Simple Pleasures Made Simply Delicious: Ambrosia Trifle

Simple Pleasures Made Simply Delicious: Ambrosia Trifle

Day 95

I made these individual trifles in plastic disposable cups last weekend for our book club. They related a bit to the book we were discussing, Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty (a fun read!) since the main characters often enjoyed mimosas and muffins together.  

Trying to indulge the orange flavor and the airy texture in this trifle, I decided that something akin to ambrosia could work.

Photo by Maggie Kapustin

For those of you who might not be familiar with ambrosia, it’s that orange and marshmallow salad that we sometimes see at fall or winter parties, especially in the South. It’s not as popular as it used to be when I was a little girl, sadly. Maybe this recipe will give a revival to the concept of “ambrosia with an update.”

This dessert is a nice addition to your spring menu, for sure. The individual trifles  are also so quick and easy to make!

Ambrosia Trifle


1 box orange cake mix (and ingredients to make according to directions on box)

1 bag small marshmallows

2 cans mandarin oranges, drained (save juice)

1 cup candied walnut, almond, or pecan pieces

1 bag shredded, sweetened coconut

1 quart heavy cream

2 containers (8 oz. each) mascarpone cheese

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar


Using mandarin orange juice to replace water (you’ll probably have to add some water to make the correct amount, though), make and bake orange cake in a 9×13 pan, according to package directions. Note: I used the cake mix by Duff for this one because I think it’s very good quality for a mix.  

Allow to cool.

Beat sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream in a mixer until soft peaks form, then add mascarpone cheese and beat until it forms a firm, peaked whipped cream consistency. Set aside.

Have all ingredients ready for stacking—cake, whipped cream, marshmallows, nuts, coconut, and oranges. 

Starting with cake and ending with coconut each time, crumble and layer in this order in each cup, making 8-12 cups total, depending on their size: 




Whipped cream




Whipped cream


*You could also make one large trifle with this recipe if you prefer. 

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