It all started with the love for ube. Aside from its beautiful natural violet hue, ube just has this distinct flavor and aroma that I personally find hard to resist. I grew up around ube. The maids would make putong ube from scratch and locally made halayang ube would be on the table during parties or special events. Ube was definitely one of those foods that I missed while I was abroad.
One day, a pleasant surprise was found on our round dining table. A jar of ube jam from Good Shepherd. Does the brand sound familiar? Aside from its famous fruit jams and preserves, Good Shepherd has made its mark making fresh ube jam. Honestly though, I don’t like ube on its own. I usually like it mixed in other things such as cakes. My favorite one has to be Red Ribbon’s ube macapuno cake. There’s really nothing like it. It never fails to put a smile on my face especially when I need it! So with a sudden craving for anything ube, I venture out to create baked goods using the ube jam.
1. Ube Cheesecake: this is my own recipe. Shortbread cookie crust. Swirls of ube cheesecake combined with white chocolate cheesecake. Dollops of ube jam inside the cheesecake for a bit of a surprise. My younger brother loved this cheesecake. The ube flavor was strong and recognizable. I made a shortbread cookie crust because I’m rarely a fan of the usual graham cracker crust. Plus, I wanted a subtle buttery base that would make the ube flavor stand out more. Creamy, yet dense, this cheesecake is very rich and full of awesome ube-ness.
2. Ube Oatmeal Cookies: cranked out my go-to peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe and swapped the peanut butter with ube jam. Used ube flavor instead of vanilla. I will probably use more food coloring next time. Though I’m always afraid to use too much. So let me know if you have a good source for natural food dye! These cookies had a good chewy texture and just a slight ube flavor. I would want the ube flavor and color to pop out more next time. Though ugly looking, I must say, there was something very addicting about these cookies!
3. Ube Macapuno Cupcakes: a lot of ube cake recipes called for grating fresh ube. As I am lacking of fresh purple yam and obviously had to use the ube jam that’s available, I searched far and wide for a recipe that incorporates the ingredient. I found this one to be perfect and reminded me of my favorite Red Ribbon cake.
The result? The cupcakes turned out a ghastly color, pretty close to as how the cookies turned out. The ube flavor was too delicate almost undetectable and the macapuno for some reason sometimes could not be tasted. For the frosting, I did an ube cream cheese frosting, leftover from the time I made red velvet cupcakes which I just added ube flavoring to.
If I wanted to put this on my list of projects, I wonder if fresh grated ube would do the trick for flavor and color? Handling the macapuno differently might also solve this problem.. maybe chopping it up first or maybe even toasting them for just a bit.. maybe even use coconut flakes instead of macapuno. Sorry, my mind is starting to wander!
Got a jar of an ingredient you want to incorporate into desserts? No problem! The internet is such a wonderful resource. It surprises and amazes me everyday of the information that’s available out there. Of course only use these as a backbone, use your own creativity to reach endless possibilities!
Oh! And if you’re wondering why my photos were taken under yellow lighting or not much even, it’s because it’s rainy season here. Check out this photo I took from our Manila condo.