Ube Cake from A Brew to a Kill by Cleo Coyle

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Ube Cake is a beautiful purple cake, popular in Filipino cuisine. It's made from a purple yam that's plentiful in the Asian tropics, including the Philippines, where it is known as "ube" and widely used in recipes, including pastries, cakes, and other desserts. 
A Brew to a Kill:
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By the way, "ube" is pronounced "oo-bee," and if you read my culinary mystery A Brew to a Kill, then you may remember this cake, served near the end of the story. To get the recipe for this beautiful cake, scroll down, or click the "read more" link below...

If you've never tasted an ube cake, I strongly suggest you try a professionally baked one before attempting to bake one yourself. The cake has a delicate flavor; the purple ube provides a starchy-sweet note, not unlike the orange sweet potatoes, which we are more familiar with here in the USA.

The ube is not an easy vegetable to find in the USA. Sweetened young coconut strips known as "macapuno" are also a common addition to the frosting and layering of this cake, and macapuno is not easy to come by, either. 

If you are located in the USA, you can find such cakes at Red Ribbon bake shops, which also carry other Filipino favorites. Click here for a store locator. Try one of their "Ube Overload" cakes or their "Ube-Macapuno" cake rolls. Both are delicious.

My husband and I live near "Little Manila" in Queens, New York, the very neighborhood I wrote about in A Brew to a Kill. Here is a photo of the small Filipino grocery where I get my frozen ube and jarred macapuno. You can have such ingredients shipped to you via online shops. Try internet search engines to find them.

As for the recipe, Red Ribbon bake shops make chiffon ube cakes with white cream frosting, but other types of frosting are used on this cake, as well. Cream cheese frosting, for example, is delicious on carrot cake--and equally good on ube cake.


There are a number of ube cake recipes online, and I'm happy to share two links below.

The first is one was inspired by a Filipina grandmother, pictured right, celebrating her 95th birthday with a very special ube birthday cake, baked by her granddaughter.

Click here for that recipe, which was developed by the granddaughter. She said she based it on one published at All Recipes. You can see the original recipe by clicking here.

Cleo's Ube Recipe

As for me, I'm working on an ube cupcake recipe. It's not quite ready, but you can bet I'll share it with you when it is. So stay tuned for more fun with ube...

In the meantime, I encourage you to seek out a Red Ribbon bakery (or any Filipino bakery in your city) to sample a professionally baked ube cake and other Filipino specialties. It's a wonderful foodie experience.

"True well-being is found in happiness,
not in prosperity" ~ Filipino Proverb

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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