All The Yema Desserts You Can Make

Yema is our version of sticky, sweet caramel goodness.

When you think of sticky, sweet, and delicious desserts, one of the most common sweet recipes Filipinos think of is the yema.

Yema is a delicious thickened mixture made from cooked egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Just three ingredients and it delivers a sticky, sweet, and addictive mixture that some have probably licked straight off from the spatula that stirred it into reality.

Think of yema as the Pinoy version of the caramel. That's really what it most resembles, and it's just as decadent and indulgent as caramel but with a giant difference: it's creamier with both egg yolks and the milk from the sweetened condensed milk to make it irresistible.  

If you love yema and anything that might taste fantastic smothered with this thick spread, here all the yema recipes you need to know about: 

Photo by David Hanson

1 Candied Yema Recipes  

The most basic of all yema recipes start as a candy. These sweet milky balls are delicious as is but for those who have a serious sweet tooth, you can dunk them into melted sugar to create a hard candy shell. Bite into one of these and it's that satisfying crack bursts, first, as a taste of burnt bittersweetness before it gives way to sweetened creaminess on the inside. Give it another layer of flavor with a sprinkle of salt on top, and these salted caramel yema balls are just the start of your new candy obsession. 

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Photo by Majoy Siason

2 Yema Spread Recipe 

You do not have to exert too much effort to make this yema. In fact, as soon as it thickens, turn off the heat, transfer it to a bowl or a plate and spread it out, so it will cool faster. Then, grab your favorite sandwich slice and spread it on for a magnificently easy yema spread. Slather it on bread but you can also slather this stuff on cakes, cupcakes, or even a banana for a change from your usual peanut butter. 

You can also totally skip all that extra stuff and head for a true guilty pleasure: scoop a heaping spoonful and place straight into your mouth. (No judgment. Promise!) 

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Photo by Aldwin Aspillera

3 Brazo de Mercedes Recipes   

No yema list is complete without mentioning that this decadently sticky stuff is what makes any brazo de mercedes recipe a threat to your waistline. This sweet cloud rolled up into a log hides the bright yellow of the yema that fills it. 

Photo by Riell Santos

4 Yema Cake     

A yema cake is a cake that on the outside seems simple but it's actually bursting with flavor. The cake is a soft, fluffy canvas for the sweet yema spread to cling to while the grated cheese on top delivers a salty contrast that makes the entire thing so easy to consume in one sitting. 

Need some different but still yema-delicious? Switch the cake for a super fluffy chiffon cake and add another layer of it just to make it more festive for a party. You can also pair this with a fluffy chocolate cake, too for a flavor change that's equally sinful. 

Photo by Majoy Siason

5 Inipit Recipe 

This Bulacan cake literally means sandwiching a filling between two layers of fluffy cake. Inipit is really about combining two favorite desserts into one but with a big difference. The yema filling isn't your ordinary yema spread and the secret ingredient may just blow your yema-loving mind: mashed potatoes.  

You have to taste it to realize that it's what makes this Bulacan delicacy so delicious. 

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Photo by Charlie Altomonte

6 Peanut Yema Cupcakes Recipe  

This yema and peanut combo might be the peanut pairing that forces any peanut fan to love all things yema, too, if it has peanuts added to the mix. 

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Photo by Marti Bartolome

7 Chocolate Yema Cupcakes Recipe 

Any chocolate lover will appreciate that it's a great idea to mix and match flavors. Chocolate is a fantastic flavor but sometimes it can do with a little additional flavor added in to make dessert interesting. If you're looking for interesting as well as a change, this chocolate cupcake has a surprise when you take a bite: it's got a sweet yema filling in the center.      




Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!

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