Ube cheesecake bars combine two of your favourite ube desserts — brownies and cheesecake. Creamy and tangy cream cheese swirls on top of chewy and fudgy brownies. So good! Plus, they’re very easy to make and freeze well so you can make them when you have time and enjoy them any time you’re craving for a delicious ube treat.
(If you want straight up ube cheesecake, here’s the best ube cheesecake recipe everyone loves. And if you want ube brownies, here’s a mouthwatering ube brownies recipe packed with white chocolate chips.)
I love ube and I have a lot of ube recipes here on TUB. Some of my favourites include:
- The best moist ube cake recipe — the best ube cake frosted with the most amazing ube Swiss meringue buttercream
- Ube muffins topped with a sweet coconut crumble and filled with a generous helping of ube halaya or ube jam
- Ube pies, which are way better than the ones you can find at a popular fast food chain if I say so myself!
- And ube pancakes or ube waffles to start the day right
I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy ube and these ube cream cheese bars fit the bill.
Because really, what could be better than cheesecake and brownies in one? Let’s get baking.
Why you’ll love making this ube cheesecake bars recipe
These ube cream cheese bars are rich, decadent and busting with ube flavour. You’ll want to make them all time.
- The recipe is very easy. This is a simple and straightforward recipe to follow. Unlike regular cheesecakes, you don’t need a water bath and you don’t need to worry about cracks.
- Ube cheesecake bars look so pretty! Cream cheese swirls on top of a vibrant purple yam cake. They’ll be a hit at bake sales, get togethers, and they’ll make a lovely Christmas present.
- Packed with ube flavour. I like my ube desserts loaded with ube, and not just from the ube extract. I like to put as much ube jam as I can in there and this recipe has a whopping 2 cups.
- You can make them ahead. You can make this cream cheese bars recipe up to a month ahead. I like having a Ziploc bag full of them in the freezer all the time (see FAQs below for more information).
- They keep well. And if you ever have leftovers (which won’t be often), they keep well in the fridge too so you can enjoy them with your cup of coffee or tea up to a week after you made them.
How to make
To make ube cream cheese bars, you’ll need to prepare two batters: one for the cream cheese mixture and one for the ube mixture. Don’t worry, each step is super easy.
First you’ll need to gather your ingredients.
For the cheesecake layer, you’ll need:
- Cream cheese
- Large egg
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
For the ube layer:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Large egg
- Ube halaya or ube jam
- Ube extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
I like to use my electric mixer to beat the cream cheese mixture but I combine the ube mixture by hand.
Other than that, you’ll need:
- 9×13 inch baking pan
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
I also always recommend using a kitchen scale and an oven thermometer when baking.
Easy recipe with step-by-step photos
1 PREP. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan then line with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side. Set aside.
2 BEAT. In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
3 EGG AND VANILLA. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue beating until incorporated. Set aside.
4 BUTTER AND SUGAR. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth and incorporated.
5 UBE. Add the egg, ube jam and ube extract and stir until combined.
6 FLOUR. Sift all purpose flour, baking powder and salt into your ube mixture and gently stir until no significant streaks of flour remain (do not over mix). The batter will be thick.
7 UBE BATTER. Transfer the ube batter into your prepared pan and spread around evenly with a spatula.
8 CREAM CHEESE MIXTURE. Top with your cream cheese mixture and try to spread evenly.
9 SWIRLS. Run a thin knife through the batter to create swirls and help further even out the cream cheese throughout the pan.
10 BAKE. Bake the ube cheesecake bars for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
11 COOL. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely in the pan on the counter, then chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight until set.
12 SERVE. Remove from pan then cut into bars and serve. You can serve ube cream cheese bars slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Expert baking tips
Easy, isn’t it? Here are more baking tips to make perfect ube cheesecake bars every time.
- Use room temperature ingredients. This is true not just for this recipe. Majority of baking recipes require that you use room temperature ingredients. This makes them easier to combine and helps create proper structure for your baked goods. And, in this case, it’s easier to work with room temperature ube halaya than one that’s straight out of the fridge.
- Find the best ube halaya or ube jam. Speaking of ube halaya, it’s really the star of this show so try and find the best one that’s available to you. If you won’t eat it on its own, don’t use it. I make my own ube halaya and it’s better than anything I can find here. Check it out.
- Use full-fat cream cheese. Also, use full fat cream cheese — the ones sold in blocks, not as a spread. You want that extra richness that full fat cream cheese brings.
- Don’t over mix. When mixing your ube batter, make sure to mix the flour just until blended. As long as you don’t see significant chunks or streaks of flour anymore, it’s okay to stop.
