How to Make a Filipino Yema Sponge Cake

Metro Manila

Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Aug 31, 2018
How to Make a Filipino Yema Sponge Cake
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Merienda is one of the favorite time of Filipinos who love to eat. It is a generic term for “light meals” that is usually taken between breakfast and lunch in the morning or snacks in the afternoon after lunch and before dinner. In simpler explanation these are snacks between meals.

Also spelled as “meryenda,” it’s sort of already a Filipino tradition to eat snacks. It is also prepared if you have visitors over your place. Meriendas are also carefully planned light meals, popping a bag of chips and opening a bottle of soft-drinks just won’t do.


pandan biko kakanin; image by

READ: A Delectable & Aromatic Kakanin That Can Help Relieve Rheumatism?

A few Filipino merienda classics are bibingka, pancit, kakanins, ginataan, banana cue and sandwiches or breads.

We’ll learn a simple treat that will make your snack time extra special. A Filipino sponge cake roll or best known as pianono in most parts of the country.

yema pianono; image by Belle Piccio

Pianono is filled with creamy sugar margarine or choices of your favorite filling. Like yema! This snack is mildly sweet and is perfect partnered with coffee.

In making pianono, you need this four major ingredients: flour, milk, eggs and sugar. Want to try making it? Here’s a pianono recipe that I got from



  • 5 pcs eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar


  • 1 stick margarine (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
yema pianono; image by Belle Piccio


  1. Separate the yolks from egg whites.
  2. In a bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy.  It is best to use a mixer at low speed.
  3. Optional: sprinkle the cream of tartar on top and continue beating until soft peaks form.
  4. Gradually add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time, while continuously beating. Once all sugar is added, turn up the speed to medium and continue beating the meringue until it forms stiff glossy peaks.  
  5. In a separate large bowl, cream together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, milk and vanilla extract until it becomes light in texture and color.
  6. Sift the flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Add to the egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
  7. Gently fold in a third of the meringue into the egg mixture and add the rest and fold until well combined.
  8. Pour the batter into a 15x10x1-inch pan lined with wax or parchment paper.
  9. Bake in a 340 F oven for about 20 minutes or until the cake is golden.
  10. Remove from oven and loosen the edges of the cake. Transfer the cake including the wax paper to a rack and allow to cool.
  11. When cool enough to handle, trim off about 1/4 inch of the hard crust on the long sides of the cake.
  12. Using powdered sugar, dust a wax or parchment paper and invert cake onto the paper. Gently peel the other wax paper off the cake.
  13. Starting with the narrow side, roll the cake up together with the wax paper. Let it cool down completely, seam side down, for about 15 minutes.
  14. Once the cake has cooled, gently unroll and spread cake with softened margarine and sprinkle with granulated sugar and re-roll. TIP: before re-rolling, this is where you can spread your yema to make it more flavorful or your favorite jam.
  15. Cut into 1-inch thick slices to serve.
yema pianono; image by Belle Piccio

Other local flavors are ube and mocha. You can also experiment with your favorite jams, some try mango or strawberry!

Want to know how to make yema? READ: Yummy Yema: How to Cook This Creamy & Chewy Filipino Dessert

Do you know other yema recipes with a twist? Share it to us!

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