okinawan sweet potato cake with macapuno


Hi there! I feel like I’ve been away for such a long time, but it has only been about a week. I feel like there have been many times this week that I was all ready to start experimenting in the kitchen, and something would come up. Or I wouldn’t have all the ingredients for something. Oh well. I’m glad I finally have some time today to update this.



As I was shopping a few days ago, I came across some Okinawan sweet potatoes! This of course was at HT Market, which is near Northgate on Aurora. It is my favorite grocery store, because one can find food from all over the world. It’s more international, but it never tends to be super crowded. A good combination of traits for a grocery store, I think. Plus, it’s a straight shot from my apartment, on the E line!



Okinawan sweet potatoes are not quite the same as ube. I really wanted ube, but ube yams are not sold anywhere in the Seattle city limits, that I know of. Seafood City has them, but that’s way down in South Center, which would be a much longer trip by bus.


So Okinawan sweet potatoes would have to do.


I decided at the last minute to swirl some macapuno (baby coconut) over the top right before I put it in the oven. I’m really glad I did. I think if I made it without it, it would still be good, but maybe a little bland. The flavor of the yam is very subtle, and not so sweet, and so I think the swirls of sweet coconut really helped.


photo (10)

Okinawan Sweet Potato Cake with Macapuno


1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (5.5 ounces)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temp

1 cup sugar (5.5 ounces)

2 large eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream, slightly warmer than refrigerator temperature (4.5 ounces)

2 medium Okinawan sweet potatoes, boiled, skinned, mashed, roughly one cup (7 ounces)

1/2 cup macapuno (strands of young coconut in syrup, jars usually found in Asian aisle, or Asian supermarkets)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prep an 8 x 8 square pan by lining with parchment paper and spraying with baking spray (butter and flour) spray. Let lining of parchment overhang on two sides by an inch. Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt, into a bowl, and stir with a whisk for a minute to blend thoroughly. Set aside.

In medium bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Add vanilla, and blend until thoroughly incorporated. Add sour cream. Blend well, about a minute. Add the yam slowly, blending well. At this point, the mixture may seem curdled and somewhat gritty. The flour mixture will help make it smoother looking.

Add flour mixture and mix on low, just until barely mixed. You want to be careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and even out with a small offset spatula or use the back of a spoon. Pour macapuno and spread over all of the top surface, then use a knife to swirl into the upper part of the cake. Smooth out surface again. Place in center rack of oven.

Bake in 350 degree F. for about 50 minutes. Leave to cool somewhat (10 minutes) in pan on wire rack, then turn out to cool completely.

I hope you enjoy!






17 responses to “okinawan sweet potato cake with macapuno”

    • I’m glad you like them!! I know I shouldn’t be a negative nancy, but I was really hoping for a more deep purplish hue. But thank you!! Overall they are pretty good. Next time, more yams and coconut!


    • I do too! It’s weird because for me, it’s an acquired taste. As a kid, it wasn’t something I liked at all. But gradually as I got older, I learned to accept that the color purple doesn’t always taste like blueberries or grapes!


  1. I’ve learnt two new things: okinawan sweet potatoes and macapuno. I never knew baby coconut is referred to as such. Will be frantically looking for it on the shelves. The cake looks delicious, I really wish I could taste it…..


    • It’s close to a purple yam from the Philippines, called ube, but not the same. Not sure what the difference, but just know that there is a difference.


    • Hi! Great question! When you add the macapuno, there may be some syrup that sticks to it, which is fine to add with the macapuno, just don’t go out of your way to drain it of the syrup, or the opposite, which is to add extra syrup from the jar. Thanks for stopping by!


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