The Best Homemade Brazilian Carrot Cake "Bolo de Cenoura com Brigadeiro" recipe. Our Brazilian Carrot Cake "Bolo de Cenoura" recipe is the best you'll ever try; it's quite different from the American version and is the most delicious, easiest, and simplest carrot cake you’ll ever make! Soft, moist, and covered with luscious Brigadeiro!!! YUM 😋
What is Brazilian Carrot Cake?
Brazilian Carrot Cake, or "Bolo de Cenoura," is a popular dessert in Brazil. It is a moist and tender cake with grated carrots, flour, sugar, oil, eggs, and baking powder. The cake is often flavored with vanilla extract and has a light orange color from the carrots. It is typically served with a creamy chocolate frosting called Brigadeiro. Brazilian Carrot Cake is a favorite for many, and it's quite different from the American version of carrot cake.
Brazilian Carrot Cake Ingredients
Note: The full ingredients list is provided in the recipe card below.
For the Brazilian Carrot Cake:
- Flour: All-purpose flour sifted 1× to create a tender crumb.
- Granulated Sugar and light Brown Sugar: It provides moisture and aeration and enhances color.
- Eggs: It provides structure, moisture, and richness.
- Baking Powder: For leavening.
- All-purpose flour: Provides structure and helps to bind the ingredients together.
- Baking soda: Another leavening agent that reacts with acidic ingredients to create carbon dioxide, which helps the cake rise.
- Light brown sugar: Provides sweetness and subtle caramel flavor to the cake.
- Kosher salt: Enhances the overall flavor and balances the sweetness.
- Carrots: The star ingredient of the cake, adding moisture, natural sweetness, and a vibrant orange color.
- Avocado oil (or any neutral-flavored oil): Provides moisture to the cake and adds richness to the texture.
- Pure vanilla extract: Enhances the flavor of the cake, adding a subtle and aromatic note.
For the Brigadeiro:
- Condensed milk: Forms the base of the Brigadeiro, providing sweetness and a creamy texture.
- Nestlé Table Cream "Media Crema" or light cream: Adds richness and creaminess to the Brigadeiro sauce.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Provides a deep chocolate flavor and color to the Brigadeiro.
- Unsalted butter: Adds richness and contributes to the smooth texture of the Brigadeiro sauce.
Tools you'll need
- Whisk or Hand Mixer
- 9" x 13" nonstick sheet cake pan
- Silicone Spatula
- Mitten Oven
- Liquid Measuring Cups
- Dry Measuring Cups
- Fine-mesh strainer
How to Make Brazilian Carrot Cake
Note: The full instructions are provided in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (176.67 °C) with a rack in the center. Line with parchment paper or butter, flour a 9 by 13-inch cake pan, and set aside. Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside. In the jar of a blender, blend the eggs for 1 minute. Add the carrots, sugar, vanilla, oil, and salt. Blend until completely smooth, about 5 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a large bowl and, using a hand whisk, gently and gradually stir the sifted flour mix until just combined. Don't over-mix! Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
How to Make Brigadeiro
Add the cream and chocolate powder in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk until the chocolate powder is fully dissolved. Add the sweetened condensed milk and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and released from the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. (The Brigadeiro should be thick but pourable). Pour the Brigadeiro all over the Brazilian Carrot Cake. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles, if desired.
Let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Alternatively, you can make a simple chocolate glaze by adding the cream and chocolate powder to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and whisking until the chocolate powder is fully dissolved. Add the sugar and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and released from the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes; the Chocolate Glaze should be thick but pourable. Pour the Chocolate Glaze all over the Brazilian Carrot Cake. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles, if desired. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!!
- All-purpose flour: You can substitute it with whole wheat flour or a gluten-free blend if you prefer a healthier or gluten-free option.
- Non-Aluminum baking powder: You can use regular baking powder instead if you don't have non-aluminum baking powder.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is a unique ingredient and doesn't have a direct substitute in this recipe. It's best to use it as instructed.
- Granulated sugar: You can use an equal amount of brown or coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar for a slightly different flavor.
- Light brown sugar: If you don't have light brown sugar, you can substitute it with an equal amount of dark brown sugar.
- Kosher salt: Regular table salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt. Just use a slightly smaller amount since table salt is denser.
