Know Some Coco

HEYY. I just wanted to write something about cocoa powder. I don’t know but it interests me because I simply use them in baking. And for all of those who bake as well, ever wondered how it’s made? Hehe, i know! There’s your Cacao Pod or Fruit reaped from the Cacao Tree. The Cacao Fruit is similar to the the Papaya fruit in appearance. Well I haven’t seen one personally but I am hoping to see one! Anyway, inside these pods are where you can find the Cacao Beans and there are at least 30 to 50 beans inside. Like whoa right, oh so many! I wish I had a Cacao Tree right here at home but I’m not even sure if they can be grown in a tropical island where I live (Oh, I live in the Philippines by the way). In order to make cocoa powder, these beans are roasted and then ground into a thick paste. After which the paste is pressed into a disc (factories have this machine presser) and finally, this disc is grated into a fine powder. And this powder is now that same powder you use in baking your chocolate-flavored cake or cupcakes or in making hot chocolate! Can you imagine. I wanna try working in a chocolate factory and experience the joy in getting my hands and clothes dirty making cocoa powder and then take some home and use for baking cupcakes.

So we have now our cocoa powder. Do you know that cocoa powder has many variations? If you’re a baker, then you should know how to use a certain type of cocoa powder. Cocoa powder has basically 2 types. You have your natural cocoa powder and your dutch-processed cocoa powder (also known as alkalized cocoa powder). Natural cocoa powder is lighter in color. In baking, one must take note that natural cocoa powder must only be used for recipes which call for baking soda as the leavening agent. It’s because natural cocoa is acidic and baking soda is an alkali. So basically they’re a good pair and when combined in baking, they will give good balance in taste and results to your baked goods. On the other hand, there is your dutch-processed cocoa powder which is “alkalized” and which I personally prefer to USE in baking, just wanna share. Alkalized means it’s been soaked or washed with potassium solution giving it a change in its natural brown color, darker perhaps. More importantly when cocoa powder is alkalized, it also means a large percentage of acid has been taken away as you know, natural cocoa is acidic. So it becomes milder in taste and richer in flavor and a lot of bakers prefer using it. One thing to know when using it in baking, you should pair this up with baking powder as your leavener. Otherwise when paired with baking soda which is also an alkali, there’ll be too much alkali in your batter giving your product lack in rising and a soapy taste. So actually there it goes. Those little things are actually what you should take note when using cocoa powder and I hope that helps you when making a chocolate flavored-something baked! There are still lots of types of cocoa powder to use out there but so far, the recipes I have don’t require them. There is what they say “Bloomed Cocoa Powder” and this means that the powder is allowed to sit with hot water or liquid and this is done they say to intensify flavor. I must try this. Another interesting type of cocoa is the Black Cocoa Powder which is a heavily-dutched cocoa powder. I am pretty sure you have seen this kind of cocoa powder beacause the perfect example for this is your OREO cookie!

Some product of Cocoa Powder. Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes!

There’s a picture of where I had my cocoa powder going. Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes! I have learned all these Cocoa must-knows after I had gotten into this recipe that required Dutch-Processed Cocoa. So it made me wonder why not use ordinary cocoa powder instead and I saw comments why I shouldn’t. And so I’ve done some nerdy stuff research about Cocoa before making almost everyone’s favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes for my Dad’s birthday 🙂 As you may know, the flavor of red velvet is primarily chocolate. The only difference is the color and perhaps the icing used. So I guess it’s a must to know something about chocolate. In my Red Velvet recipe, I make sure to use dutch-processed cocoa powder as my chocolate base and baking powder. This combination made sure that I had a lovely Red Velvet to share on a very special day.

Have a great day! CIAO BELLA!