Looking for ways to make use of the ube jam in the fridge apart from eating it off the spoon? Try out these fantastic Ube Cupcakes!
Right now, the last tub of homemade ube halaya is sitting in the fridge. At the start of the year, we received two tubs of homemade ube halaya from two different people who spent their Christmas break laboring to make this delicious jam. (I hear it’s really hard work!) Since I do love me so ube, I was very happy to receive such a gift. But then I realized that if I counted the ube jam I bought last month that sat forgotten in the freezer, that would mean we had three tubs of ube jam waiting to be consumed. Clearly, it was time to make some Ube Cupcakes!
After Christmas, maybe some of you are in the same predicament as me. Well it sure is a good one to be in!
Ube is having a worldwide moment and I have to say it surprises me not one bit. It’s a common enough thing for us here in the Philippines, but I feel like it wasn’t until it garnered its international fame that it started becoming visible again. Ube-Leche Flan Layer Cakes started popping up on my feeds like crazy! I daresay ube has made a permanent comeback.
Because I am too lazy at the moment to make one of those cakes, I’m sticking with this super easy, one-bowl recipe for Ube Cupcakes I tested from Yummy Mag. I already knew Yummy wasn’t going to fail me, as evidenced by 98% of the recipes I’ve tried from them so far, but to be honest, I wasn’t expecting the Ube Cupcakes to be this good!
My favorite ube jam
To make these cupcakes, you will need a good amount of ube jam. I am actually quite picky with my ube jam. I HATE those super sweet, commercialized-tasting jams. It took me a while to fall in love with ube jam wholeheartedly because I never really found THE ONE until I tried the Ube Halaya from Bahay Pastulan in Tagaytay.
Whenever we go to Tagaytay, my Mom likes to stop by Bahay Pastulan for some old-fashioned halo-halo. She even buys tubs of them frozen. To be honest, none of the other stuff Bahay Pastulan sells stand out to me as much as their ube halaya does. Although I do occasionally have some turon and hot coffee for merienda when we’re here.
Bahay Pastulan is run by The Good Shepherd Sisters of Baguio, yet somehow I can’t remember Good Shepherd Ube Jam ever making this big an impact on me. I loved Bahay Pastulan Ube Jam from the first taste. It has an unadulterated ube flavor and is not too sweet; with a texture that is not entirely smooth but not particularly grainy either. You can even see that the color of the jam isn’t as dark violet as most in the market, which tells me they use a lighter hand on the food coloring.
These are pretty much PERFECT ube cupcakes, and I don’t just say that because it’s got a great ube flavor and is not too sweet. It’s also a one-bowl recipe which quite frankly I think will be difficult to mess up. You start out with the wet ingredients and then mix in your ube jam and flavoring.
This recipe uses quite a bit of ube jam so I was expecting a full blast of ube as I mixed. The batter that comes out is so striking I could just stare at it all day!
Once you have your ube wet mixture ready, you just sift in the dry ingredients directly over the top.
Now here’s where you have to be cautious: Once you start incorporating the flour and you see the last bit of white disappear, STOP MIXING. We don’t want to over-mix this batter at the risk of creating a cupcake with a weird texture. Overmixed batter usually yields a tougher and less fluffy cupcake, and we don’t want that.
That said, it’s important to make sure that you mix from the bottom of the bowl with your spatula. This way, the flour will be evenly distributed into the batter and even the parts at the bottom of the bowl will be incorporated with just a few strokes. The resulting cupcakes are stunning in appearance; with an equally stunning soft and moist crumb that will have you coming back for seconds.
The only adjustment I made to this already great recipe concerns the frosting. Flavor-wise it’s a great frosting. The coconut cream gives the frosting this kind of elegant and tropical taste, and it pairs well with the ube cupcakes too. But I found that the original recipe made way too much frosting, and that if you pile on the frosting it tends to overpower the ube cupcakes.
This is a recipe where you want the ube taste to come through from the cupcakes just because it’s so good! So while I do love the pairing of this cupcake with this frosting, I think just a dollop on top is enough.
Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting
For the cupcakes
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup ube halaya, ube jam
- 1½ teaspoon ube flavoring
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the coconut buttercream
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup coconut cream, chilled but still pourable*
Make the cupcakes
- 1. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- 2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil until well mixed and you can no longer see sugar crystals. Add the ube and beat until well combined. Stir in the ube flavoring.
- 3. Over the ube mixture, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just well blended. DO NOT OVERMIX.
- 4. Divide the batter into the lined cupcake pan, filling each just a little over 3/4 all the way full. Bake cupcakes in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cupcakes comes out clean. The tops should also spring back when lightly pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
- 5. In a large bowl, cream butter until light and creamy. Alternate adding the sugar with the coconut cream, whisking until mixture is light and fluffy. Add enough confectioner's sugar to get the consistency you like. (It will be easier to use a stand mixer.)
- 6. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired, but make sure not to pile on too much or the frosting might overpower the cupcakes themselves.** Enjoy!
**If you like the ube flavor to shine through more, I highly suggest not piling on the frosting. You can also opt for just a whipped cream frosting. (Whip up about 1-1/4 cups cold heavy cream using a cold bowl and whisk attachment, adding a tablespoon or two of sugar and whipping until stiff peaks.) Adapted from Yummy PH
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