This no-bake Yema Cake is made of fluffy and airy chiffon cake doused with a rich and creamy golden yema sauce and topped with grated cheese. A delightfully sweet Filipino treat that is perfect as an afternoon snack or as a dessert.
The combination of the soft chiffon cake and silky yema sauce will give you that melt-in-your-mouth texture while the grated cheddar cheese topping provides a savory tinge that balances the sweetness of the yema sauce.
The chiffon cake is almost made the same way as Mamon, a Filipino mini chiffon cake in the shape of a muffin. The yema sauce can either be mixed in with the cake batter, used as a frosting, or as a filling. For this recipe, I layered it on top of the cake base.
What is Yema?
Yema is a Filipino confectionary traditionally made by mixing egg yolks, milk, and sugar. The mixture is heated and continuously stirred until it becomes thick. These yummy custard candies are usually presented in the shape of a ball or pyramid covered in colorful cellophane and plastic.
The term "yema" is a Spanish word that means egg yolks. The origin of this sweet delicacy is actually a testament to the resourcefulness and creativity of Filipinos!
It was first heard of during the Spanish colonization. At that time, egg whites and eggshells are used to make mortars for constructing houses and other structures. A huge amount of the remaining egg part, the yolks would have gone to waste, if not for the locals who scurried to finds ways to use them, yema being one of them!
Nowadays, there are different variations of this sweet delicacy, and it is used in different ways as well. Some of the more modern variations are Ube and Pandan Yema, Crunchy Yema, Yema Spread, and of course, the Yema Cake.
The Yema Sauce
Making the sauce for Yema Cake is quite simple and easy. You just need to add some more ingredients for it to take a smoother and silky form. Aside from the egg yolks, milk, and sugar, you will also need condensed milk, all-purpose flour, flour slurry (flour mixed with water), and butter.
Here's how you do it:
- Gently stir evaporated milk, condensed milk, and egg yolks in a deep pan using a whisk. Once done, bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat.
- Stir regularly to make sure that no clumps are formed.
- Add the all-purpose cream and the flour slurry and continue to stir until it starts to thicken.
- Remove from heat and add butter and mix until everything is smoothly combined.
Foxy Tip when making Yema Cake
- You can substitute bread flour with all-purpose flour. Just reduce it by 2 tablespoons and replace it with cornstarch.
- Check if your chiffon cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle. If the toothpick comes out clean, then your cake is cooked through.
- Vanilla extract is different from vanilla essence. It gives a richer and more concentrated flavor, which is better for the chiffon cake.
- When making the yema sauce, make sure to mix the ingredients in the pot using a whisk first before turning on the heat. This will ensure that the yolks do not cook separately from the rest of the mixture. It's key to a smooth and silky texture.
- Use very low heat when cooking the sauce, using high heat will result in egg yolk clumps. And remember to stir the mixture constantly.
- Turn the heat off once the sauce has reached a runny consistency. Do not let it thicken too much in the pan. Once you remove the sauce from the heat, it will thicken a bit more.
- Pour the Yema sauce on top of the cake while it is still warm to get that smooth and even glaze.
- Refrigerate your leftover Yema cake in an airtight container. It can last for 2-3 days.
What to do with leftover yema sauce?
If you have some leftover Yema sauce left, make the most out of it by trying any of these:
- Make some Yema candies. Pour it back into a pan and cook over low heat for a few more minutes until it turns very thick. Let it cool for a bit. Get a spoonful and wrap in cellophane.
- Use it as a filling for Brazo de Mercedes! It is another delicious Filipino dessert that is made of soft, pillowy meringue with rich custard filling rolled into a log, jelly-roll fashion.
- Pour into a jar and use it as a spread. It's super yummy paired with hot Pandesal or fluffy White Bread!
If you are looking for more Filipino quick and easy desserts or snacks, you can also try these:
No Bake Yema Cake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 medium egg whites
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 piece egg yolk
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup softened butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- grated cheese
- Lightly grease llanera or pan with vegetable oil. If using a pan, you may line the bottom with parchment paper for easy removal later.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy using a hand or stand mixer using low speed. Gradually add sugar while continuously beating until all sugar is used up. Turn speed to medium and beat until firm peaks form. Set aside.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the bowl with egg yolk added last.
- Take ¼ of the meringue and whisk it to the batter to lighten the batter texture. Fold in the rest of the meringue to the batter in 2-3 additions/batches. Fold just until no more white streaks or lumps are visible. Do not overfold or it will deflate the meringue.
- Fill ¾ of the llanera or pan with the mixture. Tap them gently to release any trapped air bubbles.
- Steam them over low heat for 12-15 minutes or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the llanera/pan into a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled down enough to handle, run a knife along the edges of the cake to release it from the mold. Transfer the steamed cakes to individual containers or serving plates.
- Make the yema sauce. In a deep skillet or saucepan, combine evaporated milk, condensed milk and egg yolks. Gently mix using a whisk. Bring to a simmer over low heat while gently stirring (with a whisk) regularly to prevent the bottom from burning. Add the all-purpose cream and flour slurry and continue to stir until it starts to thicken (not too thick). Turn off heat then add the butter and mix until well combined.
- Ladle and pour yema sauce on top of the cake. Top with grated cheese.