For those of you who haven’t had a brigadeiro before – well, you’re missing out. But I’ll come back to that.
One thing I vividly remember from my time living in Brazil was the birthday parties and “quinze anos” parties (same as a quinceanera, just in Portuguese instead of Spanish) where you’d walk in to find a table filled with Brazilian candies and sweets. It was like heaven for my sugar-loving soul! I also loved the savory appetizers, but the sweets will forever live in my memory as a time of magnificence I’ve never been able to recreate. In fact, as The Fiance’ and I were still in the wedding planning stage, I full planned to have my tiered cupcake display (instead of a wedding cake, of course) surrounded by these Brazilian delights.
There are a few of these Brazilian sweets that I would love to recreate, but haven’t had the balls to try. The chuvisco, which is probably my favorite ever, and quindim, which is a close second.
But I also loved brigadeiro and knowing how easy it was to make, I decided to make it into a cake for my Brazilian-raised, yet Korean-looking, fiancé to surprise him.First, I baked three 8″ round chocolate cakes using my standard chocolate cake recipe I can’t share (sorry! Use your favorite). While the layers were cooling I started on the brigadeiro. It’s really quite easy.
For my cake I tripled the brigadeiro recipe, as it’s normally made into what I’ve now learned is the national truffle of Brazil! But it you want to use it to make a cake you need more than one batch.
Here’s my recipe (for one batch):
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon of sugar
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1.5 tablespoons of soft butter
Put everything in a sauce pan on medium to medium-high heat (my dial goes to 9, followed by high, and I kept it between 6-7) and stir constantly. At first it will seem grainy – like the cocoa powder is *never* going to incorporate into the mixture, but it will! Don’t worry. Just keep stirring and don’t let any of the mixture sit in the bottom of the pan, like in the corners. This is important.
Stir and stir and stir, until the mixture starts to boil slightly and gets thick. It usually takes 10-12 minutes (yes, stirring is the hardest part). Next time I will use a candy thermometer to better explain this, but in the meantime you’re looking to get it to the point that it’s thick enough to not stick to the side of the pan. If you’re making the brigadeiro into truffles you want to make sure it gets to the point that it pulls easily from the pan when you tilt it. Making it for the cake is a little more difficult because you need to take it off about a minute before it gets to that point or it will be harder to work with.
It’s definitely more of an understanding than a science, so I apologize if that seems vague and this is why I will use my candy thermometer in the future!
At the point I thought it was thick enough, I emptied the sauce pan of deliciousness into a stainless steel bowl to allow it to cool just a little before putting it on my cake. And by a little – I mean like maybe 3 minutes. Just long enough to get my cake round on the spinner and get started.
One of the lovely things about brigadeiro in its truffle form is the chocolate jimmies on the outside. So, be sure to have at least a whole bottle (purchased at Kroger for less than $2) ready!
I spread the brigadeiro mixture onto the first layer and after adding the second layer I realized I hadn’t put enough brigadeiro. In the end it worked out, but you can clearly see my second layer is thicker than the first.
So, spread the brigadeiro on top of the layer, add the chocolate jimmies and don’t be stingy!, then add another layer and repeat.
I, then, basically frosted the cake with the brigadeiro and added a ton of chocolate jimmies to the top. What we had in the end was a super rich, delicious bolo de brigadeiro!!
And, yes. I do feel kinda brazilian after making this cake. Not the painful, hair-ripping Brazilian most people know, but the lover-of-Brazilian-sweets kind of Brazilian!Make it. Now. You won’t be sorry.
But you might need milk. Jugs of it.