Chocolate Coconut Cake

Hello friends! Today I will show you how to make a Chocolate Coconut Cake. This isn’t an average Chocolate Coconut Cake recipe. This is a Brazilian Brigadeiro Cake, and it’s special because it’s filled with coconut brigadeiro, and topped with chocolate brigadeiro.

Coconut Chocolate Cake frosted with brigadeiro, topped with coconut fudge balls, with two mini cakes on the side, and brigadeiros spread around the table.

This is a traditional Brazilian brigadeiro cake recipe that we call Prestigio.

So when making this cake, you won’t need any powdered sugar. Brigadeiro is a frosting without powdered sugar. It is a type of fudge made out of sweetened condensed milk, butter, and flavoring.

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In this case, I have also added heavy cream, to make it softer. Brigadeiro that’s made without cream tends to be quite fudgy and thick, and for the cake I wanted it to be softer to make it easier to frost the cake.

Coconut Chocolate Cake frosted with brigadeiro, topped with coconut fudge balls, with two mini cakes on the side, and brigadeiros spread around the table.

Let’s talk about how to make this Chocolate Coconut Cake.

I’ve changed my cake batter this time a little bit from my previous chocolate cakes such as this Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake for example.

The changes are: using oil instead of butter, more cocoa powder, and substituting the milk for sour cream.

The changes were: a lighter softer cake, with a finer crumb. If you wish to have a tighter crumb, you can keep the butter instead of oil. The milk and sour cream are interchangeable, but I do believe the sour cream makes for a richer cake.

4 pictures showing how to make chocolate cake. first picture adding coffee to eggs and sour cream, second picture sifting the dry ingredients into the bowl. third picture: whisking the batter. fourth picture: a cake pan on top of a scale and batter being poured over the cake pan.

The cake recipe is pretty straight forward. Mix all the wet ingredients such as sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, and coffee together.

Instead of coffee you can use hot water.

Then sift the dry ingredients into the bowl: sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder if using. I didn’t add espresso powder to mine.

Whisk the batter until smooth.

Then divide amongst the cake pans. I used four 6″ cake pans, you can also use two 8″ pans instead. Make sure to line each pan with a piece of parchment paper and use spray oil to coat the pan. Alternatively you can spread butter all over the pans and coat them with flour.

The Sugar Geek also has a fabulous recipe for cake goop release that works really well. I’ve personally used that before and it’s wonderful, it’s just easier for me to use the spray oil and parchment circles, but this is a great alternative.

The cakes get bakes in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Baking time really depends on your oven, the size and type of material of your baking pans, so for example, cakes bakes in aluminum take longer to bake than cakes baked in steel pans. Also, if you choose to bake the cakes in two 8″ pans instead of 6″ pans, they might take longer to bake because they are larger.

Do I have to use coffee on the chocolate cake recipe?

A note about the coffee, you don’t have to use coffee if you don’t want to. There are two options. First is to use hot water instead of coffee, and add espresso powder. The second is to omit all coffee, and use hot water instead of coffee, and not add the espresso powder.

Now let’s talk about the brigadeiro that we used to frost this Chocolate Coconut Cake.

Brigadeiro can be used to frost cakes as long as you add heavy cream to it when cooking. That’s because the brigadeiro will usually be too thick and fudgy, and you need something a bit softer to be able to spread it in the cake.

Brigadeiro is extremely versatile and you can make it into any flavors you want.

The traditional flavor is chocolate and I make mine using chocolate callets from Callebaut, which is a high quality chocolate.

two pictures showing how to make brigadeiro. in the first picture all the ingredients are together in a bowl such as chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and cream. in the second picture the brigadeiro is already cooked in the pan.

Start by mixing the sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, butter, and chocolate together. I used dark chocolate callets by Callebaut, as I mentioned above. You can use milk chocolate, or really any type of chocolate you’d like. And you can also just use chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate. I prefer a good quality chocolate to make brigadeiro.

When we were kids we made brigadeiro with chocolate milk powder such as Nesquick, but as a grown up, I much rather use some good chocolate to make brigadeiro.

Cook the brigadeiro over medium heat while stirring non-stop. I can’t stress enough the “non-stop” part. Don’t stop stirring at all. The brigadeiro will for sure stick even if you stop stirring just for a few seconds. Also keep the heat medium, or medium low.

If the heat is too high, the brigadeiro will cook too fast in some parts and become lumpy.

Also try to use a pan with a heavy bottom, because it also helps prevent scorching.

Time cooking varies depending on the thickness of the pan you are using, how many batches you are making, how high the heat is. For the brigadeiro frosting for this cake, I made a triple batch, so it took quite a bit of time, about 20 minutes.

Also, when making a double or triple batch, make sure to use a larger pan, otherwise the brigadeiro will bubble up and you’ll get burned, I speak from experience. Ouch!

