Pea Pickin Cake Recipe A Southern Favorite

Pea Pickin Cake Recipe A Southern Favorite


Pea Pickin Cake Recipe A Southern Favorite


In our family, when it’s someone’s birthday, THEY get to pick what kind of cake they want! And quite often, the cake that is chosen is our Pea Pickin’ Cake. What? What in the world is a Pea Pickin’ Cake?!

I know y’all are wondering…and honestly, I’m not entirely sure the exact history of this cake! Some say it came out of a Methodist Church in Atlanta, some say it came from the country singer Tennessee Ernie Ford, and some say it’s just a traditional southern cake recipe that everyone loves.

There’s even a variation of it called a Pig Pickin’ Cake (which is even more confusing than Pea Pickin’, if you ask me, that includes coconuts and pecans!) So, I’m for sure that there are other Pea Pickin’ Cakes out there, but this is the recipe that our family has used for years…and it’s foolproof, I tell you.

Not to mention DELICIOUS. (And it’s kinda Spring-like…so maybe, just maybe, baking it might urge Spring to hurry up in your neck of the woods!) Let’s dig in!

Pea Pickin Cake Recipe A Southern Favorite

1 yellow cake mix

1/2 cup oil

4 eggs

1 11-ounce can Mandarin Oranges (I half-drained my can)


Pea Pickin Cake Recipe A Southern Favorite


1. Mix all together.

Pea-Pickin-Cake-001 Pea-Pickin-Cake-003

2. Bake in three separate round pans (greased and floured) in an oven heated to 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Pea-Pickin-Cake-002 Pea-Pickin-Cake-004


3. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely. You can see that the layers aren’t too thick. That just makes them stack well!




No worries, wait until you see the final result! 4. When the cake is entirely cooled, mix… 1 9-ounce tub of whipped topping,  1 large can crushed pineapple, drained 1 large vanilla instant pudding mix




Can you see how hard it is to drain CRUSHED pineapple?! It still turned out okay, though!




5. Frost to taste and enjoy! I got about halfway-through frosting it and thought that it actually would make a great “naked” cake! The kind that aren’t iced all the way, like this:




The colors are so golden and pretty! But I prefer to ice mine like this:




YES, it IS as good as it looks!




It is SO yummy and light and moist! 


Pea-Pickin-Cake-011 Pea-Pickin-Cake-013 Pea-Pickin-Cake-012


Hint: if you think the icing might be too thin after you mix it, chill it in the fridge for a while. That pudding mix will thicken it right up! I sure hope you get a chance to try this one – I promise, you won’t regret it! 


Pea Pickin Cake Recipe A Southern Favorite

29 thoughts on “Pea Pickin Cake Recipe A Southern Favorite”

  1. This is one of my favorite cakes. We call it Orange Mandarin Cake. It is truly an amazing cake! I LOVE IT.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Diane Roark

  2. I wonder if this is like the Orange Marmalade Cake in the Mitford Series they made for the bake sale each year? I loved that series of books. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda @ Tumbleweed Contessa

  3. Yes, this is definitely a southern staple! You see one at every potluck, family reunion and everything in between. Why? Because it's so good! And yours looks incredibly delicious, Kristen! I'm coming over! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yum!!!

  4. We have that same tradition in our family too! It should be that way, don't you think? That cake looks yummy! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  5. O…MG! I'm going to head to the store and buy these ingredients today! Will it work in a 9×13 pan too? Do I need to make any adjustments to the baking time? Thanks for sharing this recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I first tried this cake in the late 60s at my Aunt Lora’s house(she was actually my mother’s cousin, but I called her Aunt Lora). It was delicious and said it was a Pea Pickin’ Cake. She said that when it came time to pick peas on the farm, she and her brothers and sisters hated doing that. Their mother said she would bake them a cake if they would do it without argument so they did. Then during the year when she would ask what kind of cake they wanted her to bake, they would say the “pea pickin’ cake”, and that is how the story became known to her.

  7. This is exactly the recipe handed down from my grandmother – who knew nothing of the internet lol. The term โ€œpea pickinโ€ as she had told me, came from when the farm hands were out picking peas in the hot southern Georgia sun, they were treated with what they called โ€œpea pickin cakeโ€ as a cool down treat that was greatly appreciated. Always cold from the frig and loved by all! Including my family. ๐Ÿ™‚

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