How to Make Talam Ubi Ungu – Purple Yam Steamed Cake

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Talam Ubi ungu or Purple Yam Steamed Cake, a delightful Indonesian dessert with rich coconut flavor. Taste the soft, bouncy texture of each layer that will melt in your mouth.

purple yam tapioca steamed cake

What is Talam Ubi Ungu?

Talam Ubi Ungu is one traditional snack that I could not refuse. The color, the texture, and the fragrance altogether are so tempting.

It is easy to recognize it. It consists of two color, white and purple. There are many varieties, like pandan, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and cassava, so the color depends on the ingredient used.

It is made of coconut milk and tapioca flour. The mixture is then mixed layer by layer, creating a chewy, bouncy delight.

Most traditional snack in Indonesia is steamed and uses a lot of tapioca flour and coconut milk. Those are 2 basic ingredients.

Even though most traditional cakes use these 2 basic ingredients, each type of snack has its own uniqueness.

This time I want to share purple yam (ube) steamed cake with tapioca recipe. The unique taste and fragrant of purple yam make this cake very delicious.

It is easy to make, you don’t need special skills to make this dessert successfully. You can get more creative in pouring each layer to create a beautiful outcome with different molds.

Firstly, let’s get to know purple yam so you are not confused with taro as they almost look similar.

Is Purple Yam The Same As Taro?

They are both purple in color so it is easy to confuse which one is which. And what about Taro? It is also purple, but pale purple.

Purple Yam and Taro

Let’s get to know a little bit about purple yam, sweet purple potato, and taro. I won’t bother you with too much detail. Just enough to get the right thing so you can make the dessert correctly.

Purple yam also known as ube in the Philipines has purple brownish color for the skin. The skin is very thin, you can peel it with a normal peeler you use to peel carrots.

On the contrary, taro has thicker skin, you have to use a knife to peel off the rough skin. They are both brown, but you can see that purple yam is slightly purple from the outside.

Purple Yam
Purple Yam or Ube

If you cut through purple yam, you can see that the meat is dark purple indeed.

Taro has a little bit of purple and white color, while purple yam (ube) carries a bit of vanilla flavor, it is more moist when steamed.

Taro is creamy when cooked, the color is white with a hint of purple grey.


How To Process Purple Yam

I won’t bore you with details about the difference between purple yam and taro. I will discuss it in another time.

At least now you can say goodbye to confusion between purple yam and taro as you can see their appearances and characteristics as shown in the pictures.

In this article, I want to share the recipe and how to cook this wonderful dessert. I guarantee you will love it!

Now, that you have a new skill of picking the right purple yam in the traditional market or in a supermarket, let’s cook it.

Before steaming, I advise you wash it with clean water. As a matter of fact, you can use brush to wash away the dirt, but it is usually clean.

You may peel the skin with a peeler that you use to peel carrots or you may peel the skin later after steaming. I think it is better to peel off the skin first.

Kue Talam Ubi or Steamed Cake or Talam

Kue Talam Ubi or Steamed Cake in Indonesia is a very popular dessert. It is made with rice flour, tapioca flour, and sweet potato or purple yam or pandan extract.

It basically consists of 2 layers. One is white made of coconut milk, and the other one is a different color depending on the ingredient used.

This type of dessert is traditional Indonesian dessert, very popular across generations. It is considered a popular jajan pasar (market snack) that you can buy easily in the market.

Let’s dive into the recipe!

Kue Talam Ubi Ungu Recipe

Purple Layer

  • 250 gr sweet purple yam
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 100 gr sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 80 gr tapioca flour

White Layer

  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 30 gr rice flour
  • 30 gr tapioca flour

How To

talam ubi purple yam

  • Peel the skin of the sweet potato and cut them into pieces so it cooks faster.

talam ubi purple yam

  • Prepare your steamer, boil the water and then put the sweet potato in a bowl. Steam it for 15 minutes and check with a fork.
  • The steaming time will vary as the size of the sweet potato differs. As long as you can poke the purple yam easily into the middle part, then it’s done.
  • If you haven’t peeled the skin, it is easier to peel off the skin after steaming, but be careful of the heat. You’d better wait until it is cooler.
  • Use a fork to mash the steamed yam. Try to make it as smooth as you can. In this recipe you can sieve it later after mixing.

purple yam

  • After you are done, mix in the sugar, rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and coconut milk altogether. Mix well using a spatula.

talam ubi purple sweet potato

  • Sieve it using a fine mesh sieve and a spoon to press the pulp out.
talam ubi purple sweet potato
  • Finally, you have a fine mixture of purple color now. The purple batter is quite thick.
  • Do the same to the white mixture. Mix well coconut milk, sugar, rice flour, tapioca flour, and salt. Certainly, you can sieve the white mixture so you also get a smooth white texture.
white layer talam ubi

