Another Cocoa ? For Epicurious Double Layer Chocolate Cake

Decorating By monizcel Updated 26 Apr 2008 , 2:13am by JanH

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monizcel Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 12:21pm
post #1 of 5

The recipe says to use unsweetened cocoa (not dutch process). I saw a post on here that says someone used Valronha (not sure if that was for the cocoa or the chocolate part).

Valronha is dutch processed, however I have some of this at home right now and would like to try it in a recipe.

Has anyone used a dutch processed cocoa in this recipe and did it turn out okay?

I also have Hershey's cocoa so in a pinch if I cannot find a higher quality cocoa I will use the Hershey's.


4 replies
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htwiddy Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 12:42pm
post #2 of 5

I will give you a BUMP, like to find this out myself!

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HerBoudoir Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 12:44pm
post #3 of 5

You're making me do research waaaay too early this morning! But since I'm serious about I go.

Source: Bittersweet, by Alice Meredith. 2003 IACP Cookbook of the Year. A must for chocoholic scratch bakers.

Natural cocoa tends to be tart and acidic because these are natural characteristics of cocoa beans (which cocoa powder is basically a concentrated form of), and this is exacerbated by the fact that cocoa is almost always made from beans of "lesser" quality. The best beans go towards making the best chocolate. Natural cocoa is bitter and strong in flavor, but also complex and fruity.

Dutch-processed cocoa is treated with a chemical alkali to make it less harsh, less acidic. It turns the cocoa a deep reddish color. The dutching process strips some of the complexity from cocoa and imparts some of the chemical flavor. The more processed the cocoa is, the darker it becomes and the less chocolate flavor remains.

Dutch processed cocoa will either be labeled as such or the ingredients will say "processed with alkali". Natural cocoa may or may not be labeled as such but the ingredients will say either "cocoa" or "unsweetened cocoa powder".

If the recipe calls for either baking soda or baking powder, you may not be able to swap one cocoa for the other because BS and BP react to the acidity in cocoa. In a recipe withouth BS or BP, you can use whichever cocoa you prefer.

Author recommends the following brands of cocoas: Scharffen Berger (highest rated; natural), Merckens (both Dutch and natural), Valrhona (Dutch), Pernigotti (Dutch), Guittard (natural).


So the answer to your question is "it depends". If the recipe calls for natural and uses either baking soda or baking powder, you're going to get a different chemical reaction with the Dutch pocessed cocoa than you would with the natural. Because Dutch processed has a lower acidity, I would imagine the cake may not rise as much.

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HerBoudoir Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 1:53pm
post #4 of 5

I went back and looked at the recipe (going to have to try that sometime!).....

You've got a lot of leaveners in there between the baking soda and the baking powder. While you have two acids going in (the buttermilk AND the cocoa) to activate them, I think you're going to have to go with the natural cocoa as recommended, and save the Valrhona for another recipe (or just send it to me icon_wink.gif)

Incidentally, if you have a Trader Joe's near you - their name brand Belgian Chocolate Pounder Plus bars are actually made by Callebaut, and a darn sight less expensive....great quality.

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JanH Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 2:13am
post #5 of 5

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