Recently, I hosted some friends over for dinner and felt like I was in a bit of a dessert rut… I have a pretty solid repertoire of desserts but somehow I wanted to prepare something different and innovative. I was also already making a pretty elaborate main course. So, to preserve my own sanity, something “different and innovative” would have to be “simple” as well! I looked in my freezer to see what I had on hand and I found some frozen dough for gateau basque, an almond butter cake filled with pastry cream, typical of Southwest France. I then checked my pantry and found a can of condensed milk, which I usually use to make brigadeiros, a Brazilian treat that I grew up eating. To learn more about brigadieros, check out this post. So I decided to prepare the brigadeiro mixture and use it instead of pastry cream… While my friends all initially requested “just a small slice,” they loved this combination so much, that they all had to have seconds and by the end of the night, the whole cake was gone! I decided to call it Gâteau Amizade as a tribute to both its French and Brazilian roots. Gâteau, as you may know, means cake in French while Amizade is the word for friendship in Portuguese. I couldn’t think of a name that was more appropriate for a dessert that was conceived for an evening of indulgent food, amusing conversation and heartwarming friendships!
8 tablespoons (120 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon (15 ml) kirsch (optional)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) almond extract
1 ½ cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (35 g) almond flour
1 teaspoon (5 g) baking powder
½ teaspoon (3 g) salt
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 egg, slightly beaten
Use a mixer to beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until well blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add the kirsch (if using) and almond extract. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt) in a separate bowl. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix the dough until it holds together. Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten out into disks. Wrap each disk of dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm but malleable, about one hour.
To prepare the brigadeiro filling, mix the condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter in a small sauce pan (about 2 quarts) and cook over low heat. Stir the mixture continuously to avoid clumping - condensed milk is high in sugar and will crystallize, and possibly burn, if left unstirred. When the mixture is thick and you can start seeing the bottom of the pan (about 8-10 minutes of stirring), remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Immediately pour it into a bowl and allow to cool for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with parchment paper. Dust the work surface with some flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out one of the disks of dough into an 11-inch (28 cm) circle. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the cake pan; gently press the dough down into the bottom and sides of the pan. If the dough cracks or tear, do not worry. Just patch it up as it will not show when the cake is finally baked. Pour the brigadeiro filling onto the dough and spread evenly.
Roll out the remaining disk of dough into a 9-inch (23 cm) circle. Carefully place it over the cake pan, on top of the brigadeiro filling, to form the top layer of the cake. Press the edges of the dough together to enclose the pastry cream. With a pairing knife, trim off any excess dough. Brush the top of the cake with the beaten egg.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Cool another 10 minutes before turning the cake right side up and let it cool completely. Transfer to a serving plate and serve at room temperature.
Make it ahead: I frequently make the dough beforehand. I store it in the refrigerator if I’m planning on making the cake in the next two days. Otherwise, I store it in the freezer. It keeps well for up to three months. As for the brigadeiro filling, I usually make it one day in advance. Then I assemble and bake the cake the day I’m planning to serve it.