Brigadeiros are sweet treats made from sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder.
They are very popular in Brazil with a growing demand in the United States. Why? Because they are really really good. I wrote a blog post (with a recipe) a little while back at this link
While these round treats look like truffles, they don’t taste like them. Whereas truffles are made from chocolate and heavy cream, they are also harder. Brigadeiros are creamier both in texture and taste.
To step it up a bit, I’ve made brigadier mini cakes. What I like about this cake is that it’s light and not too sweet. You really don’t want a heavy overly sweet cake because the Brigadeiro frosting makes up where the cake lacks in sweetness. The combination is perfect. You could use this frosting on any cake but the results may be too rich.
Most of the ingredients are widely available in any grocery store. One of the ingredients however, may take a little searching around for. The recipe calls for creme de leite which is a thickened unsweetened cream and very common in Brazilian homes. It’s also called media crema in Spanish and table cream in English and can be found in Mexican and other Latin markets. I found it at Wegman’s in the Mexican food aisle next to the dulce de leche. This ingredient is not the same as heavy cream or half and half and substituting one of these might compromise the results.
If you cannot find media crema in your area, you can find it available on the internet.
This recipe will make one 8 inch cake or 12-15 muffin size cakes.
For the sponge cake:
6 large eggs, at room temperature (It’s very important to have these eggs at room temperature so they will whip up to a fluffy consistency. There is no baking soda in this recipe so the cake rises from the air in the whipped eggs)
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or you can use all-purpose flour)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (I use raw but you can use white sugar or coconut/palm sugar)
6 Tbsp unsweetened dry cocoa powder (I prefer Dutched process but any will do)
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Must be full fat, do not use the fat free)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 Tbsp unsweetened dry cocoa powder
1 can creme de leite or media creme/table cream
chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, nuts, etc
Preheat oven to 400 F and lightly grease pan.
Beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar together with the beater of a mixer for 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick, light and fluffy. This is an important step as I noted above. This is what they should look like. See the big bubbles in it?
Carefully fold in the flour and cocoa powder, taking care not to overmix. I prefer to fold with a whisk so as not to deflate and then scrape the sides with a spoon. Pour the batter into pan. If you are using an 8 inch pan, bake for 20 minutes. If you are using cupcake or muffin pans bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. They will be done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
For the topping:
Over medium heat, melt butter in a saucepan. Add milk and cocoa powder and stir very well with a wooden spoon until blended. Stir mixture constantly until it thickens about 15-20 minutes. You must keep stirring the mixture so it won’t burn. Be sure to scrape down the sides too. You’ll know when it is thick enough when you cut a line down the chocolate and it slowly comes back together. Remove from heat and add in the creme de leite. Mix well and refrigerate approximately an hour to thicken.
To decorate, pour or spread the topping on top of cake. I like to let it drip down the sides. Top with sprinkles, nuts or whatever you choose.
***The frosting contains milk and cream so this cake must be kept in the refrigerator***