Brigadeiro Cake Recipe

Brigadeiro cake is the quintessential Brazilian birthday cake, and if you ask any Brazilian, we’ll say this is the one chocolate cake to rule them all! This Brigadeiro cake recipe makes three layers of moist, tender crumb, super chocolaty cake and a smooth, ooey-gooey fudgy brigadeiro frosting and filling. The best part is you can decorate it with ALL. THE. SPRINKLES! This delicious cake is the best way to celebrate literally anything, as well as satisfy all your sweet chocolate cravings.

Brigadeiro Cake Recipe - the ultimate Brazilian Birthday Cake

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Brigadeiro Cake Recipe – A Brazilian Party Favorite

Oi Gente!

I’m so excited for today’s recipe because, I swear to you, this is the best sweet chocolate cake EVER!

If this is your first time hearing about this cake, a brigadeiro cake is a Brazilian chocolate cake that’s filled and frosted with sweet brigadeiro – you know, that classic Brazilian fudge candy! It’s a classic Brazilian birthday cake loved by kids and adults alike.

Compared to other chocolate cakes, the brigadeiro cake recipe is way sweeter, thanks to that sweet brigadeiro filling and frosting, and the cake layers, while deliciously chocolatey, are not as intensely rich as a devil’s food cake.

Brigadeiro cake is the ultimate Brazilian birthday cake! The only other thing more Brazilian and more birthday-related than a brigadeiro cake for us is, of course, our very loud, extended version of parabens pra voce happy birthday song with all the clapping. If you’ve been to a Brazilian birthday party, you know it’s all true! Ha!

The brigadeiro cake can have many shapes and forms from simple sheet cakes, to bundts, and pretty layer cakes like this one. And all have their own special tricks.

What I love about this recipe is that this brigadeiro filling and frosting is spreadable and great for decorating and piping, meaning your cake will not only be delicious, but also soooo pretty!!

Growing up in Brazil, I’ve had a ton of brigadeiro cakes in my life, and I can say that this is the best Brigadeiro cake recipe EVER! I hope you like it as much as I do!

Bom Apetite!

How to Make Brigadeiro Cake

What makes a brigadeiro cake is, of course, the brigadeiro filling and frosting.

The classic brigadeiro recipe used for rolling brigadeiro fudge balls is great for sheet cakes or bundt cakes because you have to use it while it’s still hot or seriously warm to pour over your cake. If it cools, you can’t do anything other than roll it into balls, because it’s too sticky and it isn’t spreadable. Beyond that, all you can really do in terms of decorating is throw some sprinkles over it and basically call it a day.

To make a stacked layer cake, or to pipe pretty swirls, your brigadeiro needs to be silky and spreadable. And to do that, we make some small adjustments to the classic brigadeiro recipe. We need to add fat to make it workable, smooth and creamy, and a little cornstarch to stabilize everything. That’s it.

This silky brigadeiro filling and frosting is used all the way cold, and is a more malleable cream that allows you to spread, pipe, and really decorate. It’s seriously so perfect!

Silky Smooth Brigadeiro Cake Frosting & Filling

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Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

Condensed milk. Brigadeiro’s most important ingredient! I personally prefer to use Nestle’s La Lechera brand. Other brands work in this recipe too, but I feel like they sometimes don’t set properly.

Chocolate powder. I like to use Nescau which is a Brazilian brand you can find in Brazilian markets or on Amazon. Nesquick works as well and it’s usually easy to find in regular grocery stores across the US.

Margarine. This first layer of fat is very important. This is what ensures all the sugars from the condensed milk, and the chocolate powder will not crystallize over time.

Table cream. The second, but most important layer of fat in this recipe. Unlike fresh cream, table cream is a shelf stable cream that’s almost 30% fat, and thanks to that, it adds rich creamy texture to our brigadeiro cake recipe filling. Table cream, also known as media crema here in the US, is typically found  in the Latin aisle of grocery stores or in Latin markets. You can also get it on Amazon.

Full fat milk. Not 1%, not 2%… full fat whole milk. This will add a little more fat, and combined with everything else, will provide that velvety mouthfeel and texture we’re going for.

Corn starch. This will help stabilize everything and will ensure we reach that piping texture that not only holds its shape, but spreads easily.

Now, here’s the secret to your silky brigadeiro filling & frosting success!

The ultimate Brazilian Birthday Cake - Brigadeiro Cake Recipe ingredients

If you’ve never worked with table cream before, it basically has two layers; a thick cream on top and a thinner liquid at the bottom. Do not mix them

In this recipe, we just want to use that thick cream on top.

The key to success here is separating the thick cream part from the liquid beneath it. The best way to do this is to put the can in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to help firm up the cream. Then, you can carefully just scoop the fatty top into the pan or, as I show in the image above, you can insert a butter knife all the way down and drain that liquid by pouring it out into a separate container. You can see in the image that there’s no real significant trace of that liquidy stuff, it’s just the thick cream! Success!!

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The other secret is the consistency to cook your silky brigadeiro to – The brigadeiro needs to have a thick pudding-like consistency, and when you scoop some with a spoon, and pour it over itself, it’ll sit right there on top like in the image above on the left.

