Simone Appetit: Dream-a-little guava cake
I am originally from the islands, and every year, without fail, come February, I find myself either booking a ticket to Honolulu or making a guava cake.
There is just something about the exotic sweetness of this cake that instantly transports me back to my youth in Hawaii — though a week at the Four Seasons Huala’lai really does it better.
Recently, I have come to the conclusion that if I bake this cake in the summer instead of waiting until the dead of winter, perhaps I will open myself (and my budget) up to the manifestation of a blessed trip to Hawaii when I most need it. Again, February though March will be OK, travel Gods.
In the meantime, I will be enjoying my guava cake from a lake-side dock, knowing, in my heart, I will be enjoying a second one beach-side once the snow hits.
Ingredients for the cake:
1 box white cake mix
1 1/3 cups guava nectar (I like Kerns brand)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Dash red food coloring to desired color (I went with light pink)
Ingredients for cream cheese topping:
8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbls. sugar
8 oz. Whipping cream
Ingredients for guava gel topping:
2 cups guava nectar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
dash of red food coloring to desired color
1 tbls. slated butter
Guava Gel: Prepare the guava gel while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees. Make a thick liquid out of the cornstarch and a small amount of water, approximately 3 tablespoons or more if needed. In a medium sauce pan bring guava juice and sugar to a boil then remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch paste. Return to heat and bring back to a boil. Boil for one minute stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add butter and stir to combine. Cool on the counter while cake is baking, then in the fridge. Once cooled, stir in red food coloring until gel is the color you desire.
Cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cake according to package directions. Stir in food coloring until it’s the color you want. Bake in a 9×13 pan according to package directions.
Cream Cheese Topping: In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until thickened, add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks; do not overbeat. With a spatula, slowly fold in the whipped cream to the cream cheese. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembly: Thickly ice the cake with the cream cheese mixture. Microwave the guava gel for about 5-10 seconds to soften, then pour on top of the cream cheese mixture and spread evenly, being careful not to mix it into the cream cheese icing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.