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12 Delicious Days of Christmas: Ube Pound Cake

This ultra magnificent cake makes a pretty centerpiece for the holidays.

The recipe uses boiled ube (purple yam), a tuber in season during the last months of the year. The ube flavors, which are almond-like and have a fragrant floral aroma, never fail to remind us that it’s the holidays. The pound cake is rich, thick and hearty, and the sweet ube glaze makes it even more irresistible. This recipe was adapted by Elizabeth Ann Quirino from a pound cake recipe which uses camote (sweet potato), and is inspired by a good friend, Nancie McDermott, a prolific cookbook author from North Carolina. 

Ube Pound Cake with Ube Glaze

By Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Serves 6 to 8

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 cup milk 

2 teaspoons ube flavoring  

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar 

1 cup light brown sugar 

4 large eggs 

2 cups mashed boiled ube 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan. If cake pan has a removable bottom, place heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath bottom so batter does not spill out during baking.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mix milk and ube flavoring. Set aside.

4. Using a stand mixer, mix butter and sugars at high speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg added.

5. To the butter-egg mixture, add mashed ube. Mix at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure ube is distributed evenly.

6. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk-ube mixture into the batter. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Beat for about 5 minutes until batter has a thick, smooth texture and is light lavender in color.

7. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting the tip of a sharp knife in the center of the cake. If knife comes out clean, cake is done.

8. Cool cake on the counter for about 20 minutes, covering it with a cloth towel. Then invert cake on a wire rack and allow to cool thoroughly.

9. Using a clean, sharp knife, carefully slice a thin layer off the top of the cake to trim and scrape off any dark green cake parts. (Ube cake tends to come out dark green on the top and sides after it is baked.) Smoothen ube glaze (recipe below) with a spatula on the top of the cake. Keep in the refrigerator.


2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon ube flavoring, optional

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Using a hand mixer, mix at high speed confectioners’ sugar with the milk. 

2. Add ube flavoring, if using, and almond extract. Continue beating for 3 minutes more or until smooth. 

3. Let glaze cool in the refrigerator while ube cake is cooling on the cake rack.


Preparing mashed ube If using fresh ube, peel ube then boil in enough water to cover stockpot until it is soft enough to mash, about 25 to 30 minutes over medium heat. If using frozen ube, thaw at room temperature until mushy. Do not microwave to defrost.


Recipe by Elizabeth Ann Quirino, FOOD Magazine December 2015

Photography by Paulo Valenzuela