Sunshine Cake is a dense and extremely moist chilled cake made in a 9×13 pan that is very refreshing when the weather is hot.
Sunshine Cake Recipe
To me, there’s just nothing better than a good 9×13 cake.
They are quick and simple to make, always popular, and easy to serve.
Plus, a 9×13 cake or dessert serves quite few people very easily – just perfect for any gathering or potluck meal.
Sunshine Cake is an easy summer cake and one of the best crowd-pleasing desserts I’ve made.
It’s a good old-fashioned cake that you can count on to be delicious, dense, and super moist.
Because the frosting is made with pudding mix and whipped topping, it’s almost a dessert – so creamy and luscious!
WHAT TO LOVE ABOUT THIS RECIPE
- This cake gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. I like to make it the day ahead of when I need it so that it’s really well chilled and has time to let all the flavors meld together.
- This cake provides 12 very generous servings. Because the cake is so dense and rich, you could easily make the portions smaller to serve 15-18 people.
- I love that this cake only requires 7 ingredients!
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Yellow cake mix
- Canned crushed pineapple
- Whipped topping, such as Cool Whip
- Instant vanilla pudding mix
- Canned mandarin oranges
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS CAKE THE BEST IT CAN BE
- Covering the cake with foil traps the heat and creates condensation that goes down into the cake making it super dense and moist.
- Chill this cake very well before serving it for the best eating experience. Because this cake is so dense, it takes a good 8-10 hours to be fully chilled.
- Don’t be weird-ed out by the mayonnaise as part of the cake batter! We think of mayonnaise for sandwiches and savory dishes, but technically, mayonnaise is just whipped eggs so it’s perfect for making a super moist cake.
How to make Sunshine Cake
In a large mixing bowl, place the cake mix, eggs, mayonnaise, and half of the can of crushed pineapple.
Use an electric hand mixer on low speed to beat the ingredients together.
Spread the prepared cake batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, on the center oven rack for 30-35 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and immediately cover with a sheet of foil. Let the covered cake cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, gently fold together the whipped topping, pudding mix, 1 can of the mandarin oranges, and the remaining half can of crushed pineapple.
Chill the frosting while the cake continues to cool.
Spread the prepared frosting over the cooled cake, then decorate the top of the cake with more mandarin orange slices, as desired.
Cover the cake and chill well, at least 8-10 hours. Cake is best served very well chilled.
DO I MAKE THE CAKE ACCORDING TO THE CAKE MIX DIRECTIONS?
No, disregard the cake mix directions and use the directions in the recipe card below.
WHY DOES THIS CAKE CALL FOR MAYONNAISE? THAT SEEMS WEIRD.
It might seem weird, but it’s actually NOT! Mayonnaise is technically whipped eggs with oil so it’s PERFECT for making a cake that’s very very moist. Don’t skip the mayo!
CAN YOU USE A WHITE CAKE MIX IN PLACE OF THE YELLOW CAKE MIX IN THIS RECIPE?
Yep and it’s still just as delicious. Do it.
CAN I MAKE TWO SMALLER CAKES INSTEAD OF ONE 9X13 CAKE USING THIS RECIPE?
Yes! You could make two 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch cakes using this recipe if preferred – it works perfectly.
Just remember to adjust the baking time accordingly since smaller cakes don’t take as long to bake.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO KNOW WHEN A CAKE IS FULLY BAKED?
I like to use a cake tester or a wooden toothpick to test my baked cakes.
When a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the baked comes out clean (no batter is clinging to the cake tester or toothpick), the cake is fully baked at the center.
WHY DO YOU COVER THIS CAKE WITH FOIL WHEN IT COMES OUT OF THE OVEN?
This is a hack that my Grandmothers and my Mom taught me! Covering a hot cake with foil traps the heat creating condensation.
The condensation goes down into the cake making it super moist. Once the cake is fully cooled, you can frost it and chill until ready to serve.
MORE FAVORITE DESSERT RECIPES TO ENJOY –
Caramel Fat Boy Brownies are another 9×13 dessert that my family flips for, and talk about easy! You just need a cake mix and a few ingredients to whip them up.
And Glazed Cherry Coffee Cake is always the bomb for breakfast or brunch (or just with a cup of coffee mid afternoon!) right along with Honey Bun Cake...two more great 9×13 cakes. I hope you’ll try them!
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bites are also a refreshing summer dessert when you need a bite of something sweet. And White Chocolate Strawberry Poke Cake is always a popular chilled cake for warm-weather gatherings.
- INSTANT POT KEY LIME CHEESECAKE
- SUPER MOIST CARAMEL APPLE CAKE
- AUNT SUE’S STRAWBERRY SLAB PIE
- OOEY-GOOEY WARM BROWNIE COBBLER
- CREAMY STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE DIP
- Cake Mix Waffles
- 1 yellow cake mix may substitute a white cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple drained, divided use
- 8 oz. container whipped topping fully thawed
- 3 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 10 oz. cans mandarin oranges well drained
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray; reserve.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, mayonnaise, and half of the can of crushed pineapple
- Using an electric hand mixer, beat the ingredients well, then pour the prepared batter into the baking pan.
- Bake, uncovered, on the center oven rack for 30-35 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately cover with a sheet of foil; let the covered cake cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, gently fold together the whipped topping, pudding mix, 1 can of the mandarin oranges, and the remaining half can of crushed pineapple. Chill the frosting while the cake continues to cool.
- Spread the prepared frosting over the cooled cake, then decorate the top of the cake with more mandarin orange slices, as desired.
- Cover the cake and chill well, at least 8-10 hours. Cake is best served very well chilled.