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Sweet Cravings

13 January 2017

By JC the Foodie

Filipinos are very fond of sweet cakes and desserts. The use of condensed milk is very common in most cakes and other dessert recipes. Being away from home, working or living abroad, we often crave for these unique Pinoy desserts. When the sweet cravings come, nothing is more heavenly than those fluffy and creamy cakes like the Brazo de Mercedes and Yema cake. Some wouldn’t even trade these cakes for a red velvet or a macaron!

The taste of these sweet indulgence brings us back to home, where the family would share food on the table, on special occasions or just a simple family get together.

I am sharing two of the popular cakes Pinoys love and crave for. Bake your own, and if you master the techniques, it may be a good gift idea or a pasalubong for your next party with friends. These recipes are worth a try.

Brazo de Mercedes is more popularly known as a Goldilock’s Bake Shop classic meringue roll with creamy custard filling. It is best served with coffee, tea or  just on its own for dessert.

Another popular cake is the Yema Cake. Originally from Rodilla’s Cake shop in Quezon Province, this cake has gained popularity. The soft and fluffy chiffon cake is smothered with Yema made from condensed milk, egg yolks and sugar.

Brazo de Mercedes
10 large raw eggs, yolks and whites separated
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
14 ounces condensed milk

1. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar then beat using an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
2. Make the meringue by gradually adding the granulated sugar while mixing the ingredients. Continue mixing until the texture is semi-firm.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Place wax paper on top of a cookie sheet or large rectangular baking pan and grease the surface.
5. Place the meringue on top of the greased wax paper then spread evenly using a spatula.
6. Bake the meringue for 20 to 22 minutes or until the color of the top part turns light to medium brown.
7. While the meringue is in the oven, make the filling by combining the egg yolks and condensed milk in a small cooking pot. Apply heat and cook the mixture while continuously stirring until the texture becomes thick.
8. Add the vanilla extract to the condensed milk and egg yolk mixture, turn off the heat, and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
9. Remove the meringue from the oven and cool down for a few minutes.
10. Sprinkle the confectioners sugar on top of the meringue then place wax paper on the top part of the meringue followed by a similar sized baking pan or tray. The meringue should now be in the middle of two baking trays.
11. Flip the meringue: the new cookie sheet/baking tray placed on top should now be below. Remove the baking tray and the wax paper (you should now see the opposite side of the baked meringue) then spread the filling (cooked egg yolks, condensed milk, and vanilla extract mixture) over the meringue.
12. Roll the meringue. Complete rolling side to side starting at the longest side. Make sure that the layer with filling is rolled inward.
13. Transfer to a serving plate then serve

Yema Cake
For the cake:
· 50 g butter
· 250 g cream cheese
· 110 ml milk
· 1 vanilla pod (optional)
· 60 g all purpose flour
· 20 g cornstarch
· 1/4 tsp salt
· 6 egg yolks
· 1 tsp calamansi (or lemon) juice
· 6 egg whites
· 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
· 140 g sugar
· 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling or icing
· 2 cans condensed milk
· 6 egg yolks
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1/2 tsp almond extract
· 1/4 cup butter
· 1/2 cup grated cheese

Cooking Instructions:
1. In a small pan over simmering water, melt together cream cheese, butter and milk. If you opt to use vanilla beans, scrape the beans from the vanilla pod and add it to the pan. Once melted, cool to room temp. Using a mixer, add in flour, cornstarch, salt. Then add in egg yolks and lastly the lemon juice. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, mix egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy (or frothy). Add in vanilla then gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in the egg whites to the cream cheese mixture. Make sure everything is well combined.
3. Pour batter into an 8-inch round cake pan covered with parchment paper. Bake the cake in a water bath for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until done at 180 degrees Celsius.
4. To make the icing, open two cans of condensed milk and pour it over a pan. Add in egg yolks and cook in low heat. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Cook until it thickens enough to spread. Add in butter.
5. To assemble the Yema Cake, divide cake into two. Add the filling then cover it with the other half of the cake. Cover the rest of the cake with icing. Top with grated cheese.

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