|Nutritional Information (per serving)|
View full nutrition label
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated fat 39g||193%|
|Total sugar 85g|
|Vitamin C 0 mg||1 %|
|Calcium 108 mg||8th %|
|Iron 4 mg||25%|
|Potassium 176 mg||4%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food portion contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
Ube cake is a traditional Filipino dessert made with ube or purple yam. This beautiful, naturally purple sweet potato is commonly used in Filipino cuisine and is available in many other forms such as dehydrated powder, frozen pulp and extract. The cake itself is generally either a chiffon or sponge cake and is made into cupcakes, layer cakes or Swiss rolls and then filled or topped with a healthy helping of buttercream.
Ube goes wonderfully with coconut, so my cake is more of a traditional cake with butter, coconut milk and ube extract for ease of procurement. Then I layer it with my Italian buttercream and Macapuno strands, delicious, jelly-like coconut strips made from young coconut kernels that give a sensational mouthfeel in contrast to the delicate cake and silky buttercream. If you are new to this process, check out my article on freezing a cake.
“The light, fluffy buttercream and coconut strips complement this vibrant cake so well. Unlike many three-layer cakes, this one seemed quicker to make because you freeze the layers before frosting, which really sped up the process and helped reduce crumbs.” -Julia Hartbeck
For the cake:
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/4 cups (650 grams) granulated sugar
3 3/4 cups (505 grams) cake floursifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
5 large Eggs
1 tablespoon Ube extract
1 1/4 cups full-fat coconut milk
For the Italian buttercream:
2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) plus 1/3 Cup (65 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1/2 Cup Water
7 large protein
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Cup Coconut Sport Macapuno Strings, more for garnish, optional
Note: Although this recipe has several steps, this ube cake is divided into workable categories to help you plan preparation.
Make the cake
Gather the ingredients.
Position a rack in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat to 350 F. Cut three 8-inch parchment circles by tracing the bottom of a cake pan onto a piece of parchment paper.
Spray three 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray and place a circle of parchment in the bottom of each pan.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the sifted cake flour, baking powder and salt. Put aside.
Once the butter and sugar are completely creamy, turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the speed back to medium and add the eggs one at a time. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the ube extract and stir again until completely combined.
Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides, and add about a third of the dry ingredients. Mix on low until almost combined.
Keep the mixer on low speed and slowly drizzle in about half of the coconut milk. Continue alternating the wet and dry ingredients until everything is done, finishing with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir again for about 10 seconds to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
Divide the dough evenly between the three cake pans and smooth the edges. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cake pulls away from the sides and springs back when touched. Rotate the pans in the oven halfway through the baking time (start checking the cake for doneness after about 25 minutes).
Let the cakes sit at room temperature until completely cool, about 1 hour. Use a paring knife around each cake to loosen the edges.
Pull a long piece of plastic wrap onto your work surface and invert the cake upside down onto the plastic wrap. Peel off the parchment paper and discard it. Wrap the cake base and place it in the freezer. Repeat with the other 2 layers and freeze them all flat for at least 1 hour.
Make the Italian buttercream
Gather the ingredients.
Let the butter come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, place 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Add the water and stir. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, wipe away any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.
Cook undisturbed over medium-high heat until the sugar syrup reaches about 238 F, about 10 minutes (do not stir the syrup while cooking as this may cause the sugar to crystallize). Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk at medium speed until the egg whites become foamy.
With the mixer running, add the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Increase speed to high and continue beating until mixture reaches medium-firm peaks.
Reduce the mixer speed to low. With the mixer running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the sides of the bowl until it is fully incorporated into the meringue.
Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the meringue has doubled in size and the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm, about 10 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the diced butter a little at a time until the butter is fully incorporated, smooth and fluffy before adding the next pieces. The mixture may resemble the texture of cottage cheese or become thinner at times when the butter is added. However, if you continue to beat the mixture, it will begin to thicken into smooth, stiff peaks.
Add the vanilla and continue mixing until it forms a nice, silky smooth buttercream.
Assemble the cake
If necessary, drain the macapuno strings using a mesh strainer.
Take the cakes out of the freezer. Place a cake on a cake board or a serving platter on your cake turntable. Using a serrated knife, trim off any domes on the cake to create a flat layer. Save the leftovers for a snack or to make cake pops. Cut the tops off the remaining 2 cakes.
Spread some buttercream on the bottom layer, smooth it with an offset spatula and spread half of the macapuno strings on top of the buttercream.
Top with a second layer of cake, some more buttercream and the remaining macapuno threads.
Cover with the last layer of cake and press firmly.
Top with a generous amount of buttercream and smooth the top with a large offset spatula while rotating the turntable. Push any excess buttercream that overhangs the edge of the top to the sides.
Spread some more buttercream around the edges of the cake, holding the offset spatula vertically and smoothing it into a very thin layer while rotating the table until a crumb coat is formed. To serve, place the cake in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.
Finish the cake with a final layer of buttercream. Garnish with additional macapuno strings if desired. Surcharge.
- The cake is best served at room temperature.
- You can add more or less ube extract depending on your color and/or flavor preference.
- If the buttercream is soupy, either the meringue was too warm before the butter was added or you just need to whip it longer. If longer beating doesn't work, place the entire bowl in the refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes, then scrape down the sides and beat again.
- If the buttercream is chunky, the ingredients were too cold. Let it come to room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes and try beating again.
Here's how to store and freeze it
Ube cake can be stored in a box or airtight container at cool room temperature for up to three days; up to a week in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container; or in the freezer for up to six months.
Can I make the cake and buttercream in advance?
- The cake layers can be made in advance and frozen for up to 3 months.
- The buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to three months until needed. Before using, however, it must be brought back to room temperature and stirred again until smooth.