Guava Roll (Bolo de Rolo)

This cake is a specialty of the city of Recife in northeastern Brazil. Very thin layers of delicate sponge cake are rolled around a filling of guava paste, and the cake is cut into slices crosswise so the layers are visible.

Serves: 20Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 20


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1⁄2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 12 oz. guava paste
  • 1⁄2 cup water


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-by-18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, and butter and lightly flour the parchment paper.
  • Beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and almond extract and beat until well mixed.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the flour and the salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the egg/sugar mixture. Gently fold in the flour mixture.
  • Use a spatula (an offset spatula works well for this) to spread about half of the batter into a 1⁄2-inch layer over the buttered parchment paper. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until cake is just done but not browned.
  • While the cake is baking, sprinkle a clean dishtowel with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Remove cake from oven, let cool briefly, then gently flip cake out of the pan and onto the sugared dishtowel. Carefully peel off the parchment paper.
  • Dice the guava paste into pieces and place it in a blender with the water. Blend for several seconds, then empty mixture into a saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring, then remove from heat and let cool.
  • Spread a thin layer of the cooled guava paste onto the cake. Roll cake up, starting with a short side and using the dishcloth to help. Set aside.
  • Make another thin cake layer with the remaining batter in the same manner. Spread the cake with guava paste and continue to roll the new cake onto the previous roll, enlarging it.
  • Slice the cake crosswise into thin slices and serve.