This is the best ube roll cake ever. Soft and fluffy ube cake, whipped cream cheese frosting, so delicious! The recipe is fun to make, the cake roll is cheerful and festive, perfect for all your celebrations.
(If you’re looking for ube rolls, check out this recipe for ube bread rolls. Fluffy bread filled with ube jam and served with toasted coconut. And check this out if you’re looking for classic vanilla Swiss roll cake.)
Think of ube roll cake as the Filipino equivalent of the Swiss roll or jelly roll cake. Chiffon cake filled with frosting, rolled, and covered with more frosting.
Ube roll cakes, especially those from Goldilocks and Red Ribbon that we grew up eating, are usually covered in ube crumbs and that is how I do mine too.
Let’s get to it.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Pinoys the world over are obsessed with ube. From ube ice cream to ube pandesal.
And roll cakes are on top of that list. It’s what we buy on special occasions like birthdays and at Easter and Christmas.
I can find ready-made ube cake rolls here but they are so expensive and not very good at all.
So I learned how to make it at home and it’s one of my new favourite cakes to make! You’ll enjoy making it too because:
- It tastes like the ube roll cake you remember, but better. This cake is incredibly soft and tender, the frosting is not too sweet and goes so well with the cake, and it looks happy and festive. Homemade cakes generally taste better than store-bought ones and that is definitely the case here.
- Ube crumbs are like sprinkles, but purple. Have you ever baked with sprinkles? I do when I make my Funfetti Cake and lemme tell you, they’re so much fun. And working with ube crumbs are the same thing. It can get messy but you’ll have a blast doing it. Plus, the crumbs hide all the imperfections of the frosting underneath it so we don’t need to stress about perfecting the icing.
- The cake is always a hit. Everybody who’s tasted ube loves it. Ube desserts are the first to go at all our parties and that is especially true here.
How to make the best ube cake roll
So let’s get baking! This recipe has more steps than your regular cake recipe but I promise it will be worth it.
Ingredients and substitutions
Let’s start with ingredients.
A lot of what you need are pantry staples like baking powder and eggs. Some things to note about the others:
- Cake flour — this recipe uses cake flour for that light and tender texture. If it’s not available, you can use all-purpose flour but you’ll need to add cornstarch into the mix. Here’s a quick guide.
- Maple syrup — I use maple syrup here but you can also use honey, agave or light corn syrup. The flavour will change a little but these alternatives can provide you with the same moisture that maple syrup brings.
- Ube extract — unfortunately, I haven’t found a good substitute for ube extract. You can find them in Asian supermarkets and at Amazon. I always use the McCormick brand.
- Oil — I use canola oil but any flavourless oil will do.
- Cream cheese — make sure to use the cream cheese available as a block and not in a tub. Ideally, you’ll also want to use full-fat cream cheese.
- Heavy cream — heavy cream is called differently in different places. You know you’re buying the right kind of cream if the milk fat content is at least 36%. It should say right on the packaging.
I find that a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan is the best pan to use for this cake but if you don’t have one, a 9×13 inch pan will work too.
I also like to use:
- Handheld electric mixer to mix the cake batter
- Stand mixer to make the meringue and the frosting
- Rubber spatula to fold the meringue into the cake batter
- Angled spatula for filling and frosting
- Large star tip for decorating
Recipe with step-by-step photos
Making the cake
First you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350F, line your pan with parchment paper, and sift your dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set those aside for now.
In another bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, maple syrup, ube extract and water until thick and incorporated.
In a third bowl, whisk your egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar gradually and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Add half of your meringue to your egg yolk mixture and gently fold until well blended.
Then add your flour mixture in 3 parts, gently folding after each addition.
In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, microwave the oil in 10 second increments until the bowl is warm (not hot) to the touch. Take about ¼ cup of cake batter and mix into the oil until incorporated.
Fold the oil-ube mixture back into the cake batter and mix until well blended.
Finally, fold the rest of your meringue into the cake batter until combined.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and tap gently on the counter a few times before baking for 20-25 minutes or until it springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Rolling the cake
While the cake is still warm, run a thin sharp knife around the edges of the pan, place a clean, slightly damp kitchen or tea towel on top, and carefully invert. Lift the pan up and peel off the parchment paper.
Optional: if making ube crumbs, slice a strip of cake an inch wide from the long side and 2 inches wide from the short side. Set aside and once cool, pulse in a food processor until you get crumbs.
Roll the rest of the cake and place on your counter seam side down. Allow the cake to cool completely before un-rolling and frosting.
Making the frosting
Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and continue beating until fully combined. Add heavy cream and continue to beat until you get stiff peaks.
Assembling and decorating
When the cake has completely cooled, unroll and fill with frosting. Spread evenly but not too thickly; no more than ¼ inch.
Re-roll the cake using the tea towel to help you push the cake over. Then frost the outside of the cake, cover with crumbs (if using), and decorate as desired. Chill in the fridge at least 2 hours before serving.
Expert baking tips
As I mentioned before, there are lots of steps in this recipe but they are simple ones so organization is key. And here are more tips to make baking a breeze.
- Use room temperature eggs. They are easier to combine and using room temperature egg whites results to a more stable meringue.
