Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ube Coconut Chiffon Cake

Happy New Year! I tried making this cake for the first time on New Year’s Day but while the flavor was delicious and it looked absolutely beautiful, the cake turned out too wet and heavy. It doesn’t seem obvious in the photos but the cake was sliding out of the pan the moment I turned it upside down to cool. This was not surprising at all considering that I added more than an extra cup of liquid to get the batter to the consistency I know it should have. Okey-dokey, back to the drawing board.

After spending the rest of the day thinking about the changes I wanted to/should make, lol, I put them to the test the next morning and hallelujah, the adjustments worked! My intention from the get-go was to avoid using ube extract to flavor and color the cake (that would have been so much easier!). Instead, I opted to utilize purple sweet potato powder but it was tricky getting the flour/sweet potato powder to liquid ratio just right. Nevertheless, everything worked out in the end. While it lacks the vibrant purple color from my first trial (as I had to reduce the amount of ube powder used), it still produces a beautiful shade of purple, and without any artificial coloring! Not only that, it has a delicious flavor of coconut and ube and the light, fluffy texture of a chiffon cake – what more could a girl ask for? Enjoy!

P.S. I waited until today to post the recipe because I wanted to play around with it a little bit more. I made a third round of adjustments and while it did produce a slightly more vibrant color, it lacks the height and texture of a chiffon cake. I think it will make beautiful cupcakes with some sort of frosting though – a project for another day!

1-1/4 cups Authentic Foods Steve’s GF Cake Flour*^
1/4 cup purple sweet potato powder*^
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup first pressing/unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

*To measure the flour and sweet potato powder, spoon them into appropriate measuring cups and level them with the back of a knife.
^I have not made this recipe using regular wheat flour but the gluten-free flour I used is meant to replace wheat flour cup per cup. The purple sweet potato powder I utilized here is the T’S Moment brand found on Amazon – the texture is much finer than the ube powder I’ve seen at some Asian stores.

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk flour, sweet potato powder, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, oil, and coconut milk together.
  4. With an electric mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Then increase mixer speed to medium-high and whip the whites until soft mounds form. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
  5. Whisk egg yolk mixture into flour mixture (batter will be thick). Mix ⅓ of the whipped egg whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula until combined (this helps to lighten the batter). Then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites.
  6. Pour batter into an ungreased tube pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert cake pan and let cake cool completely. To remove the cake, run a small, thin-blade knife around the edge (including around the tube) and bottom of the cake and gently tap to loosen it. Serve.

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