There are few things in life more satisfying than baking the perfect layered cake: Climbing a mountain. Cold beer on a hot day. The fact that I have not been able to master the perfect layered cake is not so much a bane, but a blindfolded chase… like a game of marco polo where I am flapping my spatula wildly at no one in particular. Of course, I could just go to pastry school or try what I am sure is a “fool-proof” recipe from Alton Brown.
I’ll have none of that, thank you very much. No, instead I had my sights set on the famed Guava Chiffon Cake from Dee Lite Bakery in Hawaii. It’s a ridiculously girly cake with light-as-air pink guava infused chiffon layers, whipped cream frosting and a generous slathering of guava topping. Dee Lite’s recipe has been kept under lock and key since 1959, so even my advanced internet scouring turned up nothing but botched attempts and recipes with a clear thumbs down.
I decided to frankenstein three recipes together: 1) modified Filipino Pandan Chiffon Cake recipe, 2) Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing recipe, and 3) Guava Gel recipe. I baked the cakes in two 8″ rounds, frosted the middle with both whipped cream and guava gel, then frosted the exterior with more whipped cream and the rest of the guava gel topping.
We blazed up the cake for Bubby’s birthday. And yes, I served it on a pizza stone with wax paper on top. Someone remarked that it looked like a giant spicy tuna roll.
The verdict: Great guava flavor, light and airy frosting (didn’t melt!), but the cake was a bit more dense than the original at Dee Lite. I also probably could have tried a little harder on the presentation front and trimmed the brown off the cakes before stacking, plus a piping kit would have been nice! In sum, I’d give myself a spatula on the back for this attempt, but the quest to bake the perfect layered cake will continue on.
guava chiffon cake
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 1/3 cups cake flour, unsifted
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 5 egg yolks
* 2 eggs
* 3/4 cup guava juice concentrate, thawed, undiluted
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2-3 drops red food coloring
* 5 egg whites
* 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Adjust rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in 5 egg yolks, 2 whole eggs, guava juice, oil and vanilla extract until the batter is just smooth.
In a standing mixer, beat egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until the whites are very thick and stiff, just short of dry, 5 to 7 minutes.
With large rubber spatula, fold a third of the whites into the batter until no streaks remain. Fold in the rest of the whites.
Pour the batter into two ungreased 8″ round pans lined with parchment paper. Tap the pan against the counter five times to break up any air pockets.
Bake in a 325F oven for Bake 35-40 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Immediately turn the cake upside down to cool. Let cake hang until completely cold, about 2 hours.
To unmold, turn pan upright. Run frosting spatula or thin knife around pan’s circumference between cake and pan wall, always pressing against the pan.
stabilized whipped cream icing
* 2 teaspoons gelatin
* 4 teaspoons cold water
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chill mixing bowl and beaters for at least 15 minutes before using. Place water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and allow to soften 5 minutes.
Dissolve gelatin by microwaving for 2 minutes, stirring after every minute. Remove from microwave and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes; gelatin must be liquid but not warm when added to cream.
Remove bowl and beaters from refrigerator and pour in cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat together just until beater marks begin to show distinctly.
Add gelatin mixture to cream, pouring in a steady stream while beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
* 2 C Guava juice
* 1/2 C Sugar
* 1/4 C Cornstarch
In a medium sauce pan, bring the 2 cups guava juice and sugar to a boil. Make a paste out of the cornstarch and a small amount of water. Remove guava juice from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return to heat and bring back to a boil and boil for one minute. Cool in refrigerator.