Mamon (Filipino Sponge Cake) with Coconut Lemon Buttercream


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Before I start talking about food, let me just assure you that you are on the right website. We just got a face lift. I’ve been wanting to have a new design for ever but never found the time until now. You know how the full moon makes you do crazy things? This was mine. Part of the reason I couldn’t blog, aside from training for my first 5K (perhaps I’ll tell you about that some other time) and working too much, I just couldn’t stand the old layout. Let’s just say I could breathe easier now.

We’d love to get some feedback. If you don’t like something, please let me know what and why. If something’s not readable, definitely stop me in my tracks here, via email or on Twitter!

The sideblog of links has been revamped. We now have an FAQs page, which also addresses the missing-in-action monthly newsletter. There’s a link to our OpenSky shop, and I promise we’ll add more to the store after the busy IFBC weekend. What? Yes, you heard me!

International Food Bloggers Conference 2010

Woohoo? WOOHOO!

Can you see me jumping in excitement?

I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and learning from them this weekend. We will be eating well, too. So much fun! See you there in a wink!

* * * * * * *

Now that’s out of the way, I’d like you to meet my brother’s Mamon with Coconut Lemon Buttercream birthday cake:

“Mamon” (pronounced as ma-mon’ as if saying c’mon) is a common snack or dessert in the Philippines. It is a soft and moist sponge cake that’s lightly sweetened. They are commonly sold as small cakes, with fluted sides similar to brioche, and come in flavors such as mocha, ube, and pandan. Instead of making small cakes, I created one big cake for my brother’s birthday.

This sponge cake is not as airy as its smaller counterpart; but delicate without falling apart. The toasted coconut adds a taste of the tropics and complements the texture of the silky frosting. It’s light enough to pair with a piña colada or white wine on a hot summer day, or a warm cup of floral tea or dark coffee.

I’ll tell you what else this cake partied with in my belly: I ate it with Caramilk Liqueur. {ducks} {giggles}

It’s no secret that I enjoy putting a Filipino/Asian twist to my cooking and baking, and this one’s no different. This cake tastes like Hawaii meets California on a hot summer day. Surf’s up and let’s eat!

[updated September 22, 2010]

Sponge Cake

  • 6 egg yolks (from large eggs)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from one lemon)*
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted with the cake flour
  • 6 egg whites (from large eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Coconut Lemon Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice*
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites (from large eggs)
  • 1 stick and 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft and at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*You will only need 1 lemon for this recipe


Bake the Sponge Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F with the oven rack in the middle. Spray a 9”x2” round cake pan with baking spray.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla and lemon zest, and mix to incorporate. Add oil and continue to whisk to a homogenous consistency.
  4. Stir in flour and baking powder using a wooden spoon or spatula until thick with no dry ingredient left behind.
  5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar in a separate (medium) bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter, about a handful-size to liquefy it first, then in thirds.
  7. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top becomes golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Loosen cake by sliding a bread knife along the side of the cake, dull end at the front. Carefully turn over on a plate and let it cool completely.

Make the Buttercream Icing

  1. Toast the coconut. In a small, shallow pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat on the stove. Stir with lemon juice. Add the toasted coconut and 2 tablespoons sugar and stir frequently until the edges become golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Transfer to a plate and cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare the buttercream base. Whisk egg whites and 1 cup of sugar for 3 to 5 minutes in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, until meringue is hot to the touch. The sugar granules will be dissolved and the liquid will look like fluffy marshmallow cream, but thinner.
  3. Remove bowl from the heat and beat for 5 minutes on medium speed using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Change to a paddle attachment if using a stand mixer, and add half of the soft butter. Mix until smooth, before adding the next half to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give it a quick stir. Beat with the mixer for another 6 to 10 minutes to thicken. Scrape the sides and lower the speed to medium, and gradually add lemon juice and vanilla.
  4. Fold in 3/4 cup of toasted coconut.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Dot 3 3-inch strips of parchment paper with the icing. Use the icing to stick the 3 strips into a triangle on a plate or cake stand. Place cake on top of the strips. This will help keep the icing process clean.
  2. Spread icing on the top and sides. Sprinkle and pat toasted coconut on the top and sides.
  3. Slowly pull the parchment strips and add frost to the sides as needed.

This cake is best served on the day it is made, but can be refrigerated and will keep moist for a couple of days.


  1. Baking:
  • Oven temperatures vary. I have a separate oven thermometer in the oven and this recipe was tested using that. You may have to adjust your baking time. When in doubt, go by the color of the top of the cake and the cake tester.
  • You can bake this in muffin or cupcake pans or fluted brioche molds filled 2/3 of the way. Baking time may range from 15 to 20 minutes and frost the tops like cupcakes.
  • For easier cake removal, you can also line the cake pan with wax or parchment paper after misting with baking spray.
  1. The recipe for the coconut lemon buttercream can be doubled for a two-layer cake.


  • I adapted the mamon recipe sent to me by a high school friend, Maureen C. [Thanks to Facebook for letting me find her!]
  • The base buttercream was inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s buttercream recipe from “Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake” [Baking: From My Home To Yours].
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  1. says

    This is my first time to your blog. I think the layout looks great, but I don’t know what it looked like before. Thanks for the recipe. That cake looks delicious.

  2. Suzette says

    Hi! Your recipes are great i tried mocha a la goldilocks as well it was lovely, can I ask you a question? What’s the cause of the bread not being spongy…? Can it be the way of stirring it? Or too much of something? Can u help me pls… Cause it happens to me twice… Thanks so much ;0)

  3. Akeille Danss says

    Hi, would like to ask if the whites should be beaten until stiff peak? Thanks for this, I want to try it. So once removed from the oven, do i have to invert it when cooling? I’m just a bit nervous that it might deflate..

    • joy says

      Hi Akeille, yes it should be stiff, but don’t overbeat to the point that it becomes liquid again. Cool right side up.


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