Ok, so I’ve been having dreams about guava. I mean, literally. I’ve been thinking about ways to use this delectable fruit, to the point of obsession.
Guava is just one of those fruits-sweet, tart, soft, firm…a scent that is undeniable and attributable only to itself. When cooking guava the entire house smells of it. Why isn’t there a guava scented air freshener? Hmm, maybe one needs to be created?
Air fresheners aside, I thought about guava and why I had never tasted a guava cake or any such delight. Sure, in Trinidad we have guava cheese– a sweet, firm treat made from guava syrup infused with various spices- and guava jam/jelly. These are both staples in Trinidad and in other parts of the region, but guava cake and other guava sweets just aren’t the popular. If you know of or have made guava flavored sweets please feel free to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about them!
It isn’t guava season here in Trinidad, but my family has a tree and we’re always freezing the ripe fruits in order to make juices, jams and ‘cheese’ so I was in luck when my thoughts happened upon creating a delicious guava cake.
At first I wanted to make cupcakes but the lack of cupcake trays sort of ruined that idea! I searched online for recipes that I could modify to create a guava cake and turned to one of my favorite people- the barefoot contessa-Ina Garten. I always trust her recipes and never second guess them because they always work. I chose her strawberry country cake as the jumping off point for my citrus cake. I swapped the sour cream for Greek yogurt and upped the lemon and added lime instead of orange and never bothered to use vanilla extract. My cake was a lemon/lime blend which I thought would both balance out as well as enhance the guava frosting. It worked!
I used 1 8-inch pan to make one cake and 2 12-cup mini cupcake trays to make 24 cute little mini cupcakes.
For the frosting/filling- really, the star of the cake- I spoke to a couple of professionals to get ideas and ultimately chose to do a sort of mix-up of many different ideas. I considered a mousse or a custard (which I will definitely try in the near future once the guavas reappear) but opted for a smooth butter cream instead. I loosely followed this recipe for a berry butter cream frosting and found it was very successful!
To top it off I decided to do some candied lime rind as my topping as the flavors spoke for themselves and really didn’t need any additions that might compete or subtract from their tart crispness. I didn’t cover my rinds with sugar-a step that is quite popular in many recipes- since I felt that 3/4 of a large bag of sugar was, well, sugar enough.
(Just as an aside-I can totally understand why many pastry chefs are skinny…after you see what goes into these little treats you might never sanely choose to eat them!)
This cake is perfect with tea/ coffee or on it’s own. The guava is bold and assertive, timidly supported by the fresh, clean tartness of lemons and limes. The odd guava seed that has found it’s way into the smooth, buttery frosting is a surprising textural delight.
This cake is a must for anyone who loves the taste and smell of guavas!