This means you’ll want to cook your brigadeiro until it reaches about 205-220F. You can use a regular culinary thermometer, or a candy thermometer to check. However, if you choose to use a candy thermometer, be sure to only do so at the very end when you’re close to the described consistency. We want to make sure we don’t have anything in the pan preventing you from constantly scraping the sides to avoid burning your brigadeiro.

And speaking of burning…

This is where I warn you, this stuff is so very hot! The mixture will bubble up, literally like molten lava, so please be very careful. If when the mixture boils, you are worried that you may hurt yourself with the bubbles and spatter, move the pan off of the burner and keep stirring off the heat. Then bring the pan back to the heat and repeat that process until you reach the consistency/temperature we need.

Then, pour your silky brigadeiro filling into a bowl, and cover with a plastic wrap to contact, pressing the wrap down to touch the food. This will make sure a “film” doesn’t form at the top of your brigadeiro filling.

Let it cool a couple of hours, and then refrigerate until its all the way cold.

Time to bake your Brazilian birthday cake layers!

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Yes, the brigadeiro cake recipe filling instructions were a bit intense, but, luckily, the cake itself is pretty straightforward to make. No secrets or crazy details to pay attention to, but here are a few tips, just in case!

  • Start by preheating your oven, and spray, or grease and flour, three 8-inch round cake pans.
  • Combine all the dry ingredients first in one bowl. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix the oil, the butter and the sugar, on medium speed. Next, add in the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, mixing between each until silky smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg-oil mixture in three parts, alternating adding the milk, beginning and ending with flour until your batter is fully incorporated.
  • And finally, pour the batter into the greased cake pans, and bake to perfection!

Finally, Assemble & Decorate your brigadeiro cake!

The most important part of decorating a brigadeiro cake is definitely adding as many sprinkles as possible in any color you want! You can even add little rolled brigadeiros on top or strawberries… or both! It looks so pretty!

In terms of equipment, you can totally decorate a great looking cake with just a regular knife, a bread knife and plate. But if you’re looking to learn more or upgrade your cake decorating kit, this is the stuff I use:

Level your cake layers!

The first step to a gorgeous layer cake is making sure your cake layers are even and straight. If your cakes have domes, you can trim them off with a bread knife, or with a cake leveler, then you’re ready to decorate your Brazilian birthday cake!

Also, the beauty of this brigadeiro filling recipe is that you can use it to decorate your cake in a million ways, especially since you can use this brigadeiro frosting for piping, as well! But, if you want to decorate it like the photos, see my instructions below.

Fill & Stack:

How to decorate the ultimate Brazilian Birthday Cake - Brigadeiro cake recipe

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Step 1. Spread a little bit of the brigadeiro onto a board or directly onto the plate where you’ll serve your cake. This helps that first cake layer stay in place and not slide off the plate, especially if you’ll need to transport it.

Step 2. Then, place your first cake layer flat side up.

Step 3. Scoop about 1 cup of filling onto the cake layer.

Step 4. Evenly spread the filling on the cake layer.

Then repeat the process until you’ve stacked all three cakes rounds. 

After that, measure and reserve 1 cup of filling that we’ll use for the top of the cake at the end. We’ll use it in just a bit once we add sprinkles.

Frost & Decorate!

How to decorate the ultimate Brazilian Birthday Cake - Brigadeiro cake recipe

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Step 5. Pour a good 3 cups of sprinkles onto a rimmed baking sheet, and set it aside. Then, evenly spread the rest of the filling on the side of the cake. I like to use a basic cake circle on top so I can easily hold the cake, and roll it in the sprinkles.

Step 6. Roll, roll, roll in the sprinkles!

Step 7. Scoop that last cup of brigadeiro frosting on top of the cake.

Step 8. Evenly spread the brigadeiro on top!

Then just cover the top with more sprinkles!

How to decorate the ultimate Brazilian Birthday Cake - Brigadeiro cake recipe

That’s it!

Now put your gorgeous Brigadeiro cake on a table, surround it with little brigadeiros and celebrate anything from birthdays to any chocolate-deserving holiday, Brazilian style!

Brazilian Birthday Cake - Brigadeiro cake recipe

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5 from 58 votes

Brigadeiro Cake Recipe

Brigadeiro cake is the quintessential Brazilian birthday cake, and if you ask any Brazilian, we'll say this is the one chocolate cake to rule them all! This Brigadeiro cake recipe makes three layers of moist, tender crumb, super chocolaty cake and a smooth, ooey-gooey fudgy brigadeiro frosting and filling. The best part is you can decorate it with ALL. THE. SPRINKLES!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Filling & Frosting Cooling Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 1 8-inch, three layer cake
Author: Aline Shaw

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups whole milk

For the Brigadeiro Filling & Frosting:

  • 2x 14oz cans of sweet condensed milk
  • 1x 7.6oz can of table cream "drained" / sem soro (see draining instructions in post)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 cups chocolate powder, such as nescau or nesquick
  • 1 tbsp margarine

