Super easy ube cupcakes with coconut buttercream that is so moist and a dessert favorite! These purple cupcakes have a unique tropical flavor with just the right amount of smooth coconut buttercream decorated beautifully!
Ube cupcakes with coconut buttercream is a party favorite for tropical desserts! These purple cupcakes are made using ube, a purple yam native to the Philippines, which gives a distinctive purple color to the cupcakes!
Paired with the coconut buttercream, the frosting adds to the tropical flavor by keeping the cupcakes moist and gives just a hint of coconut to not overpower the ube.
This recipe will also explain how to achieve this easy rosette design using only one piping tip! Be prepared for the compliments because you’re sure to receive questions.
This post will go over everything you need to know to create these ube cupcakes with coconut buttercream.
Recipe difficulty: Beginner to Moderate level (I know folks….an almost moderate level upgrade)
In this recipe, I’ll be explaining how to make ube cupcakes that are moist and mouthwatering! As this is an actual baking recipe, there are a couple challenges when mixing the batter and piping the buttercream. Don’t worry, as long as you follow the detailed tips below and the recipe directions, you will be totally fine!
Sam’s Pro Tips for these Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream
Ube Cupcake Batter
- MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Don’t overmix the flour with the wet ingredients! I listed this tip first as this is seriously the deal breaker between a moist ube cupcake and a dry, embarrassing one. When the dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, and salt) is sifted into the wet ingredients, stir delicately until just combined. Like seriously fold the flour into the wet mixture only a couple times, until you no longer see the flour. If you overmix, the ube cupcake will bake dry and be hard.
- Sift the flour into the wet batter: I mentioned in the tip above that the dry ingredients are sifted in the wet ingredients. I know this sounds extra, but this tip is important. By sifting the flour, it will prevent clumps and make incorporating into the wet ingredients a lot easier. Consequently, this means less mixing of the flour which means you have lessened your chances of overmixing!
- Make sure the ingredients for the cupcake batter are room temperature: By having the ingredients room temperature for the ube cupcakes, it will help ensure everything is incorporated evenly and smoothly. I don’t remember where I saw this, but I know all bakers recommend this tip as it helps with absorbing the ingredients into the batter. Try to have all the refrigerated ingredients in this recipe sit out on the counter for at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on the climate you live in to bring to room temperature.
- Check the sugar level of the ube halaya you’re using: Depending on the kind of ube halaya you’re using, the sugar content may need to be adjusted. In other words, there are different kind of ube halayas out there, and all are made differently. For the one I’m using, there was 10 grams of sugar plus 5 additional grams of sugar added. Therefore, I only used ¼ cup of sugar as this seemed pretty sweet to me, and I haven’t even added the coconut buttercream yet! Make sure to try your ube halaya and adjust these ube halaya cupcakes accordingly.
How to Get Fluffy Coconut Buttercream
- Have the unsalted butter softened for the buttercream: This is important for the butter to whip into a fluffy frosting. Have the butter sit on the counter 45 minutes to an hour depending on the climate you live in. You want the butter to be soft, but still slightly firm if you put your finger on it. If you’re able to press down easily, it’s too soft! Once it’s too soft, it will be a lot harder to whip and incorporate air into the buttercream.
- Sift the powdered sugar into the butter and incorporate gradually: I cannot stress enough this tip as I have definitely suffered the repercussions of not following this. Firstly, if the powdered sugar is not sifted, it will become grainy in the frosting. I have added powdered sugar before without sifting and attempted to fix it by having it whisk longer, and the result was embarrassing! Secondly, if you don’t add the powdered sugar gradually, you’re just asking to make a mess in your kitchen. When it’s added to the mixer, do this in stages so that it can whisk without poofing in your face (and the kitchen!)
Piping the Rosette
- Make a lowercase “e” when piping the rosette: This is my trick to getting that beautiful rosette on the ube cupcake. For example, envision you are writing a lowercase “e” on the cupcake, and move the piping bag in that motion with the piping bag at a diagonal angle. Make sure to keep the design tight so that you can see the swirl of the rosette. For this design, I used the Wilton 1M tip which is considered an open star tip.
