For a long time the Pernambucan sweet known as “bolo de rolo” was mostly eaten by the sugar barons and heads of government. It was only later that it trickled down to the common people.
Its origin lies in the adaptation of a Portuguese cake colchão de noiva (bride’s mattress), a kind of sponge cake rolled with a filling of nuts. Upon arriving in Brazil, the Portuguese began to change the filling by using the plentiful guava fruit in northeastern Brazil and dosing it with sugar from the factories in the region. Even today it is common to sprinkle the bolo de rolo with sugar on its outer shell.
The cakebatter is made with flour, eggs, butter and sugar. This dough is wrapped with a layer of melted guava, giving the appearance of a swiss roll. However, layers of dough and guava are much thinner and taste completely different.
In a 2007 law, the bolo de rolo was recognized as intangible heritage of Pernambuco.