Black Cocoa Powder Guide
So you want to know more about Black Cocoa Powder, do you? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This Black Cocoa Powder Guide is here to help answer all your questions about this devilishly black cocoa powder: what it is, when to use it, and more!
My world changed when I started using black cocoa powder in my baking! Some of my Black Cocoa Recipes include my Black Velvet Cupcakes, Homemade Oreo Cookies, and Oreo Donuts. Its flavor and color are two important elements of this black-colored cocoa. So, let’s get into it!
What is Black Cocoa Powder?
Black cocoa powder is an ultra-dutch processed cocoa powder.
A dutch processed cocoa powder is unsweetened cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkaline solution to remove its acidity. Black cocoa powder has simply been heavily alkalized.
For more information on Dutch-processed cocoa powder, see my Cocoa Powder Guide!
How To Use Black Cocoa Powder
When it comes to using black cocoa powder, take note of these things:
- Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda
Black-Colored Cocoa Powder
Black Color: As you can see in these pictures, black cocoa powder is black. So, bakes using black cocoa powder will turn out black! It’s the best cocoa powder to use when you are looking for black-colored bakes (great for Halloween!)
Black cocoa powder is a great ingredient to use when you are wanting to color something black but not use a ton of black food coloring. Adding a bit of black cocoa powder to a frosting recipe is the perfect way to darken it up!
Plus, the great thing about black cocoa powder is it won’t dye your mouth or teeth black after eating it!
Oreo-Flavored Cocoa Powder
Deep Flavor: The best way to describe the flavor of black cocoa powder is to compare it to what an Oreo tastes like. Some say it has a deeper chocolate flavor, while others say it doesn’t really taste chocolate-y like we would get with a chocolate bar or chocolate cake. If you know what an Oreo tastes like, then you’re right on track for understanding how black cocoa powder would make your bakes taste.
I use black cocoa powder in some of my favorite Oreo Desserts!
When to Use Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda
Baking Powder or Baking Soda? Since black cocoa powder doesn’t have any acidity, it is most commonly used in bakes with baking powder (or in bakes that have more baking powder than baking soda). This is because the baking soda (a base) would have no acid within the cocoa powder to react to. Baking powder contains powdered acid (think cream of tartar) so it will react on its own when combined with liquid.
Remember: Black cocoa powder = baking powder.
Substituting for Black Cocoa Powder
If you don’t have black cocoa powder, the best substitute would be to use a Dutch-processed cocoa powder since the nature of the cocoa powders will be more similar, having less affect on the result of your bake.
- You can substitute black cocoa powder for dutch process (and vice versa) on a 1:1 ratio.
Both black cocoa powder and Dutch process cocoa powder are typically found in bakes using baking powder. So you can use them interchangeably without affecting the rise of the bakes. However, the color and flavor will be different since Dutch process cocoa powder is lighter in color and less rich in flavor than black cocoa powder.
If you want to use black cocoa powder in a recipe that calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, you’ll want to check if the recipe calls for baking powder or baking soda.
Typically recipes using unsweetened cocoa powder will call for baking soda (this is because unsweetened cocoa powder is acidic, which will react with the base (baking soda).
- Use 3x the amount of baking powder as baking soda.
So if the recipe calls for 1 tsp. baking soda, use 3 tsp. baking powder instead.
Black Cocoa Powder FAQs
Can you? Yes, you technically can. However, if you don’t adjust the measurements of the baking soda or replace it with baking powder, then the rise could be affect and the taste, too. The acidity in unsweetened cocoa powder neutralizes the flavor in the baking soda. Without that neutralizing aspect, you could very well taste some of the baking soda in your bakes.
Some of the more common brands for black cocoa powder are Modern Mountain Black Cocoa Powder, Wincrest Black Cocoa Powder, and King Arthur Black Cocoa Powder.
The longer a product is alkalized, the darker it is. This is why Dutch process cocoa powder is still a darker color than unsweetened/natural cocoa powder.
