Cocoa Powder Condundrum

Somehow, through my sticky beak nature, I’ve been engaged in a Twitter discussion over the past few days about converting a sponge recipe to make it a chocolate sponge.

This weekend will see a “Bake-Off” of sorts, to see who can transform a recipe and come up with a very decent chocolate flavoured sponge. A good sponge is generally a delicate balance of three key ingredients: eggs/flour/sugar and adding cocoa affects the formula. To help those involved this is the information from my “Cake” instructional manual provided by William Angliss.

Hope it helps Ladies and any men that want to have a go, happy baking.

Taken directly from the book  titled: “Prepare and Produce Cakes”

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa is added to many recipes to make a chocolate variety of the same product. To produce a chocolate sponge 5-12% of the flour is replaced with cocoa powder depending on the strength of the flavour required.

All cocoa powders contain cocoa butter, and an average would be 25%.

Cocoa powder usually replaces flour in such recipes and therefore the balance of the recipe is affected. For example in a recipe with 1000 grams of flour, after substitution of 10% there would be 900 grams of flour and 100grams of cocoa powder. Since cocoa powder has a greater water absorbing power than flour, there would have to be an increase in milk/water content by an amount equal to the cocoa powder used. Since the milk content has now been increased, there may also be a need to increase the baking powder slightly to achieve the same degree of aeration.

Here is an example:

A recipe of 1000 grams of flour would need to be adjusted as follows to make it into a chocolate cake

Flour 960 grams

Add cocoa powder 40 grams

Add milk 40 grams

Add baking powder  2 grams

The natural colour of chocolate is influenced by the acidity and alkalinity of the batter, the former giving a greyish colour, whilst an alkaline one enhances the attractive rich chocolate colour. It is not unusual therefore to add a slight increase in bicarbonate of soda to achieve this purpose.


About dblake73

I like to bake. I am a Business Analyst that spent time studying patisserie. I choose the Stones over the Beatles and I find shopping online relaxing. I am happily married with 2 boys. I live in and love Melbourne.
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