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Black Cocoa Powder and How to Use It

You may have noticed that some chocolate desserts are daringly dark. Some are almost black, like my Haunted Garden Cake. So, how do they get this dark in color without using food coloring? So I’m talking about black cocoa powder and how to use it today.

Black cocoa powder is most likely the star when you see these daringly dark black desserts. So, what is black cocoa powder? Learn about the different types of cocoa powder and how to use black cocoa powder in your desserts.

black cocoa powder and how to use it
black cocoa powder and how to use it

What is black cocoa powder?

Black cocoa powder is a cocoa powder that has been heavily alkalized. This means that it’s been more stripped of acidity that is naturally occurring in cocoa. Removing acidity from cocoa powder creates as sweeter cocoa, and the more acidity that is removed, the darker the cocoa becomes.

What is the difference between black cocoa powder and regular?

There are actually three main types of cocoa powder: black cocoa, Dutch cocoa, and natural cocoa powder. While both black cocoa and Dutch cocoa have both been alkalized, natural cocoa has not been (hence the name, natural).

Natural cocoa powder is the least sweet of all the cocoas because it is cocoa in its natural state. Dutch cocoa powder has been alkalized, which means that acidity has been reduced, making it sweeter in flavor. Black cocoa powder is heavily alkalized, meaning even more acidity is removed than Dutch cocoa powder. This makes black cocoa powder even sweeter, and it creates an even darker color. This can also translate to a “more chocolatey” flavor.

So, while natural cocoa will be the most natural cocoa powder, it is also the least flavorful. Dutch cocoa powder is your middle ground, and the one that most recipes will commonly call for. And black cocoa powder is the sweetest and darker cocoa powder you can use.

black cocoa powder and how to use it

Can you interchange one black cocoa powder for Dutch cocoa or natural?

Yes, and no. The short answer is you can use black cocoa powder and Dutch cocoa powder interchangeably in a recipe because they have both been alkalized. You cannot substitute Dutch cocoa or black cocoa for natural cocoa powder.

Natural cocoa powder has not been alkalized, so when using it in recipes, it does react with baking soda. So, those recipes using natural cocoa could have baking soda. However, because Dutch cocoa and black cocoa powder have been alkalized, it does not react well with baking soda and baking powder is needed instead. This is why you can substitute black cocoa for Dutch or vice versa, but not for natural.

One other thing you must be careful of is black cocoa powder and Dutch cocoa powder do not weigh the same in volume. So, if substituting one in a recipe be sure that you are using the right amount. This is why I weigh all my ingredients, and I will use weight (and not cups) when subbing one for the other. Use my cheat sheet below.

Black cocoa powder

1 cup = 127 grams

Dutch cocoa powder

1 cup = 85 grams

black cocoa powder and how to use it

What can black cocoa powder be used for?

Black cocoa powder can be used for anything that you use Dutch cocoa powder for. Because they both have been alkalized, you can use them interchangeably in recipes (as longs you measure properly).

Black cocoa powder is a rich, dark, and sweet cocoa powder that can be used in cakes, cookies, brownies, puddings, hot chocolate, and more! Try using black cocoa powder when you want a sweeter, darker, or richer dessert!

So now that you know about black cocoa powder and how to use it, try it out in some dessert recipes when you want a daringly dark dessert. Try Sea Salt Black Cocoa Biscotti, which is one of my favorite recipes!

black cocoa powder and how to use it

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