Kora doughnuts in Itlog na Maalat, Halo-Halo, and Champorado flavors. Photo from @kimberlymcamara on Instagram
Food & Drink Features

This Filipina-owned bakery in New York has an 800-person waitlist

Kimberly Camara’s Kora doughnuts come in uniquely Pinoy flavors like halo-halo, itlog na maalat, and champorado
RHIA D. GRANA | Sep 11 2020

The last few months have been a “wild ride,” New York-based Filipina baker Kimberly Camara shares in her Instagram account @kimberlymcamara.

The former commis chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York City lost her catering job due to the pandemic. But she stood back up and in July launched a doughnut business that’s not only giving her life but is also allowing her to give a little nod to her roots. 

Kimberly named her online-only bakery Kora—after her grandmother’s name Corazon, who passed away in January.

Camara named her doughnut biz after her grandmother Corazon, who passed away last January. Photo from @kimberlymcamara on Instagram 

Her doughnuts are as Pinoy as you can possibly get—they draw attention to unique and less mainstream Filipino flavors—and at $6.50 each, they’re flying off the shelves.

One of the flavors that has become an instant favorite is the halo-halo doughnut, which has brioche, classic halo-halo mix-ins, coconut cream, ube glaze, flan, pinipig, banana chip, maraschino cherry, and sago.

Camara also has a champorado flavored doughnut, inspired by her grandma’s cooking when she was still a kid. “Stepping inside after playing in the snow, nippy-nosed and hungry, nothing compared to a stewed, steaming hot bowl with all the sticky sweetened condensed milk a little girl could ask for,” she wrote on her Instagram. Her champorado doughnut has brown sugar and chocolate brioche, champorado filling, puffed rice tuile, whipped ganache, cocoa powder, cacao nib, and DIY salted condensed milk drizzle

Other mouthwatering flavors are Maja Blanca (expect coconut and fresh corn cream filling, latik or toasted coconut curd, crispy corn tuile, crunchy corn, and corn powder), Itlog na Pula (has brioche, salted egg yolk lava filling, and cured yolk dust), Leche Flan ni Lola (brioche doughnut stuffed with her grandma’s famous flan), Ube (ube brioche doughnut, fresh ube custard, ube glaze, purple yam crisps, ube powder), and Buko Pandan (pandan brioche, coconut and sago cream, pandan glaze, flaked coconut, pinipig).

In an interview with Eater.com, Camara shared that she regularly sells about 275 doughnuts a week. She also mentions in an Instagram post that in the last few weeks, she had sold out her doughnuts less than a minute after she posted the order form. “Many people are in the middle of filling out the form when we sell out and their orders do not make it through!” she told the website. 

So to give others a chance to have a taste of her Filipino-inspired pastries, Camara opened a waitlist for first-timers and gave a 10-doughnut limit per customer. The waitlist for their doughnuts has now grown to 800 customers.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hey friends! I’ve been MIA for a while as I’ve been working on a little project that I am SO excited to share with you all. Prior to lockdown, I was working full-time and I was in the process of developing multi-coursed, private Filipino dinners to be held from my apartment. Of course, as the world still remains upended, these dinners may not be possible for some time, so I wanted to come up with a way to keep creating and introduce you all to some of those Filipino flavors. For the next few weeks, every Friday starting this Friday, 6/26, pre-orders for these doughnuts inspired by Filipino flavors will be available for pick-up and delivery in Queens, NY! All doughnuts are made from scratch in small batches from my apartment in Woodside, Queens. Doughnuts are $6.50 each. Link in bio to pre-order your doughnuts for this Friday, 6/26. Limited number of orders available. All orders must be placed and paid (via Venmo) by Thursday, 6/25 at 12 pm. 1. Leche Flan ni Lola - brioche doughnut stuffed with my grandma’s famous flan 2. Ube - ube brioche doughnut, fresh ube custard, ube glaze, purple yam crisps, ube powder 3. Halo- halo - brioche doughnut, classic halo-halo mix-ins, cream, ube glaze, flan, pinipig, banana chip, maraschino cherry 4. Buko Pandan - pandan brioche, coconut & sago cream, pandan glaze, flaked coconut, pinipig New flavors will be added and rotated on a weekly basis. Thank you all for your support!

A post shared by Kimberly (@kimberlymcamara) on

Pinoy dessert inspired doughnuts—leche flan, ube, halo-halo and buko pandan.

It’s a great thing that Camara has supportive loved ones allowing her business to thrive—her boyfriend, who is in charge of all the deliveries, printing, and helps in the kitchen; her mom who volunteers her time on Fridays to help decorate and package; and her brother and cousins for taking the gorgeous food shots and taking care of the other details like tying up boxes and eating all the extras.

Some great things happen by accident, and it’s the case for this promising baker. In her interview with Eater.com, she recounted a day in June when she found herself with leftover brioche dough and extra ube filling from a friend’s birthday cake she had baked. What she did was proof up her dough, fry it, fill it with ube, and taste it. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is really good,’” she says. “I would pay for this!’”

Her creativity and flair for Filipino flavors had allowed her to come up with some of the most mouthwatering looking doughnuts on Instagram. And since the business has been growing at a rapid pace, the doughnuts have also taken over her personal Instagram account, so she decided to make a separate account for it—@fromkora. We figure these can only do good for her business, and for spreading the good word on Filipino flavors abroad.