If you’re looking for the best chocolatey ingredient to include in your recipes, you’ll most definitely have come across both cocoa and cacao powder. While both sources of chocolate are kind of the same thing, they are also very different. It’s important to know these differences when including either in your recipes, as there are significant differences between the two. Not only in processing and flavor, but nutritional value as well! In this article, we take you through the difference between cacao and cocoa powder, allowing you to discover the truth about their differences.
What is Cocoa Powder?
Cocoa powder is the more common and inexpensive of the two powders, being used in the majority of recipes that require that rich, chocolatey flavor. Cocoa powder is processed quite differently than cacao powder and is actually the dry solid remains of fermented, dried and roasted cacao beans.
Epicurious.com tells us more on how and when cocoa powder is used for baking:
“Cocoa powder is made from dried and ground cocoa solids—what’s left over after most of the fat (a.k.a. cocoa butter) is processed out for other uses. Because it has the highest percentage of solids of any chocolate product, a little goes a long way in terms of imbuing a baked good or dessert with rich fudgy flavor. Most often you’ll find cocoa powder in a recipe whisked into the other dry ingredients; once hydrated, it will turn the whole batch of batter dark brown and deeply fragrant.”
What is Cacao Powder?
The more expensive and extra rich cacao powder is made more purposefully than cocoa powder and is also processed completely differently. The processing of the cocoa bean is what makes cocoa powder the healthier option between these two powders.
Jessica Gavin explains how cacao powder is processed and why it is considered more natural:
“The beans are processed at low temperatures and are considered raw. Once milled into powder, it contains a much higher amount of enzymes, minerals, and nutrients. That’s cacao powder. It tastes more bitter than cocoa powder but offers more nutritional content and is considered more natural.”
Which is the Better Option For Baking?
When choosing between cacao and cocoa powder, your ingredient of choice will come down to your preferences in both taste and nutritional value. Although more bitter in taste, cacao powder is the much healthier option, containing several types of nutrients, including polyphenols, fiber and tryptophan. It’s important to note that cocoa powder also has a significant amount of health benefits, but that these are lessened by their roasting process.
When choosing between cacao and cocoa powder, your ingredient of choice will come down to your preferences in both taste and nutritional value. Although more bitter in taste, cacao powder is a much healthier option, containing several types of nutrients, including polyphenols, fiber, and tryptophan. It’s important to note that cocoa powder also has a significant amount of health benefits, but that these are lessened by their roasting process.
Pure & Plant-Based tells us more about why cacao powder is the healthier option between the two:
“…cacao powder does not come from beans roasted at high temperatures. As a result, the copious amount of nutrients are still intact when the beans are ground into powder. Cacao powder is also far less processed and the closest you can get to the raw cacao bean. Cacao powder is full of nutritious health benefits making it the healthier option of the two.”
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