Toasted Coconut Ambrosia Cake

Linda Weiss

JBF Member

This recipe was sent to us by Professional member Linda Weiss, food editor of South Carolina Homes & Gardens magazine. She personalized a traditional Southern coconut cake by adding pineapple preserves to the batter in homage to her late mother, Ann, who made ambrosia every year at Christmas. The self-rising flour and high ratio of butter give the cake a texture and taste reminiscent of biscuits.


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple preserves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded or flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 6 cups) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut extract


To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 325ºF.

Grease and flour four 9-inch round cake pans. With an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and pineapple preserves until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter mixture. Add alternately the flour and sour cream, ending with the flour. Add the vanilla and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the four pans.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven. After 10 minutes, remove the cakes from the pans to a rack to cool.

For the icing, place the coconut on a cookie sheet and set in a 350ºF oven. Watch carefully and stir often until the coconut is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Mix the butter and mascarpone or cream cheese in a mixer with a wire whisk until creamy. Add the confectioner’s sugar and the coconut extract. Mix until the sugar is well blended into the butter- and-cheese mixture.

Spread frosting between cake layers and sprinkle with a little of the toasted coconut. Spread frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Using your hand like a cup, place the toasted coconut on the sides and top of the cake. Refrigerate. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.


14 servings