Ube cupcakes are little ube cakes packed with big ube flavour. Soft, dense and just the right amount of sweet. Top with ube whipped cream frosting and sprinkle with toasted shredded coconut for the ultimate Filipino treat.
(Do you love ube as much as I do? Try this ube cake recipe. It’s your favourite ube cake frosted with the most amazing ube Swiss meringue buttercream. Or bake a batch of these ube crinkles – they’re going to be your new favourite cookie!)
These ube cupcakes with ube whipped cream frosting have been in my to-do list for a very long time.
I receive emails and messages from TUB readers regularly, asking if I have an ube cupcake recipe, or if I can help them convert the measurements of my ube cake so they can make cupcakes out of it.
Happily, the wait is over my friends! And it is totally worth it.
These ube cupcakes are everything we love about ube cakes. But individual-sized (so no sharing!).
They are soft but dense; moist and packed with ube flavour. They are a rich, vibrant purple. No food colouring added. Meant to be the star of any celebration.
What are ube cupcakes?
But first, what is ube?
I know ube sounds foreign and unfamiliar to a lot of you. The simple explanation is it’s Filipino purple yam (my post on ube waffles has more information about it).
Filipinos use it mostly for desserts, the most common of which is ube halaya or jam.
Ube cupcakes are cupcakes that are jam-packed with ube flavour, either through the addition of ube halaya, ube extract or, in the case of this recipe, both.
And you may have already noticed — it’s wonderfully purple. I don’t add any additional food colouring on any of my ube recipes here on TUB; you will get that awesome hue simply by using ube and/or ube extract (sometimes sold as ube flavouring).
How to make ube cupcakes (photos)
Now that’s out of the way, let’s bake some cupcakes!
Making this Filipino ube cupcake recipe is not that different from making any other cupcake flavour.
First you start by whisking eggs, sugar and oil until combined.
Then you add ube halaya or jam and whisk until fully incorporated. You don’t want big chunks of jam remaining so whisk it good.
Add the ube extract and give it a quick stir until combined.
Using a fine mesh sieve, sift cake flour, baking powder and salt into your ube mixture and gently stir. You don’t want to over-mix at this point; as soon as you no longer see massive streaks of flour remaining, you’re done.
Scoop your batter into your cupcake tin. Fill each liner a little over ½ full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out with minimal, dry crumbs.
The tops should also spring back when you press on them lightly.
How to make ube whipped cream frosting
I love making homemade whipped cream. It tastes better than store-bought whipped cream and it’s the easiest thing in the world to make.
For this ube whipped cream frosting, I use stabilized whipped cream, which doesn’t melt as fast and stays pretty on top of cupcakes longer.
What you do is bloom gelatine in cold water. While that’s happening, start whipping your cream with sugar and ube extract until you reach medium peaks.
Go back to your gelatine and microwave for 10 seconds until dissolved. Stir to bring down to room temperature.
Add a dollop of whipped cream to your gelatine to temper it, then add the tempered gelatine to your whipped cream and continue whipping until you reach stiff peaks.
I learned how to stabilize whipped cream from my foodie blog pal Veena. She actually has 5 different ways to stabilize whipped cream in case you don’t want to use gelatine. Check it out here.
Apart from the ube halaya or jam and the ube extract, which you can buy at an Asian supermarket or Amazon, the rest of the ingredients in this recipe are pantry staples:
- Granulated sugar
- Canola or any flavourless oil (cakes baked with oil stay moist and tender longer than cakes made with butter. Butter lends great flavour but in a flavour-rich recipe like this, the flavour that butter would give is going to be negligible.)
- Cake flour
- Baking powder
For the ube whipped cream frosting, you need:
- Heavy cream (at least 35% fat content)
- Granulated sugar
- Ube extract
- Unflavoured gelatine
- Plain old cold water
And shredded coconut, which you can toast and sprinkle on top.
I use my handheld electric mixer for this recipe, though you can also use your stand mixer if you have it, or whisk by hand.
In addition, you’ll also need:
- A cupcake pan
- Cupcake liners
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
To frost your cupcakes, some frosting tips and a piping bag will come in handy but they’re not necessary. Sometimes I just spoon a small amount of frosting on my cupcakes, swirl it around and call it a day.
Expert baking tips
You’ll hear it from bakers everywhere — baking is a science. But it doesn’t mean it’s hard. Here are some tips to make baking ube cupcakes a walk in the park.
The best way to incorporate ube halaya to the cupcake batter
Ube jam can sometimes be a challenging ingredient to work with, especially if you need to incorporate it into batter.
Not all jams are created equal — some are sweeter, some are softer, some are chunkier.
So first things first, taste the jam you’re using and, like wine, you must like the jam you’re going to bake with! If you think it’s already too sweet, you may need to adjust the sugar content in the recipe.