- Don’t over bake. You also don’t want to over bake your ube dessert bars. In fact it’s better to slightly under bake than over bake these because they will continue to cook in the pan while cooling. When you insert a toothpick in the cake, you want to see minimal dry crumbs clinging to it.
- Chill. Don’t skip the chilling step either. You want to give the bars a chance to set. And personally, I prefer to eat these slightly cold.
You can usually find ube halaya or purple yam jam in the Asian or international aisle of your local supermarket, or in the Filipino aisle of an Asian supermarket. If all else fails, they’re available on Amazon.
I grew up eating Good Shepherd ube jam though (the best of the best, in my opinion) so I was never really happy with any of the ube jams I’ve tried here.
Happily, like I mentioned above, I now make my own ube jam and it’s not hard to make at all.
If you’re not happy with the jams you find at the stores either, try making your own. You won’t look back.
You can find ube extract at Asian supermarkets. If that fails, it’s available on Amazon. I use McCormick ube extract in all my ube recipes.
You can absolutely make a thicker cream cheese layer if you like. Just double the amount of cream cheese layer ingredients and prepare as per the recipe.
You’ll probably need to adjust your baking time so check halfway to see where you’re at.
In my experience, the following help ensure your ube brownie layer is chewy and fudgy every time:
– Brown sugar. The brown sugar in the recipe helps create that sticky, fudgy texture.
– Bake time. Remember it’s better to under-bake than over-bake ube cream cheese bars. Use the baking time in the recipe as a guide. You’ll know you’re close to being done when the edges of the cream cheese start turning a light brown and the tester or toothpick you insert in the centre comes out with bits of crumbs (not wet batter) sticking to it.
– Proper mixing. It also helps to mix your batter just until blended. Over mixing your batter after you’ve added the flour will result to dry, crumbly bars.
You can make this recipe up to a month ahead of when you’re planning to serve them. See storage instructions below.
Ube cheesecake squares will keep in the fridge for up to a week but the best way to store them is to freeze them.
Cut the thoroughly cooled bars or squares into individual pieces, wrap each one in plastic wrap (wrap them snugly), then with foil. Place each one in a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag.
Frozen ube cheesecake squares will keep for up to a month.
When you’re ready to eat or serve ube cream cheese bars, just bring them out and thaw at room temperature. They’re good slightly chilled too.
They’re great with coffee, tea and milk. Eat them after a meal, as a snack, and even breakfast. Bring them to picnics, serve them over the holidays, give them out as gifts.
Easy Filipino dessert recipes
Looking for pinoy dessert recipes? Here are some of the most popular on the blog and each one is very easy to make.
- Filipino cheese bars are your favourite snacks from childhood, but better!
- Mango graham cake and peach icebox cake are everyone’s favourite no bake Filipino recipes. Simple to make, always a hit at parties.
- And if you really want to impress, make and serve this stunning crema de fruta cake. So good but secretly very easy to put together.
You’ll find more Filipino dessert recipes you must try here. Enjoy!
Ube Cheesecake Bars Recipe
For the cream cheese layer:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan then line with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side. Set aside.
- Beat 1 block of cream cheese and ½ cup granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract and continue beating until incorporated. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine melted butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup packed brown sugar until smooth and incorporated.
- Add the egg, ube jam and 2 tbsp ube extract and stir until combined.
- Sift 2½ cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt into your ube mixture and gently stir until no significant streaks of flour remain (do not over mix). The batter will be thick.
- Transfer into prepared pan and spread around evenly with a spatula.
- Top with your cream cheese mixture and try to spread around.
- Run a knife through the batter to create swirls and help further even out the cream cheese throughout the pan.
- Bake the ube cheesecake bars for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool completely in the pan on the counter, then chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight until set.
- Remove from pan then cut into bars and serve. You can serve ube cream cheese bars slightly chilled or at room temperature.
- Yield depends on how big or small you slice your bars. These are very rich and fudgy; a little goes a long way.
- Not all ube jams are made the same. I make my own ube halaya and if you use that to make your ube cheesecake bars, you don’t need to change anything in the recipe. If you use a store-bought ube jam, I suggest to taste your ube mixture before adding in the egg so you can decide if you need more sugar, ube or both. Make sure to add sugar or ube in small increments.
- I’s better to under-bake than over-bake ube cheesecake bars. They will continue to cook in the pan.
- These bars are also delicious chilled.
- See post for complete step-by-step photos, lots of baking tips and FAQs.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make ube cheesecake bars? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. And here’s the recipe for ube bars (ube bread bars) if you’re looking to make those delicious ube treats from childhood.