Key Ingredients – Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream
Below are some key and optional ingredients for this recipe:
- Cake flour: Cake flour is a good choice for this ube dessert recipe as it leads to a fine, tender crumb cupcake as it has a lower protein level.
- Baking powder: You need 2 teaspoons in this moist ube cupcake recipe for the lift. The ube halaya is dense, so the baking powder is definitely needed.
- Salt: Of course, salt is added as a basic flavor enhancer and cuts the sugar ratio.
- Ube halaya: The secret sauce in this recipe! Remember how I said ube is a purple yam? As it is a yam by itself, it can be very difficult to incorporate into a moist dessert. This is why we use the ube halaya, which is basically like a sweet jam as this product is usually already sweetened and is easier to work with for that ube taste.
- Ube extract: This really helps with the ube flavor and is your “check” against the ube halaya you’re using. By adding the extract, you will elevate the purple color to a vibrant, violet color when baked and ensures the ube will shine through when baking.
- Condensed milk: The use of the condensed milk adds to the sweet flavor and is what helps keep these cupcakes moist! We love the condensed milk in this recipe as this is so often used in Filipino desserts, and adds to the rich flavor of the ube.
- Buttermilk: The buttermilk adds to keeping these cupcakes moist, and due to the acidity, it helps cut the sweetness so that it’s more balanced.
- Vegetable oil: A lot of bakers use vegetable oil when baking as the oil keeps the cupcakes moist longer. This really helps as we’re working with a potato recipe, and we’re not trying to create ube muffins! In combination with the other liquid ingredients, it helps give the right texture to the batter.
- Sugar: As I said in the Tips section above, the sugar can be adjusted depending on the sugar content of the ube halaya you’re using. We found that using ¼ cup of sugar in this recipe with the ube halaya, is just the right amount of sweetness especially after the coconut buttercream.
- Unsalted butter: Obviously the base of the buttercream! Unsalted butter is usually preferred as the salt level can be adjusted to preference. The butter needs to be appropriately softened so it can whip extra fluffy!
- Powdered sugar: Using sifted powdered sugar in the coconut buttercream keeps this frosting smooth and fluffy. If you have done my 5-Minute Mock Devonshire Cream with Honey, you know I have this sifted in to prevent clumps.
- Coconut cream: Alright so the canned coconut cream is used as the coconut flavor is really distinct! It’s definitely a lot stronger than just using coconut milk. One tablespoon already really packs a punch!
- Vanilla: Just a hint is used to accompany the coconut cream for a great tropical combination.
- Coconut extract (optional): If you want more of the coconut taste, you can add coconut extract on top of the coconut cream. We didn’t as we didn’t want the coconut to overpower the ube, as it is an ube cupcake recipe! However, the coconut extract is an option for a stronger flavor.
More Variations to these Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream
There are a few ways you can variate these ube cupcakes with coconut buttercream. Here’s how:
- Add toasted coconut! If you don’t want to do the rosette design on the ube cupcakes, you can simply spoon the frosting on top. Add the shredded toasted coconut flakes on top for an effortless design. With this extra topping on top, this is sure to be equally as delicious!
- What can I pair with this dish? This is a solid, tropical ube dessert great by itself! For some main dishes to accompany this dessert, try our Shrimp Scampi Recipe Asian-style Pasta or our hearty Filipino Bistek Recipe!
- 5-Minute Mock Devonshire Cream with Honey
- 4-Ingredient Filipino Style Fruit Salad to Dazzle Your Guests
- Creamy Filipino Leche Flan for Your Next Party
- 15-Minute Mini Pecan Sticky Buns to Drool Over
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can butter sit out to soften?
Depending on the temperature, butter will usually soften in 45 minutes to an hour.
How to store ube cupcakes?
Store these ube cupcakes at room temperature. Consume within 2-3 days for optimal flavor.
Is ube a Filipino flavor?
Ube is a purple yam native to the Philippines and is common in Filipino desserts.
How do you bring baking ingredients to room temperature?
Leave your ingredients used for baking on the counter for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the climate you leave in. Room temperature ingredients will incorporate better in the batter and help bake evenly.