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Brazo de Mercedes

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Brazo de Mercedes is a traditional Filipino dessert that consists of a soft and pillowy meringue roll filled with sweet and sticky egg custard.

Brazo de Mercedes - a favorite Filipino dessert

We all have those moments – big and quiet ones – that change everything. For me, it was craving Brazo de Mercedes so bad it got me off my lazy behind and start baking. So I thought it appropriate my first post be about that.

The Baking Begins

I was craving Brazo de Mercedes for weeks but I wasn’t really doing anything about it except whine (shame on me, I know).

Understand that before any of this, all I can do is re-heat food in the microwave (and call places for delivery). So going from that to making this relatively complex cake from scratch is almost impossible (I wanted to say “ridiculous” but that might be too harsh).

Took me 2 (I think it was 3 but who’s counting?) tries but when I finally got it, that was it. There was no looking back.

What is Brazo de Mercedes?

Brazo de Mercedes - Fluffy meringue roll filled with luxurious custard

Brazo de Mercedes is a soft and pillowy meringue roll filled with sweet and sticky egg custard. It is quintessentially Filipino – it’s what you have on the dinner table when you’re celebrating something.

And Filipinos are always celebrating something. So I grew up eating it and I’ve always associated it with happy, family gatherings.

And there I was, thousands of miles away from family, craving this cake. It was driving me insane.

Not So Simple Plan

I scoured the Internet for the simplest Brazo de Mercedes recipe I could find (one has to be realistic about one’s skill set after all) but quickly realized this was not going to be a simple undertaking at all. There was the custard, then the meringue, then the assembly.

But 40 eggs, steely determination and maybe some tears later, I have this fantastic cake that not only tastes great but also reminds me of home. Now I have a recipe I can rely on so that I can make this cake whenever the craving hits (minus the tears).

Tips for a Successful Meringue

I’ve made Brazo de Mercedes several times and what is still a hit or miss for me is the height of the meringue. I would love for it to be at least an inch thick but despite my best effort, I am only able to achieve this 50% of the time.

I follow all these tips for a successful meringue every time:

  • Use room temperature egg whites and make sure there is no speck of egg yolk in it
  • Make sure all the tools used to make the meringue are dry and grease-free
  • Don’t over beat the egg whites; stop as soon as stiff peaks are reached
  • Handle the meringue gently when spreading onto baking pan
  • Bake/use immediately

The recipe is awesome. I just need to work on my technique. Any other ideas?

(This recipe adapted from Panlasang Pinoy.)

Happy baking! Did you make Brazo de Mercedes? Tell me how it went in the comments section below. I’d love to hear all about it.

Here are more Filipino desserts you might like:

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Tuesday 25th of May 2021

Hiya!I made it but the meringue tasted more like omelette than a dessert (oh man) the custard was tasty though. I didn’t know how to roll either haha as I roll, the filling gets pushed out. Half a disaster haha Not sure exactly where I messed up. Can you advice please? Thank you for the tips though.


Wednesday 26th of May 2021

Hi Therese. Meringue is very finicky, so always make sure to use fresh eggs, whip them enough (but not too much), ensure there are no egg yolks mixed in with the whites, bowl and whisk are grease-free, use the right amount of sugar, make sure you're cooking at the right temperature. I have a difficult time rolling too; so I've been working on a recipe for a roll-free brazo de mercedes. Not quite perfect, but getting there!


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

I have been studying your version repeatedly and will be definitely making it for Christmas dinner. I usually make my own sweetened condensed milk (from Stella Parks’ Bravetart cookbook). Would it be possible to make a more caramel-tasting custard? Or should I give into the lime and make it more like a Key Lime taste?


Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

Hi Kimberly, the lime in the recipe is not enough to give it a key-lime like taste. It's really just to cut through all that sweetness. And yes you can definitely make the filling more caramel-y. Enjoy!


Sunday 13th of December 2020

You are giving me hope! I do not cook at all but I love to eat (esp sweets)! And this is one of my faves. So I will try this (plus the silvanas)... Thank you for the recipes and for the tips!


Monday 14th of December 2020

Hi Tina! Enjoy! I actually plan to make brazo de mercedes for our noche buena :)


Tuesday 11th of February 2020

Thanks so much for sharing your recipe Jolina, my family loves it and my husband was impressed. It wasn’t hard as I thought.


Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Hi Maria! You're welcome! That was my first thought too when I made this, it's not as hard to make as it looks :) And it's totally worth it. Glad you and your family like it!


Friday 19th of May 2017

hi jolina, saw your page in fb and i've been looking for this recipe as I have been craving for it. First time I tried to bake and it was a succes :) it's all because of your tips, thank you so much. My husband almost finished it in 1 day.


Monday 22nd of May 2017

Hi Marja! So happy to hear that! And you are most welcome :) Brazo de Mercedes is my all time favourite Filipino dessert.