Regular Cocoa Or Dutch Cocoa Powder
Q: Is cocoa powder or Dutch cocoa powder best to use in your baking and why?
A: Regular cocoa powder is the unsweetened powder made from grinding roasted cocoa beans. Dutch cocoa powder is made in the same way but it also goes through an alkalisation process which makes it less acidic, and hence less 'bitter', and also darker in colour. They are interchangeable but Dutch cocoa powder will generally give a deeper, richer flavour.
However, some recipes rely on the acidity of the cocoa powder to activate bicarbonate of soda. Substituting Dutch cocoa powder in these recipes will mean that the bicarbonate of soda won’t be activated, and the final texture will be denser and heavier in texture due to the lack of leavening. So, when choosing which one to use in your baking, first check if the recipe contains bicarbonate of soda and, if so, if there is another acidic ingredient that can activate it. If not, then you are always best to use regular cocoa powder. If there is no bicarbonate of soda, then you can use whichever you wish but keep in mind that Dutch cocoa will give you a more intense chocolate flavour.