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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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