Featured, Living

How Makalipie Redefined Happiness

It’s no trifling deal to be introduced as the shop selling pies that make you happy, but there’s not much else of a description that’s as perfectly fitting for Makalipie, the bakery on the rise that’s got pastry lovers in a buzz.

Within a digital economy of homemade food and baked goods ballooning courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cebu-based pastry shop offers specialties that come with a special feeling when you buy them, a kind of joy that it endeavors to draw out from the core of its values as a brand to the last scrumptious bite of dessert.

When she’d first thought up the idea of Makalipie three years ago, founder and chef Dominika Miranda was fresh out of her culinary job in Sydney in Australia, and found herself stuck in Manila on her way to her hometown of Cebu. It was there that inspiration struck—the neighborhood she had stayed in made the most of pandemic restrictions by resorting to selling their homemade goods online.

She couldn’t help but imagine the possibilities for herself, and once settled back home, Miranda baked a batch of the mango pie she had been craving for a while, recreating it into hand-sized frozen versions customers could bake or fry for freshness. That was how the first ‘Makalipies’ were created.

The bakery’s name, a pun on the Bisaya word ‘makalipay’ (‘makes one happy’), came just about as naturally and represents in a nutshell what the bakery means to Miranda and how she wants her pastries to affect people. 

“I really wanted a name that was true to home, fun, and just kind of represented myself,” Miranda shares. “It was my brother who said, ‘How about ‘Makalipie’?’ I said, “That’s it! That’s perfect!”

And perfect it was. A straightforward aim is backed by a simple process at Makalipie. Its tarts and pies are made of a perfected crust base that is blind-baked into a delightfully curated array of flavors, including crowd-favorite banoffee and earthy matcha. While Miranda conceptualizes most of the recipes on the menu, the Makalipie team, though a small one, is hands-on every step of the way, and Miranda herself makes it a point to glean her kitchen staff’s insights and ideas. 

“It is just much more fun to be creative together,” Miranda remarks. “We… challenge ourselves to continually set personal goals in order to learn and grow in our skills… [and] ensure a fun and healthy work environment in the kitchen that will enable us to work [at] our full capacity and be able to deliver quality and consistency in our products.” 

For Makalipie, a happy team is a happy pie. The classic end product of this team-centered dessert brand is a pastry that its founder describes as having a “crumbly, buttery shortcrust with [the] balance of a sweet filling” or “a flakey buttery crust filled with a savory comfort dish.” Customers find this definitive taste unfailingly in every Makalipie dessert, and they especially love it in best-selling banoffee which combines fresh banana and treacly caramel, as well as light and citrusy key lime and nutty-sweet pecan.

Three years since it began selling tarts and pies to local communities on Instagram, Makalipie is still just getting started with its mission of spreading happiness in the form of baked desserts. “Makalipie to me is a story,” says Miranda. “A story about a passion and an idea that continues to unfold. To me, Makalipie embodies the spirit of happiness which I myself aspire to live by and hope to share with everyone.”

Where there’s happiness to share, there may always be a lot in store for the future, and Miranda would hope so when it comes to the scale of what they can do at Makalipie, particularly in the world of event catering. Miranda and her team have their fingers crossed for when the bakery might just be in charge of making entire guest lists happy beyond only little pockets of its community. 

“It would be an absolute joy.”


Photography Kyrra Kho

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