This delicious little guava cake was made famous (at least for me) by Carla's Sweets--a trendy bakery when I was growing up. I remember, as a kid, going to the mall and seeing these delicious cakes all lined up in the store window--they looked so delicious! So now I want to make them for you, to help spread that childhood feeling of delight.
15 oz guava paste
2 cups sugar
1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
½ tsp almond extract
4 cups of self rising flour
½ tsp salt
We are going to start by preparing the guava filling. Start by opening your guava paste and removing it from the packaging. Once it is out of the packaging, place it in a cutting board. Cut thin slices of the guava paste, about ⅛ of an inch thick. Place the pieces on a plate. We will need the full package so continue cutting until you finish the whole block of guava paste. Set it aside, at this time you can put it in the fridge or just leave it outside, whatever you prefer.
Now that the filling is ready, we are going to start working on the dough. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, we will begin by creaming the butter and sugar. Add the butter to the bowl, it is very important that you start with room temperature butter to make this process easier. Then, add sugar and mix on medium-high for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and mix again until the mixture is fluffy, approximately 2 more minutes.
With the butter and sugar ready, we are now going to add the eggs. Add one egg to the bowl and mix on medium until incorporated.
Continue adding the eggs, one at a time, while mixing on medium. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Next, add the almond extract and mix until incorporated.
Finally, we will add the flour to the mixture. We will do this in fourths. Add one fourth of the flour to the bowl and mix on low until just incorporated. Add the salt and mix. Then, add the second fourth of the flour and mix again on low until just incorporated.
Add the next fourth of the flour while mixing on low. Finally, add the last fourth of the flour to the bowl and mix on low. Be careful not to overmix as it will affect the consistency of the panetela. The mixture should be soft and fluffy.
With the dough and filling ready, we are now going to prepare the baking pan. We are using a 9 x 13 baking tray that is about three inches deep. Spray the bottom and sides of the baking pan generously. Then place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.
With the pan ready, scoop about half of the dough into the baking pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth it out, this helps ensure that the bottom layer of the panetela is straight.
Once the layer is even, we are going to add the filling. Place the slices of guava paste in the tray. We are placing them really close to each other to make sure that all of the pieces of the panetela have an equal amount of filling. Cut out the slices in smaller pieces as necessary to cover the full tray.
Finally, add the remaining half of the dough on top of the guava paste. Just as we did with the bottom layer, we are going to use an offset spatula to create an even layer. Move the spatula from side to side, until the top of the pan is completely covered.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Once the oven reaches 350 degrees, place the tray in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Let the tray cool completely until it reaches room temperature. Once it reaches room temperature, go ahead and cut the tray in squares about 2 inches by 2 inches. But feel free to cut your panetela differently if you prefer. I got about 20 squares from the tray.
Once cut, transfer your panetela to a serving tray and sprinkle it generously with powdered sugar.
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.