Ok, so I’ve been having dreams about guava. I mean, literally. I’ve been thinking about ways to use this delectable fruit, to the point of obsession.
Guava is just one of those fruits-sweet, tart, soft, firm…a scent that is undeniable and attributable only to itself. When cooking guava the entire house smells of it. Why isn’t there a guava scented air freshener? Hmm, maybe one needs to be created?
Air fresheners aside, I thought about guava and why I had never tasted a guava cake or any such delight. Sure, in Trinidad we have guava cheese– a sweet, firm treat made from guava syrup infused with various spices- and guava jam/jelly. These are both staples in Trinidad and in other parts of the region, but guava cake and other guava sweets just aren’t the popular. If you know of or have made guava flavored sweets please feel free to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about them!
It isn’t guava season here in Trinidad, but my family has a tree and we’re always freezing the ripe fruits in order to make juices, jams and ‘cheese’ so I was in luck when my thoughts happened upon creating a delicious guava cake.
At first I wanted to make cupcakes but the lack of cupcake trays sort of ruined that idea! I searched online for recipes that I could modify to create a guava cake and turned to one of my favorite people- the barefoot contessa-Ina Garten. I always trust her recipes and never second guess them because they always work. I chose her strawberry country cake as the jumping off point for my citrus cake. I swapped the sour cream for Greek yogurt and upped the lemon and added lime instead of orange and never bothered to use vanilla extract. My cake was a lemon/lime blend which I thought would both balance out as well as enhance the guava frosting. It worked!
I used 1 8-inch pan to make one cake and 2 12-cup mini cupcake trays to make 24 cute little mini cupcakes.
For the frosting/filling- really, the star of the cake- I spoke to a couple of professionals to get ideas and ultimately chose to do a sort of mix-up of many different ideas. I considered a mousse or a custard (which I will definitely try in the near future once the guavas reappear) but opted for a smooth butter cream instead. I loosely followed this recipe for a berry butter cream frosting and found it was very successful!
To top it off I decided to do some candied lime rind as my topping as the flavors spoke for themselves and really didn’t need any additions that might compete or subtract from their tart crispness. I didn’t cover my rinds with sugar-a step that is quite popular in many recipes- since I felt that 3/4 of a large bag of sugar was, well, sugar enough.
(Just as an aside-I can totally understand why many pastry chefs are skinny…after you see what goes into these little treats you might never sanely choose to eat them!)
This cake is perfect with tea/ coffee or on it’s own. The guava is bold and assertive, timidly supported by the fresh, clean tartness of lemons and limes. The odd guava seed that has found it’s way into the smooth, buttery frosting is a surprising textural delight.
This cake is a must for anyone who loves the taste and smell of guavas!
Ok, so I was fortunate enough to be given two boxes of David’s tea for my birthday- I am an avid tea drinker, I collect tea pots and all things tea, so this was a great gift!
I had never heard of DAVIDsTEA before, which evidently is a Canadian staple. The company started up in 2008 and has been enjoying wonderful success since then. The teas are beautiful and vibrant, mellow and relaxing- all at the same time! Apparently there are over 150 varieties of tea to be had at David’s tea locations found throughout Canada- I’m thrilled to have 24 in my 2 box sets, plenty for me to get started on!
I’m planning to try one tea each week so that I could fully appreciate the flavor and blends of these beautifully packaged teas, so this is sort of of a ‘part 1 of 24’ series.
What I can say so far is that I simply adore the packaging! The boxes are beautiful and the individual canisters filled with brightly colored, tangibly textured and distinctly perfumed teas are genuine keepsakes. I immediately thought of brewing the teas, drinking them and saving the canisters for some creative project or the other. I can’t wait to see what I come up with. For now though, I’m delighted to savor the flavor of these little unique blends.
With names like ‘forever nuts’, ‘pink flamingo’, ‘saigon chai’ and ‘happy kombucha’ I was enthralled!
My first taste came compliments of ‘saigon chai’ and let me tell you, I was not disappointed! I could smell the cardamom, clove and cinnamon immediately after opening the individually packaged blend, the bright pink peppercorns jumping out at me. The smell was familiar- those chai spices that I’ve grown to crave from time to time, especially when my mother visits. The saigon chai came in my ‘around the world’ box- an austere black box with beautiful dandelions imprinted in subtle lustre.
I brewed the recommended amount by the suggested method and time and sat quietly to enjoy the unique fusion of scents and tastes without the addition of milk or sugar- pure, straight, uncorrupted. The smell permeated our house- warm cinnamon intermingling with the spicy aroma of fiery pink peppercorns and familiar peppery ginger perfectly intertwined with assam tea. The tea felt rich, yet soothing, hot yet cooling. Needless to say, my first taste of DavidsTea was a pleasant, comforting and perfectly familiar experience. I look forward to sampling the other blends- don’t know if I’ll be able to try just one each week!