brigadeiro, it's no surprise that the essential ingredients of a brigadeiro - chocolate, sweetened condenses milk, chocolate sprinkles - show up in other dessert treatments. Think of them as tributes to the glories of the original brigadeiro. Some of these treatments are relatively straightforward reimaginings while others are high-concept flights of fancy.
One popular way to recreate the brigadeiro is to turn it into a rich, moist chocolate cake. The cake part is usually some sort of standard chocolate cake, the brigadeiro part being found in the frosting. The recipe below, which was created by Brazilian chef Raphael Despirite and is featured on the website of Brazilian food and wine magazine Prazeres da Mesa, is just such a creation - a chocolate sponge-cake with a brigadeiro topping. The resulting dessert is rich and moist, and since a small slice goes a long way is perfect for a fairly large crowd.
NB. This recipe calls for creme de leite, a thickened, unsweetened cream that is a staple in all Brazilian kitchens. You can find creme de leite, UHT-treated or canned, in Brazilian groceries in cities that have a Brazilian immigrant community. Alternatively it is sold in almost all Latin American markets under the Spanish name media crema and the English name table cream, most often manufactured by Nestlé. It is also available online from numerous sources, including Amazon.com.
RECIPE - Brigadeiro Cake (Bolo Brigadeiro)
Makes 1 8-inch cake
For the sponge cake:
6 large whole eggs, free-range preferred
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
6 Tbsp unsweetened dry cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the topping:
1 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 Tbsp unsweetened dry cocoa powder
2/3 cup creme de leite (see note above)
Make the sponge cake:
Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar together with a cake-mixer for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder, taking care not to overmix. Pour the batter into an 8-inch springform cake pan, ungreased, and bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Make the topping:
Combine the sweetened condensed milk, the butter and cocoa powder in a double-boiler and heat, stirring constantly, until you have a thickened, consistent mixture. Remove from the heat, then stir in the creme de leite. Let cool.
Frost and decorate the cake:
When the cake and the frosting are cool, spread the frosting on the top of the cake, then cover the frosting with chocolate sprinkles. Remove the sides of the springform pan to expose the sponge cake. Leave the cake resting on the bottom of the pan and place it on a decorative serving platter for cutting into slices and serving.