Second, leave it out on the counter about half an hour prior to when you have to use it. Room temperature ube halaya is easier to incorporate into batter than one that’s straight out of the fridge.
In fact, this is true for all your cupcake ingredients. Make sure to bring everything to room temperature before using them.
Can I use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour in this recipe?
I’ve always made these cupcakes using cake flour. Cake flour is finer and more delicate than all purpose flour and results to cupcakes that have a more tender texture, a finer crumb and a good rise.
If you don’t have cake flour, don’t let it stop you though. You can still use all purpose flour, just expect a slight difference in texture.
Also, remember that substitution is not 1:1. Check out this quick guide.
Why did my cupcakes crack on top?
If you look at the pictures, you’ll see that some of my ube cupcakes cracked on top. This sometimes happens when the cupcakes rise too fast, literally bursting.
Although there are many possible reasons, most often the main culprit is oven temperature — it’s just gotten too hot.
If you notice this happening to you, you can lower the temperature by 25F and continue baking. It would also help if you rotate the cupcake pan as you check so the cakes bake evenly.
I don’t usually stress too much about this when I bake cupcakes though; they will be covered by frosting anyway and the cakes are still delicious. But if you want perfect cupcakes underneath, check at the halfway point and adjust accordingly.
Also, invest in an oven thermometer. It’s inexpensive and will become the most used tool in your kitchen.
How do you get cupcakes to not stick to the cupcake liners?
Another common cupcake baking issue (now this one annoys me) is when cakes stick to the cupcake liners. So I’ve since switched to grease-proof liners.
Here are other tips I found to prevent cupcake liners from sticking.
How do you make cupcakes without using a cupcake pan?
What if you don’t own a cupcake pan but really want cupcakes? You can still bake some!
My favourite way is to use cardboard cupcake cups; they’re sturdier and can stand on their own.
I simply place them on a regular baking or cookie sheet and off I go. I use them when making Brazo de Mercedes cupcakes and Hokkaido Japanese cupcakes and they work like a charm.
If you don’t want to invest in them, no worries. There are other clever ways to bake cupcakes without a pan. Check them out here.
Other delicious ube recipes
Ube is such a fantastic ingredient. It’s really one of my favourites, right up there with lemon and chocolate. Hope you give it a try. You won’t regret it.
- This ube cheesecake is phenomenal. Rich, creamy, luxurious. Plus I give lots of tips for baking crack-free, perfect cheesecakes each time.
- Start the day right with ube bread rolls with toasted coconut. Soft bread, delicious ube, goes so well with your morning coffee or tea!
- Feeling the heat? Make homemade ube ice cream. It’s easier than you think (no ice cream maker needed) and way better than the ones you can buy at the store.
- Ube chiffon cake is light, airy and melts-in-your-mouth. With its vibrant purple colour and delicious ube flavour, it’s perfect for special occasions. Easy to make, it’s great as an everyday cake too!
And if you’re raring to try other Filipino food, check this out and explore Filipino cuisine.
This is the best ube cupcake recipe. Easy, delicious, ready in no time. Bursting with ube flavour. Delightfully purple. Share with family and friends. Enjoy!
Ube Cupcakes Recipe
For the Ube Cupcakes:
- 2 pcs large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cup ube jam 1 heaping cup, see notes
- 3 tsp ube extract
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
For the Ube Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 1 tsp unflavoured gelatine
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 cup heavy cream chilled
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp ube extract
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk 2 large eggs, ½ cup sugar and ½ cup canola oil until combined.
- Add ube jam and whisk until you don’t see any ube jam chunks remaining.
- Add 3 tsp ube extract and continue whisking until combined.
- Sift 1 cup cake flour, 1 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp salt into your ube mixture.
- Gently stir just until combined. Do not over mix. If you no longer see massive streaks of flour, you’re OK.
- Scoop batter into prepared liners, filling them a little over ½ full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a few of the cupcakes comes out with minimal dry crumbs and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
- Remove from pan and cool on a rack completely before frosting.
- To make the ube whipped cream frosting, in a small bowl or measuring cup, sprinkle 1 tsp gelatine into 2 tbsp cold water and set aside to bloom (about 2 minutes). Do not stir.
- In the meantime, using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, start whipping 1 cup heavy cream with 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp ube extract on medium speed until you reach medium peaks.
- Go back to your gelatine and microwave for 10 seconds to dissolve. Stir to combine and bring down to room temperature.
- Add a dollop of your whipped cream into the gelatine to temper it. Then add the tempered gelatine to your whipped cream and continue whisking until you reach stiff peaks.
- Frost and decorate cupcakes as desired.
