All Cocoa Powders are Not Created Equal December 11 2016
First off, what is cocoa powder anyway?
Serious Eats tells us that cocoa powder is the dry solid remains of fermented, dried, and roasted cacao beans. The beans are cracked into nibs, which are then ground into a paste made of cocoa solids suspended in near-flavorless cocoa butter.
Once processors extract the butter they're left with the crumbly solids, which are then ground into a fine powder. So cocoa powder is the core of a chocolate's flavor, without any extra fat, sugar, or milk to get in the way.
From here, cocoa powder can take a few more forms, depending if it is alkalized or not. One of the reasons our Devil's Food Cupcakes taste unique and are so dark is because we use a very alkalized cocoa powder, the Black Onyx, from Savory Spice Shop.
To develop that recipe we tested (tough job) three kinds of cocoa powder - natural, Dutch, and Onyx. The difference is the natural is simply the powder described above, where Dutch and Onyx have been washed with potassium carbonate, a form of salt. It smooths the flavors and removes bitterness as well as some fat, which makes it act differently in baking. Turns out in a good way for these cupcakes!
Read more in the Serious Eats article about alkalinization and the differences here.
Want to experiment with tasty chocolate treats yourself? Get some cocoa powders from Savory Spice Shop.