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.
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.
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.