Ensaymada atsaka Cheese Roll

I started baking when I was ten.  But I never made bread because bread-baking is/was my mom’s arena, and truthfully I thought it was tedious to make homemade bread when it was readily available in the supermarket (and my mom made bread at least once a week!).  But when my mom stopped baking (presumably due to old age), I suddenly developed the desire to bake bread!  So I decided to just go for it!  That was in 2011.

So I’ve been baking bread since then.  So far, so good… except that I have not been successful in making ensaymada!  Actually I did get a good result once – with a no-knead formula, but I wanted to try the ensaymada recipe of my mom…

The ensaymada that is available these days is not the same as the ensaymada of my childhood.  The one that I grew up with is basically a soft bread rolled in a snail-like fashion with margarine (Star) and sugar on top.  The ones that are popular now are pale, airy, pillow-y, and less bread-y… and super duper cheesy!  These days, I like the “modern” ensaymada better even if I still yearn for the old-style once in a while.

So, anyway, this recipe is one of many from my mom’s recipe collection (I still don’t have her permission to share her recipes) and it looks pretty good.  I used half the dough to make cheese rolls and the other half into ube ensaymada.

Thank goodness for stand mixers!  I swear I would not have kneaded this dough successfully!!!  The dough was rather “wet” and even after about 12 minutes of kneading by stand mixer, it was still soft and pliant… but it passed the “window” test.

The cheese rolls were first to be baked.  It turned out much browner than I wanted.  But they were soft, pillowy, although the cheese stick inside melted!  I guess I have to find cheese that does not melt…

The ensaymada were better since I covered them with foil while baking.  Everyone declared the ube ensaymada the winner… except for the kid, who lobbied for the cheese roll.  For her, it was better than the ensaymada (and she proved it by eating half of the cheese breads!

I can proudly say now that I have succeeded!!!  Now on to the next recipe in her collection!

Naked Ube Roll

Just a few days I made ube chiffon cake for a friend’s birthday.  I had a bit of ube left and remembered that my mom liked ube cake too.  She was not, however, fond of icing or frosting… not at all!

Which is fine with me, since it meant less work for a cake for her… still, it had to look decent so the solution is to make a cake roll, without any frosting or icing.


Ube Chiffon Cake

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Why did I start with this expression?  Well, as you may see, the cake is not pretty.  It looks a tad worse in real life, in fact.

For an ube cake with ube buttercream frosting, it is quite pale and the lack of vibrant color actually makes the cake look unappetizing…

But looks can be deceiving.  The reason why the cake is pale is simple – there were no colorings added (artificial or otherwise),  The violet color of the ube varies from one plant to another, depending on… well, I really don’t know.  Some say depending on the soil, or the particular variant, or province where it was sourced…  I have seen (and baked with) super vibrant violet ube which resulted in a lovely and very purple cake but I have had my share of weird colors of ube.  There was a time long ago when the ube crop available has such poor color that the cake turned out an awful grey!

But this instance the color was not bad, but neither was it good.  At least the cake was still purplish (as opposed to greyish…)

A peek inside

What was more off-putting was my uneven piping of the buttercream!  My RSS has been acting up so that’s my excuse… but other than that blame it on the ube… it was what we refer to as “ma-ugat“, meaning it is fibrous to a fault.  Despite mashing and processing it in the food processor, largish bits remained and the bits jammed the piping tips so there… RSS plus jammed decorating tips equals hideous-looking cake!

But. But. Looks can be deceiving!

Because I know that despite how it looks, this cake is DELICIOUS!

And, it almost got wasted…

Hubby brought this cake for his friends.  There were 2 other cakes at the gathering, both from prominent bakeshops in town.  At first no one paid any attention to my cake and not a one took a slice.  When it became known that I had baked it, one bravely tried it… then it went and disappeared in a flash!

But I was a tad bit insulted… because no one wanted to try it because it did not look nice… sniff sniff…

Then again, all is well that ends well?

PS – another ube chiffon birthday cake, with slightly better piping of frosting –



Ube Cupcakes, with Ube Filling and Coconut Buttercream

In case no one has noticed… I LOVE UBE!  Cakes, halaya, pastillas… even savory dishes!!!