  • Brush some oil to the mold you want to use. Since there are many kinds of pudding mold out here, you can any that you like.


pudding mold

  • Let’s get creative here! You can pour the white and purple mixture layer by layer. You need to steam each layer for at least 5 minutes.
purple yam steamed cake
talam ubi ungu
talam ubi ungu
  • When you are done pouring all the mixture, take out the mold from the steamer. Let it cool afterwards.
  • Take out from the mold and you can see a beautiful purple yam steamed cake right in front of you.
talam ubi ungu
talam ubi ungu
  • This steamed cake can not last long because it uses coconut milk.
  • If you can’t finish it in a day, chill it in a closed container for 1-2 days. The next day when you want to consume it, steam it again for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
talam ubi ungu

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What is Talam Ubi Ungu?

A: Talam Ubi Ungu is a traditional Indonesian dessert, also known as Purple Yam Steamed Cake. The ingredients are purple yam (ube), tapioca flour, and coconut milk.

Q: Is purple yam the same as taro?

A: No, purple yam and taro are different. While they may look similar with their purple hues, purple yam has a dark purple meat with a hint of vanilla flavor when steamed. Taro, on the other hand, has a creamy texture and white color with a touch of purple grey.

Q: Can I find purple yam easily?

A: You can find purple yam in traditional markets or supermarkets. Look for purple yam with purple-brownish skin that is thin and easy to peel.

Q: Do I need any special skills to make Talam Ubi Ungu?

A: No, you can make this purple yam dessert without any special skills. The recipe as shown above offers step-by-step instructions with video to guide you through the process.

Q: Can I use regular flour instead of tapioca flour?

A: Tapioca flour is a crucial ingredient in Talam Ubi Ungu as it gives the dessert its unique texture. It is recommended to use tapioca flour for the best results and to achieve the desired consistency.

Q: How long does Talam Ubi Ungu last?

A: Due to the use of coconut milk, Talam Ubi Ungu is best consumed within a day. If you have leftovers, you can store them in a closed container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.


Purple Yam Steamed Cake or Talam Ubi Ungu is a traditional dessert from Indonesia. It is a cute, little cake with two layers.

It is easy to make this cake at home for your guests or for a little gathering. You can even make this to sell in a cafe or a bakery.

If you like purple yam, you can also check Purple Yam Ang Ku Kueh. Another Indonesian dessert with tapioca flour that is also worth to try is Ongol-ongol.

purple yam tapioca steamed cake

Steamed Purple Sweet Potato Tapioca Cake

Yield: 10-12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This is traditional snack from Indonesia. It is a very simple recipe and can be easily made even if you are just a beginner. It is super delicious, your family will love it for sure!


Purple Layer

  • 250 gr sweet purple yam
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 100 gr sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 80 gr tapioca flour

White Layer

  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 30 gr rice flour
  • 30 gr tapioca flour


    1. Wash the purple yam with clean water. You can steam the purple yam with the skin or without the skin.

    2. Steam for about 15 minutes or until a fork can be inserted easily to the middle part. Purple yam's sizes vary so the steaming time can be different.

    3. Mash the steamed purple yam using a fork while still hot. If you have to peel the skin first, you can do that while it is still hot.

    4. Put in the rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar, salt, and coconut milk to the mashed purple yam. Mix well.

    5. To get a smooth texture, sieve the mixture well.

    6. In another bowl, put in coconut milk, sugar, salt, rice flour, and tapioca flour. Mix well.

    7. To get a smooth texture, sieve just like the purple one.

    8. Brush some oil in the mold. You can use pudding mold.

    9. Use your creativity here, put in the white layer first or purple layer, it's up to you.

    10. Remember, after each layer, you have to put in a pre-heated steamer for 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the layer.

    11. Put in the next layer and steam for 3-5 minutes. Do this until all your mixture is finished.

    12. Steam again for another 5 minutes.

    13. Take out the steamed cake, let it cool for a while. Take out the cake from mold by pressing the mold. It should slide out easily.


You can use less sugar because purple yam is already quite sweet.
You can use instant coconut milk without water.
Coconut milk has to be really thick.
Puree the purple yam right after steaming.
Sieve the purple yam batter to get a softer texture.
Coconut milk batter can also be sifted to get a soft texture.
You can keep the cake in the chiller, in a closed container for 1-2 days. Steam it before eating.
Arrange the layers according to your taste and mold. Get creative. Steaming varies between 5-15 minutes.
Don’t forget to grease the mold with oil. It will be easy to get it out of the mold by squeezing it.

2 thoughts on “How to Make Talam Ubi Ungu – Purple Yam Steamed Cake”

  1. These are amazing. They turn out absolutely beautiful, and they’re surprisingly easy to make. I am already cited to make more purple yam steamed cakes!


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