These Ube Bars are a popular snack, just like the ones sold at bakeries and sari-sari stores throughout the Philippines. Soft sponge cake bars are coated with an ube mixture then rolled in shredded coconut. Make this easy ube bar recipe at home for merienda!
Ube has long been a staple in Filipino cuisine, particularly in baked goods. And lucky for those of us Filipino-Americans living in the United States (and for everyone living here!), ube and ube products are getting easier to find in US grocery stores.
We love baking with ube to make delicious Filipino desserts. From vibrant purple Ube White Chocolate Chip Cookies to Ube Donuts for Sunday brunch and Ube Ice Cream on hot summer days, we love making ube recipes!
And this ube recipe for Filipino ube bars is just as delicious and easy to make at home. A great snack to compliment any of our savory Filipino recipes.
What is Ube?
Ube is a purple yam native to the Philippines. The word "ube" means tuber in Tagalog, the national language in the Philippines.
Known for its bright purple color, this vibrant vegetable has a slightly sweet flavor. This makes it a great choice for baked goods.
💜 Why you'll love this recipe
Whether you grew up snacking on ube bars or you're new to ube, you'll love these ube bars!
- Easy - The recipe is easy to follow, even for beginning bakers.
- Just like the bakery - These bakery style ube bars have a soft sponge cake balanced by sweet ube flavor and a little crunch from the coconut coating.
- Bright & beautiful - Who can resist the bright, vibrant purple color of these ube bars? They are happiness on a plate!
- Snack worthy - One bar is the perfect snack size, and also great for after-dinner dessert.
🛒 Ingredient notes
- Butter - Use unsalted butter that is softened at room temperature.
- Sugar - Use granulated sugar.
- Egg - You'll need one large egg, at room temperature.
- Vanilla - Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor and bakery aroma.
- Flour - Use all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder - This is the leavening agent that helps the cake rise.
- Salt - A little kosher salt balances out the sweeter side of this
- Coconut - I love the texture that coconut flakes from shredded coconut adds to this Filipino snack. If you can find desiccated coconut and prefer a finer texture, you can use that instead. Desiccated coconut is grated, so it's finer than shredded coconut. However, it can be harder to find in some US grocery stores.
- Ube condensed creamer - This is what gives ube bars their bright purple color. You can find ube condensed milk (also labeled as ube condensed creamer) at most Asian markets, as well as online. If you can't find it, it's easy to make! See the Baking Tips and Recipe FAQ section below.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Find the full list of ingredients and detailed instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. But for those of you visual cooks out there, here are step-by-step photos that you can refer to, to help you bake the best ube bars ever!
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F.
Line an 8"x8" square pan with parchment paper, lining the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Set aside.
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Note: if you don't have a stand mixer, you can also use a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer.
- Add the sugar and cream together.
- Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk.
4. In a separate large bowl (or medium bowl), combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until the ingredients are all incorporated. The batter will be slightly thick.
6. Press batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
7. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan at room temperature.
8. While the cake is cooling, heat up the ube condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Allow it to thicken slightly to create an ube syrup.
9. Once the cake is completely cooled, slice into 10 even bars. Pour the ube condensed milk into one shallow bowl, and the shredded coconut into another shallow bowl.
10. Use one hand to carefully dip a sliced bar into the ube condensed milk, coating all sides.
11. Place the coated bar into the shallow bowl with the shredded coconut, and use your other, clean hand to toss coconut onto the bar to coat all sides. Or roll the bar very carefully in the coconut.
Set the ube bar onto a plate, then repeat with the remaining bars.
👩🏻🍳 Baking tips and recipe FAQs
- Make sure your butter and egg are both at room temperature. They will mix more easily when softened at room temperature, and ensure a smooth batter.
- Use the toothpick test to see if the cake is done baking. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. If it comes out with wet batter attached to the toothpick, the cake needs more time bake.
- Line your baking dish with parchment paper covering the bottom and going up at least two sides of the pan. This will make it easier to lift the baked cake (once it's cooled) out of the baking dish for slicing.
- Cool the cake in the pan and not a wire rack. A wire rack or cooling rack will give the cake ridges if you set it on there while it's warm. It's totally fine and will not affect taste, but may change the look of the bars.
- Make sure the cake is cool before dipping in the ube mixture. If it's still hot, the ube may seep through to the center of the cake or it may seep and leave odd patterns in the cake. The ube bars will still taste amazing! They just won't have the same look as the ones pictured here.
You can make ube condensed milk by heating up one can of sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan and adding 2 teaspoons of ube extract plus ¼ cup hot water. Heat up and stir to combine for 2-3 minutes.
You can find ube halaya (ube jam), ube extract, and ube condensed milk in most Asian markets. You can also buy them online.
Store leftover ube bars by wrapping in plastic wrap. Then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days.
🍽 Serving ideas
We love enjoying these ube bars for merienda, otherwise known as a morning snack. They're great with a cup of coffee or tea.
They are also delicious to serve after dinner. Here are some menu options:
- Main course: Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
Side dishes: Lumpia and Pancit Bihon
Dessert: Ube Bars and Taisan (Chiffon Cake)
- Main course: Beef Mechado
Side dishes: Pan de sal and Pancit Canton
Dessert: Ube bars and Ube White Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Main course: Jollibee Spaghetti
Dessert: Ube Bars and Jollibee Peach Mango Pie
🍳 Kitchen tools and equipment
Ready to make this recipe? Here are the kitchen tools and equipment you'll need:
- Baking dish - Use a square baking dish. I use an 8 x 8" baking dish. You can use a 9" x 9" baking dish instead. Your bars will be thinner/shorter than the ones you see here, but they will be just as delicious!
- Parchment paper - Line your baking dish with parchment paper for easy cake lift off.
- Saucepan - You'll need a medium saucepan to heat up the ube condensed milk.
- Cutting board and knife - You will need a large cutting board and sturdy knife to slice the baked and cooled sponge cake.
- Shallow bowls - You will need a shallow bowl to put the shredded coconut into.
I hope you love these Filipino ube bars as much as my family does! Happy baking!
- 1 square baking dish
For the cake
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 can (13.4 ounces) Ube condensed milk see Notes for making your own ube condensed milk
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8"x8" square baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
- Add the sugar and cream together for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, scraping the sides of the stand mixer bowl down with a silicone spatula as needed in between. Mix just until the ingredients are all incorporated. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Scoop batter and press gently into an even layer covering the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool at room temperature.
- While the cake is cooling, heat up the ube condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir and heat for about 2-3 minutes, allowing the liquid to slightly thicken. Then remove from the heat.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, slice into 10 even bars.
- Pour the ube condensed milk into one shallow bowl, and the shredded coconut into another shallow bowl.
- Use one hand to carefully dip a sliced bar into the ube condensed milk, coating all sides.
- Place the coated bar into the shallow bowl with the shredded coconut, and use your other, clean hand to toss coconut onto the bar to coat all sides. Or roll the bar very carefully in the coconut.
- Set the ube bar onto a plate, then repeat with the remaining bars.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.