guava cake with pink buttercream frosting
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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!
guava cake with pink buttercream frostingServings: 16Time: 2 hours
- For the cake:
- 1l carton of guava juice (or 160ml guava concentrate)
- 213g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 76g unsalted butter, softened
- 120g caster sugar
- 4 egg whites (120g)
- 40ml vegetable oil
- 160ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 drops of red food colouring (optional)
- For the frosting:
- 100g unsalted butter
- 140g icing sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 40ml concentrated guava juice
- 2 drops of red food colouring (optional)
1. To reduce the guava juice, bring it to the boil in a large saucepan and boil rapidly over high heat until it reduces by half; about 40 minutes. Leave it to cool, then measure out the 160ml for the cake and 40ml for the frosting.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line a square 23cm tin with parchment.
3. Stir the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl or the bowl of the standing mixer beat the butter with sugar until fluffy. Add the egg whites, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat for 3-4 minutes until well combined, smooth and creamy. Beat in the oil.
4. Stir the milk and reduced guava juice in a jug, add the food colouring if using. On medium speed, add the flour mix and the liquid ingredients to the butter mix in three or four goes. Continue beating for a minute until smooth.
5. Pour the cake batter to the prepared tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Remove cake from the tin but leave it in the parchment and cool completely on a wire rack.
6. To make the frosting, melt the butter in a small pan. Pour it into a bowl with icing sugar and salt, and stir to combine. The butter will look like it’s separated and the sugar will look curdled but that’s okay.
7. Using a handheld mixer or a standing mixer with the paddle attachment beat the frosting at high speed for about 5 minutes until smooth and starts to look like buttercream. Beat in the vanilla, lower the speed and slowly add the concentrated guava juice with the red food colouring, if using.
8. Spoon the frosting over the cooled cake and smooth with a palette knife.