What To Substitute For 1 1/2 Cups Cocoa Powder...

Baking By cocobean Updated 4 Sep 2016 , 4:51pm by Chloezee

cocobean Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 9:55pm
post #1 of 10

I have a favorite chocolate cake recipe. I'm wondering if I can turn it into a white cake recipe by just taking out the 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder and substitute it with something else. The recipe already calls for 3 cups flour. Would I just add 1 1/2 cups more flour in place of the cocoa?? What about the fat content in the cocoa powder? What dry ingredient with fat would replace that?? Any great ideas?? Thanks!

9 replies
LindaF144a Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 11:56pm
post #2 of 10

Cocoal powder acts like a starch in a cake batter. And I believe the fat is relatively low. I'm not going to quote a percentage because I can't remember and it depends on the brand.

What you can do is add back in flour the weight of the cocoa. Notice I said weight. I believe that Bakewise by Shirley Corriher states that cocoa powder weights 2.9 ounces a cup and AP flour is 4.9 ounces a cup (you didn't say if you use cake or AP)

So doing math you add roughly 1 cup of flour back in to replace the cocoa.

This is what Shirley states in her book Bakewise to do. Your results may vary. I don't want to be the one blamed if it doesn't work for you.

Cakebelle Posted 17 Sep 2010 , 12:17am
post #3 of 10

What other ingredients do you use in the recipe? Most cocoa based recipes have a anti acid agent, like baking soda, to balance the recipe, you may need to adjust your leavening depending on that as well.

HTH icon_smile.gif

auzzi Posted 17 Sep 2010 , 12:57am
post #4 of 10

Things to think of:

1. that much cocoa is supplying structure as well as taste to the completed product. Adding flour as a substitute for cocoa is also adding more gluten .. cocoa has no gluten. Gluten gives elasticity and strength to baked goods. But cake should be soft and light - that means not adding more gluten. Too much causes a tough, dry cake.

2. cocoa in a baked product is very drying - more liquid is required to balance this tendency. Removing the cocoa will unbalance the moisture content

3. natural cocoa is acidic in nature: to balance this, there is usually an alkaline item in the recipe: bicarb soda, buttermilk, sour cream, yoghurt etc. The chemical reaction neutralizes but it also acts as a secondary leavener. Removing the cocoa, means that another item will have to be introduced to counter the alkaline ingredient

4. if there is no primary leavener, and you remove one of the catalsyts of the acid/alkali reaction, you will have to add some type of leavener or the item may not rise ..

5. as for the fat content .. your guess is as good as mine, but considering the amount of cocoa in the recipe ..

Suggestion: look for another recipe ..

cocobean Posted 17 Sep 2010 , 5:26am
post #5 of 10

Wow...so many things to think about. I knew it was not going to be a simple answer.

The cocoa powder I use has 22-24% fat
I use 1 1/2 t. soda
The recipe does call for buttermilk
I use all purpose flour

**Think I will have to continue to look for that elusive (best crumb) white cake recipe. icon_sad.gif

Thanks you guys are amazing with your knowledge of science!!

LindaF144a Posted 17 Sep 2010 , 2:09pm
post #6 of 10

Buttermilk is acidic, so you would need the Baking soda, but probably not as much. 1/2 tsp of BS will neutralize 1 cup of buttermilk.

I forgot mention the leavener. Most recipes are overleavened anyways.

But I definitely vote for what Auzzi said - find a new recipe. What you like about this one may not work out as soon as you take out the chocolate. If you want kind of the same kind, look for one that has buttermilk in it. That will give you some of the same underlying flavor.

Propel969046 Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 4:35pm
post #7 of 10

A[COLOR=blue]Hi there, I've been looking for a white cake recipe as well that was as moist as the beattys chocolate cake that ina garten posts on foodnetwork.com. That cake is so moist! I haven't been able to find one that's the same and was contemplating taking out the cocoa and I came across this post.

Have you found a recipe yet? I just made a butter cake for my birthday and I'm not that impressed with the moisture in it...[/COLOR]

MimiFix Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 5:19pm
post #8 of 10

This post is several years old. Have you tried a site search? Also, many people use allrecipes.com when they need a recipe. There are reviews from hundreds of people who have tried those recipes. 

Chloezee Posted 3 Sep 2016 , 9:43pm
post #9 of 10

Hi there

I have exactly the same problem. I have a fantastic red velvet recipe and seeing that none of my vanilla recipes are that great I want to use it to make vanilla. So I used corn starch instead of the cocoa and though it still was delicous it was slightly dense which would happen to flour as well. COCOA doesn't thicken anything. If you make cocoa to drink it doesn't really have a thickening property. So like you I am looking for an edible powder that doesn't thicken once it's boiled. I think that's what goes wrong with this. I can't believe someone else had same Idea as I did. But I'm not going to do extra flour OR subsitute corn starch again. They are ALL thickening agents and that's NOT what you want. I am going to try coconut FLOUR (dessicated flour where the fat is removed - I know it's hard to find but I'm going to test it in some milk to see if it thickens. And i'll try and try until I find the right thing. Thanks so much for this question - I think it was quite long ago???

Chloezee Posted 4 Sep 2016 , 4:51pm
post #10 of 10

Hi Cocobean. I found out!!! 

I sat all night long could NOT find an inert substance like Cocoa powder that could be used for a white cake. Honestly the corn starch is bad news since it thickens, so does flour. And so I had to click in reverse psychology in google. and Low and behold (if you can find it) you can substitute very fine dessicated coconut FLOUR (not the little flakes or pieces). it doesn't thicken like the rest, in fact if you try and make a HOT coconut (as in HOT COCOA) it'll react the same with the boiling water or milk. It doesn't become gloopy and thick thus messing with the science of your cake. Unfortunately thus far it's the only one I could find. I know you asked 6 years ago, but for myself this is wonderful news. We have some health shops now that sell dessicated coconut powder (fat and everything else removed). Wont react like flour but will fill in where you needed the cocoa filled in. I'm going ahead. CHEERS EVERBODY

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