- Not all ube jams are created equal. Some are sweeter, others are creamier, so make sure to taste before using (and you must like the jam you’re using!). To make it easier to incorporate into batter, I usually leave it out on the counter about 30 minutes before using it.
- The cupcakes are best served the day they are baked. If you need to make them ahead, keep the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 2 days and frost them the day you’re serving them.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make ube cupcakes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
If you’re craving for muffins, try this ube muffins recipe. So good!
And if you’re looking for more unique, creative and delicious cupcake recipes, check out this cupcake recipes collection.
Hi! I plan to make this soon and wondered if you have any experience with using Inday’s Best brand of Ube Flavor and their Halayang Ube. I found them at my local Filipino store, but I saw you mentioned McCormick Ube extract working well with this recipe.
Hi Lolo, I’m sorry but I haven’t heard of that brand. Maybe other readers have and can chime in!
Excellent recipe! Directions were easy to follow and used all the recommended ingredients. Made them for a friends birthday party and everyone loved them!!
That’s awesome Baylie! Glad you guys liked the cupcakes 🙂
Tried this recipe today, very disapppointed, it turn out to be more of a pound cake. I follow the not to clear recipe to the T.
Hi Theresa, sorry to hear the recipe didn’t work out for you. We’ve made it several times with great success. The cupcakes are supposed to be a little dense, but still soft and tender. Hope you find a cupcake recipe you like!
Wow! These were delicious!!!! Followed this recipe to the T, including the McCormick Ube extract! Unfortunately I was only able to make 20 cupcakes out of these but everything else was perfect! I’m definitely planning on making this again! Thank you for sharing!!!
Hi Erica, so happy to hear that! Happy baking 🙂
My cupcake is not as purple as it should be. It is more of a chocolate cupcake color. Is there a specific brand of ube extract that I need to use? The brand that I have currently is Butterfly. I hope you can help me fix it. Thank you!
Hi Joyce, I always use McCormick.
@Jolina, Ok thank you!
These cupcakes were amazing. I halved the recipe and made a few tweaks. I substituted homemade ube halaya for jam. I was also “generous” to my 1/2 cup portion of ube halaya. Instead of canola, I used coconut oil. 2 tsp of ube extract instead of 3. I added 1/4 cup of BRM unsweetened shredded coconut. They came out simply delicious. I did not make the UWC frosting, but planned on using leftover cream cheese frosting that I made for another recipe. I froze the unfrosted cupcakes. Thanks, Jolina for this wonderful recipe!
Glad you liked them Mochi! And thanks for sharing your tweaks, they’re very helpful 🙂
Looks amazing. Will be trying out your recipe today. Can you freeze the cupcakes or make the batter in advance?
Hi Gina, I’ve never tried freezing these cupcakes but yes, in general you can freeze cupcakes. A quick google search will show you tons of really good tutorials and tips on how to do it, pick one that’s works for you 🙂
The recipe was very easy to follow but I found that the amount of ube extract added was too much. It tasted too artificial. 🙁 Is it possible to just skip the ube extract? Would it still create the same ube taste? Add more ube jam instead of the flavoring perhaps?
Hi Mary, instead of leaving the extract out altogether, I suggest just decreasing the amount. And I don’t recommend adding more ube jam to the batter because it will mess with the ratios. If it helps, I always use McCormick ube extract.
@Jolina, thanks so much for the advice. I used a different brand, Ferna Flavacol, so maybe it has a stronger taste. I’ll give this a go again and just lessen the extract next time.
Just as an FYI, the “extract” you’re using is just food coloring with artificial flavor. I have no issues with this, but it’s something that should be clarified instead of saying food coloring isn’t used. I still plan on trying the recipe.
Hi Bee Ma, thanks for the info. I do clarify that I don’t add any additional food colouring on any of my ube recipes here on TUB; I just get all that purple from the ube and/or ube extract. Enjoy the cupcakes!
This looks good. Can I use mashed ube instead of the jam? If so, how much should I use? Thanks!
Hi Anna, I always use ube jam so I can’t say for sure. You’ll most likely need the same amount. And remember that ube jam is sweet and if your mashed ube is not, you may need to adjust the sweetness a little.
This recipe is awesome – thank you for sharing. For a low fat version, I used unsweetened apple sauce instead of oil and my family couldn’t tell the difference. Addtionally, I went plain on the topping and used vanilla instead of ube extract for balance. Plus we noticed the ube flavored icing stained our tongues purple. Your halaya recipe is also amazing. So happy to find your site.
Hi Suzanne, glad you liked it! Great tip on the apple sauce. And yes, ube extract can do that lol. Enjoy all things ube! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing recipe. We loved it. Just perfect
Everybody loves the cupcakes, even without the icing.
Happy to hear that Willena!