- Carrots: Carrots are the main ingredient and can't be easily substituted. However, you can experiment with other vegetables like sweet potatoes or zucchini for a variation.
For the Brigadeiro:
- Condensed milk: If you prefer a dairy-free option, you can use condensed coconut milk or homemade cashew milk condensed milk.
- Nestlé Table Cream "Media Crema" or light cream: You can substitute it with coconut cream or a non-dairy alternative like almond milk or oat milk creamer.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Use unsweetened cocoa powder for the best flavor. You can use carob powder or matcha powder instead if you prefer a different flavor.
- Unsalted butter: To make the Brigadeiro vegan, you can use vegan butter or coconut oil instead of unsalted butter.
- Nuts: Add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor by mixing chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds into the cake batter before baking.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: Instead of the Brigadeiro sauce, you can choose a classic cream cheese frosting. Whip softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a splash of vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Spread it over the cooled carrot cake.
- Pineapple: Include some well-drained, crushed pineapple into the cake batter for a moist and fruity variation. It pairs beautifully with carrots.
- Chocolate Chips: Fold a handful of chocolate chips or chunks into the Brazilian Carrot Cake batter for a delightful chocolate surprise in each bite.
- Caramel Drizzle: Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the cake for an extra indulgent touch. It complements the flavors of carrot and chocolate.
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes: Check out this Classic Carrot Cake Cupcakes version of Brazilian Carrot Cake.
- Carrot Cake: Check out this Carrot Cake version of Brazilian Carrot Cake.
How to Serve
To serve Brazilian Carrot Cake, carefully remove it from the cake pan and transfer it to a serving platter or cake stand. If you used parchment paper, gently peel it off. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature. If desired, you can dust the top with powdered sugar for a decorative touch. Alternatively, you can frost the cake with the Brigadeiro sauce or cream cheese frosting, spreading it evenly over the top and sides.
Allow the frosting to set before slicing and serving. Brazilian Carrot Cake pairs wonderfully with a cup of coffee or tea. Slice the cake into squares or rectangular pieces and serve it on dessert plates or individual plates. Add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside each slice for a delicious indulgence. Enjoy this moist and flavorful cake with friends and family as a delightful treat!
How to Store & Re-Heat
To store: Let it cool completely and then cover it loosely with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
To reheat: Put a slice, microwave it for 15-20 seconds, or place it in a preheated oven at 300°F (150°C) for about 5 minutes until warmed. Remove any frosting before reheating. If desired, prepare fresh frosting separately and apply it once the cake is reheated or at room temperature. Enjoy!
You can make the Brazilian Carrot Cake ahead of time by preparing the cake as instructed and storing it in an airtight container. The Brigadeiro can also be made in advance and kept separately. When you're ready to serve, simply pour the Brigadeiro over the cake and enjoy. This make-ahead option allows you to prepare the components separately for convenience and freshness.
How to Freeze
Freezing the Brazilian Carrot Cake is a great option for preserving it for a more extended period. To freeze the cake, ensure it has completely cooled down. It is best to freeze the cake without the frosting. First, wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Then, please place it in a freezer-safe container or wrap it with aluminum foil. Label the container with the date for easy reference. The cake can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to enjoy the frozen cake, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, you can frost the cake with Brigadeiro sauce or cream cheese if desired. Freezing may slightly affect the cake's texture, but it will still be delicious. Freezing the cake gives you a ready-to-enjoy treat whenever you crave it or for future special occasions.
Tips for Making The Best Brazilian Carrot Cake
- Follow the recipe: Follow the Brazilian Carrot Cake recipe directions precisely.
- Measure Properly: Measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup, then level it with a knife or use the weight measurements. ( I use a 240 ml Dry Measuring cup, every cup is 125g of flour).
- Use room temperature ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature (this helps ensure everything gets incorporated properly; not doing this can result in poor emulsification).
- Butter and Flour the Pan: Butter a 9 by 13 nonstick sheet cake pan, add a few tablespoons of flour, then shake, turn, and tap the pan so that the flour lightly and evenly coats the bottom and sides. Finally, tap excess flour out of the buttered and floured pan.
- Sift Dry Ingredients: Sift dry ingredients but not sugar to combine and aerate, making a fluffier cake. Then, place it in a fine-mesh strainer over a piece of parchment paper, and shake it until everything's on the paper: When it's time to add, pick up the paper and let the ingredients slide out into the mixing bowl. However, if you don't have one, whisk the dry ingredients for 30 seconds to combine.
