Whether you like them glazed, filled with jam or cream, or even plain with sugar and cinnamon, donuts are one of the most popular sweet treats. However, one of their most significant drawbacks is that they are deep-fried, making them very unhealthy.
But what if there was a unique donut recipe that didn’t require frying? Well, there are plenty, but one that has become very popular recently is the ube donuts recipe.
Ube donuts are these purple glazed donuts you might have spotted in some donut shops. Nevertheless, you don’t have to go out and buy them; you can make them at home with a very simple recipe.
In this article, we’ll examine the history and origin of ube donuts, as well as give you an ube donuts recipe that you and your family will love! Keep on reading if you want to learn how to make the best ube donuts!
History of Ube Donuts
Ube donuts are essentially baked donuts containing ube extract in the dough and ube jam in the glaze. This gives these donuts a deep flavor of ube. But what is ube?
Ube, also known as purple yam, is a type of yam that’s very popular in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines. Most types of yam, including ube, are violet or purple in color; however, some are cream or white. That’s why ube is sometimes mislabeled as taro or Okinawa sweet potato.
The plant that produces purple yam has been a staple crop for many years in Austronesian cultures, especially in Island Southeast Asia and New Guinea. During the Austronesian expansion, travelers from these countries introduced the plant in the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and Madagascar.
Nowadays, purple yam is a prevalent ingredient in Filipino cuisine. People use it in desserts, like ube cake, for its deep purple color and its earthy and slightly sweet taste that resembles a sweet potato. A popular Filipino dish with ube is the ube halaya, made from boiled and mashed purple yam.
Ube donuts began to increase in popularity around 2016 when the donut shop “Gurnee Donuts” won DonutFest with an ube donuts recipe. Since then, people have made many iterations of these donuts, including glazed or stuffed with ube jam.
Ingredients & Supplies
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the best ube doughnuts:
For the donuts:
- 1 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 3 tbsp of unsalted softened butter
- ½ cup of milk
- ¼ cup of granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 4 oz ube jam, or ube halaya
- 1 tbsp ube extract
For the glaze:
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 tbsp ube extract
- 1 pinch of salt
Also, you’ll need a few essential kitchen supplies. Some of these are optional but will make your life much easier.
- Mixing bowls
- Donut pan
- Wire rack
- A stand mixer (optional)
- Piping bag (optional)
Step by Step on How to Make Ube Donuts
- Start by preheating your oven to 400 °F and grease your donut pans using butter, oil, or cooking spray.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder until they are well-mixed.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the sugars, butter, and ube halaya, using the paddle attachment until they are homogenous.
- Add the ube extract and egg and continue beating until all the ingredients are well combined. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add half of your flour mixture and fold it using a spatula. Then, add your milk, and finally the rest of your dry ingredients. Stir them together until you get a smooth dough.
- Fill your donut pans with the dough until about ¾ full.
- Place your donut pans in your preheated oven and bake the donuts for about 8 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick in the center of the donuts and it comes out clear.
- Once the donuts are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes.
- When you can safely handle them, remove them from the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool down further so you can glaze them.
- To make the ube glaze, in a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, the salt, the ube extract, and the milk and stir them until you get a homogenous glaze.
- You can adjust the consistency of the glaze by adding milk or sugar. You want it to be thick enough so it will stick on the donuts, but not too thick because it can make uneven layers.
- While the donuts are still warm, dip them in the glaze and optionally stir them around if you want them fully glazed.
- Place your glazed ube donuts back on the wire rack for the glaze to set and the excess to runoff.
- While a stand mixer will make the process quicker and more hassle-free, it’s not necessary. You can also use an electric mixer or mix by hand if you want.
- Remember that the quantities of sugar and ube halaya or ube jam depend highly on what product you use. If you have homemade ube halaya, it’ll probably be less sweet than store-bought ube jam. You can put in the sugar and ube little by little and adjust the taste to your liking.
- A nice trick, so you don’t make a mess, is to use a piping bag when putting the batter in the donut pan. A Ziploc bag with the corner cut off will also work if you don’t have a piping bag.
- Make sure to grease your donut pan well so the donuts don’t stick. Also, don’t overfill each cavity! The donuts will rise while baking, and if you overfill the pan, they will spill out and ruin their shape and texture.
- If you don’t have a donut pan, a muffin pan will also work, but you’ll need to cut donut holes before baking them. Or, you can just make filled donuts instead of glazed ones and fill them with more ube jam. Consider picking up a donut pan, though, as it will make it much easier to make any type of baked donuts.
All in all, ube donuts are a great alternative to traditional glazed donuts, and you should definitely try making them! You’ll get to use an ingredient that’s not common, has a unique flavor, and can also be healthy for you.
Not to mention that ube donuts are incredibly easy to make, and you can even make them with your kids or grandkids. Follow our recipe and tips to make the perfect ube donuts!
What Is an Ube Donut Made Of?
Ube donuts are essentially donuts that are baked and include ube jam and ube extract. Ube is a traditional Filipino ingredient that gives the donuts their distinct purple color and tastes like a sweet potato.
Where to Find Ube?
Since ube is a traditional Asian ingredient, it can be hard to find in American convenience stores. Your best bet for finding ube products is Amazon. There, you’ll find anything ube-related, including ube jam and ube extract, and you can have it delivered to your door.
You can also try local Asian markets or specialized stores selling Asian products. Finally, while you can’t really make ube extract, you can still make some ube halaya and use it instead of ube jam for the donut dough.
Are Ube and Taro the Same?
People often confuse ube and taro, as they have a similar appearance and flavor. However, taro is a white-colored root, whereas ube is a purple-colored yam. In Filipino cuisine, taro is mostly found in savory dishes, and ube is predominantly used in sweet treats and desserts.
Are Ube Donuts Healthier Than Traditional Donuts?
Although often considered an unhealthy snack, ube donuts are actually a lot healthier than traditional donuts. Ube is actually good for your health as it contains antioxidants, as well as Vitamin C.
Also, ube donuts are baked instead of fried, so you don’t consume any additional fat. Finally, since the dough for ube donuts contains ube jam, you generally use much less sugar, thus avoiding some calories.
Are Ube Donuts Vegan?
Unfortunately, the traditional recipe for ube donuts is not vegan. However, the recipe is quite flexible, and you can substitute animal products for vegan options. You can replace whole milk with almond, soy, or coconut milk.
You can also substitute butter for margarine. Finally, you can omit the egg entirely, or you can use a flax egg instead.
Are Ube Donuts Gluten-Free?
Ube donuts are primarily made using all-purpose flour, so the base recipe is not gluten-free. Nevertheless, you can use a gluten-free flour of your choice instead of all-purpose flour. An excellent alternative to use is sweet rice flour. You can even make another type of donut called the ube mochi donuts with sweet rice flour.