Here’s one of my experimental cupcakes… I keep thinking that I can make a better ube cupcake so I keep trying.  And I want to use real ube, not some flavoring…

The recipe for this –

Combine and set aside –

1-1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 to 1 cup sugar

Stir together –

1/2 cup (cooled) boiled, mashed ube
1/3 cup milk

Mix together, using a hand mixer –

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup soya oil
2 large eggs

Add the dry ingredients to the egg-butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the ube-milk mixture.

Scoop the batter into 12 paper-lined cupcake tins.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Don’t over bake.  Cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cooled, place a small mound of ube halaya on top of each cupcake then pipe coconut buttercream swirl to cover the cupcake and the ube halaya.

Kamote Buns stuffed with Ube

We had some kamote (sweet potatoes) left.  Actually, I did it on purpose and asked everyone in the household to leave some for me to make bread!  I followed the recipe by Fleischmann’s, although I formed them into buns and filled them with ube halaya (purple yam “jam”)

I loved them!!!!  But the kid didn’t really care for them…  She thought it was a bit weird!

Buko-Macapuno Muffins

I have a basic, standard muffin recipe but I decided I was ready to try another recipe.  The one that caught my fancy was the “Anything but Basic Muffin Recipe” by Broma Bakery.  There’s many variants of the muffin but I wanted to make a variant with a local flair – hence this Buko (coconut) Macapuno (mutant coconut!) muffin.

Mix dry ingredients together –

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix wet ingredients together

2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup melted butter-flavored Crisco (because I discovered too late that I ran out of butter!)
3/4 cup coconut milk (originally buttermilk)
1 teaspoon each vanilla and coconut extract

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet; mixing only until just combined.

Fold in 2/3 cup coconut flakes (the moist, tender kind, not desiccated).

Scoop into muffin tins lined with paper cups (I got 6 large muffins and 8 mini-muffins).   Spoon macapuno (I used chunky sweetened macapuno that came in a bottle) on the top.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven (I did not follow the oven instructions!).  For the large muffins, bake about 25 minutes.  For the mini-muffins, bake about 15 minutes.

We shared the muffins with friends and the consensus is – IT’S GOOD!!!!

Coconut-Rum Cupcakes with Ube Halaya Centers and Ube-Coconut Buttercream

Coconut is never my first choice when thinking of baking cupcakes.  But I had leftover coconut cream in the fridge, as well as coconut flakes… so for hubby friend’s birthday, coconut cupcakes it is.  And, since I had leftover ube halaya, the cupcakes got an ube halaya center and ube-coconut buttercream on top!

Of course I did not have a coconut cupcake recipe on hand!  Thank goodness there’s a number of them on the internet.  I picked one from Brown-eyed Baker.  As usual, I changed a few things…

my adaptation –

1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/2 cup butter (I used butter flavored Crisco)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream (well-stirred)
2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place paper cups in cupcake tins.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt and coconut flakes together (I did not process the coconut flakes); set aside.

Beat Crisco and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat to mix well.  Add vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the coconut cream and coconut rum.

Scoop mixture into the paper cups.  Place a small teaspoon of ube halaya in the center of the batter.  Bake for about 18-22 minutes; rotate pan midway.

When the cupcakes have cooled.  Frost as desired.  I used ube-coconut buttercream for mine.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup ube halaya
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut cream (well stirred)

For the frosting – Beat butter and halaya until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar (adjust according to personal taste). Add coconut cream by tablespoons, beating well after each addition.



Ube, Ube, More Ube!

Who knows if ube is uniquely or exclusively a Filipino food.  What I do know is that it has traditionally been considered as Filipino.  And we grew up with it!  Ube jam, ube cake, simple boiled ube with melted butter… ube ice cream… ube kakanin… there are even ube dishes that are savory!

More importantly, I don’t know anyone (consider though that my world is small!) who does not like ube!  I do know that most of my friends love it… and they love it even more when I make ube cake.

This particular one, however, is not the usual ube chiffon cake that I make.  For friend J’s birthday, I decided to go for a heavier cake – an ube pound cake, filled with ube halaya, and garnished with ube rossettes topped with macapuno balls.

It was a big hit and everybody loved it!


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),