The day I was featured on a magazine – Guava Roll Cake (Bolo de Rolo)
Yes, people, I was featured on a very important food/wine Brazilian magazine! It all happened because the columnist Marcelo Katsuki couldn’t find any Oreos around to buy, and they happen to be his favorite cookies… Of course I felt sorry for him (of all people, I can’t imagine living without my favorite cookies), so I sent him a tin of homemade Oreos. He must have liked them, because next I know here I am in the november issue of magazine Prazeres da Mesa:
The thing is, after the magazine was shown to everybody I know, including the news stand guy and the doorman in my building, I read the magazine cover to cover, and it is a GREAT issue. The photos are fantastic, several great recipes and even an interview with Heston Blumenthal (see, Heston? We are magazine mates!).
But the story that really caught my attention was a beautifully written article about traditional northeastern (Pernambuco) Brazilian cakes. These cakes and sweets are so special they were even matter of important sociological studies. There’s this one recipe, though, that is my all time favorite: the guava roll cake.
If you’ve never heard of it, let me try to explain: 13 layers of very thin buttery batter, baked very quickly, rolled with a Port wine and guava jam filling, served in very thin slices. For me, it’s one of the most delicate and gorgeous Brazilian sweets, and SO delicious you would become addicted to it.
It’s not an easy cake to put together, the one pictured here was my third attempt, and it’s not perfect. But I’m very happy with the results because it had a taste of victory for me.
Guava Roll Cake/ Bolo de Rolo (adapted from Prazeres da Mesa magazine, November/2009)
Observations from someone who spent twi entire afternoons throwing fails away:
- The trickiest part of this is releasing the delicate layers from the baking sheets.
- Although the original recipe asks for a large baking sheet to bake the cake layers, I found it easier to deal with smaller pans, so I ended up with two smaller cakes (one of them filled with dulce de leche).
- As my friend Renato says, it’s crafty but not impossible to make this recipe. Just choose a day you are up for a challenge.
- If everything goes wrong, and you decide to throw the (kitchen) towel, just make little mounds (a teaspoon or two) of the batter on a baking sheet, well spaced, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes – you gonna have delicious cookies (you can fill them with guava jam…)
- It’s in Portuguese, but the blog Rainhas do Lar, has a great tutorial with pictures that might be useful.
- If you can’t find guava jam, you can substitute with any other jam, strained or processed.
Ingredients (for one 1,5 kg cake) – for measurement conversion, please check the calculator at the right side bar
For the guava filling
- 2 cups guava jam, or 1 tin of goiabada
- 3 tbsps Port wine
For the batter
- 250 g sugar
- 250 g butter
- 4 eggs
- 250 g all-purpose flour
Make the filling
In a bowl, mix the jam and the wine until smooth. If using goiabada, cut in little cubes and cook in a small pan with 1/4 cup water until it melts and gets liquid. Add the wine, stir and let cool before using.
Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with butter or cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Grease or spray the paper again.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Place a clean kitchen cloth in a work surface and sprinkle generously with sugar. Reserve.
In the electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition, about one minute. Add the flour and beat only until smooth.
With an offset spatula, spread a very thin layer of batter on the baking sheet. Make it the thinnest you can, but be careful it’s so thin you can see the bottom of the baking sheet.
This is a tricky part: bake for 3 to 5 minutes only. You want a baked but not golden or dry cake layer, otherwise it will not be flexible enough to roll without breaking.
After many lost layers, I found that its easier to release the layer if you let it rest for a minute or two in the pan. Turn the pan on the prepared cloth and peel the parchment carefully. Spread a very thin layer of guava filling and using the cloth, roll the cake.
Now… you do that all over again! Place a new parchment on the baking sheet, spread the batter, bake and unmold.
After spreading the filling, put the already rolled cake over the new layer and roll again. Repeat this process until you finish the batter.
Wrap finished cake in parchment paper, close the ends like a candy and let it rest in the refrigerator for one day. Trim the ends and serve at room temperature in thin slices.