Thursday, December 18, 2008

Need Birthday Help

Let's start by saying I've NEVER made a cake from scratch... never had to. I'm out of cake mix and I actually thought it would be nice to make a very yummy, from scratch, chocolate cake.

His birthday is today, but we will have cake tomorrow... I'll put up another post of his "present" hopefully later tonight.

SO. My help needed. What on earth is dutch processed cocoa and where in Denmark can I get it? Is it a powder or is a bar or is it in the form of chips?? Is it the yucky baking chocolate? I'm so confused. What is cocoa vs' chocolate??

AND should I use bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips. I do have a big supply of chocolate chips to use. :)

AND How do I make chocolate frosting? OH SO CONFUSED.

Any help would be great - Mom, mUm, anyone... please be specific. I'm newly domesticated.

WHOO HOO - As I was typing Scotty went potty and he pulled up his pants ALL BY HIMSELF! He didn't yell - MOMMY!!!!!! Yay.


Anonymous said...

Can't help you with the domestic cooking/baking Frank does all of that these days. Although.... we are making tamales Chistmas Eve.

Please tell Happy that "Frankie" and I wish him the very best birthday ever!!

Love ya

Anonymous said...

Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is made when chocolate liquor is pressed to remove three quarters of its cocoa butter. The remaining cocoa solids are processed to make fine unsweetened cocoa powder. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed.

Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. It has a reddish-brown color, mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids. Its delicate flavor makes it ideal in baked goods like European cakes and pastries where its subtle flavor complements other ingredients. Droste, Lindt, Valrhona, Poulain and Pernigotti are some popular brands.

Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder tastes very bitter and gives a deep chocolate flavor to baked goods. Its intense flavor makes it well suited for use in brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes. When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven. Popular brands are Hershey's, Ghirardelli, and Scharffen Berger.

The role of cocoa powder in cakes:

When used alone in cakes, cocoa powder imparts a full rich chocolate flavor and dark color. Cocoa powder can also be used in recipes with other chocolates (unsweetened or dark) and this combination produces a cake with a more intense chocolate flavor than if the cocoa wasn't present. Most recipes call for sifting the cocoa powder with the flour but to bring out its full flavor it can be combined with a small amount of boiling water. (If you want to try this in a recipe, substitute some of the liquid in the recipe for boiling water.) Often times, you may notice that more butter and leavening agent are used in recipes containing cocoa powder. This is to offset cocoa powder's drying and strengthening affect in cakes. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed and it is best to use the type specified in the recipe as the leavening agent used is dependent on the type of cocoa powder. Some prefer using Dutch-processed cocoa as a slight bitterness may be tasted in cakes using natural cocoa and baking soda.

To convert a cake recipe that uses bittersweet or semisweet chocolate to one using cocoa: (information taken from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible)

Substitute 1 tablespoon plus 1 3/4 teaspoons (9.5 grams) of cocoa, 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (14.5 grams) granulated white sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) unsalted butter for every ounce (28 grams) of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Also, dissolve the cocoa in at least 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot liquid to bring out the cocoa's full flavor.

To convert a cake recipes that uses unsweetened chocolate to one using cocoa: (information taken from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible)

Substitute 3 tablespoons (18 grams) cocoa plus 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter for every 1 ounce (28 grams) of unsweetened chocolate. Dissolve the cocoa in at least 2 tablespoons of liquid in the recipe to bring out the cocoa's full flavor.

Dutch-Processed Cocoa:

1 cup = 92 grams

1 cup sifted = 75 grams

Natural Unsweetened or Nonalkalized Cocoa:

1 cup = 82 grams

Substitution for 3 tablespoons (18 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa: 3 tablespoons (18 grams) natural cocoa powder plus pinch (1/8 teaspoon) baking soda

Substitution for 3 tablespoons (18 grams) natural cocoa: 3 tablespoons (18 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa plus 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

Note: Due to the differences between natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powders, do not substitute one for the other in recipes.

Note: Do not confuse unsweetened natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powder with sweetened cocoa drink mixes. They are not the same thing.

Tara said...

Ummm.... thanks. :) I will print that out and read it again... slowly. :) Any tips on buying this in Denmark??


Anonymous said...

I don't think you can even buy "Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder" in Denmark, it seems to all be alkalized.
If it just says "Kakao" it's usually Dutch-Processed / Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa.
I Danish supermarkets it's usually sold in 250g cardboard boxes.

The ingredients list should say something like this: Kakao, surhedsregulerende middel / midler. Often followed by one or two 3-digit E-codes like E 501 or the name for E 501 which can be either kaliumcarbonat or potaske.

"Surhedsregulerende middel" means something like "pH-regulating ingerdient".

On some boxes there's also an English ingredient list and it might say Alkalized Cocoa rather than Dutch-Processed Cocoa, but it's the same thing.

Here's a picture of the 250g box they sell in Super Best:
And here's a picture of how it looks like in Netto (and probably Føtex and Bikla too as they are owned by the same corp. as as Netto):
And here's what it looks like in Coop owned supermakets (like Kvickly, Brugsen and Fakta):
But you can find a similar box in most supermarkets.
Just make sure it says: surhedsregulerende middel / E 501 / kaliumcarbonat / potaske / alkalized.

But don't buy something with sugar (sukker) in it, this is ment for drinking rahter than baking and only contains something like 50% cocoa. This is usually named kakaodrik or the well know yellow box of Nestlé Nesquick.

Anonymous said...

Or just ask somebody working in the supermarket for Cocoa (Kakao) for baking and they will probably find the right box for you.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "AND How do I make chocolate frosting?"

The simplest way to make icing is to just mix a lot of "flormelis" with a only a litte bit of water. Then you have white forsting. Mix this with some of the beforementioned "Kakao" and you will have chcolate icing Danish style.

Kelli Nørgaard said...

the only times I have made icing here.. I made my old standard cream cheese frosting... Philadelphia cream cheese with powdered sugar. Then you could just add some melted chocolate to it?!?! Sorry, cooking is my thing, not baking... so I cannot wait to hear how it comes out so you can educate the rest of us!


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