Brazilian Carrot Cake
Quite different from the American version, this Brazilian Carrot Cake is the easiest carrot cake you’ll ever make! Fluffy, moist, not-too-sweet and covered with lots of brigadeiro.
I can’t believe it took me this long to share this recipe here. We Brazilians love our Bolo de Cenoura and, excuse my language, we are damn proud of it!
If you love the chunky and spiced American Carrot Cake, frosted with cream cheese, be aware that the Brazilian Carrot Cake is a completely different beast.
Here, instead of adding grated carrots for texture, we blend them until smooth. They give the cake its signature bright yellow color but are barely detectable in the flavor, acting instead like a gentle sweetener.
And, even with the addition of brigadeiro, this cake is not as indulgent as its American cousin, making it a great all-purpose cake, suitable to be served as both dessert or for breakfast.
Long story short? You have to give this a try! Even if you’re not a fan of carrot cake. Nothing beats a slice of Brazilian carrot cake on a lazy afternoon.
How to Make Brazilian Carrot Cake
To make this cake, you’ll start by blending the carrots, eggs, oil, sugar and salt until smooth. And when I say smooth, I mean it! No little pieces of carrots should be found.
The liquid batter is then transferred to a bowl, where you’ll gently add the flour and baking powder. And that’s it! The batter is ready to be poured in a greased and floured bundt pan, and baked in a preheated oven.
The cake can be served as is but I highly recommend the brigadeiro frosting. After all, the delicious combination of carrot and chocolate is what makes it “Brazilian”.
I’ve already taught you how to make traditional brigadeiro, a delectable concoction of chocolate, butter and sweet condensed milk. Here, we also add heavy cream to make it pourable, so it can act as a frosting.
Why was my carrot cake heavy and dense?
You probably added too many carrots.
The trick to a carrot cake that is not overly heavy and dense is to weigh the carrots before adding to the recipe.
You will notice that my recipe asks for 300g (which is about 10.5 ounces) instead of a number of carrots. Carrots vary in size and weight, and that will influence the lightness of your cake.
Yes, we want the cake to be moist. But we also want it to be light and fluffy, so having control over the ingredients is key!
Tips to Make the Best Brazilian Carrot Cake
- As I mentioned earlier, it is important to weigh the carrots and blend them well. Pieces of carrot can weigh down the batter and make a denser cake.
- Always sift your dry ingredients. Sifting adds air – and thus lightness – while also preventing lumps that would weigh down the batter.
- While the blender is great for mixing the carrots and liquid ingredients, you should stir the dry ingredients by hand, using a spatula or a whisk. Be gentle! You want to keep all the air that was incorporated during the blending process.
- Don’t forget to preheat your oven. Time and temperature affect the texture and flavor of baked goods, and starting in a cold oven changes both of those variables. Also, the batter requires a good amount of heat at the beginning, for optimal rise, texture and browning.
- Resist the urge to open the oven door too often, as that will let a lot of the heat escape and can cause your cake to sink.
- Always thoroughly grease and flour the pan, especially when using a bundt style pan. Make sure to get all the crevices in the pan! It’s your insurance that the cake will slide out easily after cooling.
- Be patient! Wait for the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes before trying to unfold it. But don’t wait too long either, or the cake can become damp and stick to the pan.
How to Store Brazilian Carrot Cake
This cake can be kept at room temperature for several days, up to a week. If it’s very hot where you are, you can refrigerate it, but I find that – no matter what I do – a refrigerated cake always ends up drying out a little.
If you must store your cake in the fridge, make sure to wrap it in plastic to prevent it from absorbing any weird fridge smells and to protect it from drying out too much. When ready to serve, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
For the Cake:
- 300g (10.6 ounces) peeled carrots, cut into chunks
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder, sifted
For the brigadeiro:
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweet condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Reserve.
- In the jar of a blender, combine the carrots, eggs, sugar, oil and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and, using a hand whisk, gently stir the flour and baking powder, until no traces of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then, run a butter knife along the edges, tap the pan firmly a few times and shake it gently to help loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and let the cake continue to cool while you prepare the frosting.
- To make the brigadeiro, combine the chocolate, sweet condensed milk and butter in a saucepan. Cook the mixture, over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and releasing from the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream and stir until smooth. The brigadeiro should be thick but pourable.
- Transfer the cake to a serving platter and pour the brigadeiro all over the cake. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles, if desired. Let it set for a few minutes before serving.