This is definitely an experimental recipe… one that ended up tasting great, but, trust me, looked a bit funky.
I got introduced to Ube in the form of ice cream from Mitchell’s Ice Cream here in San Francisco. I was ready to finally try an Ube cupcake recipe, so I went to Pacific Super, an awesome Asian grocery on Alemany Street not too far from where I live, and bought nearly everything Ube.
I reconstituted Ube powder per the instructions on the packet, but didn’t like the taste very much at all. I boiled and mashed some fresh purple yams and they tasted much better. It was an easy decision to skip the powdered and go with the fresh.
One thing I didn’t do, that I noticed the few recipes on the net did, is add food coloring. After my red velvet experience, I have been anti-food-coloring-in-batter. In this case, I think I would have been better off to relax my newfound prejudice…
The yams were a deep purple blue, which was great, but when mixed with the yellow egg yolks and other ingredients, the batter ended up a ghastly green. Maybe a little red food coloring would have balanced it out. On the other hand, I can say that the ghastly green is natural! Maybe a half cup of smashed beets might do the trick, if anyone cares to experiment even further.
One definite keeper for me is the topping of peanuts crushed with a good amount of salt. This is something I stole from a caterer friend. The salty-sweet taste is very satisfying.
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
3-4 small to medium purple yams (ube)
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil, grapeseed or vegetable
1/2 cup macapuno, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk milk
1. Peel and slice the yams into inch thick slices. Transfer into a medium pan, rinse, then cover with cool water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender. Mash with a fork
2. Crack eggs into a large bowl. Beat with a whisk until yellows and whites are combined.
3. Gradually add sugar and whisk until combined.
4. Add oil and whisk until combined. Add chopped macapuno and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
5. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.
6. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix to combine.
7. Add about one half of the buttermilk and mix to combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and buttermilk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes. Note that these cupcakes will don’t shrink. Two-thirds full will result in domed cupcakes.)
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
3 cups water
1/4 cup tapioca balls
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
5-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Boil the water in a medium saucepan (I used the water from the yams).
2. Add the balls to the boiling water and boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Turn off heat and let the balls steep in the water for another 30 minutes.
4. Transfer balls to a sieve and rinse with cool water to remove starch. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cold water until ready to use.
5. Beat butter in an electric mixer until soft.
6. Add 3 cups of the sifted sugar and beat until combined.
7. Drain tapioca balls and measure out 1/2 cup. Fold into the frosting.
8. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, stirring until combined.
Note: This frosting was very soft and almost looked a little curdled. It definitely has a not so pretty texture, but it tasted fine. The tapioca balls are a novelty and perhaps not necessary. There is the added interest of the chewy texture, but I am not sure it’s worth the sacrifice in the visual appeal. If you are looking for something picture perfect, definitely skip this recipe. It needs work.
1. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
2. Crush about a 1/3 cup of unsalted peanuts with about a teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle over cupcakes.