Ube Ensaymada – Recipe for Cheesy Buns with Purple Yam

ube ensaymada

Ube Ensaymada – otherwise known as a purple yam flavored bun with cheese. An ube ensaymada is basically a variation of the Filipino bread treat, ensaymada. Ensaymada is a type of butter bun with cheese as a topping. In addition to cheese, this Filipino snack usually has a buttercream frosting speed on top. With ube ensaymada, it involves having an ube filling mixed into the dough. There are different ways you can enjoy this snack and while it is a process to make, it makes for a delicious dessert.

ube ensaymada

Ube Ensaymada

A purple yam flavored brioche bun with buttercream spread and cheese as a topping
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 16 servings


  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast or 1 pouch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar separate from tbsp of sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 tbsp unsalted softened butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups bread flour keep extra on the side
  • 1 large egg beaten

Egg Wash

  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 large egg beaten

Buttercream and Topping

  • melted butter for coating
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • extra sugar for topping
  • 1/2 block grated cheese add more if needed


  • Activate the yeast by adding it to a mixture of lukewarm water and 1/2 tbsp sugar in a small cup or bowl. Combine the ingredients and let it rest for 5-10 minutes or until it bubble and double/triple in size.
  • While the yeast rests, mix the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and 3 tbsp softened butter into a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan. You can either heat it on a low fire or microwave for 1 minute.
  • Combine 2 cups flour, one beaten egg, and the yeast mixture in a mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture and 1 cup flour. Continue kneading by hand or use a stand mixer a medium to low speed.
  • Add more flour if needed (depending on dough consistency), one tbsp at a time while continue kneading until the dough becomes smooth but still slightly sticky. ( I added about 4-5 tbsp extra flour).
  • Transfer the dough into a greased bowl and cover it. Have the dough rest in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it doubles in size.
  • Once the size is doubled, release the air pockets by punching the dough. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Flatten it out and roll into a log. Then divide the log equally into 16-18 pieces.
  • Flatten out each dough piece into an oblong shape and spread the ube jam on them. Fold and seal each end and continue rolling until the log is about 10-12 inches then roll into a coil.
  • Lightly butter/grease the mold. Place one dough in each mold then transfer the mold in a large baking pan. Cover and let the dough rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Lightly brush the pieces with egg wash then bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 18-20 minutes or until top is golden. Once baked, lightly brush with melted butter while still warm.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup softened butter and powdered sugar. Once itss firm, spread buttercream over cooled bread and sprinkle some sugar. Top with as much cheese as you'd like.


  • If you are using instant yeast, don’t add the 1/2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 cup water in the recipe. Just mix the yeast with the flour. When adding the remaining flour (1/2 cup), make sure to do it gradually. Also, make sure to add milk mixture while its lukewarm as the lukewarm milk will activate the yeast while kneading.

History of Ensaymada and Ube Ensaymada

Ensaymada holds Spanish origins, with the bread being an adaptation of ensaimada de Mallorca. And it was during the Spanish colonization period that the bread made its way into the country. In comparison to the current form of the treat, the original ensaymada consisted of a lean dough with powdered sugar topping only. From the 18th century onwards, the bread went through its share of changes into a richer dessert. By the 1900s, the bread developed to suit Filipino tastes and was popular around Pampanga and d Bulacan. There are different ways to make andenjoy this dish and adding ube as a filling is one of them

There is no specific origin of adding ube to this bread dish but it does add a sweet depth to the dish. A good way to enjoy this dish is with some coffee.

If you liked this recipe, you may be interested in our other Filipino recipes such as our “Ube Biko Recipe” or “Ube Hopia Recipe.”

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