- Creaming: Beating the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy creates tiny air pockets in the butter, which helps the carrot cake keep its texture light and rise.
- Beat in Eggs: One at a time, add the eggs, ensuring that they emulsify or blend completely with the butter mixture. Then, if desired, flavor with vanilla extract or other flavorings. It's easier to incorporate eggs that are at room temperature. To get the eggs to warm up faster. For a few minutes, place them in a bowl of warm water.
- Alternate the Wet and Dry Ingredients: Often, a recipe calls for adding wet and dry ingredients in alternating batches. This helps prevent the gluten in the flour from developing too much, which causes heavier and not-so-fluffy cake. Also, do not overmix — overworking the flour makes for tough results.
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan: Pour the batter into the 9 by 13 nonstick sheet cake pan and smooth the top.
- Bake and Test for Doneness: Insert a wooden skewer or a toothpick into the center of a cake and see if it comes out clean; if it does, the cake is made. You may also notice the carrot cake pulling away from the pan's sides. When you get more practice, you can tell if the cake is made when you lightly press on the top and feel a slight spring back.
- Cool the Cake: Remove the Brazilian carrot cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack until completely cool.
What is the secret to making moist Brazilian Carrot Cake?
You can do a few things to ensure your Brazilian Carrot Cake is moist and delicious. First, before mixing the batter, be sure to preheat your oven; this will help the cake cook more evenly and prevent it from drying. Second, don’t overmix the batter – overmixing can result in a tough, dry cake. And finally, use a combination of light or brown sugar and granulated sugar for moisture, depth of flavor, and crisp top.
Can I use a different type of oil in the Brazilian Carrot Cake recipe?
You can substitute avocado oil with neutral-flavored oils such as canola, vegetable, or sunflower. The key is to use an oil that won't impart a strong flavor to the cake.
Can I make the Brazilian Carrot Cake without eggs?
You can make an eggless version of the cake. Use a commercial egg substitute or replace each egg with a flaxseed or chia seed mixture (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water).
Can I make the Brigadeiro sauce dairy-free?
You can make a dairy-free Brigadeiro sauce by using condensed coconut milk or homemade cashew milk condensed milk as a substitute for regular condensed milk. Additionally, you can use coconut cream or a non-dairy alternative like almond milk or oat milk creamer instead of Nestlé Table Cream or light cream.
Can I add additional flavors or ingredients to the Brazilian Carrot Cake?
You can customize the cake by adding ingredients such as nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds), dried fruits (raisins, dates, cranberries), spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger), citrus zest (orange, lemon), or coconut flakes. These additions can enhance the texture and flavor of the cake according to your preferences.
How to Make Brazilian Carrot Cake
- 294 g (2-¼ cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 10 g (2 teaspoons) Non- Aluminum baking powder
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) baking soda
- 324 g (1-½ cups) granulated sugar
- 113 g (½ cup) light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 455 g (1 pound) carrots, peeled and cut 1-inch pieces
- 4 eggs , room temperature
- 213 ml (1 cup avocado oil), Expeller-Pressed Sunflower Oil, or any neutral-flavored oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the Brigadeiro:
- 1 (14oz) condensed milk (full-fat)
- 225 ml Nestlé Table Cream '' Media Crema'' or light cream
- 3 tablespoons 100 % unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (176.67 °C) with a rack in the center. Line with parchment paper or butter and flour a 9 by 13-inch cake pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside. In the jar of a blender, blend the eggs for 1 minute. Add the carrots, sugar, vanilla, oil, and salt. Blend until completely smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl and, using a hand whisk, gently and gradually stir the sifted flour mix, until just combined. Don't over-mix! Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the Brazilian Carrot Cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
How to Make Brigadeiro
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the cream and chocolate powder and whisk until the chocolate powder is fully dissolved. Add the sweetened condensed milk and butter.
- Cook stirring constantly, until thickened and released from the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. (The Brigadeiro should be thick but pourable). Pour the Brigadeiro all over the Brazilian Carrot Cake. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles, if desired. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!!!
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 225 ml table cream ''Media Crema'' or light cream
- 8 tablespoons light brown sugar or white sugar, to taste
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.