The ingredients are simple. A box of cake mix, (The recipe called for Duncan Hines. I bought Betty Crocker - thereby breaking my rule about not changing up the brands the first time you try a recipe) a box of instant vanilla pudding, eggs, oil, Cool Whip, canned Mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple.
Here's the handwritten recipe card.
It bakes at a lower temperature than a typical cake. Preheat the oven to 325. The recipe calls for three 8" round pans, which is what I used here. But it also says you can do two larger rounds or make it as a sheet cake. The baking time will vary depending on the size of the pan. You could probably even do cupcakes. Grease and flour the pans. Consider using baking parchment paper. I had a little trouble getting the cakes out of the pan and really wished I had lined them with parchment first.
4 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 11 ounce can of Mandarin oranges with juice
1 20 ounce can Dole crushed pineapple in juice
1 16 ounce tub Cool Whip
1 3.4 ounce package of instant vanilla pudding mix
Put the cake mix, eggs, oil, and entire can of Mandarin oranges with juice in a bowl. Most cake mix boxes call for 3 eggs, but you'll need 4 for this one.
Mix by hand or in a mixer. I went with the mixer, since Joyce loved her Kitchen Aid. It only takes a few seconds to blend together by mixer and about two minutes by hand.
Divide evenly between the pans.
Bake for around 30 minutes at 325. Then put cakes on a rack and allow to cool completely.
While the cake cools, let me tell you about Walt and Joyce. They dated for nearly 20 years before getting married. For 15 of those years, Aunt Joyce was serving as a caregiver to my Mammaw. Every night, Walt would come down to the house and sit around with Aunt Joyce and Mammaw in the living room watching TV. Walt still lived at home with his mother and two of his adult siblings. After Mammaw passed away, Joyce assumed a marriage proposal would be forthcoming. She waited about 5 years and no ring materialized.
So one day, Joyce came up to my house to bake an orange chiffon cake and have a discussion with Mom. I was politely told to bug off so they could talk, but fortunately the walls were thin. Especially if you listened hard.
Mom suggested that Joyce should just break it off. If Walt wanted her, he'd have to pony up a ring. Joyce must have listened, because she called Mom one night the next week and they had a long talk. A few minutes after that, Walt called the house. Walt NEVER called the house. He was not much of a talker.
I only heard Mom's end of the conversation, but the part that stayed with me was, "I don't know what's going on Walt. Maybe it's time to s#%! or get off the pot."
Then Mom called Joyce and they made exciting plans to head out to the Ramada Inn for dinner. Walt apparently called later and asked if he could see her the next day. She told him that she had plans with Mom.
It seems the next day, Walt showed up with a ring in hand. Smart move. They tied the knot that summer and were happily married for 23 years until Walt passed away.
Now, on to that amazing frosting. It sounds like a hot mess, but it is unbelievably good. Dump the package of pudding in a bowl.
Dump in the can of crushed pineapple and juice and mix it all together with a spoon until thoroughly combined.
The fold in the Cool Whip.
Do your best not to eat the whole bowl of frosting. It won't be easy. Put filling on each layer. Don't over-fill the middle or it will squeeze out the side when the next layer goes on.