Julia http://retirementrvdream.wordpress.com/ gave me a fun selection of goodies from King Arthur Flour Company for as a Christmas gift. King Arthur has some fantastic products. I am quite familiar with a lot of them, but the things Julia selected were all very new to me. I had never heard of cinnamon nibs, which now I am wondering how I have gone so long without knowing about. The other fun goodies were a bag of black chocolate cocoa powder, as well as a bag of Bensdorp cocoa powder, which I still have yet to use. Again, I had never heard of black cocoa powder before. This is all new to me too. I just love learning about new products and learning how to use them. It just makes my day. I know, I am a geek when it comes to the kitchen. 🙂
If your curiosity is peaked like mine was about black cocoa powder, then here are some fun facts. Black cocoa powder is an “ultra Dutched” process to make cocoa powder. Dutched cocoa powder (this also includes black cocoa powder) is cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkaline solution to neutralize the acidity. Alkalizing cocoa makes it darker in color, milder in flavor, and dissolves easily into liquids. Dutched cocoa powder is neutral and because of that, it does not react with baking soda, so it’s often used in recipes that call for baking powder. The darker or blacker the cocoa powder means more alkalizing processes have occurred. This also makes for a very smooth chocolate taste, and removes some of the bitterness of the dark chocolate.
Regular processed cocoa powder and Dutched black cocoa powder.
The black chocolate does not react with baking soda, so if a recipe calls for baking soda, add some baking powder if using the black chocolate. The black chocolate is almost completely fat free as well, so in order to keep your finished products moist, you might want to mix the black cocoa with a normal or non-Dutched cocoa powder as well.
The first thing I made with my new black cocoa powder was a black chocolate and peppermint cake. Peppermint and dark chocolate are a perfect fit and so was the black chocolate and peppermint.
Black Chocolate and Peppermint Cake
Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180*C .
butter and lightly flour a bundt cake pan.
3 cups flour
1 cup black cocoa powder, or 1/2 cup of black coca powder and 1/2 cup regular cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks of softened butter
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp peppermint extract for a strong peppermint flavor or 1 tsp peppermint extract and 1 tsp vanilla for a milder flavor
1 1/2 cups milk
powdered sugar icing
crushed candy canes, optional
Mix the flour and dry ingredients together and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and mix in between each addition. Add the vanilla and/or peppermint extract and mix together again.
Alternate between the flour additions and the milk, adding 1/2 at each time and mixing after each addition.
The batter will be a dark black in color. Carefully spoon or pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean when entered into the center of the cake.
Allow the cake to cool before removing it from the pan, and then cool completely before adding the icing.
When we helped Janet with her Christmas gingerbread cookies, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – 17 Janet gave me all her leftover icings from the day, knowing I would find a good use for them. I did too. I used the red and the white icings to top my cake. First I added a layer of the red icing, then added a layer of the white. Before the icings set, I crushed some candy canes and sprinkled them on top of the icings to make my cake really fun and festive.
I am always learning about new things. Never stop learning. Never be afraid to experiment. That’s what keep life fun and interesting. Thank you Julia for always introducing me to so many new and fun products and ideas. I am always learning new things from you. I am glad we have so much fun together, both in and out of the kitchen.
Happy New Year to all. May the new year keep keep you safe and well. ‘Til next time.