Monday, February 11, 2008

Guava Chiffon Sushi Cake

I love to bake things specifically for other people.  Everyone has unique preferences in flavor, some of them unexpected, and they make for wonderful baking inspiration most of the time!  By talking to people and asking them what flavors they like, I am often inspired to combine flavors in ways I never would have thought to do before, usually with satisfying results.  
So I look at birthdays as the perfect opportunities to single out peoples' tastes and provide them with desserts that they will love and appreciate more than anyone else would.  

Yesterday was the birthday of a good friend of mine who is from Hawaii.  When I asked her what flavors she liked, she said outright that the best cake she had ever had was Guava Chiffon.  This cake is a specialty of Hawaii and I had never tasted or heard of it before she mentioned it.  But after making it, I was so glad that she had requested it, because SERIOUSLY this is the best cake I have ever made.  But then I do love guava more than is probably healthy...

In any case, this cake is honestly so good that the pictures can't do it even a tiny bit of justice.  All the textures, flavors, and levels of sweetness are just perfect.  When the birthday girl tasted it, she declared that no one else could have any, and stuck an ominous note on it to mark it as hers, and certain death for anyone who tried to eat any.  So I think that means it was a success!
So the cake consists of two layers of light, guava flavored chiffon cake.  The dark red-orange in between the layers and on top of the cake is a kind of strong guava sauce, and the white frosting is cream cheese whipped cream.  It has the tangy flavor of cream cheese frosting but is less sweet and has the fluffy airiness of whipped cream.  The black on the sides of the cake is crushed oreos, which I only added for appearance purposes - I wanted to make the cake look like sushi.  (The birthday girl and I are learning Japanese together, so a sushi cake seemed appropriate)  

So, I apologize in advance for the messiness of this recipe.  I was kind of improvising most of the time, and when it came time to make the filling and frosting, I found out the hard way that I did not in fact have an extra bag of granulated sugar in my cupboard.  Oh no!  So lots of sugary improvisation went down.  But hey, the results were pretty amazing, and that's what matters, right?

Guava Chiffon Cake (very loosely based on this recipe)

For the cake:
12 egg whites
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
7 egg yolks
1 cup guava pulp
2/3 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a very large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, guava pulp, oil, water, vanilla, lemon zest, and food coloring.  I used 7 drops of coloring, but you can use more or less depending on how pink you want the cake.  Beat until the mixture is well blended.  
In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and 2 cups of the sugar.  Then add this mixture gradually to the egg and guava mixture, mixing until well combined.  
In another large bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.  Then gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar, continuing to whip until stiff peaks form.  Fold the egg whites into the cake batter until no streaks remain.  
Divide the batter evenly between 3 ungreased 9 inch round cake pans, and bake for 25 minutes.  To cool, leave the cake in the pans, and place them upside down on a wire rack.  When the cakes are completely cool, slide a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the cakes, and then  they should come out easily.  

For the filling:
2 cups guava pulp
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan, and then bring to a boil.  Cook for 5 - 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a good, saucy, spreadable consistency.  Remove from heat and let cool completely before putting on cake.  

For the frosting:
3 cups heavy whipping cream
18 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
3 tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water, and place this container in warm water so that the gelatin can dissolve.  Once the gelatin is dissolved, let it cool to room temperature.  
Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks form.  Add the gelatin, and continue to whip until the cream has stiffened.  
In another bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugars, salt, and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth and creamy.  
Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Now frost that cake!  

You may have noticed that the recipe makes three cake layers, but that my cake pictures only include two.  Well, I intended to make a triple layer cake, but then I couldn't fit all three layers into my cake carrier!  So here's what I did with the layer that got left out:

And THIS one stayed in my fridge!  =)


Anonymous said...

I love your posts! They make me want to recreate whatever you've made! Where do you get guava pulp? Do you buy fresh guava's or is it canned, or frozen?

Astra Libris said...

Oh my goodness... You are truly a gifted baker. Your cake is beautiful, and a guava cake sounds absolutely heavenly! I love the idea of a sushi cake, too - so clever! I am entirely impressed!

Allison said...

anonymous - thanks! I'm glad you want to recreate this cake!
I used frozen guava pulp for this recipe. Frozen pulp is probably the easiest way to go, because all you have to do is defrost it and it's ready. But if you can't find it, you can just stick some fresh or canned guavas in a food processor and have at it! Although if you use canned, make sure to drain them first, because the syrup would add extra sweetness and moisture to the recipe which would have to be accounted for. Good luck!

astra libris - Thanks! Haha, I think we are on the same food wavelength here; you with the savory, and me with the sweet. (I reallllly do want your chili!)

Emiline said...

That cake looks heavenly. If only I could find guava. ANYTHING guava.
Lucky friend.
Good luck with the Japanese. I have a friend that's studying in Japan.

Gigi said...

Nice cake and I love guava. I have about 10oz in the freezer right now. Great idea on the crushed oreos.

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Anonymous said...

"It was so delicious." -Friend from Hawaii

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