Spanish Cake Roll (Brazo Gitano) is a rolled sponge cake filled with a jelly, paste or cream and then dusted with powdered sugar. Guava is the traditional choice of fruit for the Brazo Gitano filling in Puerto Rico. The English term for Brazo Gitano is Gypsy’s Arm.
Mr. Enrique Franco brought this dessert from Spain. In the 1850’s, he started his own Spanish Cake Roll (Brazo Gitano) manufacturing company in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. I had the opportunity to visit Franco’s original Brazo Gitano store this Spring in Mayaguez.
Since this recipe makes 2 cake rolls, let’s start by greasing 2 jelly roll pans.
Greasing 2 Jelly Roll Pans for the Spanish Cake Roll!
Using a pastry brush, grease 2 jelly roll pans, measuring 8.5 by 12 inches, with soft margarine made with extra virgin olive oil. However, you can also use unsalted butter if you prefer. Make sure you spread the margarine at the bottom and sides of the pan.
Line the pan with parchment paper that has been cut to size.
Also spread olive oil margarine on top of parchment paper.
You will need to grease two jelly roll pans since this recipe will make 2 cake rolls.
Cutting the Guava Paste!
The guava paste that I use for the filling is the canned “Goya” brand that weighs 1 lb. 5 oz. Furthermore, the margarine made with extra virgin olive oil for greasing the pans is the “Smart Balance” brand. However, you can purchase the brand of your preference for these food items.
Cut the guava paste into quarters once it is removed from can.
Lastly, cut each quarter of guava paste into small chunks or cubes. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Squeezing the Lemons!
Based on the size of my lemon squeezer, I cut 1 whole lemon into 8 sections.
Place the cut side of lemon inside the lemon squeezer and then press down until juice is released. The lemon juice should measure approximately ⅓ cup. Continue this process for the remaining lemon sections.
NOTE: You can purchase the lemon juice if you prefer.
Mixing the Dry Ingredients!
In a bowl, add ½ cup of all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of lite salt. With a whisk, mix all the ingredients until well blended and set aside.
Separating the Egg Whites and Egg Yolks!
Once the eggs are at room temperature, separate the egg yolks and egg whites from each egg and place in separate bowls.
NOTE: The egg whites will have a greater volume at room temperature when you whip the egg whites.
Beating the Egg Yolks and Egg Whites!
First, place the 6 egg yolks into a mixing bowl. With a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks at low speed until the yolks have a pale-yellow color and a creamy texture. Set bowl aside.
Secondly, add the egg whites into a large mixing bowl.
With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until a foamy texture is formed.
The egg whites have a foamy texture.
Thirdly, gradually add the ½ cup of the sugar in small amounts.
Continue beating at medium speed. Repeat this process until all the sugar has been added to the egg whites in small amounts.
Lastly, increase the speed to medium high after adding all the sugar. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.
The egg whites have stiff peaks.
Folding in the Remaining Ingredients!
The next step is to fold in the beaten egg yolks. Pour a small amount around the inside edge of mixing bowl.
Insert rubber spatula to the bottom of bowl.
Gently fold over to the top center. This will definitely prevent the egg whites from deflating. Furthermore, you can rotate the bowl to make it easier to fold the ingredients. Continue the process until the beaten egg yolks are fully incorporated.
After incorporating the beaten egg yolks, the next step is to sift the flour mixture, using a strainer.
The flour mixture is sifted.
Gently fold in sifted flour mixture in the same manner as the beaten egg yolks.
The cake batter is looking great! The last step is to pour 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract around the inside edges of mixing bowl and gently fold into cake batter.
We just completed preparing the cake batter.
Adding the Sponge Cake Batter into Pans!
Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour one half of cake batter into greased pan and spread evenly on top and to all the corners with an icing spreader. Continue this process for the other pan.
Both pans are ready to be placed in the oven. Bake at 375°F for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
After 15 minutes of baking, both sponge cake rolls are ready and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and slightly cool.
Preparing the Guava Filling!
In a food processor, add the chunks of guava paste and ⅓ cup of the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Cover food processor with lid and mix the ingredients at medium speed until a smooth consistency is formed.
NOTE: You can prepare the guava filling while the sponge cakes are baking.
After 2 minutes of mixing, check the guava paste. The guava filling is nice and creamy. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Rolling the Sponge Cake Roll!
Before we can roll the cake, place a towel on countertop and dampen towel with a spray water bottle. Dust with powdered sugar. This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel. Repeat this process with another towel.
The next step is to run a butter knife around the edges to separate the sponge cake from the sides of pan.
The sponge cake is still warm so let’s invert onto the damp towel.
Carefully peel parchment paper and discard. Complete this process for the other sponge cake.
Roll each sponge cake gently with the damp towel, starting with the short end.
