Have you ever wondered if you can substitute Dutch cocoa for natural cocoa powder and what the difference is between Dutch cocoa and natural cocoa when you see it in a recipe or at the market?
How is Natural cocoa powder made? You might think there’s no difference, It’s all the same. Well, it’s not, and let me explain. This chocolate cupcake uses Natural cocoa powder.
Can you Substitute
The short answer is that no – you cannot substitute Dutch cocoa for Natural cocoa powder. However, you can substitute cocoa powder in place of Dutch cocoa.
Confused? I’ll explain!
Dutch cocoa is used with Baking powder and natural cocoa is used with baking soda or both.
How Cocoa Powder Is Made
Cocoa powder is made when chocolate liquor is pressed to remove three-quarters of its cocoa butter. The remaining cocoa solids are processed to make fine unsweetened cocoa powder.
Two Types of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed.
Dutch-Processed Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used.
It has a reddish-brown color, and mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids.
Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, non-alkalized cocoa, tastes very bitter and gives a deep chocolate flavor to baked goods. Its intense flavor makes it well-suited for use in brownies, cookies, and some chocolate cakes. Natural Cocoa has a slightly fruity taste.
When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven.
Is there Sweetened Cocoa Powder
Dutch Process Cocoa can be either sweetened or unsweetened, just like natural cocoa. The term “Dutch Process” refers to the way the cocoa is processed, but it does not indicate whether or not the cocoa has been sweetened.
When you are purchasing Dutch Process Cocoa, you should check the label to see whether it is unsweetened or sweetened. Unsweetened Dutch Process Cocoa will contain only cocoa powder, while sweetened Dutch Process Cocoa will have sugar or other sweeteners added to it.
The Role of Cocoa Powder in Cakes
When used alone in cakes, cocoa powder imparts a full rich chocolate flavor and dark color. Cocoa powder can also be used in recipes with other chocolates (unsweetened or dark) and this combination produces a cake with a more intense chocolate flavor than if the cocoa wasn’t present.
Most recipes call for sifting the cocoa powder with the flour but to bring out its full flavor it can be combined with a small amount of boiling water.
Difference Between Dutch-Process and Natural Cocoa Powder
The biggest difference between them is in how they are made.
How Dutch-Process Cocoa is Made
Dutch-process cocoa powder is made from cocoa (cacao) beans that have been washed with a potassium solution, to neutralize their acidity.
How Natural Cocoa Is Made
Natural cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that are simply roasted, then pulverized into a fine powder.
Use Cocoa Powder Instead of Flour In Your Pans
Another great tip is you can use a tablespoon of cocoa powder instead of flour in your pans for chocolate cake. This is also helpful if you are making a gluten-free cake.
Substitute For Cocoa Powder
The best substitute for cocoa powder is unsweetened baking chocolate. You could also use carob powder as well.
So it comes down to this. Can you substitute Dutch cocoa for Cocoa Powder in a recipe? NO. You can do the opposite. Believe me, I tried it and it doesn’t work. Dutch cocoa is used with Baking powder and natural cocoa is used with baking soda or both.
If you love chocolate try experimenting with different brands. It does make a difference. Also, there is a difference between sweetened cocoa powder which is for beverages. So read the label and make sure you pick the right product for what you’re baking.
In summary, if a recipe calls for baking powder, Dutch Process Cocoa is likely the best choice. If a recipe calls for baking soda, Natural Process Cocoa is likely the best choice. However, both types of cocoa can be used interchangeably in many recipes, depending on personal preference and availability.
What Recipes use Natural Cocoa Powder
- Chocolate Cake: Natural cocoa powder is a key ingredient in classic chocolate cake recipes. The acidity in the cocoa powder reacts with baking soda to help the cake rise, resulting in a light and fluffy texture.
- Chocolate Brownies: Natural cocoa powder is also used in brownie recipes, where it adds a rich, chocolatey flavor and helps to create a fudgy texture.
- Chocolate Frosting: Natural cocoa powder can be used to make rich and creamy chocolate frosting for cakes and cupcakes.
- Hot Cocoa: Natural cocoa powder is the base for homemade hot cocoa mixes, which can be customized with sugar, spices, and other flavorings.
- Mole Sauce: Natural cocoa powder is a traditional ingredient in Mexican mole sauce, where it adds a complex depth of flavor to the dish.
- Chili: Natural cocoa powder can be used to add a subtle sweetness and earthy flavor to chili recipes.
What Recipes use Dutch Process Cocoa
- Chocolate Truffles: Dutch Process Cocoa can give chocolate truffles a smoother and more refined flavor, as well as a darker color.
- Chocolate Ice Cream: Dutch Process Cocoa can give the chocolate ice cream a more intense and chocolatey flavor, as well as a deeper color.
- Chocolate Sauce: Dutch Process Cocoa can be used to make a rich and velvety chocolate sauce for drizzling over ice cream or desserts.
- Dark Chocolate Cake: Dutch Process Cocoa can be used in dark chocolate cake recipes to achieve a richer and more intense chocolate flavor.
- Chocolate Mousse: Dutch Process Cocoa can be used in chocolate mousse recipes to create a smoother and more velvety texture.
Overall, Dutch Process Cocoa is often used in recipes where a richer and more intense chocolate flavor is desired. However, it’s important to note that the choice between natural cocoa powder and Dutch Process Cocoa often comes down to personal preference and the specific recipe being used.
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Sadly, I never even knew there was a different kind. Then again, we really don't do a lot of chocolate around here, in general. Thanks for the eye opener 🙂
Thats ok, who knows maybe one day, you will say ohhh yeahhh there is a difference.
Alexis Grace says
This was really great information! I enjoy baking and honestly never knew this- although I am conscious to follow the directions (esp when things call for baking soda vs. powder…). I am sure my baking will benefit from the lesson.
Many stores don't carry the dutch cocoa, so you have to search for it. Maybe in Chicago they have more options than in palm springs.
Very informative post! I wasn't aware of the differences, and I had no idea acidity played a role.
Now I want some brownies 🙂 Visiting from SITS.
It is amazing the once you see the difference. Thanks for stopping by.
Sylver Blaque says
Here's another one for you: actual chocolate in other countries tastes totally different than ours here. My fave is Irish chocolate – the smoothest, creamiest chocolate ever!
I do know there is a difference, but I haven't been able to benefit from it yet. I know many pastry chefs order from other countries, hopefully I will be able to do the same.
This is super helpful! I'm always googling stuff like this when I get to my pantry and don't have the right ingredient!
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This is incredibly helpful. I've always wondered. Baking is so scientific sometimes, and substitutions can be a bit scary. Thanks, Candi!
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I love information like this! Great post.
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wow…this look so good. i m going to make it on ther day..our site http://www.mrkooldrink.com provide cocoa powder, baking powder, corn syrup. you can make diffrent type of recipe of cocoa powder..
Cocoa powder is made when chocolate liquor is pressed to remove three quarters of its cocoa butter. The remaining cocoa solids are processed to make fine unsweetened cocoa powder. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder:
It’s difficult to find educated people for this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talkjing about!
Good post. I will be experiencing some of these issues as