Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ube Macapuno Recipe - Amazing Filipino Purple Yam and Coconut Cake

Asian cuisine generally doesn't do good cakes or desserts. The usual sweet soups and seasonal fruit doesn't do it for me. I love desserts and cakes, and if I eat a cake, I want it to be sweet. Luckily there are some good Asian cakes, with my favourite being a Pandan chiffon with coconut pandan fudge. I can now add another Asian cake that I love to that list, an Ube Macapuno (purple yam with coconut frosting) cake. I first tried this cake at Dahon Tea Lounge in South Melbourne and I was completely hooked. The cake was fluffy and had this fragrant flavour. Then there was this sweet frosting and filling with slivers of coconut flesh. It was such a good cake that I knew I had to try and make it as I couldn't get to the shop to buy it all the time.

A quick search of the Internet and I found heaps of recipes. I decided to try out Heart of Mary's blog for her recipe. It seemed like lots of people had made her recipe with good results. Armed with the recipe, it was off to a Filipino shop to pick up the ingredients. I found all the ingredients I needed at Pilipino Sari Sari store in Springvale.

The cake, as I mentioned, is super delicious. It has a great texture and the most fragrant and intoxicating smell. The taste blends so well together and it's very moreish. You just can't stop eating it. It also looks very striking and would make a great celebration cake. I didn't add the extra purple food dye to give it an even brighter colour, or add the cake crumbs to the outside to give it a different look, but I think it still looks great.

The cake is extremely easy to make. Finding the ingredients is the hard part. Once that's done, it's a standard chiffon style cake with a cream cheese and whipped cream frosting. I've given some tips below to help ensure a great cake.

* If you can find fresh ube, you can grate that. Else I just used defrosted frozen ube and it tasted great still.

* I used cake flour as per the recipe but I have made chiffons before with plain flour and it's still very good so don't worry if you can't find cake flour. Cake flour is available in supermarkets with the name Pastry Flour or something like that.

* I used 800g/12 eggs sized eggs. I find large eggs are required for chiffons.

* The ube flavouring tastes like a mix between pandan and vanilla essence. If you can't find ube essence, vanilla would do but obviously the cake won't be as strong in ube flavour.

* When you make the meringue, keep beating. Even when you think the meringue is done, beat it some more until it's super stiff.

* Do not overbeat the wet cake batter as it can make the cake tougher.

* When mixing in the meringue to the wet cake batter, add 1/3 of the meringue and mix it in vigorously to lighten the batter. Then fold in the rest of the meringue and make sure the merginue is well incorporated. Don't be too scared about knocking out all the air because if you don't mix in the meringue well, the cake will be light on top and dense at the bottom.

* Line the base of the cake tin with baking paper (parchment paper) but don't line or grease the sides as the chiffon sticks to the tin and rises.

* I only made half the frosting as I didn't want to frost the sides of the cake. I find half the frosting enough for me but if you enjoy frosting, make the full amount. If you want to add crumbs to the outside of your frosted cake, just make a 3 layer cake and crumble up the 4th layer. If not, make a 4 layer cake.

Ube Macapuno Recipe
From Heart of Mary blog.
Recipe makes one 9 inch 4 layer cake or a 3 layer cake with crumbs on the outside.
Feeds 12.


For the chiffon cake:

Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
7 egg yolks (from large eggs)
1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup (about 100g) grated ube (purple yam)
1 teaspoon ube flavouring
1/2 teaspoon violet food powder or violet gel paste

7 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup caster sugar

For the frosting:

2 cups thickened cream
250g cream cheese softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz jar of macapuno (preserved coconut strips)



1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line two 9 inch round cake tins with baking paper. Do not grease sides.

2. In a large bowl, combine and mix well all the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and beat until smooth and well blended.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

4. Fold in egg white mixture into wet cake batter until very well combined. Divide batter equally into the two prepared pans.

4. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert pans onto a wire rack immediately and let cool completely. This will help the chiffon stay tall and high.

5. Carefully run a thin knife around the sides of pans to release cakes. Using a serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Set aside cake halves for assembly later.


Combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. When the mixture is smooth, slowly pour in the thickened cream and continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak. Don't overbeat the frosting as you want it to still be a little bit soft rather than lumpy.

To assemble:

1. Drain some of the syrup from the macapuno. This ensures the cake doesn't get soggy and also to prevent the cake from becoming too sweet.

2. Place one of the cake layers cut side up and spread and level some frosting onto the cake layer until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Scatter 1/4 of the macapuno on top of the whipped cream.

3. Repeat for the other 3 layers of cake. When each layer is done, carefully place it over the previous layer.

4. If you wish to frost the sides of the cake, spread a layer of frosting over all four layers of cake.

Note: If you are adding cake crumbs on the sides of your cake, use the 4th layer of cake and crumble it in a food processor for fine crumbs or by hand for rougher crumbs. Carefully stick the crumbs onto the frosting around the cake.


  1. Looks impressive! I've been planning to go try this cake at Dahon, looking forward to it. :D

    1. Cake is awesome. Try it out first at Dahon. I highly recommend it.

  2. omg i love ube cake! This looks amazing - awesome effort for a first attempt!

    1. I'm such an addict for ube cake now. I was so surprised how well it turned out too. Can't wait to make another one for next week's party.

  3. I Love the look of this cake. I haven't had ube cake before (only ice cream) but man, I want to get my hands on this baby.

    1. You gotta make it. It's such a nice chiffon and the flavour is beautiful. I'm going to buy ube ice cream next week.

  4. ummmm, bring this on Sunday dammnit!!

  5. Ditto what Adrian said!!! Buddy, this is amazing beyond words I seriously can't wait to try on Sunday. Love the height, colour, topping and I'm sure the flavour/texture too. You are the king of cakes what you say, I listen hahaha. Will def try this out one day!

    1. Hopefully you'll like it on Sunday. I love the look and taste of this cake so much. Yay I'm the king of cakes haha.

  6. So so so beautiful. To be honest I was a little skeptical when I first saw the Ube cake at Dahon, but was sold at first bite. I am so going to try this recipe!

    I am obviously being a little lazy here and asking before I check, but where did you get the grated ube and ube flavouring? Are they available at most asian grocery stores?

    1. The cake is amazing. How could you have doubted me when it comes to cake ;-)

      This cake is so easy to make. All the ingredients are available from Filipino grocery stores. I got them from Pilipino Sari Sari in Springvale but I'm sure you can find other Filipino grocery stores closer to the city.

  7. this looks delicious! ive been wanting to make once since seeing yours on instagram, just need to hunt down some ube first!

    1. It's a seriously delicious cake Amy. If you can find a Filipino grocery store, they will have all the ingredients. You'll also find ube ice cream, ube jam, ube wafers which are all excellent too haha.

  8. Can't wait to sink my teeth into this tonight! YUM!

    1. It was teeth sickeningly sweet haha. Using my original frosting as per this recipe next time.

  9. I'm glad I get to taste some of your baking creations :)

  10. Just found your blog today. Love the name! Clever.

  11. Could you could you get the violent food powder or ube flavoring online or well known stores?

    1. Yes, you can buy the violet colouring from any cake decorating stores. The ube flavouring is a bit harder. I'm unsure which well known stores sell it. I always buy mine from Asian grocery stores of Filipino grocery stores.

  12. do you think i could just use your pandan chiffon recipe and replace the pandan flavoring with ube flavoring? can't seem to even find frozen ube here in adelaide :(

    1. Hi Valerie, yes you definitely can. I've used ube essence before and a one to one replacement in my pandan chiffon recipe works fine.