Friday, May 6, 2011

Ube (Purple Yam) Macapuno Cake...Revisited

I have just finished making the Ube Macapuno cake pictured above and thought this would be a good time to make a post about what I have been doing to improve on the recipe I originally uploaded here sometime ago.  Don't get me wrong...that first recipe works perfectly fine.  However, I've gotten a lot of questions about it thus moving me to experiment a little.

Just remember that everything I will say here is based on my observations alone.  I am not a food chemistry expert and have limited knowledge on how ingredients work together in cooking/baking.  Also, I will not be writing the recipe again so please refer to my original post here if you need to.

Cake flour

Unfortunately, cake flour is not very common in Australian supermarkets.  In fact, I have only ever found one brand, sold in boxes of just 1 kg and it is so much more expensive compared to plain flour.

The box does not even specifically say "Cake Flour" but I know that it is one because it says "soft, low protein" which is exactly what cake flour is.
Many have asked me if cake flour can be replaced with plain or all-purpose flour.  In the book 'Baking' by James Peterson, the recipe for chiffon cake suggests the use of either 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or 2 1/4 cups cake flour.  The author seems to even prefer all-purpose flour over cake flour because he says that all-purpose flour gives the chiffon cake a much deeper flavour. 

I baked an ube cake using 1 3/4 cups plain flour last Easter and it turned out very, very light and soft.  I do love super soft cakes.  However, because it seemed so delicate, I had to be extra careful in handling it.  Also, I observed that the cake had the tendency to sink a little bit more than usual.  (Remember, I do not use a tube pan for this cake, only a regular round pan.  The cake always sinks just a little bit).  In terms of taste though, the cake was as delicious as ever.

For the cake above,  I tried something else.  I used a combination of plain flour and cornstarch.  The usual substitution for cake flour is this - for every cup of plain flour, replace two tablespoons with cornstarch.  In essence, this means 1 cup of cake flour equals 7/8 cup plain flour plus 1/8 cup cornstarch.

For the chiffon cake recipe, 2 1/4 cups cake flour translates to:
1 3/4 cup + 3 1/3 Tablespoons plain flour PLUS
1/4 cup + 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch

The result?  I could hardly tell the difference from the cakes that used cake flour. Cakes with cake flour do have a finer crumb but personally, I don't think it even matters because the cake with the plain flour and cornstarch is still as soft, with great texture and taste.  I'm pretty sure no one else will even notice or care.

My recommendation then is to go with the plain flour/cornstarch combination if you cannot find cake flour.  Both ingredients are easy to find and will come out much cheaper than cake flour (at least here in Australia!).

Other ingredients

Milk.  Someone had told me before that the cake batter prior to folding in the eggwhites was too thick and hard to mix.  For this problem, a little bit more milk would do the trick.  I've tried increasing it from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup and it was fine.

Ube.  As much as possible, use only fresh grated ube, frozen grated ube or powdered ube for this cake.  A reader had commented once that she used the bottled jam and her cake turned out great just the same.  If you have no other option, then I would just suggest you find a good quality brand.  Some brands taste nothing like ube. They look purple but taste like crap. Also, you  might want to lessen the sugar a bit as the jam is already sweet.  Experiment if you must.

Ube flavouring.  If you cannot find this, just omit it altogether or use vanilla extract to replace.  You might want to increase the violet gel paste by a bit to achieve the vibrant purple colour as the use of ube flavouring does add to the overall colour.

Whipped cream frosting

Some found the whipped cream frosting too soft for piping.  While the recipe generally worked for me, this same thing has happened to me a few times too, prompting me to change the method with which I made my frosting.

Firstly, be sure your whipping cream as well as your mixing bowl and beaters are all well chilled.  And the cream cheese shouldn't be too soft.  In this other method, you will be beating the cream cheese and the whipping cream separately.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Set aside.

In your chilled bowl and using clean beaters, beat the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until the mixture is stiff.  Gently fold in the cream cheese then beat again at high speed for a few seconds or just until everything is well combined.  Be careful not to overbeat.

Your frosting should be firm and perfect for piping those rosettes.

If you follow everything I've suggested, I see no reason for you not to make a perfect ube macapuno cake.  Really, I have done this cake a million times. You can certainly make the same beautiful cake as pictured above as well.

Till next.  Happy baking!


  1. Hi Corinne, what a greta cake! It looks yummy!

    Have a lovely day!
    With Love

  2. Hi,
    I started following you recently, and I'm wondering how you make those long wallets? I can't seen to figure it out. Hope it ain't a secret and you can make a tutorial(if you don't already have one, because I can't find it).
    Take care :)

  3. Hi Corinne!

    Thanks for sharing the ube macapuno recipe. I'm excited to try this out - especially after reading all the comments. The first recipe I tried wasn't very successful.

    I've enjoyed looking through your cakes and cupcakes album.

    Would you kindly share the recipe for your ube-macapuno pastry cream?

    Thanks so much!

  4. Hi MJ,

    I only made the ube pastry cream once. If I remember right, I just used a basic pastry cream recipe (please google for one) and then added some ube flavouring and macapuno into it. It was just an experiment.

  5. hi! which frosting is better, whipped cream with cream cheese or just plain whipped cream frosting? which one is more like the red ribbon frosting?

    thanks so much

  6. I would say the one with cream cheese is definitely tastier and is by far, the better choice.

    It's been years and years since I last had Red Ribbon's so I can't really say for sure, but I doubt they will use cream cheese. It's more expensive.

  7. Oh, this just makes my mouth water! Reminds me of the ube cake my sister used to buy for me from Red Ribbon.

  8. Hi Corrine!

    Thank you for sharing the ube macapuno recipe. I will try to bake it some time this week. I hope to get good results - I will let you know once I have tried it. I can't seem to find frozen or grated ube here in local shops in Qatar.

    The thing is, I just got back from a short vacation in manila and bought 3 boxes of powdered ube. I can't find instructions on the box on how to use the powdered ube in making ube cakes. I read in one of your comments that you have tried using powdered ube on your ube cake recipe - can you please email me the exact measurement in using the powdered ube? Here's my email address:

    Thanks Corrine! God bless.

  9. thanks for this recipe. i used the 1 3/4 cups plan flour and it turned out really well. I also used bottled purple yam, turned out ok but lacked purple appearance coz i used a liquid food coloring. Nevertheless, thank you so much for this recipe, I really appreciate, my hubby and friends loved it! God bless you!

  10. I am not really sure cause my piping tip is not branded but it's probably like the largest closed star tip you can find (like Ateco #849 maybe?). It has a 10mm opening, much larger than the 1M star tip.

  11. Hello Corrine. thanks for the recipe and tips. I would like to ask the kind of whipping cream you are using for frosting. Is it the heavy whipping cream in box? the one thicker than milk? thanks a lot.

    1. I replied to your question on my other post on the Ube cake.

      Anyway, any whipping cream with 35% or greater butter fat content would do. Make sure it is well chilled before using.

  12. I have a perfectly risen ube cake in the fridge thanks to your recipe :) I was just wondering if you have tried flavouring plain whipped cream with ube flavouring and if it was successful? I'm looking into not crumb coating mine coz I like the smooth purple icing look. Tnx heaps for sharing your knowledge. Much appreciated :)

    1. I have not tried that, however, I do something similar with my pandan cake. Using the same whipped cream frosting, I replace the vanilla with pandan extract. I don't see why it won't work with ube flavouring. You might have to add a little violet colouring to achieve your desired shade.