Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream

The first time I tried ube (purple yam) was way back in high school. We met via traditional Filipino desserts like halo halo and puto. The attraction was instantaneous which is not surprising considering my love of yams.  It's not super sweet and has an almost nutty quality - the perfect combination for someone with a mellow sweet tooth.

Last year, I had the honor of making another wedding cake so it was serendipitous when the bride and groom mentioned ube as a flavor idea. I did my best with the information available and made two different recipes. Unfortunately, neither of them turned out very good. The regular cake was too heavy while the chiffon version was a little dry. It is, after all, a yam cake.

The bride and groom wisely selected another flavor profile all together - but I was not ready to give up on ube. I read tons of recipes, the most popular being chiffon because the egg whites add volume where the yam adds heft. Finally, I stumbled upon this recipe from Baked Occasions which is a traditional style cake. To combat the threat of a dryness, this Baked Occasions's recipe incorporates vegetable oil, butter, and vegetable shortening! If you want to add extra precaution, brush the cake with some simple syrup after baking.

The original recipe uses a cream-cheese frosting which I think is an excellent pairing. The cake has a subtle flavor and is not very sweet. I decided to keep things on the lighter and used a chantilly-whipped cream. It's airy and sweet, an equally complimentary choice.

These cupcakes were a success, but mostly because I picked the right crowd. I don't see little kids loving these because they're mild and a touch earthy. They are, however, the best ube cupcakes that I have had to date!

Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Whipped Frosting

Purple Velvet Cake (aka Gonzo Cake) from Baked Occasions
Halve the recipe to make a generous 24 cupcakes; use cupcake wrappers in the baking tins. I baked it for 12 minutes and monitored until a toothpick came out clean.

* I bought my ube powder online via Amazon; it took over 30 minutes for my yam powder to re-hydrate so stay patient.

Coconut Condensed Milk Chantilly
adapted from Hint of Vanilla

250 g heavy cream
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed coconut milk 
Regular or toasted coconut flakes (optional)

Whip heavy cream until thickened; gradually add condensed milk until your preferred level of sweetness. Garnish with coconut flakes.