Ube cake (or Filipino purple yam cake) is unlike any cake you’ve had before. It’s sweet and earthy and purple! A staple in any Filipino celebration.
Ube (or purple yam) is not unique to the Philippines but it is definitely a national favourite. It’s made into all sorts of treats like ice cream, candy, rice cakes and, my personal favourite, jam.
I must admit, it is very difficult for me to describe how ube tastes like because it’s so unique it doesn’t taste like anything. Seriously. The best I can come up with is it tastes a little like sweet potato but that’s not even an accurate (not even close!) description. Looks like GQ had the same problem – see their article on ube here.
Let me just say this – if a whole nation can be obsessed with ube, won’t you want to know what the fuss is about? So how about it? Ready to explore?
The hunt for the perfect ube jam
When I went home last October, at the top of my foodie to-do list was to go to the Good Shepherd Convent so I can buy boatloads of ube jam that I can take back to Toronto. The Good Shepherd sisters are known for making excellent ube jam and it’s not uncommon for people to drive all the way there (Manila traffic notwithstanding) to get some.
Mission accomplished. I can only bring so much given the (very annoying) luggage weight restrictions so I was treating my stash like gold.
Time flies (or maybe I just like ube jam that much) and I am down to my last tub and I’m thinking, I should make something out of this (I mean, as opposed to just sitting on the sofa eating it like ice cream).
Ube cake with ube Swiss meringue buttercream
So this ube cake was born. For my previous ube cakes, I used either ube extract or ube powder but now, since I have the real thing, I thought to use ube jam. And the result was an ube cake that’s bursting with ube flavour I could cry.
Ube cakes are technically chiffon cakes that taste like ube but this version, while still soft, is much denser, I’m thinking because of the jam which was very thick. But it is delicious nonetheless. And the ube frosting is just to-die for.
The holidays and ube cake
Like I mentioned before, Filipinos love Christmas and ube cake is a huge part of that. It will almost certainly be served and enjoyed at family gatherings during the holidays.
So if you’re looking to serve something unique this holiday season, why not take a crack at ube cake? I apologize for the awful job I’ve done of describing how it tastes like however, hope you believe me when I say it is absolutely delightful.
(Cake recipe adapted from My Sweet Ambitions).
Did you make ube cake? Tell me about it in the comments section below. Have you tried ube before? I’d love to hear all about it.
Here are other Filipino desserts you might like:
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