The sweet smell of success! NYC bakery is swamped with orders for their Filipino-inspired doughnuts – including a flan-filled PURPLE version – con 5,000 on waiting list for the sugary treats
Demand from sugar-crazed New Yorkers for a small-time doughnut shop set up by a couple who lost their jobs in the pandemic has been so high it now has a waiting list of thousands of customers.
The Filipino-inspired Kora bakery was started out of a Woodside, Queens apartment last summer as a specialist online-only store of tasty treats.
But with orders flying in, chef Kimberly Camara and her partner, Kevin Borja, now have a five-person-strong team and industrial kitchen.
They have now been working through a 5,000-person waiting list which had swelled to as big as 10,000 a un certo punto, and are looking to open a physical store.
One of their most striking creations is the purple-colored Ube doughnut, made from a light brioche dough with a Filipino flan filling and given its bright color from Okinawan yams.
The Filipino-inspired Kora bakery started out of a Woodside, Queens apartment by chef Kimberly Camara and partner Kevin Borja and now has a 5,000-customer waiting list
With orders flying in, chef Kimberly Camara and her partner, Kevin Borja, now have a five-person-strong team and industrial kitchen. Nella foto: A purple-coloured Ube doughnut filled with flan
It follows a similar craze among New Yorkers for cupcakes at the West Village’s Magnolia Bakery, as well as demand for the ‘cronut‘ (croissant-doughnut) creation that rose to fame in 2013.
‘When we started Kora we had no intention of turning it into a full-blown business,’ Camara told The Custode.
‘It was something that we thought would just be a seasonal project… We kind of just went with the flow.’
Initially reliant on family and friends to help prepare and deliver orders, the bakery has become a full-time operation.
Camara, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, uploads videos of her creations and huge production line to Instagram where she has 40,000 seguaci.
Initially reliant on family and friends to help prepare and deliver orders, the bakery has become a full-time operation
Kora’s Filipino-inspired doughnuts
Kora bakery’s chef and founder Kimberly Camara may have gained her cooking skills with years of work at The Culinary Institute of America, but the inspiration for her unique doughnut creations is definitely in her heritage.
Camara describes how she uses ‘Filipino classics’ and ‘heritage recipes’ to inspire the Woodside, Queens bakery’s latest inventions that have customers queueing by the thousand to place online orders.
Starting with delicate brioche buns, the 28-year-old uses a variety of recipes from her late grandmother and her own knowledge of Filipino cooking to make the treats unique.
Her most iconic doughnut is the ‘Leche Flan ni Lola’.
Kora bakery’s chef and founder Kimberly Camara may have gained her cooking skills with years of work at The Culinary Institute of America, but the inspiration for her unique doughnut creations is definitely in her heritage. Nella foto: Her most iconic doughnut is the ‘Leche Flan ni Lola’
‘Lola Corazon’s beloved flan sits proudly atop luscious flan cream, both perfectly encased in brioche and delicately dusted with powdered sugar,’ a description on Instagram reads.
Leche flan is not native to the Philippines, but a re-worked version of the creme caramel dessert popular with the country’s Spanish colonizers and neighbouring France.
As a Filipino version, leche flan is a heavy custard with caramelized brown sugar, with a basic recipe of condensed milk, egg yolks and sugar. A variation of this recipe also uses egg whites and not just the yolks.
It is commonly served during special occasions including fiestas and new year parties.
Camara has also admitted there is one ingredient that goes into practically every one of her doughnuts in some form: ube.
As an important crop in Southeast Asia andf the Philippines, Camara uses the vividly purple variety of yam to both flavour and colour her dough.
The plant gives a mildly sweet, earthy and nutty taste and is used in traditional and modern Filipino desserts, including the ‘unofficial’ national dish ‘Halo-Halo’.
Some of their signature creations include leche flan brioche doughnut or a halu-halo doughnut made with banana chips, sago, maraschino cherry, leche flan, pinipig and a ube glaze.
The unique Filipino-inspired recipes come from or are inspired by Camara’s late grandmother Corazon’s recipe book which she found after she had died.
Orders for the bakery are currently closed as they catch up with a backlog of 5,000 customer orders. There is a 10-doughnut limit per customer.
For Camara, the chance to make a living selling treats inspired by her grandmother has proved very fulfilling.
‘Kora is the coming together of my entire life,’ she told Eater. ‘There is no way that my grandmother is looking down on us and isn’t so proud of all of the work that we’ve done.’
‘Wherever Kora takes us, behind all of it is my connection with her and my connection with my heritage.’