Bilibid Yema Cake: Criminally Delicious

Words: Mia Marci/Photography and Styling: Mylene Chung/March 7, 2014

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Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we featured a nameless bakery operating from the heart of New Bilibid Prison. What sparked that entire story was a humble little Yema Cake. Since we anticipated a lot of you would be interested in trying the cake for yourself, here’s a quick overview of where you could get it, how it’s made, and, more importantly, what it tastes like.

One thing is for sure, the Yema Cake is delicious, and it will certainly be the center of conversation during any occasion.

This cake’s soft, spongy texture is similar to some of the better chiffon cakes you can buy at places like Red Ribbon or even Hizon’s Bakeshop. If it was any softer, I doubt it could’ve held up as well it did on our way home. At one point, we had to carry the box through a cramped MRT cabin and it survived with nary a scratch or dent. It refrigerates well too, and tastes just as good when you eat it for breakfast two days later as it did the day it was made.

One the bite is all it will take to convince you that it has just the right amount of sweetness.

The mamon-like cake is light and mild, with just a hint of coconut flavoring to keep things fresh. The yema part of the Yema Cake refers to two things, the bright yellow icing that covers its entire exterior and the darker filling that runs through its center. You might assume that the cake will be overly sweet from its appearance, but that’s not the case at all. One the bite is all it will take to convince you that it has just the right amount of sweetness for you to want more. The thick layer of creamed yema over the cake serves as a nice counterpoint to the more subdued dulce de leche-esque taste and texture of the fulling it has inside. There’s no unpleasant aftertaste, and no sticky mouth feel as well.

The beautiful chocolate filigree on top is, unfortunately, completely invisible when you eat it. It leaves no impression at all, whether texturally or flavor-wise. This is not a bad thing though, as the simplicity in its flavors is one of the main strengths of this Yema Cake. You won’t even miss it.

Yema Bilibid Cake1

Proceeds of the bakery has assisted more than sixty scholars in completing their education.

The bakeshop that produced this cake is one of the livelihood programs within the New Bilibid Prison, established with the help of the Lamb of God Foundation. Proceeds of the bakery help aid prisoner’s families, and has assisted more than sixty scholars in completing their education.

Through baking, JV  Medalla, the proprietor, hopes that his workers can use their skills for an honest livelihood if and when they ever manage to achieve parole. The work also helps keep  otherwise idle inmates out of trouble, while allowing them to earn a little money to send to their wives and families outside.

Their bakers wear aprons and hairnets at all times, and there are seperate areas for each stage of the baking process.

As for the condition of the bakeshop’s premises itself, rest assured that your cake will be made in a clean, hygienic area. Their bakers wear aprons and hairnets at all times, and there are seperate areas for each stage of the baking process. Aside from the one cake we had to bring back to the Pepper studio,  we also bought ourselves four smaller cakes for friends and family. We found no shivs or or smuggled contraband between the layers of our cake, so don’t expect to find any in yours.

To help initially train the inmates, JV called on a friend from outside who worked as a pastry chef  at a high-end International Hotel to teach him and his people. With the funding from their assistant foundations, they were able to raise the base capital needed to purchase new equipment and ingredients. They have been selling bread and pastries to the Bilibid community ever since. Aside from cake and the usual hopia, pandesal, kababayans, Spanish bread, and monay, they even bake and serve their own ciabatta and foccacia bread. But of course, the last two are not as popular as their pandesal.

Aside from yema, they can also make chocolate, and sometimes ube, if they have ingredients available. The yema cake is, so far, their most popular of the cake.

Yema Bilibid Cake2

You can order a Yema Cake for yourself through Kanto King Grill along 186 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Parañaque.

Luckily, you no longer have to know someone who knows someone who knows someone to order this Yema Cake from prison. You can order one through Doc Cathy at Kanto King Grill along 186 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Parañaque. Give two or three days notice so they can also schedule delivery, if needed, through one of their volunteers. A 4×4 sampler is the smallest size available and costs PHP 140. They also offer variants sized 8×12,  12×16, and 16×24. For those outside the Parañaque area, you can text your orders to +63923 647 2127.

Mia Marci

Food Reporter

Mia Marci likes sampling street food, even if she doesn't know what's in it. She's gotten sick to her stomach on occasion because of this hazardous curiosity, but even the strictest of doctors couldn't stop her. Mia also writes about video games, travel, and girly issues for other publications. She also teaches English and Creative Writing. In the little spare time she has left, she catches up on film and TV shows, while cuddling up to her dog and cat. See More.

  • Nico Goco

    Southside represent! :)) thanks for the info, I’m sure they’ll get a spike in the orders (with more than a couple coming from myself.) Again, great job guys!

  • Nica Angeles

    The icing is creamed yema? *drool* I had second thoughts about ordering because I thought the yellow icing is just the usual kind you’ll find in neighborhood bakeshops. Glad to know it isn’t. It’ll be a bit of an effort to try out this cake since I’m from Rizal but I think it’s worth a shot. :)

    Thank you, really, for taking the time to feature something new. (That is, something that’s not offered in our malls and expensive bakeshops.)

  • populardeviance

    Here in Los banos, i usually buy a Yema cake made all the way from Tayabas, Quezon. I don’t know if you have ever heard of Rodilla’s but they do bake good yema cakes too.

    I would also love to try the Yema Cake made by the inmates. It looks really good. Aside from that, I think it’s a good way of supporting social enterprises. :)

  • ☤ ☤ ☤ Michelle☤ ☤ ☤

    thanks mia…. for everything… for this opportunity to help the inmates… from all of us, thank you… sa lahat po ng nag show ng interest to order, thank you din po…

    • Mia Marci

      You’re welcome Cathy! :D

  • CL Roach

    It’s quite nice to know that the inmates have other ways of passing time inside the penitentiary aside from stabbing fellow prisoners and being your stereotypical prison hooligan. :-)

  • secretwalangclue

    anong mga katabing establishments nung Kanto King Grill?

  • Volts Sanchez

    If I’m not mistaken, Kanto King is right beside (well, the across-the-street kind of beside) Mini Stop. That’s the corner of Dela Rama and Aguirre.

  • Bless Menioria-Tenorio

    For some reasons, i consider this as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I can’t wait to order this Yema Cake. Thanks Mia for sharing this inspiring story.

  • Joyce DZ

    I know someone. ;) ;)

  • Mark

    Hi Mia! I tried buying a cake, Doc Cathy gave a different price and different sizes than in the article :|

  • http://lippiemonster.blogspot.com/ Krisella Chua

    Hey everyone,

    I’m accepting pre-orders for Rodillas Yema Cakes until June 26, 2014 (Thursday).
    Meetups will be held at Ali Mall, UP AyalaLand Technohub and TriNoma on June 30.

    Php 220 = Half (8″ x 6″)
    Php 370 = Whole (8″ x 12″)

    Viber or SMS me at: 0908-816-6395 for orders.

    Thank you!
    http://www.lippiemonster.com/p/rodillas-yema-cake-php-220-half-8-x-6.html