Ube (Purple Yam) Cupcakes (and a little rant about ube vs. taro)
Pretty in purple. I love all things purple, so when I was first introduced to ube, I liked all these ube flavored foods because of the vivid purple color. Ube is the filipino name for purple yam and is often seen in filipino cuisine, especially in various desserts.
So here's my little rant. Ube and taro are often mixed up, which irks me to no end. Mainly because I have a special fondness for taro. Taro and ube are two completely different things! I don't really know who to blame for the mix-up. I've seen many filipino food blogs that translate ube as "taro" instead of "purple yam." I've even seen things in the grocery store saying ube/taro.
Ube = purple yam. Taro is a root that isn't actually very purple. There are small taros which are usually white. And the big taros have a light purplish to it. But it's very light. If you cook with taro, it'll usually be almost a greyish hue. Only if you steam it, does the purple come out and even then, it's a very light purple. As a result, when you see taro flavored desserts or drinks, you'll often see food coloring added to it that makes them look light purple. Ube is a much darker purple. When you cut it open, you see the dark purple. The two plants also look different from the outside. And of course, they taste different too. So that's my rant. They are not the same thing people!
Burnt Lumpia had some ube cupcakes on his blog that I was interested to try. I went out and bought some frozen grated ube which I found in the freezer section at Ranch 99. They've been sitting in my freezer for a while.
The cupcakes were easy to make. I love how vivid the color of the raw and cooked ube is. It's a bit sad that the color gets diluted in the cupcakes. The cupcake batter turned a pinkish purple. It reminded me of mixed berries yogurt. I was tempted to keep adding ube to the batter to deepen the purple color, but I didn't want to mess with the recipe.
When the cupcakes were first baked, I couldn't resist eating one. The outside was pink, but the inside was a light purple. So pretty. My cupcakes was moist and sweet. However, after they had cooled, I tried one the next morning. The batter was a bit more dense now and slightly dry. I think I might play around with this recipe slightly to get a fluffier/moist cupcake. It wasn't too dry though. And with the frosting, it gave it the moisture it needed.
I was debating what kind of frosting I wanted to put on. Ube is often mixed with coconut. I thought about a coconut frosting, an ube and coconut frosting, a marscapone cheese frosting. Finally, I ended up with a whipped cream frosting flavored with ube. I used a bottle of ube flavoring I had picked up at Seafood City. It made the frosting delicious and added a beautiful purple to the frosting. Of course, with the purple frosting, the cupcakes looked more pink. Oh well. The ube flavored whipped cream frosting was really tasty and somehow very different from a regular whipped cream frosting. I thought it was the perfect complement to these cupcakes.
Ube cupcakes (adapted from Burnt Lumpia)
1 cup grated ube yam (can be found frozen in Asian markets)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 Tablespoons butter (1.5
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Thaw and drain ube yam. Place ube on a small sheet of foil, place
foil in steamer basket and steam for 15-20 minutes until ube is soft.
Remove ube from heat, place in small bowl, and mash ube with a spoon.
Allow ube to come to room temperature, then add milk and vanilla to ube
and mix well. Set aside.
3. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter and
sugar together on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a
time, until blended after each addition. Add oil and mix to combine.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda,
5. Add a portion of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low
speed until just combined. Then add a portion of the ube mixture to the
egg mixture, continuing to alternate between the flour and ube until
everything is just combined.
6. Place paper baking cups into muffin pans and spoon batter into cups
until 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes until
a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove cupcakes
from pan and let cool on a wire rack.