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The Best Ube Roll Cake Recipe

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.)

Freshly baked ube roll cake with whipped cream cheese frosting.

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

Slice of ube swiss roll cake on a serving platter.

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. 

Baking tools

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.

Photo collage - baking pan and dry ingredients.

In another bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, maple syrup, ube extract and water until thick and incorporated.

Photo collage - egg yolk mixture.

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.

Photo collage - how to make meringue.

Add half of your meringue to your egg yolk mixture and gently fold until well blended.

Photo collage - meringue added to egg yolk mixture.

Then add your flour mixture in 3 parts, gently folding after each addition.

Photo collage - dry ingredients added to wet ingredients.

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 1/4 cup of cake batter and mix into the oil until incorporated.

Photo collage - cake batter in a measuring cup.

Fold the oil-ube mixture back into the cake batter and mix until well blended.

Photo collage - purple cake batter in a bowl.

Finally, fold the rest of your meringue into the cake batter until combined.

Photo collage - egg whites added to ube cake batter.

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.

Photo collage - cake before and after baking.

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.

Photo collage - how to flip cake.

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.

Photo collage - how to make ube 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.

Photo collage - how to roll cake.

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.

Photo collage - how to make whipped cream cheese frosting.

Assembling and decorating

When the cake has completely cooled, unroll and fill with frosting. Spread evenly but not too thickly; no more than 1/4 inch.

Photo collage - how to fill cake with frosting.

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.

Photo collage - how to fill and frost cake.

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

Slice of ube roll cake on a white plate.
Can I add macapuno?


You can definitely add macapuno and make an ube macapuno cake. You can either add macapuno in the filling, or as a topping.

Can I make ube whipped cream frosting?


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. 

Can I skip the ube crumbs?


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.

Storage shelf life


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:

And you can find other must-try ube dessert recipes here.

Close up shot of slice of ube roll cake.

The Best Ube Roll Cake Recipe

Author: Jolina
This is the best ube roll cake ever. Soft and fluffy ube cake, whipped cream cheese frosting, so delicious! Perfect for all your celebrations.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chill Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 8 servings
Calories 479 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the cake batter

For the meringue

For the whipped cream cheese frosting

  • 1 8-oz block cream cheese cold and cut into portions
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • tsp salt
  • cups heavy cream cold

Instructions
 

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.
    Jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    Dry ingredients sifted onto a bowl.
  • 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).
    Wet ingredients in a bowl.
  • In another bowl using clean whisks, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar on low-medium speed until foamy.
    Egg whites whipped until foamy.
  • Gradually add the sugar – about a tablespoon at a time – until you reach stiff peaks.
    Freshly made meringue in a bowl.
  • Add half of the meringue mixture to the egg yolk mixture and gently fold until well blended. The batter should be light and airy.
    Meringue added to egg yolk mixture.
  • Add flour mixture to cake batter in 3 equal parts, gently folding each addition until combined.
    Flour added to egg yolk mixture.
  • 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.
    Cake batter mixed with oil.
  • Add back the oil mixture into the cake batter and fold until well blended.
    Purple cake batter in a bowl.
  • Finally, add the rest of your meringue to the cake batter and fold in gently.
    Meringue on top of cake batter in a bowl.

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.
    Ube roll cake batter ready for the oven.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
    Ube roll cake fresh from the oven.
  • 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.
    Pan inverted onto a tea towel.
  • Lift the pan up and peel off the parchment paper.
    Parchment paper peeled off freshly baked cake.
  • 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).
    Slices of ube roll cake set aside for ube 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.
    Ube roll cake cooling on a counter.

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).
    Cream cheese beaten until creamy.
  • Add sugar and salt and beat until incorporated.
    Cream cheese whipped with sugar in a bowl.
  • 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.
    Freshly made whipped cream cheese frosting in a bowl.

Assembly

  • When the cake has completely cooled, unroll and fill with frosting. Spread evenly but not too thickly; no more than ¼ inch.
    Cake filled with frosting.
  • Re-roll the cake using the tea towel to help you push the cake over.
    Cake rolled up with the help of a tea towel.
  • 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.
    Frosting on top of ube roll cake.

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.
    Photo collage - how to make ube crumbs.

Video

Notes

  1. Serving size depends on how thick you slice the cake. The estimated nutrition information is based on 8 servings.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure to use cold cream cheese and cold cream when making the frosting.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. See the post for lots more baking tips, FAQs and step-by-step photos.

Nutrition

Calories: 479kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 3gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 198mgPotassium: 87mgFiber: 1gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 669IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information are estimates only.

Keyword Birthday, Celebration, Christmas, Easter, Holidays
Tried this recipe?Tag @iamtheunlikelybaker I’d love to see your creations!

Happy baking!

Did you make ube cake roll? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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Rate the Recipe




Katherine

Thursday 12th of May 2022

I made ube roll for my mom for mother's day and she loved it! She said it tastes better than the ones she's had in Manila. Made her day :) Thank you for the recipe!

Jolina

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

That's awesome Katherine! Glad your mom enjoyed it :)

Joanne

Monday 9th of May 2022

What a beautiful cake! I'm just waiting for my jelly pan order can't wait to try. Will try your pianono recipe too :) :) :)

Sean

Friday 6th of May 2022

I thought that this would be harder to make. It was very simple thank you!

Jolina

Monday 9th of May 2022

You're most welcome! Glad you liked it.

Pam

Friday 8th of April 2022

This was delicious Jolina! It's a lot easier than I imagined and I enjoyed making it. So delicious my kids almost ate it all in one sitting ha ha. Quicker to eat then to make!! I will make again for Easter. Thank you for your delicious ube recipes they remind me very much of home.

Jolina

Monday 11th of April 2022

So glad you liked it Pam! Hope you have a happy Easter.

Lily

Friday 1st of April 2022

This was very tasty and the cake was very soft. I didn't do the ube crumbs and just put icing on the outisde. Next time I will try the crumbs to make it look traditional. Thanks for the recipe!

Jolina

Monday 4th of April 2022

Glad you liked it Lily!