There is a Cuban bakery in my area that makes amazing guava and cream cheese pastries. The tang of cream cheese is a great contrast for the intense, fruity sweetness of the guava. It’s especially delicious when the two flavors are combined in a crisp, buttery pastry, as they are at the bakery, but they really are a winning combination no matter how you package them. This Guava and Cream Cheese Jelly Roll is a wonderful spring cake inspired by those Cuban pastries.
The cake is a simple sponge cake that features a filling made with guava jam and a lightly sweetened cream cheese mixture. The sponge itself is very easy to make, though you do need a jelly roll pan (10×15-inch sheet pan that is about 1/2-inch deep) to make it. Unlike some sponge cakes that require the eggs to be separated, this one uses whole eggs. Starting with whole eggs allows you to streamline the cake-making process a bit, which is nice when you’re cooking on a time line. The finished cake has a wonderfully light texture and is very easy to work with.
The sponge cake doesn’t need to bake for long before it is set. Once it comes out of the oven, you will need to work quickly to turn it out onto a (clean) dish towel almost immediately. The hot cake should then be rolled up and allowed to cool completely before you attempt to fill it. Believe it or not, the cake will cool evenly while it is rolled and it will be significantly easier to fill because it will hold that rolled shape very well. Once the cake is cool, you can simply unroll it, remove the dish towel and spread in your fillings.
The cream cheese filling is similar to cream cheese frosting, however I used a higher proportion of cream cheese to butter than I would in a frosting to maximize the cream cheese flavor. The guava jam I used is made from only guava puree, with no sugar or thickeners added. This is possible because guavas are so sweet on their own and I highly recommend using a brand that is as fruit-based as possible to get the best flavor and consistency in your filling. That said, there are quite a few flavorful guava jellies on the market and they will still get the job done in your jelly roll – you just might need to be a bit more generous when you spread on the jelly layer.
Guava and Cream Cheese Jelly Roll
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar together at high speed until mixture roughly triples in volume, 4-5 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. Sift in the flour mixture and fold it in by hand until the batter is even.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread gently into an even layer, making sure the batter goes into the corners of the pan, with a spatula.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and is golden in color.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake and let the cake cool for about 3-4 minutes in the pan. Place a clean dish towel over the pan, then invert the cake onto the dish towel. Peel off the parchment paper, then roll the cake (starting with a short side) and dish towel up into a spiral and allow cake to cool completely.
6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
approx 1 1/2 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup guava jam or paste
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla extract, salt and 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar. Gradually blend in additional confectioner’s sugar as needed to make a thick, spreadable frosting.
Unroll the cooled cake. Spread the interior of the roll with a thin layer of guava jam (if using, melt the guava paste in the microwave to soften it), then dollop the cream cheese filling on top of the jam and gently use a spatula or an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Leave a 1/2-inch gap at one of the short ends of the cake, so that the filling does not squeeze out when you roll it up.
Roll the cake back up, starting with the same short side that you led with when you rolled the cake with the towel.
Transfer cake to a serving platter and serve. Cake should be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator if not being served shortly after assembly.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if desired.