Guava Swiss Roll

published Dec 23, 2021
Guava Swiss Roll Recipe

At its core, a guava swiss roll is a soft sponge cake filled with a sugary guava jelly and dusted in powdered sugar or coated with cream.

Serves6 to 8

Prep35 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Guava Swiss Roll
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni
Guava Swiss Roll

Many bakeries or panaderiás across Latin America offer rolled cakes filled with creams, chocolates, and fruit jams year-round. Around Christmastime, my favorite version arrives: a tropical rolled sponge cake with a guava filling. Often called brazo gitano (gypsy’s arm) or brazo egipcio (Egyptian’s arm), its origins are murky, although some believe a monk brought the recipe from Egypt to Spain.

At its core, a guava swiss roll is a soft sponge cake filled with a sugary guava jelly and dusted in powdered sugar or coated with cream. It’s light, airy, and tropically sweet — a surefire hit at any holiday gathering.

Variations of the Guava Swiss Roll

While this recipe calls for guava paste, you can start with guava jelly if that’s what’s available to you. Guava jelly is much looser and more spreadable, so it can be spread onto the sponge cake straight from the jar — no need to heat it up.

Some versions of this swiss roll also feature a swipe of plain or sweetened cream cheese frosting in addition to the guava filling. If you’d like to add this, spread it onto the cake before the guava. I suggest using whipped cream cheese for ease of spreading, or you can whip a bar of cream cheese using an electric mixer.

What’s the Best Pan for a Guava Swiss Roll?

Because not every home baker has a jelly roll pan on hand, this Swiss roll is baked in a 13×18-inch baking sheet. To make sure the cake doesn’t stick, you’ll butter the bottom of the pan, line it with parchment paper, then butter the parchment.

3 Tips for the Best Guava Swiss Roll

  1. Be gentle with the batter: Over-mixing the batter can lead to a gummy cake, and also cause it to deflate. Mix just until the batter is combined and fluffy.
  2. Watch it closely in the oven: An overbaked Swiss roll is more likely to crack when rolled. Pull it out of the oven when it’s light golden-brown, springs back when gently pressed, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Then, use a damp kitchen towel to help roll it up, which will help the cake retain moisture.
  3. Freeze it! If you’re looking to make this cake in advance, you freeze the baked cake for up to 2 months, then thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Guava Swiss Roll Recipe

At its core, a guava swiss roll is a soft sponge cake filled with a sugary guava jelly and dusted in powdered sugar or coated with cream.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 5

    large eggs

  • 1

    medium orange, lemon, or lime

  • 2/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose or cake flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 3 tablespoons

    powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

  • 21 ounces

    guava paste

  • 3/4 cup

    water

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. Coat a rimmed 13x18-inch baking sheet (half sheet pan) with 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter. Coat a sheet of parchment paper the same size as the baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter, then place butter-side up on the baking sheet.

  2. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop.

  3. Separate 5 large eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer, and the yolks in a second large bowl. Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.

  4. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium orange, lemon, or lime until you have 1 teaspoon zest. Juice the fruit until you have 2 tablespoons juice. Add the zest, juice, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the egg yolks and whisk until pale yellow. Add 1 cup all-purpose or cake flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and whisk until well-combined. Add the melted butter and whisk until just combined.

  5. Add the egg whites into the flour mixture in a few increments, folding with a flexible spatula between each addition, until just combined and fluffy. Do not overmix or fold. Transfer to the baking sheet and spread into an even layer.

  6. Bake until the cake is light golden-brown, springs back when gently pressed with a finger, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes.

  7. Let the cake cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Trim any crispy or jagged edges of the cake with a knife while it is still on the baking sheet.

  8. Dampen a clean, lint-free kitchen towel. Dust the towel with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Flip the cake out onto the towel and carefully peel off the parchment. Starting with a shorter side, roll the cake, including the towel, tightly into a roll. Position seam-side down and let cool to room temperature.

  9. Meanwhile, place 21 ounces guava paste and 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until guava paste is warmed, smooth, and thick, 8 to 10 minutes.

  10. Remove 2 tablespoons of the guava mixture and set aside for brushing. Gently unroll the cake. Spread the remaining guava mixture evenly onto the cake, leaving a 1-inch border all around.

  11. Re-roll the cake, this time without the towel. Place seam-side down on a serving platter. Brush a thin layer of the reserved guava mixture over the outside of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Trim off the ends and dust with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before slicing and serving.