This is one of my new favorite cakes which I discovered last year at a friend's party. Her Mother in law made it and called it a "Sunshine Surprise" cake. An old southern recipe that uses the unlikely combo of canned madarine oranges, vanilla pudding and cool whip.
After some internet digging I found a recipe on the blog; The Teacher Cooks for an Orange Surprise Cake . It sounded right and I got to test it out when I sent her version to my Mom and requested she make it for my birthday. My Mom is a pretty seasoned baker but even she was surprised at the ingredients it required. Hence the name, I guess?
Now Make it!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, oil, oranges with juice, sugar and eggs. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees in 2 greased, floured and lined with wax paper pans for about 30 minutes or until center of the cake bounces back when touched. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on cooling racks. You can also make a 3 tiered cake by using 3 pans and a little less batter in each. Reduce cooking time to 20 minutes.
Be sure to use pineapple packed in its own juice it will make a big difference. Drain about 3/4 cup of the juice and set aside. If the icing seems to be too thick you can use it to thin it out a bit. Mix pineapple with the instant vanilla pudding and then stir in Cool Whip. Ice cake and then store in the refrigerator. Best served the next day.
The result is a light, moist cake with a bright and slightly citrusy taste. The pineapple in the icing gives it some extra zing that I really love and it is pretty easy to make.
Check out more great southern dessert ideals in this great new book from the legendary "Back in the Day Bakery", located in Savannah. A favorite of both Paula and Martha, yeah that Paula and that Martha. I am friends with Cheryl Day via mutual blog admiration and Twitter but regret I never made it over to her place while I was in the South. One day Cheryl!
all photos & content © Lara Rossignol