We recently had a very small, very informal family dinner with my mother’s cousins. Since all of us spent a good chunk of our lives living in and being influenced by Hawaii, we decided to focus our meal around local flavors. I was, of course, thrilled and in charge of our dessert!
One of my most beloved tropical fruits from the island is guava. Allow me to sound like Bubba from the movie Forrest Gump for a moment. Like shrimp being the fruit of the sea, guava is the fruit of Hawaii for me (watch out, Dr. Seuss!). There’s guava juice, guava bars, guava cookies, guava bread, guava chiffon cake…uh…you get my point. Out of all the guava based desserts to choose from, I decided to go with a cake since that is one of my personal weaknesses.
This chiffon dessert is a the product of melding a couple of recipes and slight tweaking to mimic what I remember from Hawaii. The cake turns out moist, yet firm enough to hold up in the guava cream mixture it is set in and has the most delightful scent when it is initially removed from the oven. The finished dessert has a refreshingly light guava flavor that is complemented by the layer of sweetened whipped cream.
My family was delighted by this cake and they said our dinner was truly like having local food at home in Hawaii. Since our themed feast was such a hit, we planned for additional dates in the future. I promised that I would bake my way through different local desserts – stay tuned!
Guava Chiffon Dessert
Adapted from Hawaii’s Own.com
Makes: 9×13-inch pan, Difficulty: Intermediate
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup guava nectar concentrate (Hawaii’s Own)
- 1/2 cup guava nectar juice (after reconstituting)
- 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups guava nectar concentrate
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
Cream sugar and butter with a stand or hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside.
Measure out 1 cup of the guava nectar concentrate and mix the remaining 4 ounces of concentrate with 12 ounces of water to make juice. Combine the 1 cup of guava nectar concentrate and 1/2 cup of guava juice. Add the dry ingredients and guava mixture alternately to the butter mixture until well blended. Add the red food coloring, if using, and stir.
The batter will be a little runny. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out cleanly. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a baking rack.
Once the cake is completely cooled, cut it into about 1-inch cubes and set aside in a large bowl.
Make the chiffon: Combine unflavored gelatin with 1/2 cup of cool water. Add in 1/2 cup of boiling water to gelatin mixture and stir well until the gelatin is dissolved. Add in guava nectar concentrate and stir until slightly thickened; set aside.
With a stand or hand mixer, beat the heavy cream and sugar on high-speed until peaks form. This can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes. Fold whipped cream into the guava nectar mixture, incorporating fully. With a spatula, gently fold in the cubes of guava cake. Pour the cake mixture into a 9×13-inch pan and gently press down, making the cake as level as possible.
Make the whipped cream: With a stand or hand mixer, beat the heavy cream and sugar on high-speed until peaks form. Once whipped cream is made, spoon onto the cake and level evenly with a spatula.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.