Home-Made Brazo de Mercedes

photoIf you speak Spanish, then you would know that Brazo de Mercedes literally translates into “Arm of Mercedes.”  How it got its name is uncertain, but this rolled cake — at least before it is sliced — looks like part of someone’s arm. Given the Philippines’ colonial past, there is little debate that this rolled cake has its Spanish origin.  It’s probably the Filipino version of the Spanish Brazo de Gitano, which means Gypsy’s arm.

I very rarely make cakes nor claim to have the expertise for it, but I thought I’d try to make a home-made version of this popular Filipino dessert/snack.  I know I’d be better off picking up a roll or a slice from Goldilock’s Bakery in San Jose.  But there’s always room to learn and experiment.

It is quite a tedious process to make this cake, but it is worth the effort, even if it doesn’t turn out to look exactly the same as the ones prepared in a commercial bakery.

INGREDIENTS

10 eggs, whites and yolks separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 cup condensed milk

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon zest

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the meringue by combining egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Whisk well.  Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue to whisk until the texture is almost firm.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and pour in the mixture, spreading it evenly.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Prepare the custard filling by mixing egg yolks, condensed milk and evaporated milk in a medium pan.  Cook the custard mixture in medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.  Add vanilla extract and lemon zest.  Stir well before turning heat off.  When the meringue is done, remove from oven and let it cook down.  Spread the custard filling on top of the meringue sheet then carefully roll the sheet to form a tube.  Return the rolled cake to the oven and continue to bake for a few more minutes until the outer layer turns light brown.  Remove from heat, let it cool, then slice and serve ( You can also chill the cake before serving and slicing). Sprinkle confectioners sugar over the cake or slices.

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