Use black cocoa when you want a dark black color in bakes but not use a ton of black food coloring and when you are looking for a really mellow, non-acidic cocoa flavor. Add a bit of black cocoa powder to a frosting recipe to darken it up.
The easiest way to describe what black cocoa powder tastes like is to relate it to an Oreo. If you’ve had an Oreo before, then that’s really similar to the black cocoa powder flavor. Some say it has a mellow chocolate flavor and some say it’s a rich chocolate flavor.
Black cocoa powder isn’t acidic, so it is most commonly used in bakes that call for baking powder (which contains a powdered acid). It can also be used in recipes that call for both baking powder and baking soda, but there should be more baking powder than soda if the recipe calls for black cocoa powder.
If a recipe calls for black cocos powder and you don’t have it, I recommend using a Dutch-processed cocoa powder (that will be the most similar chemically in your bake). If you are wanting to use unsweetened cocoa powder, remember that is an acid, so you’ll need to check for baking soda/baking powder. Use 1/3 of the amount of baking powder called for baking soda. So if the recipe calls for 3 tsp. baking powder, use 1 tsp. baking soda. If you want to use black cocoa powder in a recipe that calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, use 3x the amount of baking powder as baking soda. So if the recipe calls for 1 tsp. baking soda, use 3 tsp. baking powder instead.
That’s such a great question! I’ve gone into great detail on the differences between all the cocoa powders in my Cocoa Powder Guide! Check it out!
Where to Buy Black Cocoa Powder
I’ve had a hard time finding black cocoa at my local grocery store. However, that doesn’t mean yours may not carry it. It’s worth checking your local market.
Black cocoa can be purchased online. To find black cocoa powders on Amazon click here.
Recipes Using Black Cocoa Powder
- (Crumbl Copycat) Chocolate Oreo Cookies
- Crumbl Oreo Sandwich Cookies
- Black Cocoa Cupcakes
- Black Cocoa Brownies
For more information on cocoa powders, check out my Everything You Need to Know About Cocoa Powder Guide!
A lot of time and research was spent putting together this resource. Some sources I studied were Best Cake Recipes and King Arthur Flour.
8 Comments on “Black Cocoa Powder Guide”
Great information. I had not heard of black cocoa before. Will try! I love your recipes. Thanks.
I make a chocolate wacky cake recipe that calls for baking soda and vinegar, and I normally use regular unsweetened cocoa powder. Would I have to make any adjustments to use black cocoa powder in this recipe?
Hi Amy! Typically speaking you’d do a 3:1 sub of baking powder to soda if using black cocoa powder instead of unsweetened. So if the recipe calls for 1 tsp. baking soda, use 3 tsp. baking powder instead. However, since your recipe also calls for vinegar (acid), you may be fine to keep the baking soda and just do a 1:1 sub for the black cocoa powder. Baking powder will give a lighter, airy texture and baking soda less so. If you want to follow the rules exactly, I’d sub out the baking soda for the powder with the substitutes I’ve given and then do a 1:1 sub for the cocoa powders. However, if you want more of a sticky cake texture you’d probably be fine to leave the baking soda as is and use the black cocoa powder! As long as we know the rules and why we are breaking them, it’s fine to break the rules at time! Does that info help? Since I’ve never made your chocolate wacky cake recipe, it’s hard to say!
I ran out of normal cocoa and used black cocoa in my brownies. They tasted bad
I have a black cocoa powder brownie recipe coming out next week, so stay tuned! Black cocoa (in my opinion) needs a bit more sugar to compliment the flavor.
very informative and well done!
What do I do if my brownie recipe doesn’t include either baking soda or baking powder? Can I simply use the black cocoa? Thanks for all the great recipes and help!!
Brownie recipes don’t usually use a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda. So you should be fine to use the black cocoa.
Let me know if you have any other questions Linda!