|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 10 to 12|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||15%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||21%|
|Total Carbohydrate 32g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 16g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||8%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
It's said that a monk brought the recipe for brazo gitano (gypsy arm) from Egypt to Spain, but it's more likely its name comes from the leftover cake trimmings gypsies used to drape over their arms as part of the payment they received when selling their merchandise in bakeries across Catalonia.
This dessert has many variations, but they all follow the same method of assembly; a soft sponge cake filled with a sugary jelly and/or cream and dusted with confectioners' sugar or coated with cream. In some countries, it takes the name brazo de reina (queen's arm) which is filled with fresh fruit and cream, or pionono, with dulce de leche (dark milk caramel). A yule log is a very European, chocolate-heavy variation.
Guava is a common fruit in the Caribbean and in Central and South America, and so cheap you can buy it in large amounts. Because it goes bad fairly fast, it's made shelf-stable and delicious by cooking it into a paste. Some cultures eat it with queso fresco for a quick dessert, and others incorporate it into tarts and cakes like in our decadent Puerto Rican Brazo Gitano.
"The guava Swiss roll was very good. The cake is mostly egg for structure, so fold gently and spread it in the pan quickly to avoid deflating the batter. Also, avoid rolling it too tightly. The guava filling makes it a flavorful dessert and the cake is not overly sweet. " —Diana Rattray
For the Cake:
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, for the pan
6 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
6 tablespoons (68 grams) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (47 grams) all-purpose flour, or cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, more as needed
For the Guava Filling:
17 1/2 ounces guava paste
1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
To Make the Cake:
Gather the ingredients.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 F.
Grease a jellyroll pan or half-sheet pan with butter and line it with parchment paper. Grease the top of the parchment paper.
In a large bowl, use an electric beater set on medium speed to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Add the sugar to the egg whites one tablespoon at a time while increasing the beater speed. Continue to beat the mixture until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, use an electric beater set on medium speed to beat the egg yolks until light yellow and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
In another medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the egg yolks into the egg whites. Gently fold in the dry ingredients. Lastly, fold in the vanilla extract.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out evenly with an offset spatula.
Bake until golden, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly dampen a clean kitchen towel to roll the cake in. The towel should be slightly larger than the cake.
Let the cake to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. It should still be slightly warm to roll easily.
Trim all the crispy ends of the sponge.
Dust the damp towel with confectioners' sugar. Turn the cake upside down onto the prepared towel. Gently peel off and discard the parchment paper.
Starting with a short side, roll the cake up in the towel away from you (the towel will be rolled up with the cake). Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the fillling.
To Make the Guava Filling:
Gather the ingredients.
Add the guava paste, juice, and zest to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and spreadable.
Gently unroll the cake. Evenly spread the filling over the cake.
Roll up the cake, using the towel as an aid to push the sponge forward. Because the cake is pre-rolled, this step is fairly easy because the cake will fall back into the rolled position. Place the seam side of the cake down. If necessary, trim off the ends to make the inner swirl more visible.
Place the roll, seam-side down, on a serving platter and garnish with more confectioners' sugar. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Look for guava paste in the Hispanic or Caribbean aisle of your grocery store.
- Fold the ingredients into the batter gently until just combined. Spread it in the pan quickly to avoid deflating. If you overmix or aren't gentle enough, the cake will come out of the oven flat, having lost all its air.
- Roll the cake up in the towel while it is still hot. When the cake is cooled, unrolled, and filled it will be easy to reroll.
- Use a jelly roll pan or larger half-sheet pan (about 17.5 x 12.5 inches) for the cake. A smaller jelly roll pan (about 15.5 x 10.5 inches) will work as well but may take 1 or 2 minutes longer to bake.
- Use lemon juice and zest as substitutes for the orange citrus flavors that are suggested. Grapefruit is too tart and could have a bitter aftertaste when cooked in the sponge.
- Add a thin layer of whipped cream (about 1 cup) to the guava layer and then roll up gently.
- Guava jelly may be used instead of the guava paste. Combine about 1 to 1/2 cups of guava jelly with the orange zest and spread it over the cake.
- Swap out the vanilla in the cake with 1 teaspoon of almond flavoring.
How to Store a Guava Swiss Roll
Cover the cake or wrap it and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Re-dust the cake with confectioners' sugar before serving, if desired.