Hawaiian guava cake with pink buttercream, both made from concentrated, cooked down guava juice. The cake is light, made with egg whites. Guava is like a wonderful cross between strawberry and passion fruit. And the cake is very, very pink.
Hawaiian guava cake caught my eye in NY Times Cooking newsletter, possibly because it was very pink. But I was also certainly intrigued by anything Hawaiian (don’t they only eat, like, FLOWERS and drink piña colada?) and by guava about which I had a quick scuffle with The Weather Man; whether we have ever seen/bought/tried it or not. I was right (what else is new?), it doesn’t live on the shelves and stalls we get our supplies from; he was thinking of mango, papaya – God knows, maybe even pineapple.
Once I established it was not available in my neck of woods, everything became simpler. Following the tips supplied in the NYT recipe, I bought guava juice drink. ‘Juice drink’ is that peculiar beverage that pretends to be healthy but admits it can’t be called just ‘juice’ because it’s made from concentrate and has a whack of sugar and preservatives added. That didn’t bother me – after all having been baked in the cake, even fresh guava wouldn’t remain raw and healthy. The key thing was to cook the juice down to make it usable, which also disappointingly dulled the vibrant pink colour somewhat.
Guava must be pretty gorgeous fresh as it smells like passion fruit and tastes like strawberry – I can’t imagine a lovelier fruity combination. I don’t know if they make their cakes with fresh guava in Hawaii but even the cooked down ‘juice drink’ imparted the fantastic flavour. Colour – not so much, hence the help of food colouring but obviously you can leave the cake pale and natural.
The frosting on the other hand – a complete deviation from the original recipe – is just lovely. Buttercream fluffed up with the guava concentrated juice, plus a few drops of the food colouring I couldn’t resist. Cream cheese frosting may well be more traditional (eh? Philadelphia? authentically Hawaiian?) but it’s so common it’s really quite boring, and buttercream looks more luscious over the cake.
So what is the whole thing like? A little squishy but very light; more dewy than angel food cake but lighter than sponge. Soft, tender – and wonderfully fragrant with guava. Aloha!