These fluffy Cream Cheese Ube Rolls will be your new ube obsession! Pair them with Tablea Coffee for a completely Pinoy experience.
I will warn you from the start that this blog post is a long one. Why? Because I cannot contain my excitement when it comes to this Cream Cheese Ube Rolls and Tablea Coffee combo! I mean, I expected these recipes to turn out well, but maybe not to this degree. Not to the point where I have a goofy smile on my face every second I’m eating the rolls while taking sips of the coffee.
I think most hobbyists can relate to this odd sense of joy and pleasure I’m referring to. It’s the kind you can only get when you create something more incredible than what you initially anticipated. It’s a feeling that erases every bit of exhaustion or stress or anxiety. It’s also a feeling that sparks an inexplicable feeling of enthusiasm.
You see, I’m one of those people who can stay quiet in a crowded room without feeling awkward about it, but once someone opens a topic about something I’m REALLY enthusiastic about, I can talk ALL DAY. In this case, I can easily churn out 5,000 words about this Ube Rolls and Tablea Coffee combo. I kid you not. I can describe to you in detail every step I took to arrive at the finished product. From the way I researched and fused several different recipes, to the way I took courage and switched up the filling ingredients for the Cream Cheese Ube Rolls, down to how my eyes opened wide in satisfaction when I took my first sip of Tablea Coffee.
I remember these things because even before I started making the recipe, I had a gut feeling it was going to turn out well. And so when it came out even better, moments of my “journey” with this recipe imprinted themselves in my mind. Maybe you’re thinking at this point that I’m being overdramatic, but this is the truth of the matter: I remember many things in my life that even I would call random, but it’s often things that resonated with me personally in a certain way. And baking, in case you didn’t yet notice from the hundreds of entires on this blog, is one such personal thing for me.
Heck, I can even tell you exactly how hilariously I reacted after making my first macaron, and the almost-tantrum I threw when I failed at making cream puffs for the third time. Not one of my finest moments, by the way.
BUT I decided I’m not going to give you a lengthy narration about why I decided to make this recipe in the first place. The reasons for this are simple: (1) I love ube on breads, (2) I wanted to make a different kind of cinnamon roll, and (3) I’ve been wanting to do an ube flavored roll. That said, majority of this blog post will be concentrating on the recipe itself, down below in the recipe notes section, because I am super hyped to see you guys try this recipe. (Believe me, it’s lengthy enough of a walkthrough.)
I want to give you as many tips as possible so you can enjoy these Cream Cheese Ube Rolls too. And of course it’s not a requirement to pair it with the drink, but the Tablea Coffee recipe I’m sharing is seriously good stuff! SERIOUSLY!
By the way, excuse my wounded hand in the video. I shot this around the time a burn wound was healing at the back of my hand. (I know, it comes with the hobby.) It’s still there, but it’s healed significantly.
Cream Cheese Ube Rolls
As you may have seen in the video, it’s very easy to make these Cream Cheese Ube Rolls. These days when I make simple breads like this, I usually just throw in all the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and give it a little stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, just until the ingredients start coming together and a rough dough is formed. I feel like this is the best thing about using instant yeast compared to active dry yeast, since we skip the rehydration step. Mix just until most of the dry ingredients are wet before attaching the bowl to your stand mixer.
Using the dough hook, knead the dough at medium-low speed. You don’t need to go too fast because we want the dough to develop gluten without beating it up too much. It normally takes over 5 minutes with the machine to get a properly elastic dough that is smooth and also supple. (It will take double the amount of time if you’re kneading manually.) You don’t want your dough to be dry, mind you. It will be a little bit tacky and will feel damp, and this is what you want.
To tell if your dough is elastic enough to move on to the next stage, grab onto one portion and stretch it out. If it breaks right away, it’s not elastic enough and needs a bit more kneading time. If it stretched out some before eventually breaking, it’s good to go.
Shape into a round and transfer to a lightly greased bowl, then cover and let it go through the first fermentation. Depending on the climate of your location, you should keep an eye on the progress of your first proof. In a country as hot as the Philippines, I find that most of the time my dough is ready at the 45-minute mark across recipes. Aside from how it has visibly doubled, you can check the readiness of the dough by poking a finger down deep into the middle of the risen dough. If it springs back slowly (as if in slo-mo) but still leaves an indent then it’s good to go, but if it bounces back fast give it a few more minutes. Since I forgot to film this procedure to show you, check out this great guide instead.
My dough rose extra fast this time. It was probably the combination of the Manila heat and a newly opened pack of yeast. If you’re still not sure about how to gauge perfectly proofed dough, it’s generally better to underproof rather than overproof.
Underproofed dough can get a finishing boost via the oven’s heat and still rise nicely, but overproofed dough will just collapse! And that’s such a waste of effort honestly. I’ve had people ask me in private messages about why their buns collapsed in the oven (especially when they’re making these Coffee Buns), and overproofing is usually the reason. Please just don’t leave the house while your bread is proofing!
While the dough is rising, make sure to prepare your filling. I actually just made this filling up based on Hummingbird High’s recipe. I’ve been having a difficult time buying sour cream lately for some reason, but I have a lot of cream cheese in the fridge so I switched things around and I am so glad it worked out well! I love how this filling turned out.
