New eats: Singapore's egg sponge cakes now in Manila

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Aug 02 2019 07:35 AM

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Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake can be found at the third floor of Robinson’s Magnolia. Jeeves de Veyra

MANILA -- Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake, Singapore’s leading maker of egg sponge cakes, has opened its first Philippine branch at Robinson’s Magnolia.

Karen Tan, managing director of Healthybakers Inc., the holders of the Philippine franchise of Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake, discovered the cake while she was working in Singapore back in 2017. She saw the long lines when Ah Ma launched, which was a bit peculiar because Singapore did not have many cakes like the ones Ah Ma made. She eventually tried it and the cake brought her back to the Philippines.

“When I ate it, I actually was reminded of home because it tasted similar to mamon. But later on, I realized it was different. But I knew that it will be something that would be appreciated by the Philippines,” recalled Tan.

“Aside from the cake being fresh and everything, I think there's a nostalgia in the brand of it being Ah Ma (Chinese for 'grandmother'). I heard that a lot of people in the Philippines they used to eat cakes like this when they were younger.”

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The cakes are available in original, chocolate, ube, pandan, and cheese flavors. Jeeves de Veyra

The cake is known for its light spongy texture. Jeeves de Veyra

Karen and Louis Tan, the brother and sister team behind the local operations of Ah Mah. Jeeves de Veyra

Singaporean baker Sai Wei Kei teaches the local staff to bake the cakes. Jeeves de Veyra

The cakes are made from scratch at the branch daily. Jeeves de Veyra

Ah Mah Traditional Homemade Egg Sponge Cake actually originated in Malaysia. The business started its expansion across Asia after a Singaporean acquired the master franchise. After Singapore, the brand expanded out into China, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and now, the Philippines.

The Singaporeans have been very supportive of the Tans, sending over experts to train the local staff to consistently get the signature light spongy texture.

The products are made from scratch at the stores which feature full size ovens to bake the cakes in. The cakes are baked in massive pans requiring a bit of heavy lifting to take out of the ovens. After they are cut into bread loaf size servings are the cakes branded and packed ready for the public.

Ah Ma Sponge Cakes currently carries five flavors – Original, Cheese, Chocolate, Pandan, and Ube. There are plans to add drinks, cookies, and smaller Castella cupcakes to the offerings soon.

Other branches are already in the works at the SM North EDSA Sky Garden and San Lorenzo Place Makati with plans to serve cakes outside Metro Manila next year.