Chocolate lovers take note – brigadeiro cake is a rich, beautiful chocolate cake from Brazil that's traditionally served at birthday parties. This easy-to-make layered chocolate cake is inspired by regular brigadeiros or chocolate fudge balls.
Also knowns as bolo de brigadeiro, this sensational cake is ultra-decadent, moist, fudgy, and a little gooey – perfect for serving at birthday celebrations, parties, or any occasion where you'd like to wow your friends and family with your amazing baking skills.
Brigadeiro cake is decorated with silky-smooth chocolate frosting, brigadeiros, and chocolate sprinkles, making this dessert as visually appealing as it is delicious. It's a little sweeter and fudgier compared to classic chocolate cakes. Make different shapes for your brigadeiro cake and serve it with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, or enjoy it on its own!
You don't need any special ingredients to make this gorgeous Brazilian cake, just make sure they're at room temperature.
To make the rich chocolate frosting, you'll need sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, heavy cream, and butter, plus some cornstarch to help thicken it.
For the cake, you'll need flour and cocoa powder, plus baking powder and baking soda, both of which will help make your cake tender and fluffy. Butter, eggs, milk, and oil make your cake moist, while sugar sweetens the batter. A dash of vanilla adds a gorgeous subtle layer of flavor under the chocolate.
Finally, to really make your brigadeiro cake special, you'll need some chocolate sprinkles for decorating.
Whether you're a baking novice or a pro, making brigadeiro cake is easy. Round up your ingredients, and let's dive in!
Because it takes a few hours to chill, making the brigadeiro filling should be the first task you tackle. Start by mixing the condensed milk, cocoa powder, and cornstarch in a large bowl until smooth. Pour it into a large saucepan.
Stir in the heavy cream and butter, and gently heat the mixture on medium-low. You'll need to stir it constantly to help it reduce and make sure it doesn't burn. The whole process will take about 20 to 25 minutes.
Once the filling has thickened, pour it into a bowl and put a piece of plastic wrap over the filling. You want the plastic wrap to touch the top of the filling so it doesn't form skin. Leave the filling to cool for an hour or two. Once it's cooled to room temperature, pop it in the fridge to chill for another hour or so.
Now that your brigadeiro filling is chilling in the fridge, you can move on to the cake. Heat your oven to 350F. Grease your cake pans with cooking spray and line them with baking parchment.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Grab a second bowl and beat the oil, butter, and sugar. Once the mixture is smooth, mix in the vanilla. Whisk in one egg at a time until the mixture is just combined. Make sure not to overmix the batter!
Next, add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the oil mixture, then mix in ½ cup of milk. Repeat the process, alternating between the flour and milk until the batter comes together. Evenly pour the cake batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes. Take them out of the oven and put them on a wire rack. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes in the pans, then flip them out. Let them cool to room temperature before putting your cake together.
Now it's time to assemble your cake! Smear a few tablespoons of brigadeiro frosting on your serving platter. This helps keep your layer cake stable. Put the first cake on the platter, then smear 1 ½ cup of filling over the top.
Set the second cake on the first and spread another 1 1/2 cup of frosting over it. Place the remaining cake on top. Spread the rest frosting over the entire cake, then garnish with chocolate sprinkles. Now you're ready to slice and serve your brigadeiro cake!
For a more intense chocolate flavor, add a teaspoon of instant coffee or espresso to the frosting and cake batter.
Your cakes are done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and crumb-free.
Put some of the frosting into a piping bag and pipe it onto the top of the cake for an extra special way to decorate your dessert.
You can make a gluten-free brigadeiro cake by swapping out the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.
Brigadeiro cake can be made in different shapes. You can make it in a classic round cake shape, as a bundt cake, or even a sheet cake.
You can make brigadeiro cake up to a few days in advance. It's such a rich, moist dessert, it won't dry out as quickly as other types of cake.
Keep brigadeiro cake covered or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, it'll last up to one week in the fridge.
You can even freeze brigadeiro cake for up to 3 months.
For the filling and frosting
In a large bowl, whisk the condensed milk, cocoa powder, and cornstarch until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large saucepan, then whisk in the heavy cream and butter.
Heat over medium-low, stirring the mixture constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, until thickened.
Transfer the filling to a bowl. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the filling, making sure it touches the top.
Cool for 1 to 2 hours, then refrigerate the filling for 1 to 2 additional hours.
For the cake
Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray 3 cake pans with cooking spray, then line them with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
In a second bowl, beat the oil, butter, and sugar with a hand-held electric mixer until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
Beat in the vanilla. Beat in one egg at a time until the mixture is just combined.
Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Beat in ½ cup of milk. Repeat two more times.
Pour the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven and set them on a wire rack. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes in the pans, then flip them out and leave them to cool to room temperature.
Spread a few tablespoons of brigadeiro frosting on the serving platter. Set one cake on the platter.
Spread 1 ½ cup of filling over the cake. Set the second cake on the first. Spread with 1 ½ cup of chocolate filling.
Place the final cake on the second cake.
Spread the remaining frosting over the entire cake. Garnish with chocolate sprinkles, then serve and enjoy.
Use three 8-inch round cake pans for your brigadeiro cake.