Types of Cocoa


Questions and Answers – Types of Cocoa



I’m confused!  Can you tell me the difference between Dutch-Process Cocoa and Unsweetened Cocoa?  Are they interchangeable in a recipe? – Nancy (1/10/04)




If you bake with cocoa you have probably noticed recipes that call for either Dutch-processed or natural (non-Dutch-processed) unsweetened cocoa powder.

Both types of cocoa powder are unsweetened and therefore bitter when tasted alone.


Dutch-Process Cocoa or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder:

This type of chocolate has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity.  Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used.  It has a reddish-brown color, mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids.

Unsweetened Cocoa:

Has a complex chocolate flavor while the Dutch-process is darker and more mellow.  Its intense flavor makes it well suited for use in brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes.  When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven.


Cocoa Substitution Chart:


It is important to use the type of cocoa specified in a recipe because it may affect the recipe’s balance of acid.  If you must substitute, use the following formula:


Cocoa, Unsweetened:

Substitute equal amounts of Dutch-processed cocoa for unsweetened cocoa.  Leave out any baking soda called for in the recipe.

3 tablespoon carob powder plus 2 tablespoons water for every 1-ounce unsweetened cocoa.

Do not substitute instant cocoa mix for unsweetened cocoa in any recipe.


Dutch-Process Cocoa:

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus a pinch (1/8 teaspoon) baking soda for every 1-ounce Dutch-Process Cocoa.

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda (reduce fat in recipe by 1 tablespoon).

3 tablespoons carob powder for every 1-ounce Dutch Process Cocoa.


Mexican Chocolate:

1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon for every 1-ounce Mexican Chocolate.

In mole sauces, substitute 1 tablespoon cocoa powder for every ounce of Mexican chocolate called for in the recipe.




Chocolate    Cooking Lessons - Cooking 101   

Comments and Reviews

One Response to “Types of Cocoa”

  1. Sarah davis

    Can I substitute Ghirardelli ground white chocolate powder for a bar of finely chopped Ghirardelli classic white confection in coffee cake recipe


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