot the butter style yellow cake mix and instant vanilla pudding.
    I live in Northern Ireland and dont think these are available here.
    Could i use a maderia cake mix and instant whip/angel delight pudding.
    Many thanks
    Ruth
    p.s. you have some great recipes on this site and I hope to try out a few more.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ruth! Thanks so much. To be honest, I'm not familiar with those two products so I can't personally attest to how the cake will turn out. These two products are just convenience boxed products that substitute for a homemade yellow cake made with eggs and butter, and a packaged vanilla pudding. If those items are similar they may work. I just can"t say for sure!

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  19. many thanks i enjoy baking and cooking so il try out my substitues and get back to you many thanks again. Ruth

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  20. My Momaw (from Mobile Al) always called this "Pea Pickin Cake" she's gone now and I have been missing her so I searched for a similar recipe as I can't find anyone in the family who has it and I found this one! I can't wait to make it this weekend! Thank you!

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  21. We call this Pineapple Dream Cake in Florida! I've also found recipes on Pinterest calling it Hawaiian wedding cake. I found it in an old boxed set of recipes from my aunt when she passed away many years ago, so its been around a long time. Any which way you look at it, this is one delicious cake and one my family begs me to make for every get together and holiday we have!!! Thanks for posting it!

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  22. We call this Pineapple Dream Cake in Florida! I've also found recipes on Pinterest calling it Hawaiian wedding cake. I found it in an old boxed set of recipes from my aunt when she passed away many years ago, so its been around a long time. Any which way you look at it, this is one delicious cake and one my family begs me to make for every get together and holiday we have!!! Thanks for posting it!

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  23. We call this Pineapple Dream Cake in Florida! I've also found recipes on Pinterest calling it Hawaiian wedding cake. I found it in an old boxed set of recipes from my aunt when she passed away many years ago, so its been around a long time. Any which way you look at it, this is one delicious cake and one my family begs me to make for every get together and holiday we have!!! Thanks for posting it!

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  24. Im from north carolina and we used to go to pig pickings and my granny made this i love this cake its amazing =)

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  25. help! my icing totally slid off the cake, and one of the layers tried to escape with it. Should I have added more pudding? The layers had been in the refrigerator overnight, and one of the containers of the whipped topping was basically frozen when I mixed it in. What did I do?

    This is a classic family memory, so I was excited to find the recipe.

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    1. Hi Beth - ouch! The cake pictured above is made exactly from the recipe given so no adjustments would be needed. One thing I can think of if the icing slid off is that the cake was still warm. The layers would have to be completely cooled before icing the cake or that will definitely happen. Since you also mentioned the topping still being frozen when you mixed it in though, it could be that it broke down & separated on you which could cause it to be too watery and slide off. When you use Cool Whip in a dessert, it has to be completely thawed and fluffy, with no frozen sections. Best to defrost Cool Whip in the fridge, not the countertop, so it'll need at least a day or two to thaw completely if it's frozen solid. Other than that, maybe look over the step by step tutorial above and see if anything looks different from when you did the icing?

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  26. Thank you for the recipe. We had the fathers dinner at our church and I decided to make this cake, along with four other cakes. It was a hit!! Now I have to make it again for the Fourth of July thanks again

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  27. Love this cake. In Yuba City, CA it is (or was) the best selling cake for her. She wouldn't give the recipe, but I found it in a local best recipe book from a small organization and make it and share it all the time. Living in Arkansas now and nobody had heard of it so I am sharing some more. Thanks for your share.

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  28. Just out of curiosity, what happens if you use the cook and serve pudding as opposed to instant? Does it just not work as well or is it about flavor or what?

    Thanks!

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    1. Hey Rebekah! I'm not positive but the texture uncooked might be kinda grainy and may even have a raw taste too since it's intended to be cooked, unlike the instant. As a dry uncooked pudding, it probably would not not set right as a frosting either, where the instant just needs to be whipped to set.

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  29. Mary, this is a great cake any time of the year. It's not overly sweet for my taste buds, and it's light and satisfying. Always a real crowd pleaser, and it's a nice counterpoint for a heavy dinner. Folks will say they couldn't eat another thing until you pull out this dessert.. Thanks for posting, Mary. Your arsenal of recipes will always speak to me in a very profound way!!

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    1. Thank you Toni & I would have to agree with you. I love this cake for those very reasons & could eat it anytime of the year!

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  30. Mary the recipe calls for 1 16oz container of cool whip. I only see it sold in 8oz containers. Is that correct and I need two containers?

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    1. Yes, that's correct, you'll need two of the 8 ounce. They do still make the 16 ounce containers, but truthfully, the 8 ounce size is often on sale! The larger container may only be available in regular and lite though - not the other sugar free & fat free varieties you'll find in the smaller ones.

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  31. Thank you I am making this for my sons b'day today. Love your site. My husband is from Athens, Ga and my family is originally from New Orleans so I love everything you make, its all turned out amazing.

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    1. Thank you Llhya! I hope that your son enjoyed the cake too!

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  32. I'll have to do a little tweaking to make this diabetic friendly. I make my own cake mixes using coconut flour and stevia, which greatly cuts the carbs. I love orange cake and was glad to find a recipe.

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    1. Now, just in case you've never made this cake before, it doesn't really have a very strong orange flavor to it. The mandarin oranges just add a nice light touch, so it doesn't really qualify as what one might think of as an orange cake really, though you can certainly bump up the citrus in it to get more of that orange flavor!

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  33. Hello....we love this cake!!! However, I need some help making it sugar free....any ideas?

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  34. We lovebthis cake!!! However, I need some help making it sugar free...any ideas?

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    1. Hi Cynthia! You can't make it completely sugar free because of the fruit, but you can reduce the sugar. Use a sugar free yellow cake mix, make sure you find the light version of mandarin oranges and pineapple, made with Splenda or in their own juices or a light syrup, use sugar free pudding and sugar free Cool Whip.

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  35. Thank you so much!! Every little bit helps.... My mom loves this cake and I need to make it diabetic friendly for her. Your suggestions really make sense LOL

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    1. That should do it Cynthia! It's tastes very close to the original too.

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