Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ambrosia Cupcakes.

As I mentioned before, I was inspired this Christmas while eating my mother's famous ambrosia, or "Five Cup Salad," to create a cupcake worthy of representation.  After much deliberation, I came up with these little beauties...

Simple white cake, hollowed out and filled with a mixture of chopped and crushed pineapple, adorned with mallowy, cooked meringue frosting infused with orange zest, and crowned with toasted coconut and a maraschino cherry.  The tart pineapple was a brilliant contrast to the buttery sweetness of the cake, and the marshmallow frosting was light and almost refreshing.  The coconut gave an excellent crunch, as well as brilliant aesthetic.  I like the cherry, but after looking at these beige cupcakes, I wish I had put them in red papers.  What can a girl do?  Make more?  Sure, once everyone falls off of their diet wagons.  Mean?  Perhaps.  I know that no one wants to hear a thin girl talk about weight issues, but as most of you might know, I was not always so small.

What?  You don't know this?  Let me go back into the bedroom and fish out some old pictures to scan.  Hold on a minute.  Enjoy this, the most gorgeous baby picture ever taken while I look.

Ok.  No luck with the pre-weight loss pictures.  I have been looking for three days!  Or perhaps I did find them, but I am holding them for later.  But I do have a proper recipe for these gorgeous cupcakes!

Ambrosia Cupcakes

1 recipe White Butter Cake
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 recipe Marshmallow frosting*
1 T orange zest
1/2 cup toasted coconut**
15 maraschino cherries

I follow this recipe for my White Butter Cake, although I do not separate the eggs, whip them, and add them later.  I used to do that, but I tried adding the eggs unseparated, one at a time, and the cakes come out and rose perfectly, without being too dense.  Two notes:

1.  Double this recipe if you want to make a proper 8 or 9" round cake.  I use this recipe as is for my 6" layer cakes.  
2.  If you use these little nut cups for cupcakes, do not fill over half way.  If you overfill these, they will rise and then collapse into themselves, or pour over the side, dripping off of your baking pan and burn on the bottom of your oven.  And you will cry.  Especially when someone has paid you to make a large batch for a shower and you only have an hour after said tragedy to create, frost, and bedazzle 50 more.  And every time you turn on the oven for the following week you will be reminded of your failure by the sickening smell of burning sugar, unless you are the type of person who has the time to clean up after every little kitchen snafu, but I digress.  Don't overfill the cups. 

After your cakes have completely cooled, grab a can of crushed pineapple, and drain WELL.  Like extra well.  I also chopped up a bit of fresh pineapple after the fact, as I wasn't satisfied with the texture of the crushed pineapple; but I am sure the crushed alone is fine.  Now, with a small knife, cut little "plugs" out of the center of your cupcakes, pinching off and discarding the bottom halves of the plugs.  Fill the cavities with a tablespoon of the pineapple, and then cover with the remaining plug.  It doesn't have to be pretty, as you will cover it with frosting.

Pipe with Marshmallow frosting (or just spoon it on), and sprinkle with toasted coconut.  I also topped mine with a maraschino cherry, which I blotted completely clean of it's red juices.  I put them on toothpicks and shoved them into the cake, as I thought they might be a little heavy.  

Orange-Scented Marshmallow Frosting*

4 egg whites (room temperature) 
1 cup sugar
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 t vanilla extract
1 T orange zest

In a large heatproof bowl (I used my stand mixer bowl), add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together.  Place bowl over just simmering water, and whisking all the while, heat until a thermometer reads 160 degrees.  Transfer bowl to a stand mixer (you can use a handheld model as well), beat on high until glossy, stiff peaks form.  Beat in vanilla extract and zest until just combined, and frost as desired.  Yum!

Toasted Coconut**

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  On a baking sheet, spread coconut to a very, very even layer.  Place in oven, and watch it.  For my shaved coconut, it took 5 minutes.  Shredded might not take as long.  Good rule of thumb: if you can smell it, it is probably done.  

And there you have it.  Ambrosia Cupcakes.  Perfect for, well, whenever!

Have a beautiful day! 

Rachel Bee


  1. I am SO happy that you posted this recipe!! I will definitely have to try this.

  2. thanks! you should. or at least the frosting. it is the same one i torched for my s'mores cake :)