We all know cocoa powder and probably most of us have used it for baking or making delicious hot chocolate.
Cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans which go through a process of fermenting, drying, roasting and grinding. After the cocoa butter has been extracted, the leftover dark brown paste is dried again and ground into powder – the cocoa powder.
Now there are 2 types of cocoa powder:
I must say, I have only learned recently that it does matter what type of cocoa powder you use in baking as it can chance the final look of your chocolaty desserts.
So the next time you bake something where cocoa powder is part of your recipe you might want to check which one it is they refer to. How to check it? Let’s compare these two powders first.
Unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- Light brown color
- Quite bitter (it is its original acidy flavor)
- Acidy smell
- Used mostly in the USA
Dutch processed cocoa
- Dark brown color
- Less bitter than the natural one (due to the neutralization process this cocoa powder loses its acidity)
- Strong chocolaty smell
- Used mostly in Europe
Because the unsweetened natural cocoa powder is acidic, a baking soda is used. These two ingredients together help the batter rise when baking in the oven (unless other acidic ingredients are used).
The Dutch cocoa powder is processed and has no acidic taste anymore. Baking soda wouldn’t have the rising effect on the cake batter in this case so the recipe most likely calls for baking powder.
If there is baking soda in your recipe, it is more likely that the unsweetened natural cocoa powder should be used.
If there is baking powder in your recipe, add Dutch processed cocoa powder.
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