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Purple Yam (Ube) Cupcakes with Two Tone Icing
Wednesday, 20 November 2013

"What is that thing?" "Why is it so purple?"

These are the questions I am often asked whenever I post my baked goods using purple yam online. Growing up in the Philippines, purple yam was everywhere and is commonly used in traditional desserts. But only just recently have I realised that this must look strange for anyone who isn't Filipino! I can imagine eating a bright and intensely green-coloured cupcake, per se, and think: "Yup, this is weird!"

This strange purple thing is indeed purple yam, or 'ube' as we Filipinos call it. The best description I can think of is that it is a sweet vegetable of some sort. Often, it is confused for taro or purple sweet potato and is commonly used in Filipino desserts. You can choose to use the actual mushed vegetable or powdered kind or the liquid flavouring in a bottle. 

I love using this as an ingredient in my bakes! I have made it before into a chiffon cake, cheesecake and even macarons. Of course, staying true to Chippy Cakes style, I just had to make it into a cupcake form so here is the recipe...

For the purple yam / ube cupcakes:
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125ml evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp ube flavouring
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen mushed purple yam / ube
For the buttercream:
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk or double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ube flavouring
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/375F/Gas Mark 4. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cases.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, sugar and vanilla together until smooth and thickened. In a measuring jug, mix the ube flavouring with milk. And in another small bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  3. Whisk the eggs in one at a time into the oil-sugar mixture. Once all the eggs have been added, stir in the mushed purple yam. I use the frozen kind from the local Oriental supermarket.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the milk mixture. Repeat and mix together until all ingredients have been incorporated into the batter.
  5. Fill 2/3 into the muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  6. To make the buttercream, cream butter until light and creamy. Gradually sift in the icing sugar, then the milk and beat until it has reached the right fluffy consistency. Half the buttercream, in one half: add the vanilla extract while in the other, add the ube flavouring and beat again. It may be a good idea to add the milk by eye, depending on how stiff or smooth you want the icing to be.
  7. Spoon half of the vanilla buttercream onto one side of the piping bag, and the ube flavour in the other. Squeeze the piping bag down and let the icing mix with each other. It doesn't have to be neat or even, in fact, I like how the two different colours combine messily to create a gradient effect. And one last thing to do is pipe it onto the cupcakes and top with whatever decorations you like! 

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Hii!!! I'm Anna. A 21 year old Media student in London with a baking obsession. I like to make cakes, desserts or any kinds of sweet things and blog about them!

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