Dutch Processed Cocoa Vs Unsweetened Cocoa

Baking By cmom Updated 9 Oct 2013 , 8:56pm by cocoasupply

cmom Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 2:39pm
post #1 of 11

I know with unsweetened cocoa, baking soda is needed for cakes, but if I am using dutch process cocoa do I need to add the baking soda or can I just use baking powder???

10 replies
auzzi Posted 1 May 2011 , 6:19am
post #2 of 11

Just baking powder - the "dutched" cocoa is treated with alkali, so it does not need baking soda or acidic ingredient to balance it ..

FromScratchSF Posted 1 May 2011 , 6:29am
post #3 of 11

Huh, I dunno if I agree with this - not that I've learned or read that anywhere, but all my chocolate cake recipes, including my red velvet which uses a touch of cocoa powder, all call for dutch processed cocoa, and they all use baking soda in them. My devil's food uses mostly soda with a little powder, my red velvet is all soda.


scp1127 Posted 1 May 2011 , 11:06am
post #4 of 11

America's Test Kitchens did a study with about five different kinds of baked goods. They wanted to check the theory that a recipe would have to be altered if DPCP was exchanged for CP. The conclusion was that the taste testers picked every item baked with DPCP. The taste was smoother without the edge. They made no adjustments to the leavening and all items baked perfectly. Conclusion: You can switch to DPCP with no adjustments. You can look it up for yourself.

auzzi Posted 2 May 2011 , 11:45am
post #5 of 11

Huh, I dunno if I agree with this - not that I've learned or read that anywhere

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa Powder FAQ: Dutch-process & natural cocoa powder

Cocoa Entry
http://www.foodsubs.com/Chocvan.html#cocoa powder

scp1127 Posted 2 May 2011 , 1:21pm
post #6 of 11

I didn't ask for agreement. One of the most respected test kitchens experimented with a test panel and the results were unanimous on better taste and no change the final product when DPCP was subbed for CP with no adjustments. Those are the facts. If you are a member of Cooks Illustrated (America's Test Kitchens), you can read it yourself.

I have subbed DPCP after reading this with no problems so far.

NJCakery Posted 2 May 2011 , 2:05pm
post #7 of 11

This is what I learned about the cocoas from a pastry chef when I had a lot of questions about Red Velvet -

If a recipe uses baking soda a non-Dutch-Processed cocoa can be used. Dutch-Processed cocoa is neutral in chemical makeup and will not react with baking soda. This means it can only be used in 1) recipes with baking powder or 2) if the recipe has enough other acidic ingredients that will make up a lack in acidity. If the recipe has both vinegar and buttermilk, it should have a high acidity level for either cocoa. That said, either cocoa should work, and becomes a preference choice.

FromScratchSF Posted 2 May 2011 , 3:46pm
post #8 of 11

SPC I normally agree with you, but I have personally had zero success subbing natural for DP and vice versa. I don't get the same results in my cake. I made a Red velvet at my sister's house once, she didn't have any DP on hand so I just used Hershey's - not only did the cake not rise right, it came out brown and flavorless, not red and velvety. I have also tried making my Devil's food with a less expensive natural organic cocoa that I can get for super cheap in comparison to what I pay for my DP (even in bulk) and it came out chewey, didn't rise as much and didn't have a chocolate-y flavor.

Maybe it depends on the recipe?


Cakechick123 Posted 2 May 2011 , 3:51pm
post #9 of 11

I interchange between the two without changing my recipe. As a pp said, there is a slight taste difference, but my cakes seems to bake exactly the same.

scp1127 Posted 2 May 2011 , 4:58pm
post #10 of 11

From Scratch, they didn't say they were interchangeable. You can sub DPCP for CP. The test wan' about subbin CP in a rcipe alling for cocoa powder. I have never done it where there is 3/4 c involved. It's a paid site, but I will see if I can provide a link.

It doesn't show up on a search except for them answering questions on a forum, and again, they referred to the sub of DP for CP, not the opposite. I have it saved. I'll try to find it.

cocoasupply Posted 9 Oct 2013 , 8:56pm
post #11 of 11

Dutch cocoa or alkalized cocoa is cocoa powder with potassium carbonate. This reacts and makes it darker and less acid; however, it does not increase the intensity or flavor.

Natural cocoa powder is a bit more acid and lighter, but it is also healthier and retains more of the volatile aroma.


If your recipe calls for dutched or alkalized cocoa, you can only substitute it with the natural one (not alkalized) by adding some baking soda.

Hope this helps;


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