The Unexpectedly Delicious Way Pig Pickin' Cake Got Its Name

pig pickin cake on display
pig pickin cake on display - Olga Mazyarkina/Getty Images

Pig Pickin' Cake is a delicious, fun-named dessert you may have never heard of if you don't live in the South. No, it's not a cake for pigs -- and there's no pork product inside the cake. In fact, this delicate dessert isn't savory at all. Pig Pickin' cake is frequently enjoyed at summer BBQs, parties, and other community events, and got its ear-catching nickname from being served at large events where whole pigs would be roasted and eaten. As people would pick apart the pig, dishes like Pig Pickin' Cake would be dished out as well.

This cake is a simple vanilla-based cake with juicy mandarin oranges, typically presented as a layered cake but often made in sheet cake form when larger groups are being served. The cake is then coated in a whipped frosting and lightly sweetened with vanilla pudding and pineapple bits. It is a surefire way to get raving reviews at your next big gathering, and the catchy name makes this dessert unforgettable.

Read more: 30 Types Of Cake, Explained

The History Of Pig Pickin' Cake

slice of vanilla layered cake with frosting and oranges
slice of vanilla layered cake with frosting and oranges - Tequi0/Getty Images

While the cake is enjoyed all across the South, it's specifically a regional dish of North Carolina. North Carolina was even declared the "Pig Pickin' Capital of the World" in 1972. Pig pickin' refers to the act of selecting a whole pig to roast and the act of picking meat off the pig with your hands or fork to enjoy. Pig Pickin' parties would happen for special events, holidays, or even if the weather was nice, and were meant to bring together all members of a community or family to enjoy good food and good times.

Pig Pickin' Cake can also be referred to as pig cake, sunshine cake, and mandarin orange cake. None of which are as fun or catchy as Pig Pickin' Cake. The cake is enjoyed with not only pork, but baked beans, sweet tea, corn, and mac and cheese.

How To Make Pig Pickin' Cake

layered cake with orange slice
layered cake with orange slice - Hannamariah/Shutterstock

You can make this cake at home with just a few simple ingredients. One secret to making this recipe extra easy (and still staying within tradition) is to use a yellow cake box mix (but you can opt for making your own). The yellow cake batter is combined with a can of mandarin oranges. The juice makes your cake extra moist and the oranges bring a sweet, citrus pop to the cake. After you've baked your cake and let it cool, you'll top it with a whipped frosting.

The whipped frosting can be made with Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, and a packet of vanilla pudding for added flavor. If you want to be extra fancy in your presentation, you can add slices of mandarin oranges on top of your cake to bring out the orange flavor. Be sure to keep your cake in the fridge before serving to prevent the frosting from melting, and be ready for your cake to be as picked over as the pig.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.