The brigadeiro is done cooking when it’s coming off from the bottom of the pan, which means, if you tilt the pan, you can see the bottom. If you run your spatula through the middle of the pan, the mixture should take 5 to 10 seconds to incorporate back together. The brigadeiro needs to be quite thick and falling into chunks off the spatula, and not on a stream.

This is also true for the coconut brigadeiro which we use for the filling.

Another important thing to remember is to not put the brigadeiro in the fridge before using it to frost and fill the cake. The brigadeiro will become quite hard to be spread onto the cake when you put it in the fridge.

two pictures showing how to make brigadeiro. in the first picture all the ingredients are together in a bowl such as shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and cream. in the second picture the brigadeiro is already cooked in the pan.

So here is a sum up of the tips for making brigadeiro for cakes:

  • Never stop stirring the brigadeiro while it’s cooking.
  • Cook at medium or medium-low heat.
  • Use a pan with a heavy sturdy bottom.
  • Cook until you can see the bottom of the pan, and the brigadeiro is falling into chunks off the spatula.
  • If you over cook, the brigadeiro will become too hard.
  • If you cook at a high temperature, or using a thin pan, the brigadeiro will scorch and become lumpy.
  • Adding heavy cream will help the brigadeiro be smoother and softer.
  • Use a pan that’s big enough or the brigadeiro will bubble up and burn your arms.
  • Don’t place the brigadeiro in the fridge or it will become too hard to be spread onto the cake.
four pictures showing how to fill and frost cake. first picture showing the brigadeiro being piped on the edges of the cake layer, then second picture showing the coconut filling being spread on the center, third picture showing the cake being covered in brigadeiro. fourth picture showing the cake being smooth out with a bench scraper.

When the brigadeiro is cooled down to room temperature completely, and when the cake layers are cooled down also, you can begin frosting and assembling the cake.

I always like to make my cake layers in advance and wrap them individually in plastic and place them in the fridge overnight or for a few hours so they are sturdy to be frosted and filled.

I put the brigadeiro in a piping bag and piped some brigadeiro around the edges of the cake. Then I spread the coconut brigadeiro in the center.

Repeat until all the layers are done. After the cake is assembled I like to place it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, to make sure the filling is set, which will make the cake sturdier to be frosted.

Then use an offset spatula to spread the brigadeiro over the cake. And use a bench scraper to smooth it out as best as possible.

four pictures showing cake assembling. first picture using an offset spatula to smooth out the top of the cake. second picture showing how to make the decoration on the sides of the cake. third picture showing the piping of brigadeiro on top of the cake. fourth picture showing placing the coconut brigadeiro balls on top of the cake.

It might be hard to get the brigadeiro to become completely smooth, and that’s fine, it is beautifully delicious! Brigadeiro cakes are visibly delicious because the brigadeiro has such a tasty and fudgy appearance.

However, I did use a mini offset spatula to form the spiral decoration around the cake. Simply position the spatula horizontally against the side of the cake, and spin the cake board around keeping the spatula in place.

Then pipe some brigadeiro on top. I also topped the cake with some coconut brigadeiro balls, aka beijinhos.

two pictures showing how to make a mini cake. First picture it's showing a hand piping coconut fudge in the center of a mini chocolate cake. second picture is showing a hand piping chocolate brigadeiro on top of a mini four layer cake.

I made some mini cakes also to go with the large cake, using the exact same chocolate cake recipe. I just baked them in small cake tins instead.

And when decorating the mini cakes, I only did 3 layers of cake instead of 4. And I didn’t frost the mini cakes on the outside, I kept them naked cakes.

mini brigadeiro cake topped with brigadeiros and beijinhos, with brigadeiro piped between cake layers.

The mini chocolate coconut cakes were absolutely my favorite! They were delicious to eat in just a few bites.

I topped the mini cakes with brigadeiro also, you can find a full brigadeiro tutorial here.

And just look at that filling!

mini chocolate coconut cake sliced in half showing the coconut filling of the cake.

I hope you enjoyed this Chocolate Coconut Cake recipe, it was made with a lot of love. You will love this brazilian Brigadeiro cake if you try it! It’s easy to make, absolutely delicious, and I really recommend it to anyone.

In Brazil we pretty much can’t make any cakes without brigadeiro in the filling, so this is definitely perfect for my Brazilian heart.

Coconut Chocolate Cake frosted with brigadeiro, topped with coconut fudge balls, with two mini cakes on the side, and brigadeiros spread around the table.

If you want to see more chocolate cake recipes, check these out:

slice of chocolate coconut cake with chocolate frosting and coconut filling.
Coconut Chocolate Cake frosted with brigadeiro, topped with coconut fudge balls, with two mini cakes on the side, and brigadeiros spread around the table.

