Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mandarin Orange Cake with Pineapple Vanilla Frosting

While I'm home for Christmas break, I haven't done a whole lot of cooking... hence the lack of posts recently.  I've been my mom's daily assistant in her kitchen, but today I finally got to make one of my own recipes.  (Well, I actually got this recipe from a lady in my office, Debbie, who I consistently swap recipes with... but you know how when you make a dish more times than you can count, you start to feel like you created it?  That's how I feel about this cake.)  We had some family friends come over for lunch today, and Mom prepared a feast, so I supplemented this cake.  It's really more of a summer dessert because it's light, fruity, and is served chilled, but everyone seemed to enjoy it anyway!

Even if you're not the most confidant baker, this is going to be a breeze.  The ingredients list is short, the preparation is low-stress, and then there's the fun of frosting the cake.  There are very few things I love more than frosting a cake. :)

You'll need:
Frosting ingredients
1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) mandarin oranges in light syrup
3 eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice (not in the syrup)
1 box (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding
1 carton (8 oz.) Cool Whip

Before you get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9-inch round pans.  I use olive oil cooking spray, and be sure not to miss any spots.  We want the cake to just slip out of the pan after it's baked.

To make the cake, mix the cake mix, oranges, eggs, and oil all at once.  (This includes the syrup from the mandarin oranges can.)

Beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until all ingredients are blended together well.  You may still see little bits of the oranges, and that's fine - just as long as there aren't any big chunks.

Divide the batter evenly into your two pans and bake for about 25 minutes.

Let the cakes cool to room temperature, and then pop them in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours.

The frosting is just as easy! With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix the vanilla pudding and pineapple, as well as all the juice from its can, until all the powder has dissolved into the pineapple juice.  Now add in the cool whip a spoonful at a time, stirring until well blended.  It's best to let the bowl of frosting sit in the fridge for about an hour to thicken up so it doesn't slide down the cake as you're frosting.

Once the cake and frosting are both cold, you're ready to start frosting.

Frost the bottom layer of cake, and then add the the top layer and frost all over, smoothing around the sides. I wish I had gotten more pictures of the frosting process, but I was in a hurry... here's the finished product! It's a little sloppy because I was rushing, and I also meant to top it with some sliced strawberries, but I completely forgot!  You can do better when you make it.  :)

I took a few bites before I remembered to snap a picture. So delicious!

My mom loved this because it's light and doesn't leave you feeling stuffed or on a sugar-high, and my brother, who normally hates icing and scrapes it off his cakes, ate every bit of his slice.  If you decide to make this, let me know what you think!

Sending you love from my kitchen.

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