Continue rolling the sponge cake with towel.
When the sponge cake is rolled entirely with towel, completely cool the cake roll at room temperature. This will avoid any cracks from forming on cake when rolled.
NOTE: Cool cake roll for approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
Spreading the Guava Filling on the Spanish Cake Roll!
Once the cake rolls are completely cooled, gently unroll each one.
Place several spoonsful of guava filling on top. Spread the guava filling evenly with an icing spreader. Leave approximately ¼-inch border along the sides of sponge cake.
After spreading the guava filling, let’s reroll both sponge cakes without the towels.
Place the cake roll with the seam-side down before covering with plastic wrap.
Cover the cake rolls completely with plastic wrap. Place immediately in the refrigerator with seam-side down to chill for at least 1 hour before serving. As a result, this will prevent the guava filling from coming out of the cake rolls when you cut into it.
After chilling for 1 hour, unwrap and then dust each Brazo Gitano with powdered sugar until it is covered to your liking.
Trim off both ends before serving. Repeat this process for the other Spanish Cake Roll (Brazo Gitano).
Spanish Cake Roll (Brazo Gitano)!
We just finished preparing 2 traditional Spanish Cake Rolls (Brazos Gitanos). They are very light and also spongy. Furthermore, when you add a fruit and/or cream filling, it will provide another layer of texture and flavor. ¡Que Rico!
NOTE: Each cake roll measures approximately 7-inches long after trimming off the ends. Therefore, one Spanish Cake Roll (Brazo Gitano) will yield at least 6 slices.
Click on the button below to watch my YouTube Video on How to Prepare Brazo Gitano (Spanish Cake Roll)!
Recipe and Nutritional Facts!
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.Print
Spanish Cake Roll (Brazo Gitano) is a rolled sponge cake filled with a jelly, paste or cream and then dusted with powdered sugar. Guava is the traditional choice of fruit for the Brazo Gitano filling in Puerto Rico.
- Guava Paste (approximately 1 lb.), cut into cubes
- 6 large eggs at room temperature, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon lite salt
- 1 large lemon, cut into 8 equal sections
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 Jelly roll pans, measuring 8.5 X 12 inches, greased with olive oil margarine
- Parchment paper cut to size to fit inside jelly roll pans
- 2 damp towels, use a spray water bottle to damp the towels
Margarine made with olive oil or unsalted butter to grease jelly roll pans. Powdered sugar to dust on top of towels and Spanish cake rolls (Brazo Gitano).
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Grease 2 Jelly roll pans. Place parchment inside each pan and also grease parchment paper.
- Squeeze lemon sections to yield ⅓ cup of lemon juice, using a lemon squeezer.
- In a bowl, add the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and salt.
Making the Cake Batter:
- With a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks at low speed until a pale-yellow creamy texture is formed.
- Beat the egg whites at medium speed until a foamy texture is formed.
- Gradually add ½ cup of sugar in small amounts at medium speed. Continue this process until all the sugar has been added to the egg whites.
- After adding all the sugar, increase the speed to medium high until stiff peaks are formed.
- Add small amounts of the beaten egg yolks around the inside edge of bowl. Insert rubber spatula to the bottom of bowl and gently fold over to the top center. Continue this process until beaten egg yolks are fully incorporated.
- Using a strainer, sift the flour mixture on top of egg mixture and gently fold.
- Pour vanilla extract around the inside edges of mixing bowl and then gently fold into cake batter.
Spreading and Baking the Cake Batter:
- Place one half of cake batter on top of each greased pan. Spread evenly on top and to all the corners with an icing spreader.
- Bake both pans at 375°F for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Remove baked sponge cakes from oven and slightly cool.
Preparing the Guava Filling:
- In a food processor, add the chunks of guava paste and ⅓ cup lemon juice.
- Mix the ingredients at medium speed until a smooth consistency is formed.
Rolling and Spreading Guava Filling:
- Run a knife around the inside edge of each pan.
- Place damp towels on countertop and dust with powdered sugar.
- Invert each pan onto damp towels and then carefully peel parchment paper and discard.
- Roll each sponge cake with damp towel, starting with the short end. Completely cool at room temperature.
- Unroll each sponge cake once completely cooled. Place several spoonsful of guava filling on top and then spread with an icing spreader.
- Leave approximately ¼-inch border along the sides of sponge cake.
- Reroll each sponge cake without the damp towels.
- Wrap each one with plastic wrap and refrigerate seam-side down to chill for at least 1 hour.
- Unwrap each sponge cake and then dust with powdered sugar. Trim off both ends before serving.
Too much guava filling on top of each sponge cake will prevent it from containing inside the cake roll especially when it is cut into slices.
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Keywords: brazo gitano, sponge roll cake, jelly roll cake