Chocolate Coconut Cake

Camila Hurst
Hello friends, today I will show you how to make a Chocolate Coconut Cake that is absolutely delicious! It is filled with coconut brigadeiro, and covered in chocolate brigadeiro. It is entirely possible to use brigadeiro as frosting for cake, and the results are amazing.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, brazilian
Servings 10 people
Calories 249 kcal

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 183 grams
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 60 grams
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder optional* read notes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 112 grams
  • 1 cups sugar 200 grams
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream 160 grams
  • 2/3 cup hot brewed coffee 157 grams *read notes
Chocolate Brigadeiro
  • 3-14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk 1188 grams
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
Coconut Brigadeiro
  • 2- 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk 792 grams
  • 1 cup shredded coconut can be sweetened or unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

Chocolate Cake
  • This recipe makes for 4-6” round cakes, or 2-8” round cakes.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350Fº.
  • Grease 4-6″ cake pans and place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of pans. Grease the parchment. You can use spray oil or butter to grease the pans. Set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder, if using. Set aside.
  • Add the sour cream, eggs, oil, coffee, and vanilla extract to a bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Add the sugar along with the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso).
  • Whisk until incorporated, and a smooth batter is formed.
  • Pour the batter evenly onto baking pans.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 min. After the 12 minute mark, keep checking regularly, because you don’t want to burn your cakes or over bake them. Remove them from the oven once a toothpick comes out clean once inserted in the cake.
  • Once you remove it from the oven, wait 10 minutes, flip cakes onto a cookie cooling rack and let the cakes cool.
  • Once cool, wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to leave my layers in the fridge for quite a bit so they can firm up and make it easier to assemble and decorate the cake.
Chocolate Brigadeiro
  • To make the brigadeiro, place the sweetened condensed milk, butter, heavy cream, and chocolate in a small saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring nonstop. If you stop stirring, the fudge will stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture is thick and fudgy and you can see the bottom of the pan when you run the spatula through the middle of the fudge. Remove to a bowl and let it cool completely.
  • Don’t place it in the fridge before filling and frosting the cake, or the fudge will get too hard to be piped. The fudge can be kept at room temperature, covered, for up to 1 day.

Coconut Brigadeiro


  • Mix all ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, shredded coconut, butter, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan.
  • Over medium heat, stir the mixture without stopping, while you bring it to a boil.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low.
  • Keep stirring non stop while it cooks.
  • Don’t stop stirring the mixture, or the fudge will stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • You should cook it for about 10 to 15 minutes. The longer you cook, the thicker it will become.
  • To test if the fudge is ready, simply tilt the pan and if the mixture comes off from the bottom of the pan, you’re good to go. The fudge will look shiny and firm, it will drop in chunks from the spatula and not in a ribbon. If you run a spatula on the bottom of the pan, fudge will take about 5 seconds to come together again. You are looking for a very thick stage, but be careful not to overcook it, if you do overcook it, it will become super hard as it cools down.
  • Remove the fudge to a buttered plate and let it cool down to room temperature. Don’t place it in the fridge or it will become too hard. The fudge can stay at room temperature for one to two days.
To assemble the cake
  • Place the cake on a cake board. Trim the top to level the cake.
  • I actually started brushing the cake with milk, because that’s how we used to make this cake back in Brazil, but I gave up on the brushing for the next layers, because the cake was already super moist, so I figured I’d skip the milk brushing. You can always brush your cakes with a simple syrup or milk if you want to.
  • Pipe the brigadeiro around the edges of the cake. Then fill the center with the coconut brigadeiro. Place another layer on top and repeat.
  • Put the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before frosting, that will help keep the cake sturdy because the brigadeiro is not a super soft frosting like buttercream for example, so you want the filling to be somewhat cold and solid.
  • Use a spatula to spread the brigadeiro around the cake. Use a bench scraper to smooth out the cake. I used my offset spatula and held it on the side of the cake horizontally and spun the cake around to form the decoration on the side of the cake. Since it’s super hard to smooth out the brigadeiro completely, this helped with the looks of the cake.
  • On top, I piped some brigadeiro and topped with some rolled out coconut brigadeiro balls.
  • I also made mini cakes, using the exact same recipe, but baked in a small pan. I decorated pretty much the same way, but I didn’t frost the mini cakes on the outside, I just kept it a naked cake, with the brigadeiro piped into dots around the edges for decoration purposes, I thought it looked super cute this way.
Storage
  • Store the cake in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months. Keep the cake covered in a container to prevent it from drying out.

Notes

Espresso powder: if using the coffee in the recipe, you can skip the espresso powder. Or you can skip the espresso and coffee altogether and just use the hot water instead if you don’t want to add any coffee to the cake. The cake won’t taste like coffee, this is just to help deepen the chocolate taste.
Coffee: you can use hot water instead of coffee in this recipe. 
Keyword cake, chocolate, coconut

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5 Comments

  1. I’m looking to make a 2 layer 10” cake. Would appreciate any suggestion on whether I should double or triple the recipe. Tx!

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