Ube Bread Knots

There used to be a bakery about 3 blocks away from my childhood home where we would go and buy freshly baked bread from.  Our favorite was obviously the pandesal, followed closely by the so-called Spanish Bread.  Not so popular with my brothers but immensely liked by me was the Pan de Ube (Purple Yam Bread).  It was basically a “bun” sandwich which was filled with ube paste.  Now, whether the ube filing is the real thing or not was never an issue (before, that is).

Lately though, I have been “feeling” that the ube filling is not real at all, but just some sweet, purple-colored paste pretending to be ube.  Thus began my journey to make my own ube bread.  I started a couple of years back using straight method dough for bread but lately my go-to recipe is the no-knead recipe by Jeff Hertzbery and Zoe Francois!

As for the ube filling (halaya), store bought is fine (as long as you know they use genuine products) or make your own!

(First of all, ube is not taro, or sweet potato!)

1 kilo ube, steamed or boiled, then mashed
1 cup butter
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup thin coconut milk
1/2 cup thick coconut cream
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter;  Add the condensed milk, coconut milk and coconut cream.  Stir to mix.  Add the sugar and vanilla; mix.  Add the mashed ube and cook, over low heat, until thick, about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring constantly.  Take care not to burn the mixture!

(Note – purple food color may be added to enhance the color of the halaya, since the purple pigment of the ube varies greatly.  When the inherent color of the ube is insufficient, the end product is likely to be gray in color and will look unappetizing.)

Let the mixture cool before storing in the fridge.

To make the bread, roll out a piece of dough and spread some ube halaya.  Roll it up into a long strip and fold into a knot.  Bake at 375*F for about 15 minutes (longer for bigger pieces),

 

 

 

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Ube Bars

My brother tells me that ube bars are common in various neighborhood panaderia (bread bakery).  I felt insulted.  Not my kind of ube bars, I said.  Mine are special!

I set to work to prove him wrong.

My bars have a lovely thick bottom crust… and the ube filling is full of ube flavor – not from a flavoring agent but from the real thing!  And there is a thin, crackly crust on top too.

He sent me a pm a day later – he ate his words.  He said – Definitely not panaderia fare!

Whoooo hooooo!

(The little girl is likewise enamored with it!)

 

Ube-stuffed Sour Cream Cupcakes

Ube is purple yam.  It is a starchy root vegetable, like potatoes, taro, sweet potatoes, but it is NOT a potato, taro or sweet potato.  And, although it is a root crop, we use it more often in sweets and desserts – ube jam or halaya, ube cake, ube bread, ube rice cakes, ice cream, candy, etc.  My personal favorite is stuffing it in cupcakes… then frosting the cupcakes with more ube infused frosting!

Ube Cupcake half

For the cupcake, I used a vanilla-sour cream cupcake – a super easy recipe that was shared by a friend a long time ago –

Stir together 2-2/3 cups cake flour, 1-1/2 cups vanilla sugar, 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Add 3 super jumbo eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup whole milk, 2/3 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup canola oil.  Mix well.  Scoop into 24 paper-lined cupcake tins.  Drop a teaspoon of ube halaya onto each cupcake.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 22 to 26 minutes.  Watch the cupcakes because they brown fast and if overdone, the top with be crusty instead of soft.  Cool in pans about 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Ube Cupcakes

For the icing, cream 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy.  Add 3/4 to 1 cup ube halaya, by tablespoonfuls, mixing well after each addition.  To make stiff, add powdered sugar.  To thin, add milk.  In my case there was no need to add powdered sugar but I had to thin the mixture a bit.

 

Tunnel of Ube Bundt Cake

The short version of this cake is easy – buy a pound cake mix, follow the instructions on the box and place half of the batter in a buttered and floured bundt pan.  Spoon store-bought ube halaya in the middle to form the tunnel, then put in the rest of the batter!  Bake then eat!

Tunnel of Ube Bundt Cake
Tunnel of Ube Bundt Cake

The way I did mine though… was not the easy way…

It was a case of killing a few birds with one stone!

The main goal was to come up with a cake for a celebration – a cake that had no icing (many were watching their sugar level) but still delicious and beautiful to stand on its own… AND, it had incorporate the celebrants’ favorite flavor – UBE!

A cake that was pretty enough and impressive enough to stand on its own, without icing, obviously meant a bundt cake!  Incorporating the ube, however, presented a bit of problem…

Thing is, while there’s lemon, orange, chocolate, butter, cream cheese pound cake recipes, I hadn’t heard of an ube pound cake before and I really didn’t have time to experiment.  Plus, I had been wanting to try out a cream cheese pound cake recipe so I thought this would be a good time to try it… so I concluded that I had to add the ube flavor in a different way.

The solution came by way of a picture I saw in a cookbook – a chiffon cake that had a “ribbon” of chocolate running through the middle.  So I thought, why not place the ube in the middle of the pound cake?  Like a tunnel instead of a ribbon… and boom!

00_ube-macapuno1

So that’s what happened.  I used the Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe from joyofbaking.com.  Then put in the tunnel of ube (my favorite homemade one!) and baked it!  As a final touch, I spooned macapuno (sweetened coconut sport) in the middle.

Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday!

It was a great hit!  Their only complaint?  They wanted more macapuno!