The ube flavor is deliciously dominant even though I ran out of extract, and that’s because I used my favorite ube halaya from Bahay Pastulan. This thing is dangerous because it has such a prominent ube flavor and it’s not sweet, which means you can end up eating quite a lot without feeling guilt lol.
Let me tell you exactly how much I love this thing: I either bake with this halaya or I don’t bake anything ube at all. I am not quite sure if Good Shepherd‘s recipe is the same since I have not tried it in recent years, but since these products belong to the same umbrella of organizations, feel free to use that if it’s more accessible to you. (It’s more expensive though.)
Anyway, you only have to beat the filling ingredients together and it’s ready. There are two things you can adjust to your preference here: cinnamon and sugar. I like to use 3 tablespoons sugar but you can go up to 5 if you like it sweeter. For the cinnamon, you can use anywhere from 1 to 3 teaspoons depending on how much you want it to come through. I like about 2 teaspoons.
Continuing with the dough, once it’s risen, I usually punch it down before turning it out onto a lightly floured surface. Then I give the dough a brief knead while folding it just to make sure all the yeasty air gets redistributed and I don’t have overly uneven air bubbles in the dough. It’s also good to let it rest a few minutes so it doesn’t spring back so much when you roll it out.
What you’re aiming for here is a rectangular dough about 12 inches wide and 14 inches long. This recipe uses quite a bit more butter than usual, and as such, the dough has an oiliness to it that makes it easy to move around and transfer from bowl to surface, BUT it is a bit difficult to roll out if you use a small rolling pin like me. It’s quite slippery, so try to use a big heavy rolling pin if you can.
Now spread the ube filling all over the surface of the rolled out dough. Cover every inch, up to the edges of the dough. After that, roll the dough up as tightly as you can, the pinch the seams to seal.
The rolls can be divided into 8 ginormous rolls or up to 12 regular-sized rolls. I was after this round aesthetic so I decided to do 8 rolls inside a 10 inch springform pan, but in reality I can’t finish an entire roll on my own because THEY CAME OUT HUGE MAN. So the more prudent thing is really to make like 10 or 12 rolls out of this. You’re free to slice them up in whatever portions you please (9 rolls is good too) but it’s always easier to divide in even numbers.
My favorite way to slice rolls like these is using floss to maintain the shape, but I only had minty floss at the time so I just used my bench scraper. Luckily, the dough is so soft you can easily reform the rolls in case you smoosh them too much while cutting. If you feel like the roll seems a bit loose when you place it into your pan, do not fret. Remember, these will still expand during the second rise. The bread will fill up those gaps on its own.
The second rise usually takes a little less time, so again, keep an eye on the bread to lessen the risk of overproofing. It took around 30 to 40 minutes for my rolls to inflate, so don’t wait for the hour to finish if you think the buns have doubled enough. (Don’t poke it though!) Remember, the rolls will continue to grow in the oven, so if you put them in a little early it will be fine. Don’t forget to preheat your oven at this stage.
Bake the rolls until golden in color. You want to eat these rolls warm and fresh, but give it a little time to cool down or it’ll burn you.
In the meantime, if you’re planning to make a glaze, this is the moment. I added the glaze just for vanity’s sake because I wanted a shiny coating on top. But it’s totally unnecessary since the rolls are flavorful enough and sweet enough on their own. The glaze just adds a boost of sugar and makes it pretty more than anything, but to make it, you just need to mix about 1/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar with about a Tablespoon or two of milk or coconut milk. Add more or less liquid depending on the consistency of glaze you like.
I don’t like to be excessive with the glaze so I actually poured out the excess before leaving the glaze to set atop the buns. It’ll form a shiny “sugar crust”. Pretty right?
I like to prepare my drink as I wait for the crust to set, but I can’t fault anyone for wanting to just dig right in. These Cream Cheese Ube Rolls are not only gorgeous and irresistible, they are also utterly soft and packed full of ube inside. And for ube lovers like me, that part is really important. Sometimes I can’t get enough satisfaction when I buy ube breads from outside sources because they’re so stingy with the ube filling! Taking it into my own hands isn’t so bad.
These Cream Cheese Ube Rolls are best on the day they are baked. They will toughen up a bit the next day, but it’s nothing a little reheating won’t fix. Pop them into the toaster or the microwave briefly and the bread will become nearly as soft as the day they were made. It’s super satisfying to munch on, but even more so when paired with the Tablea Coffee.
Cream Cheese Ube Rolls
Makes 8 jumbo rolls, or 10 medium rolls, or 12 regular rolls
For the dough
- 3 cups 390 grams bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2¼ teaspoons 7 grams instant yeast
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup 177 mL lukewarm milk or water
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- ½ cup 113 grams unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling
- ½ cup 113 grams ube halaya jam
- ½ cup 113 grams cream cheese (can substitute with sour cream)
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ube extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the optional glaze
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or coconut milk
- 1/3 cup 43 grams confectioner’s sugar
- Sweetened shredded coconut, to top if desired
Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in all of the dough ingredients. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir until a shaggy dough is formed. Attach bowl onto stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Mix on medium-low until the mixture comes together into a soft, elastic, and supple dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will take a few minutes to properly develop the gluten. The dough might be shiny and a bit greasy but it shouldn’t be too sticky.
