Ambrosia Cupcakes

A festive bite for everyone.

Ambrosia Cupcakes
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Giulietta Pinna; Food Styling: Ali Ramee
Active Time:
35 mins
Bake Time:
20 mins
Cool Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
24 cupcakes

This holiday season, our Test Kitchen is reimagining ambrosia, one of the South's most iconic holiday dishes. While ambrosia first started appearing in cookbooks as early as the 19th century, the dish has seen many iterations throughout the decades. When thinking of ambrosia, some may recall a crystal bowl containing a vivid, sweet jumble of oranges and coconut. Some may think of a platter of pretty, elegantly-garnished citrus wedges. These Ambrosia Cupcakes pay tribute to the Southern sideboard staple that is ambrosia, channeling the dish's signature flavors—citrus, coconut, and marshmallow—into handheld treats.

These cupcakes are made with a whopping five types of coconut and topped with marshmallow-orange frosting. Cake flour makes the crumb tender, and coconut flour (look for it in the baking aisle) adds extra flavor. If you can't find coconut sugar, use an equal amount of granulated sugar. Garnish these sweet cupcakes with a maraschino cherry and a spiraled orange peel. We like to use gold liners to make these cupcakes extra-festive.


Coconut Cupcakes

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • ¼ cup coconut oil, solid at room temperature 

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • ½ cup coconut sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 cups bleached cake flour

  • 1 cup coconut flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 (7-oz.) jars marshmallow creme

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, plus 4 to 6 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 2 oranges), divided

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Additional Ingredients

  • Orange peel twists

  • Maraschino cherries


  1. Prepare the Coconut Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with paper baking cups; set aside. Beat butter and coconut oil with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add granulated sugar and coconut sugar; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

  2. Whisk together cake and coconut flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add to butter mixture alternately with coconut milk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating on low speed until just combined after each addition. Stir in shredded coconut and vanilla.

  3. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (about ¼ cup batter each). Bake in preheated oven until golden and a wooden pick inserted into centers comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks; cool 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; cool completely on wire racks, about 30 minutes.

  4. Prepare the Frosting: Beat butter, marshmallow creme, and orange zest with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; beat in 4 tablespoons orange juice. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on low speed until creamy and smooth. Beat in remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to thin frosting. Increase mixer speed to medium-high; beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

  5. Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch closed star piping tip. Frost cooled cupcakes. Garnish with orange peel twists and cherries.

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