Today in Baking Questions with Mama Cocoa we are going to talk about the use of chocolate in baking. And learn a little bit about cocoa powder. I even include a chocolate cake recipe! MMMMMMM I looooovvvveeee chocolate cake!!!
Have a sweet day!
Faye D. asks: I have read that mixing the chocolate with boiling water intensifies its flavor. How does this work? How do you incorporate that mix into a recipe...especially in a dough or batter that doesn’t included any liquid? (I did try it once, and got a thick, pasty kind of chocolate sludge...which I THINK I added to the batter after creaming the butter and sugar.)
Mixing chocolate with boiling does NOT intensify chocolates flavor. Actually chocolate hates water. Chocolate (even in liquid form) is a fat based solid and water, water is a liquid. Solids and liquids can learn tolerate each other but they would rather stay separate. The sludge you are getting is actually the chocolate seizing. Remember in those old movies when the bad guy would walk into town and people would run inside and lock the door and close everything up? Well, water is the bad guy and the chocolate is protecting itself. So Mama Cocoa, how do you add chocolate to a recipe?? You melt the chocolate and let it cool a bit (it should still be in a liquid state). Then you add the melted chocolate to the batter right after you cream the butter and sugar. (That part was right!!) Because butter is a fat, the chocolate is way more comfortable hanging out with the butter. **Boiling water does intensify the flavor of cocoa powder! See recipe below.
Jenni P. asks: What the difference between Dutch processed cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder? How much of a difference does it make in a recipe? Are they interchangeable?
Great question!!! Cocoa powder is very acidic (so is chocolate actually). When cocoa powder is Dutch processed it is Alkalized to remove it’s acidity. When this happens the cocoa powder’s flavor is softer and the color is redder. Dutch processed cocoa powder does not react with baking soda. What does that mean? Baking soda is a base and like all good bases it needs an acid to react. In baking, the reaction you are looking for is the batter rising as it bakes. Dutch processing neutralizes the acid in cocoa powder so the baking soda has nothing to play with. Leaving you with a flat, heavy, dense cake. The two different powders are not interchangeable, without tweaking the acid levels in the rest of the recipe. They are also different taste wise. The Dutch processed cocoa has a softer less chocolaty flavor then the natural cocoa powder. Most recipes will tell you which cocoa powder to use. If they don’t then the rule of thumb is, if you see baking soda use natural cocoa powder.
Okay here is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. This cake is a lighter chocolate cake with a rich flavor. The mixing method used in this recipe is call a modified straight method. The straight method is when you throw everything into a bowl and mix. This is modified because you throw in dry first then wet then water. This recipe is super quick to mix together. This recipe produces is a very thin batter. So don’t worry if it looks watery. Also OVERBAKING is the greatest crime against cake. If the toothpick is bone dry then so is your cake. A few moist crumbs is a good thing!
Chocolate Cake Recipe
2 1/2 cups Sugar
2 1/4 cups Flour
1 1/4 cups Natural Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cup Milk
2/3 cup Oil (veggie or canola)
2/3 ounce Vanilla (or 1 1/2 Tbs)
1 1/4 cup Boiling Water
- Shift sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into mixing bowl. Stir to combine
- Combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix together making sure to stop and scrape the bowl.
- Slowly mix in bowling water.
- Fill 9 inch lined and sprayed pans halfway with batter***
- Bake at 325 for 25 to 35 minutes or until done.###
***I prefer to spray my pans with cooking spray and line them with circles I make out of parchment paper. Easier and less messy then flour and butter.
### Every oven is different, so start testing the cake at 25 minutes and know that it may take longer.
Every Tuesday Mama Cocoa will answer a few baking questions. If you would like to submit a question message Mama Cocoa on FaceBook or email her at email@example.com.
Have a sweet day!