- Practice patience with the meringue. Speaking of meringue, don’t go higher than medium speed (using my KitchenAid stand mixer, I stay on speed 3). It takes longer to get stiff peaks but this results to a more stable meringue that won’t deflate after baking.
- Roll the cake while still warm. Cracking is not as big an issue in this recipe as it is when making pianono because we’re covering the cake with frosting but the best way to achieve a crack-free cake is to roll the cake while it’s still warm. It also helps to handle the cake gently.
- Use cold ingredients for the frosting. When making the frosting, we want our ingredients to be cold. They will be easier to whip and would achieve a fluffier volume.
Frequently asked questions
You can definitely add macapuno and make an ube macapuno cake. You can either add macapuno in the filling, or as a topping.
I prefer plain whipped cream cheese frosting because I like the contrast of that white against the purple but you can absolutely make an ube flavoured frosting.
Just add ube extract to your mixture as you whip it. Adjust to taste.
You can also opt to skip the ube crumbs. It makes the cake look classic and traditional but if you’d like to skip the extra step, you certainly can. You should have enough frosting to cover the extra cake.
Ube roll cake is best served within 2 days of baking.
If you’re not serving it yet, it will remain soft uncovered in the fridge because the frosting and the crumbs help keep all that moisture in. Just make sure there are no smelly things in there!
To store leftovers (if you ever have any!), just keep in an airtight container in the fridge. They should be good for another couple of days.
Other ube cake recipes
Love ube desserts as much as I do? Check out these other ube cake recipes:
- Soft and fluffy ube chiffon cake
- Ube cupcakes with ube whipped cream frosting
- Creamy ube cheesecake with coconut cookie crust
- Ube cake with ube Swiss meringue buttercream
And you can find other must-try ube dessert recipes here.
The Best Ube Roll Cake Recipe
For the cake batter
- 1 cup cake flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 pieces egg yolks from large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp ube extract
- 2 tbsp water room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil you can also use vegetable oil
For the meringue
- 6 pieces egg whites from large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
For the whipped cream cheese frosting
- 1 8-oz block cream cheese cold and cut into portions
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1½ cups heavy cream cold
To make the cake batter
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom of a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan then line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine egg yolks, maple syrup, ube extract, water and sugar on high speed until thick and incorporated (8-10 minutes).
- In another bowl using clean whisks, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar on low-medium speed until foamy.
- Gradually add the sugar – about a tablespoon at a time – until you reach stiff peaks.
- Add half of the meringue mixture to the egg yolk mixture and gently fold until well blended. The batter should be light and airy.
- Add flour mixture to cake batter in 3 equal parts, gently folding each addition until combined.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, microwave the oil in 10-second increments until the bowl is warm (not hot) to the touch.
- Add about ¼ cup of cake batter to the oil and mix until incorporated.
- Add back the oil mixture into the cake batter and fold until well blended.
- Finally, add the rest of your meringue to the cake batter and fold in gently.
Baking and cooling
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan. Gently tap on your counter a few times to release air bubbles and to help the batter settle in.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- While the cake is still warm, run a thin sharp knife around the edges of the pan, place a clean, slightly damp kitchen or tea towel on top, and carefully invert.
- Lift the pan up and peel off the parchment paper.
- Optional: if making ube crumbs, slice a strip of cake an inch wide from the long side and 2 inches wide from the short side. Set aside to cool (directions for ube crumbs follow).
- Roll the rest of the cake and place on your counter seam side down. Allow the cake to cool completely before un-rolling and frosting.
Whipped cream cheese frosting
- In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until creamy (about 2 minutes).
- Add sugar and salt and beat until incorporated.
- If using a stand mixer, switch to the whisk attachment and add the heavy cream in a steady stream and continue to beat until you reach stiff peaks. Scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl. Use immediately. Otherwise, store in the fridge.
- When the cake has completely cooled, unroll and fill with frosting. Spread evenly but not too thickly; no more than ¼ inch.
- Re-roll the cake using the tea towel to help you push the cake over.
- Then frost the outside of the cake, cover with crumbs (if using), and decorate as desired. Chill in the fridge at least 2 hours before serving.
To make ube crumbs
- Put the strips of cake in a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs. You can also manually crumble with a fork.
- Serving size depends on how thick you slice the cake. The estimated nutrition information is based on 8 servings.
- When making the meringue, don’t go beyond medium speed (I stay on speed 3 using my KitchenAid stand mixer). This ensures your meringue is stable and less likely to deflate after baking.
- Make sure to use cold cream cheese and cold cream when making the frosting.
- Did small bubbles form on the surface of your cake? That’s usually the result of the baking powder doing its thing, or sometimes over-mixing. Don’t worry, we’ll cover that with frosting.
- Did your cake crack while rolling? That’s common with rolled cakes and takes time to master. Again, don’t worry as the delicious frosting will hide all those cracks and nobody will ever know.
- See the post for lots more baking tips, FAQs and step-by-step photos.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make ube cake roll? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
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My son loves ube so I made this for his birthday. I don’t have a jelly pan so I used a 9×13 pan. It worked out well and the cake was delicious!
Happy to hear that Sharon! Hope your son had an amazing birthday!