Ube-coconut layer cake

It had been a minute since I made an ube dessert, so I wanted to try another rendition, this time with a chiffon cake! Ube, for those unfamiliar, is a Filipino purple yam that is commonly used in desserts there. It does not grow naturally in America, so the best options you have for it are either frozen or in a paste. I went with the paste, since it is already processed and therefore easier to use! For the cake, I went with a chiffon cake, specifically because it is light and airy, something that counteracts the dense, red bean paste-like texture of the yam! I will admit I cheated and used a bit of purple food coloring in the cake as well – I ran a few test batches a couple years ago, and found that trying to use pure ube paste in a chiffon cake results in the air from the egg whites oxidizing the yams and causing the entire cake to either turn grey, brown, or green. So instead of trying to relive that trauma, I just went the straightforward route, and went with a dot of purple gel food coloring to seal in that purple color in the batter.

For the other components, we have a vanilla-coconut milk soak, an ube haupia(haupia being a Hawaiian coconut pudding), a haupia chantilly(in the French sense, which is a whipped cream, not the Hawaiian sense, which is a condensed milk situation), toasted coconut flakes, and ube butterfly tuiles on top. The tuiles are made using egg white powder, since using 1 whole egg white with the Pavoni butterfly molds I bake them in makes about 96 tuiles, and we only really need about 6-8. I used purple yam powder from Suncore foods to dye mine naturally purple as well, since I want to embrace natural food coloring where I can(unlike the chiffon cake – STILL salty about how much suffering I went through 2 years ago attempting to stick with natural food colorings in that chiffon cake and the amount of eggs and ube paste I wasted there, but the more you know). With this cake, there is literally coconut or ube in every component, so if you love coconut and/or ube, this cake is 100% for you!

For the ube chiffon cake:
4 egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
3oz ube paste
3 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 dot purple gel food coloring

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whip the egg yolks with ube and canola oil until combined. Mix together your ingredients to form your batter. Spread onto a lined quarter sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the cake to fully cool before cutting out 2 6-inch rounds and creating another round using the scraps.

For the vanilla-coconut soak:
7oz coconut milk
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together and keep cold for the assembly.

For the ube haupia:
7oz coconut milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
a pinch of salt
4oz ube paste

In a pot, whisk together the coconut milk, cornstarch, and salt on low heat for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture is thickened to the consistency of a pudding. Reserve 2oz of it for the chantilly. Then with the rest, mix with the ube paste.

For the haupia chantilly:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2oz haupia, cooled down

Whip cream with sugar, salt, and vanilla to stiff peaks. Fold into the haupia. Transfer to a piping bag. Keep refrigerated until time to assemble.

For the ube tuiles:
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp egg white powder
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp purple yam powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp canola oil

Mix together to form your batter. Spread onto tuile molds(I used pavoni butterfly molds) and bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. While still warm, press to give the butterflies a more “folded” look.

For assembly:
Toasted coconut flakes

Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Start with the scrap layer of cake and 1/3 of your soak. Then pour on 1/3 of the ube haupia. Repeat with your remaining cake, soak, and haupia, and then transfer to the freezer for at least 2 hours. Unmold and garnish the top with toasted coconut flakes, haupia chantilly, and the tuiles.

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