- Shape the dough into a round and place into a lightly greased large bowl. Cover with clingwrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise until double in size. Depending on the climate where you are, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to about 2 hours. To further check if the dough has finished proofing, poke the center with a finger, all the way down to the first joint. If the dough rises back very slowly and leaves an indent, it’s good to go. If the dough bounces back fast, then give it more time. (If you’re unsure about the poke test and feel the dough has already doubled, it’s always better to underproof rather than overproof.)
Meanwhile, make the filling
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all filling ingredients until well combined and a purple paste-like mixture is formed.
To assemble and bake
- Once the dough is ready, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Briefly knead to deflate and shape or fold into a rough rectangle. Let rest for 5 minutes, then using a heavy rolling pin, roll the dough into a 14- x 12-inch rectangle. If the dough bounces back, let it rest a few minutes more before rolling again.
- Spread the ube filling mixture over the dough, making sure to evenly cover the entire surface up to the edges. Starting on the long side, roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seams to seal in the filling. Using a bench scraper or plain non-minty dental floss, divide the rolls into desired number of portions. You can make 8 giant rolls, 10 medium rolls, or 12 fairly-sized rolls.
- Place the rolls into a lightly greased pan. I recommend using a 13 inch rectangular pan if making 10 to 12 rolls. If you decide to make 8 rolls, you can use a 10-inch round pan as I did and place them in a flower pattern. The aesthetic is rather nice.
- Cover with plastic wrap (or kitchen towel if you’re okay with getting ube on it) and let it rise a final time for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the rolls are fairly doubled in size. (Again, the amount of time will depend on the climate so don’t forget to check your rolls. Mine took about 45 minutes to finish proofing both times.) 20 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges of each bun are golden in color. If the tops of the rolls start to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil and continue baking. (To check if cooked through, you can poke with a skewer to see if it’s no longer doughy inside.) Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack.
Make the optional glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and milk of choice until smooth. You can add more sugar or more milk depending on how thin or thick you want the glaze to be. If you want more of a royal icing, add more sugar. If you want just a shiny glaze, add more milk.
- Drizzle or spread glaze over the warm rolls and sprinkle on shredded coconut, if using. Give it a couple of minutes to set before serving. Serve with Tablea Coffee (recipe below).
- These rolls are best served warm and are at their fluffiest while fresh. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and briefly reheated in the microwave. (I like to do 30 seconds.) It will become as soft as it was when it was freshly baked.
This is actually a simple recipe that produces an incredibly cozy and satisfying drink. In my opinion, it’s best to use coffee that has a dominant chocolate or nutty tasting note here. The tablea has a way of intensifying roasted cacao undertones, and the flavor becomes really complex with the right kind of coffee. (Though I have yet to try this using a more acidic fruity coffee. We shall see!)
I used Yagam Coffee‘s La Trinidad. This is one of my favorite Benguet coffees from one of my favorite local roasters. It has a natural sweetness and nuttiness to it, but it also has a pleasant lemon/lime zing that isn’t “sour” exactly. It’s a kind that brightens up the palate. I brewed the coffee a little strong, using 17 grams coffee to 250 mL. You can go stronger or go down to 15 grams but I don’t recommend going lower than that.
The tablea I used is from a local brand called Plentitude Chocolate. They make single estate chocolate that’s a bit pricey but with a fabulous flavor. You can use anywhere from 5 to 8 pieces of tablea rounds. It really depends on how strong you want the chocolate flavor to be. I decided to go with 7 because the rounds from Plentitude are a little thinner than usual, but I found that this was perfect for my taste.
You can adjust the sugar depending on how sweet you want the drink to end up being. It’s best to put a little bit of sugar first when you’re at the tablea-melting stage, and then add more later. Or you can just let the drinker add sugar on their own, you know?
Anyway, once you’ve melted your tsokolate and have the coffee prepared, mix them together and divide between serving glasses. The recipe I have below is good for 2 but you can multiply as you like. Enjoy hot with the Cream Cheese Ube Rolls, or with any other thing honestly.
- 15 to 20 grams freshly ground coffee beans
- 1 cup 250 mL freshly boiled water
- 5 to 8 discs tablea, depending on size of table and preference
- ¾ cup 177 mL full cream milk
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
- In a French Press, add in the ground coffee. You can use more or less beans depending on how strong you want your coffee to be. Pour in the water and cover but do not plunge yet. Leave for about 4 minutes to brew.
- Meanwhile, melt together tablea, milk, and sugar. You can do this in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat, or in the microwave on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute. For me it’s easier on the stovetop. Remove you tsokolate from heat.
- Plunge the French Press and mix the brewed coffee with the tsokolate until well combined. Pour between 2 serving cups. Add sugar to taste. This drink is best served hot. If at any point the drink starts to separate because of the oils in the tablea just mix until it turns homogenous again. Serve with Cream Cheese Ube Rolls!
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