For Decoration:

  • 3 cups sprinkles

Instructions

Start with the Brigadeiro Filling & Frosting:

  • Please note the post above contains detailed information and reference photos to help with this step, if needed.
  • In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, the chocolate powder and the corn starch and whisk to combine.
  • Next, add the "drained" table cream (fatty cream only), both cans of condensed milk, the margarine, and stir to combine (make sure you have at least 2 inches of free space on top of the pan to allow the mixture to expand as it boils, without boiling over).
  • Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously with a silicone spatula, and scraping the sides of the pan, until the mixture reaches a thick pudding-like consistency, or when it reaches 205-220F (about 12-15 minutes).
  • Pour the hot brigadeiro into a heat safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap to contact, where the wrap is touching (is in contact with) the brigadeiro and let it cool on the counter for about an hour or two – until it's cool enough to touch.
  • When the brigadeiro is cool enough, place the bowl in the refrigerator until the mixture is completely cold, about two hours.*

Make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Spray, or grease and flour all 3 cake pans, line with parchment paper, spray/grease again and set aside.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, add the sifted all purpose flour, the cocoa powder, the baking powder, the baking soda and the salt and whisk to combine – set aside.
  • Mix the oil, the butter and the sugar in a large bowl, using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) until combined and creamy – about 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl between each addition.
  • Then, on low speed, add the cocoa/flour mixture to the egg-oil mixture in three parts, alternating adding the milk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk) until your batter is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • Pour equal amounts of the batter into the greased pans, and bake until a cake tester/toothpick inserted to the middle comes out lightly crumbly (about 30-35 mins).
  • Move the cake pans to a cooling rack and let it cool for about 5-10 mins, then remove the cakes from the pans and let it cool on the rack.**

Assembly:

  • Spread a little bit of the brigadeiro onto a cake board or directly onto the plate where you'll serve your cake.
  • Then, place your first cake layer flat side up.
  • Scoop about 1 cup of filling onto the cake layer, and evenly spread the filling on the cake layer.
  • Place second cake layer on top flat side up, and spread another cup of brigadeiro filing over the second layer.
  • Place the third cake layer, again flat side up, and evenly spread the remaining brigadeiro filling along the sides and top of the cake.
  • Decorate with sprinkles!

Bom Apetite!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!

    Notes

    *The brigadeiro can be made ahead of time. Make sure to cover with plastic wrap to contact, where the wrap is touching (is in contact with) the brigadeiro, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 
     
    **The cake layers can be made ahead of time. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled, then, wrap them neatly with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. To decorate, make sure to defrost the cakes completely until they reach room temperature – about an hour. 

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    15 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      This is seriously the best cake I’ve had in my entire life. I made it for my sister’s birthday (small family-only-stay-home party here!) and we ate the whole thing. Thank you so much for the awesome recipe!

    2. 5 stars
      Amazing cake that is absolutely to die for! We really enjoyed making it together as a family and eating it was the best. This is a great recipe for those that don’t love the Ultrasweet its more of a semisweet cake!

    3. 5 stars
      Whoaaaaaa!! I am a somewhat beginner and this looked reaaaaaally complicated and difficult to make but the result is honestly soso amazing and my cake became super tall! Really glad I tried this out-will definitely use it as my party trick! ❤️

      1. Yasssss, Ivi!!!!!!! Good for you!!! I know this cake intimidates, but I’m happy you made it successful even tho you consider yourself a beginner – hooray, you!!! Happy partying!!! Beijos xx

    4. 5 stars
      I wish I could link a picture, but I followed your recipe to the “T”, except when it came to letting the brig frosting rest for 1hr. Bday boy was anxious so I went on to building the cake. I noticed that, when I picked up both cakes to roll them over the sprinkles they were kind of heavy and that technique wasn’t gonna work. So I just poured all the frosting on top, spread it all out and then did the sprinkles. What ended up happening to my cake is that when we cut the 1st piece we started seeing how all the center started collapsing, and brigadeiro frosting running outwards, creating like a volcano cake effect LOL But…. This is exactly what my ultra-rich-tra-moist-choc fanatic husband had requested. Needless to say this will be his new “standard” for a choc cake. We absolutely loved it!!!!

      1. hahaha!!! Wow, Maria!! That is definitely a “scary” technique and a lot of people tell me they also prefer not to roll the cake lol I’m glad you were happy with your workaround and that the explosion was welcomed by the birthday boy 🙂 So happy you guys loved it!!! Beijinhos xx

    5. 5 stars
      My husband and kids made this for my birthday and IT WAS SO GOOD! Such a treat! We’ll definitely make this for our next birthday celebration.

    6. 5 stars
      I ate the Brigadeiro cake during my trip in Portugal and it was so good that I had to do it once I came back home. Here in Italy we don’t have the table cream, but I found something similar in a import grocery store. Also we are not used to cups/tbsp for measurement but somehow I made it! And it was soooooooo delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe. I added it to my bookmarks because I will definitely make it again and again.

    5 from 58 votes (50 ratings without comment)

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