This is a wonderful dessert- moist, juicy cake from the pineapple juice, the thin pudding/cream cheese layer adds a special flavor, and the cool whip/ whipped cream topping and oranges add a light but refreshing flavor. All in all, this is about my favorite cake! It is wonderful for large gatherings. It is not the most elegant-looking dessert, but it will certainly bring much appreciation when they take the first bite. Another added bonus is that this recipe is another cake mix-made special (my kind of easy). This recipe was given to me by my friend, Midge. However, she does not remember where it came from, and I have made a couple minor adjustments to the recipe.
1 box yellow cake mix
2 (15 oz.) cans of mandarin oranges
20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 box instant vanilla pudding- 4 serving size
1/2 cups cold milk, 1/2 cup slightly warmed
8 oz. cream cheese, softened completely (I use low fat)
8 oz. cool whip (I use low fat)
Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package, adding in one drained can of mandarin oranges as you mix the cake (the oranges will be blended into small pieces). Bake in a 9x13 inch oblong cake pan. After baking, while the cake is still warm, poke holes in the cake over the entire surface using a fork. Pour the undrained crushed pineapple over the hot cake and spread the pineapple evenly over the surface of the cake. Allow the cake to cool.
Mix cream cheese with the pudding mix and 1/2 cup warm milk. After mixing together well, add gradually the cold milk while continuing to mix until well blended (easiest with an electric mixer). If you add the cold milk too quickly to the cream cheese, it will be lumpy. Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or more until it is more firm. Then remove and spread over top of the cake, followed by the cool whip. Drain the second can of mandarin oranges and arrange the pieces over top of the cool whip in rows or another type of pretty design. Cover and refrigerate for at least another 1-2 hours before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.