Sugar Yam Cupcakes with Sweet Coconut Sport (Ube and Macapuno Cupcakes)

Two of my favorite native Philippine delicacies are halayang ube and macapuno (sweet coconut sport).  These two often go together, which make for a real sugar high. Yum!

Ube is purple yam, which can be bought grated and frozen in most Asian stores.  I don’t know for sure if sugar yam and purple yam are one and the same but I’ve been using fresh sugar yams to make halayang ube since I discovered them.

After my Sweet Potato Cupcakes success, I thought of using the same recipe to make Sugar Yam Cupcakes.  I simply substituted the sweet potatoes with sugar yams.  I thought it would be an injustice of sorts if I didn’t pair the cupcakes with macapuno so I bought 2 small jars each of macapuno strings and macapuno balls at the Asian supermarket.

This, being my first batch of made from scratch sugar yam cupcakes (I made ube cake last year using boxed cake mix. :D), I didn’t use any food color, either on the cupcakes or the Italian meringue buttercream icing.  I wanted to see how they will come out without any tampering on my part. This was how the freshly baked cupcakes looked like…

The cupcakes looked like they couldn’t decide if they wanted to come out purple or blue or green.  I can almost guarantee you that you will not get your dream perfect purple color sans food color.  Whether you’re making putong ube (purple yam rice cakes), halayang ube or ube cake, you will most likely need food color for the perfect purple.  At least, you probably won’t have to use as much food color as you would with red velvet cupcakes, which I hope to make one day, after I get over the amount of red folor that goes into them.

I topped half the cupcakes with macapuno strings, while the other half, I topped with macapuno balls.

Topping the cupcakes with only one ball of macapuno was a bad idea, in that we were left craving for more macapuno balls.  Next time, I will have to put more macapuno balls on the cupcakes.  Hee hee.

Here’s the recipe:


2 C all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
3 eggs
2 C mashed boiled sugar/purple yam
1/2 t vanilla

1 recipe Italian Meringue Buttercream


1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 12-cavity muffin pans with baking cups.  Set aside.
2.  Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir to mix; set aside.
3.  In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for approximately 30 seconds.  Slowly add sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating on slow speed after each addition until combined.  Add the sugar/purple yam and vanilla, beating until combined.  Add flour mixture and beat until combined.
4.  Scoop batter into muffin pans and bake for about 20 minutes or until a tester/wooden toothpick inserted near the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool in muffin pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
5.  Enjoy the cupcakes without frosting or pipe Italian Meringue Buttercream on the cupcakes for that added oomph. ;)



1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238 F on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.
3. With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in vanilla. If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth.  Set aside.

I’m thinking of making these for Halloween.  I’ll add some purple food color to both the cake batter and the frosting.  What do you think about adding black food color to the macapuno?  Will that work?  I’ll do a test on a small amount of macapuno first.

I’m trying to snap out of a lazy spell. I’ll be working my stand mixer hard this weekend and because I have yet to get a 2nd mixing bowl for the mixer, my non-Hansgrohe faucet will be working hard as well, what with all the washing I’ll be doing.

Mabuhay, y’all!

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8 Responses to “Sugar Yam Cupcakes with Sweet Coconut Sport (Ube and Macapuno Cupcakes)”

  1. Meeya says:

    angel ka talaga!! i was looking for recipe for ube cupcakes and halaya but i didn’t want to use the frozen ube stuff at the asian store. i tried the frozen ones with a halaya recipe but i hated it, haha! now i know that i can use sweet yams for this. muah muah muah!

    and also, i was thinking how macapuno would taste like if i put it on top of the cupcakes (cause i felt it works with red ribbon’s ube rolls, so tingin ko pwede talaga kahit sa cupcakes) and you validated it, yey!!! i love you!!!!


  2. Raymund says:

    Wow! I like this one, I never seen this recipe before, It looks really yummy!
    Raymund´s last blog post ..Guinataang Pagi Flaked Stingray in Coconut Milk


  3. Maricel says:

    To get the violet color from fresh ube tubers, you have to peel off the skin paper thin. Much of the color resides in the layer just after the skin.


  4. JMom says:

    You just gave me an idea! I found some powdered ube that someone gave me to make halaya with and I just didn’t feel that it would work well for that so I stuck them in the cupboard and forgot about them. Now I’m thinking of making cupcakes with them. Experiment ulit. :)
    Your cupcakes look delightful!
    JMom´s last blog post ..Food Quote – Sausage


  5. Joy says:

    OHhh I love ube cupcakes. They look great.
    Joy´s last blog post ..My 1st Blogoversary!


  6. pinksalmonlady says:

    My sons birthday is coming soon and halaya is his favorite dessert. I am sure he will love this cupcake but I’m thinking of making it as birthday cake. How long should I baked it?


    munchkinmommy Reply:

    Hi Pinksalmonlady! If you’re using an 8-inch or 9-inch pan, this should it should probably take between 25 and 35 minutes depending on your oven. I get a little paranoid when I bake cakes because there have been times when I ended up overcooking my cakes. And in the 3 years I’ve been using my oven, I’ve already come to know its quirks. So as a personal rule of thumb, I start checking through the oven window at the 15-20 minute mark if I’m using an 8″ or 9″ pan. Yes, that’s a bit too early. :) You’ll see if the center of the cake is still wobbly or wavy. Then check for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick at the 25-30 minute mark. Continue baking the cake if the cake tester doesn’t come out clean. :) Thanks for dropping by!


  7. pinksalmonlady says:

    Ok thanks. I love your sweet potato cupcakes recipe too. I cant decide now which one I will bake for my sons birthday. LOL.