cakes and pastries in PH

Matcha made in heaven? Try matcha-strawberry frozen brazo by this San Juan bakery

Steph Arnaldo

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Matcha made in heaven? Try matcha-strawberry frozen brazo by this San Juan bakery
Has this been your matcha-awaited dessert?

MANILA, Philippines – For many, the combination of matcha and strawberry is un-matcha-ed, and when this flavor combo is served in the form of a frozen brazo de mercedes – you’ve got San Juan bakery Maria Makes’ latest unique dessert.

The small, family-owned business – known for its 30 flavors of the frozen brazo – serves a new Matcha Strawberry Frozen Brazo; a refreshingly earthy, sweet, and slightly tart treat that highlights creamy matcha ice cream, matcha custard, and a layer of fresh strawberry compote.

The first layer is a thin graham crust – buttery and sugary – topped with a matcha custard that’s both sweet and slightly bitter, followed by the bright-green matcha ice cream. It’s not an overwhelmingly strong matcha dessert; it’s subtle enough to make it easy for non-matcha enthusiasts to warm up to.

A hint of tanginess is pleasantly lent by the homemade strawberry compote – bright, tart, and with a slightly seedy crunch – found in between the earthy matcha ice cream and fluffy meringue on top.

“I first got the idea from one of my nephews for the matcha-strawberry flavor some time last year. He’s a lover of all things matcha and suggested that we do it. I remember we served him a slice of our matcha brazo and we decided on a whim to drizzle some strawberry compote on the top and he loved it! And that’s how it came about,” Maria Makes’ owners told Rappler.

The matcha-awaited flavor of Maria Makes’ customers takes some time to make, though – with so many elements and layers involved, production has to be done one layer a time.

“We’ll have a day dedicated for production of our crusts, another time for custard, and so on. It really takes a lot of time to produce our product because each layer also needs a good amount of time to set and freeze before we can begin with the next step of the process,” they said, but it has been a continuous learning process since the business’ inception.

“Our very first batches of meringue were made with hand mixers and whisks if you can imagine! Now thankfully we have stand mixers and can bake up to 20 cakes at a time. It’s been a great process of learning and growing for us Marias,” they added.

All orders are “homemade with love” and freshly baked every day. One tin costs P705.

Maria Makes started in the thick of the pandemic in May 2020, with just three original flavors then: ube, vanilla, and cookies and cream. Since then, more than 30 flavors have been on the rotation, as they are constantly tweaking the classic frozen brazo to keep things “exciting” for customers – including the tried-and-tested Avocado Frozen Brazo.

They’ve also improved on packaging and transport – using insulated packaging, cooler bags, and dry ice – which now makes it possible for Maria Makes to deliver to customers outside of Metro Manila.

Maria Makes is based in San Juan City. Customers can order via Instagram or via SMS at 09178283857. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.