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Ube Love’s Purple Reign

Rebecca Sabalones fills a local need for Southeast Asian sweets with vibrant yam-based desserts at her made-to-order Noblesville bakery.

Ube Love’s chocolate-filled hearts and cookie cough trufflesPhoto by Tony Valainis

Rebecca Sabalones grew up in the Louisville area enjoying the Filipino foods her cousins and aunts would prepare at family gatherings. It wasn’t until she went to college in Hawaii that Sabalones, whose father is from the Philippines, got in touch with her roots—literally. Since late spring, the Noblesville resident has been baking up a side business called Ube Love that includes a product line of pancakes, ice cream sandwiches, and chocolates based on the purple yam, or ube, as it’s known in Asia. The dried ube powder and extracts Sabalones uses for her sweet treats add a stunning violet hue to the baked goods she sells at local pop-ups and the Philippines Cultural Community Center (4141 S. East St.), including a regal vegan ube cupcake that’s surprisingly buttery and rich with faux cream cheese frosting. 

Terry Kirts joined Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in journals and anthologies including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the 2011 collection To the Refrigerator Gods.

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