god bless betty shimabukuro. whenever i get a bee in my bonnet to make a hawaiian dish, i know i can usually turn to her food column, "by request", in the honolulu star bulletin, for a fairly reliable recipe. i've tried her recipe for ichigo daifuku, her anpan recipe, and a few others i eventually hope to write about.
so when i saw delicious sarah's photos of king's bakery's paradise cake, i knew i had to make one. i have never actually eaten the paradise cake, which is a fluffy soft confection of layered pink guava, orange-yellow lilikoi (passionfruit), and greeny lime chiffon cake covered in whipped cream; however, i've had more than enough encounters with leonard's and dee-lite bakery's guava, lilikoi, and lime chiffons. just not altogether. (why? i don't know.) so despite my sudden bitterness at misspent youth eating single layers of sheet cake (whyyyyy? i could've had it all!), i knew exactly what i was looking for in terms of taste and texture, and i knew i could turn to betty for the recipe.
she did not disappoint. her recipe for guava chiffon cake is the kind of fluffy, silky soft chiffon with delicate taste that is almost hawaiian bakery perfect. to make the other layers, i simply switched out the frozen guava juice concentrate with same amounts of frozen lime and lilikoi juice concentrate. the lilikoi layer was fine as is, but i added the zest and juice of one fresh lime, and a few drops of green food colouring for the lime layer. i wish i had something to add to the guava layer, as it just wasn't as flavourful as the other layers (has anyone ever seen a guava extract anywhere?). maybe next time i'll brush the cake with some guava jelly, but it really was sweet enough as it was.
i used a stabilized whipped cream for the frosting. i am not very good at making stabilized whipped creams. it is basically a combination of unflavoured gelatin and whipped cream that should hold up better in warmer weather or at room temperature than regular whipped cream, but i cannot get the proportions right--it either comes out too soft or almost marshmallow bouncy. this recipe is the one i prefer the most, but i am still tweaking the proportions to get it perfect for our island humidity. still, i'm closing in on it.
the only thing that really disappointed me about the cake was the colours; they aren't anywhere as lurid as the king's bakery version. i do think it is a rather pretty cake, all pastelly and springish, but i don't really associate these colours with the islands. when i think of the islands, i think of bombastic blues, garish greens, shocking pinks, and iris-burning reds.
oh well. i guess i'll just leave those colours to nature.