Monday, July 6, 2009

Guava Cupcakes

There are three reasons I decided to make guava cupcakes this week:

1) I love guavas. I realize that I am not a fresh fruit fan, but this fruit is an elite member of my "nice" list.

2) I found a can of guava shells in my cupboard.

3) I was channeling "vacation mode" in preparation for my trip to the Bahamas!

After what seemed to be a very long week at work, I have finally made it back home to Nassau, Bahamas, which is where I am currently writing this post.

Now it's time to drop some knowledge. For those of you who don't know what a guava is, here are some Cliff's Notes from Wikipedia:
"Guava fruit are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe. Guava fruit generally have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. Guava pulp may be sweet or sour, off-white to deep pink, with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, again depending on species."

I grew up with a guava tree in my backyard, so I always got a fresh taste of the fruit when it was in season. There's also a very popular Bahamian dessert called "Guava Duff", which would always provide a taste of guavas even when they weren't in season. Whenever my mom comes to visit me in the US, I attempt to coerce her into making some sort of Bahamian treat. The creation of a Guava Duff was actually the reason for having guava shells in the cupboard.

Since I had these little treats at my disposal and I was also not going to be making a Guava Duff anytime soon, I decided to make the next best thing: Cupcakes! After a little bit of thinking, I determined it would be best to convert a Guava Cake recipe into cupcake form, complete with chopped guava shells.

Guava Cupcakes
(makes ~30 cupcakes)
  • 2 sticks (16 tbsp) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 can guava shells, chopped
1) Cream the butter and sugar together.
2) Add the eggs, one by one.
3) Add the vanilla and milk.
4) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
5) Slowly, combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
6) Fold in the chopped guava shells.
7) Pour batter into cupcake liners. Fill cups 1/2 full with batter. (I discovered that if I filled the cupcake liners 2/3 full, they would "overflow" in the oven.)
8) Bake ~25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below).

Guava desserts (duff/cake/cupcakes) pair well with a sweet icing, so I made a cream cheese icing to spread on top of the cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Icing
  • 1 cup confectioners (icing) sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp guava syrup (from the canned Guava Shells)
1) Beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth.
2) Add the guava syrup and beat again until it is thoroughly mixed. Add more guava syrup if you want a thinner icing.
3) Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

You can also use 2tbsp whipping cream instead of the guava syrup if you like. I was trying to incorporate additional guava flavor into the cupcakes, so I used the syrup instead of the traditional whipping cream. I don't think it came out half bad. You can detect just the tiniest hint of guava flavor in the icing. If you want a little extra kick, you can also add a few tablespoons of rum, but keep in mind that the icing will become pretty runny with each additional liquid that is added.
I liked the guava cupcakes. It reminded me of a spice cake, but there was the definite guava flavor. In addition, the guava shells provided a sweet compliment to the savory cake. Alas, the chopped guava shells sank to the bottom of the cake again. I think I needed a thicker batter in which to suspend the guava shells. One of these days, I swear I'll figure out how to do this consistently...
Zoo thought they were yummy, especially because they were cold (aka, not warm). My roommate Kimmy liked the cake, but thought the icing was a bit too sweet.

Kimmy also bravely took some of the cupcakes to work for her coworkers. Fran said she loved the cake in the cupcake but wasn't crazy about the frosting. Mike, who didn't even know what a guava was, ate a whole cupcake and allegedly said, "Wow that's really good! Delicious!"

I believe these tropical cupcakes were a success overall. Although I wouldn't claim that the success was on par with other cupcakes I've made, I like to think I at least brought a taste of the islands to the Northeast. You know, for a minute or two.


  1. the recipe sounds great am gonna make them dis friday which is goin to b egug friday and by the way i ma from the bahamas n u should taste how we make something that's called guava duff... if u enjoy eating guava. <3 :)

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm actually from the Bahamas too and am already very well acquainted with Guava Duff :) It's delicious. Enjoy your cupcakes!

  2. Hi, Just wondering if the baking powder measurement is correct. Is it really 1.5 CUPS???

    1. Good catch! It's actually 1.5 TEASPOONS baking powder :)