Hawaiian Guava Chiffon Cake History and Recipe

The Guava Chiffon Cake can be called a fusion dessert that combines the classic California Chiffon Cake with the Hawaiian Island’s favorite fruit of guava.  Guava Chiffon Cake is a favorite in the Hawaiian Island, and there are many lively debates held as to which baker on which Hawaiian island makes the best cake.  It is such a popular cake with the bakeries that customers often have to call ahead to reserve one.

A Hawaiian, Herbert Matsuba, who owned the Dee Lite Bakery, first created this cake in the early 1960s. He created the cake with the idea of incorporating Hawaiian flavors into a baked item, as he wanted a new cake that would set his new bakery apart from all the others in Hawaii.  He started with a basic chiffon cake and added the guava (the guava fruit is well known in Hawaii and available in juices, jams, and as a flavoring for cakes and cookies).  The popularity of the Guava Chiffon Cake soon spread by word of mouth and became a local favorite.  Herbert Matsuba retired in 1990, and sold his bakery chain.

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Guava Chiffon Cake



Hawaiian Guava Chiffon Cake Recipe:
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

As the bakeries of Hawaii guard their personal recipes of this delicious cake, I had to try to recreate it. After several attempts, I feel this cake can compete with the popular Guava Chiffon Cake of Hawaii. I admit that this cake takes a little extra work to make, but it is well worth the time and effort. This recipe is from my cookbook, I’ll Have What They’re Having – Legendary Local Cuisine, by Linda Stradley.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: Hawaiian Guava Chiffon Cake History and Recipe
Servings: 16 servings
Guava Chiffon Cake:
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (granulated), divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
  • 5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 2 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 8 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Guava Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  • 1/2 cup frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
Guava Topping:
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
Guava Chiffon Cake Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Position oven rack in center of oven.  Cover wire cooling racks with plast wrap.

  2. In an extra-large bowl of your electric mixer, sift together the cake flour, 3/4 sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add vegetable oil, guava juice concentrate, beaten egg yolks, and food coloring (if desired).  Beat at medium speed approximately 1 to 2 minutes or just until smooth; remove bowl and set aside.

  3. NOTE: Wash and dry your beaters before proceeding below with the egg whites.

  4. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form; add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the prepared cake mixture into the egg white mixture until just barely mixed.  Gently fold in the remaining cake mixture just until incorporated.  Do not over mix.

  6. Pour the cake batter into two (2) round, ungreased cake pans (filled to the top); smooth top with a rubber spatula.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  NOTE: To prevent the cake from falling, do not open the oven door until near the end of the minimum baking time.  Remove from oven when done and immediately invert the cakes onto the prepared wire racks to cool completely (cool with pan in place - do not remove cake from cake pans).

  7. When the cakes are cool, gently remove from the pans.  Place cakes in the refrigerator until well chilled.

  8. Prepare Guava Frosting.  Prepare Guava Topping just before you are ready to complete the cake.

  9. When the cake is well chilled, remove from the refrigerator.  Place one (1) cake layer onto a cake plate and spread top with 1/2 of the lukewarm Guava Topping.  Top with the remaining cake layer.  NOTE: To keep cake from sliding to one side, insert a long wooden skewer into the middle and all the way to the bottom.  Spread Guava Frosting on sides and top of the cake.  Spread the remaining Guava Topping on top of the cake.

  10. Store cake in the refrigerator until serving time.

  11. Makes 1 large cake, approximately 16 servings.

Guava Frosting Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form.  Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.  Fold in guava juice concentrate, blending well.  Store in refrigerator until read to spread on the cake.

Guava Topping Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until cornstarch is dissolved.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring place guava juice concentrate just to a boil; reduce heat to low.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir until mixture thickens to a sauce-like consistency.  Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm before spreading on the cake.

Source:  Photo by Deun Sensui of the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper, January 2000.



Cake    Far West    Food History    Guava    Hawaiian Food History    Hawaiian Recipes   

Comments and Reviews

4 Responses to “Hawaiian Guava Chiffon Cake History and Recipe”

  1. Natalie

    Terrific outcome! Very tender light cake, not too sweet and delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  2. Marina D Salas

    What is the best brand guava concentrate for an authentic fkavir

  3. Jodie Brown

    What can we substitute if we don’t have guava concentrate juice?

  4. Shar

    What size round cake pans?


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