Ambrosia Cake

Ambrosia Cake has mandarin orange layers and fluffy pineapple frosting. This old-fashioned dessert is perfect for holidays and special occasions.

Ambrosia Cake on a cake stand and a slice on a plate

Fruity Cake Recipe

Some cakes are good. Others, like this ambrosia cake, is food fit for the gods. If you have an affinity for traditional ambrosia fruit salad, you will love this ambrosia cake recipe. It pairs the sweet tartness of mandarin oranges and crushed pineapples with an airy yellow cake.

A creamy vanilla frosting ties it all together. Yum! And the best part of making an ambrosia cake is that it is as easy as baking a cake mix recipe. So, the next time you want to celebrate or just eat something darn good, give this ambrosia cake recipe a try. You, and those you choose to share it with, won’t be disappointed.

What’s Yellow Cake Mix?

Root around your cupboard, and you are bound to find a few boxes of cake mix. At least one is probably a yellow cake mix, but what exactly is a yellow cake?

First off, yellow cake is one variety of vanilla cake. The other one is white cake. The main difference between the two is that yellow cake contains whole eggs, while white cake only has egg whites.

That means that yellow is more decadent than white cake. In a pinch, white cake mix will undoubtedly work in this recipe. Or you may prefer to make your own yellow cake mix using this recipe or one of your favorites.

Cake Baking 101

Too often, even for experienced bakers, cake expectations don’t exactly match reality. There are plenty of pitfalls you need to avoid. So, if you are new to baking cakes or just want better results, follow these tips.

  1. Read the instructions on the box carefully, especially when it comes to the cake pans’ dimensions. Make sure you are using the correct baking time for the cake pans you are using. You should also note that instructions on the back of most cake mix boxes are for light-colored metal pans. Darker colored cake pans usually require baking at a lower temperature, so consult the manufacturer’s information.
  2. The last thing you want is for the cake to stick to your pans. To help prevent that from occurring, you should thoroughly grease the interior of the pan with cooking spray and then apply a light dusting of flour. For added protection, you can cut out a circle of parchment paper and lay it at the bottom of the cake pans before greasing and flouring them.
  3. Place the rack in the middle of your oven, and be sure to preheat. Don’t allow the cake pans to touch each other or any of the walls of the oven. Let the cakes bake undisturbed.
  4. Remove fully cooked cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for about 30 minutes while still in the cake pans. Then you can carefully flip the pans over and let the cakes cool completely on the rack before decorating.

Tips For Storing and Preparing Ambrosia Cake

  • Store the ambrosia cake in the fridge. Ambrosia cake is much better fresh, but it will keep 24 hours in the refrigerator. Place in a cake keeper to prevent it from picking up fridge funk.
  • Shredded, sweetened coconut is a great addition. Generously sprinkle the shredded coconut on top of the frosted cake.

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Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Yellow cake mix
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Instant vanilla pudding
  • Cool Whip
ambrosia cake ingredients

How to Make Ambrosia Cake

  1. Place yellow cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and mandarin oranges in a mixing bowl and beat well.
  2. Pour batter equally into 2 greased cake pans.
    ambrosia cake layers in cake pans
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Remove cake layers from pans and cool completely.
  5. Combine crushed pineapple, instant vanilla pudding, and Cool Whip.
    ambrosia cake frosting in a mixing bowl
  6. Spread the frosting on the top and sides of cake layers.
    Ambrosia cake on a cake stand
  7. Refrigerate cake until serving.
a slice of ambrosia cake and a fork on a plate

Love cake? Check out these great recipes!

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Recipe source: Virginia McDowell. Jefferson City, Mo. 1980.

Ambrosia Cake on a cake stand and a slice on a plate

Ambrosia Cake

Make the best Ambrosia Cake with mandarin oranges and fluffy pineapple frosting.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ambrosia Cake, Cake Mix Recipes, Cake Recipes, Cakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 163kcal


Cake Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 ounces mandarin oranges drained


  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip


Cake Instructions

  • In a bowl combine the yello cake mix, the eggs, vegetable oil, water, and drained mandarin oranges.
  • Pour batter evenly into 2 greased and floured cake pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  • Remove cake layers from the pans and cool completely.

Frosting Instructions

  • Combine the drained crushed pineapple, instant vanilla pudding, and Cool Whip. Spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake layers.


Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 194mg | Potassium: 52mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 0.6mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa

    I’m making the cake now, so I doubt I’ll get an answer, but, I am going to make my own whipped cream and I’m not sure how much to measure out to mix with the drained pineapples and instant pudding mix that will cover the whole cake and provide ample filling.

    • Stephanie Manley

      I have not personally done this, and I don’t have the ingredients on hand to test this out for you. But I would start with a pint of unwhipped heavy cream, and whip that up, hopefully the whipped volume would cover the cake.

      • Michelle Aldridge

        5 stars
        Thank you so much for the quick reply!! Making this cake this week for a new client. I bake, but have never heard of this cake so this will be my first time making it and don’t have anything to compare it to. The only lady who used to make it for him is now deceased. I generally bake from scratch, so thank you for the recipe for the yellow cake from scratch; however, I wonder if I should use the box cake mix for my first time stab at it? Either way – wish me luck!
        Thanks again!

  2. Debbie

    5 stars
    This Cake was Awesome!! Cant wait to make it for the next family gathering, after Covid of course.. I followed the cake instructions and used 3 eggs and then added the oranges. And I never allow Cool whip in my house, used real whip cream with the pineapple. Was so good, try it!

  3. Tam

    Good morning I wanted to know if I substituted the white cake do I follow the directions on the box or do I use the directions you have for the yellow cake?

  4. Linda

    My Grandpearl made a large bowl of ambrosia every Christmas. The ingredients were fresh including the pineapple and coconut grated by hand! I am looking forward to making this cake, however, my friends and I believe that cool whip is the anti-christ to homemade whipped cream! Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks!

  5. Dodie Van Wyen

    I’m making this cake to honor my grandmother. As a child I recall her favorite cake was called Ambrosia and was made as a sheet cake. However, in your instructions you didn’t give details as to if the mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple should be drained? Can’t call my sweet little granny because she passed away 20 years ago.

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