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The 6 Best Cocoa Powders for Cake

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As a devoted chocoholic, almost every dessert that I make is chocolate – chocolate cake, chocolate pie, chocolate fudge, brownies, chocolate sauce, chocolate pudding, hot chocolate, chocolate milk – and I could go on and on. But, what is the best cocoa powder for cooking and baking? Specifically, what is the best cocoa powder for cake?

The best cocoa for cakes and for all baking projects is Hershey’s and Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, but there are other brands of cocoa powder that are good for various types of sweets. They include Nestle Toll House Cocoa, Ghirardelli 100% Unsweetened Cocoa.

Today, even a store brand does a pretty good job in recipes.

Please keep in mind that although there are many other brands of cocoa powder available in other parts of the country, I am only reviewing the brands that I have tried and that I have access to locally.

1. Hershey’s Cocoa (My Choice For The Best!)

Hershey’s Cocoa, which has excellent reviews on their company website (4.7 Stars; 95% positive), is by far my favorite brand of cocoa, and I have been using it for many many years for making the following foods. I included links to the recipes on my YouTube channel, in case you want to try them out!

Cakes 

Pies

Frostings 

Fudge and other candies 

Sauces 

Puddings, Chocolate Milk, and Hot Cocoa

Benefits Of Using Hershey’s Cocoa. 

Hershey’s:

  • Is 100% natural unsweetened cocoa with no additives.
  • Has only 10 calories per serving (1 Tablespoon).
  • Is a certified non-GMO product.
  • Has zero fat, sugars, and sodium.
  • Contains 6.6 mg of calcium, 2.2 mg of iron, and 75.7 mg of potassium. 
  • Is a certified Kosher product.
  • Is gluten-free.
  • Is packaged on a dedicated line in a dedicated room so that there is no danger of cross-contamination with other products.
  • Is packaged in plastic containers with a snap-on lid that contains 8 oz. of cocoa.

Nutrition Information For Hershey’s Cocoa:

Hershey’s Cocoa Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Container: 45Serving size: 1 tbsp
Amount per serving: 10 calories% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 0.5g1%
Saturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0g0%
Cholesterol: 0mg0%
Sodium: 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrates: 3g1%
    Dietary Fiber: 2g6%
    Total Sugars: 0g
          Includes 0g Added Sugar0%
Protein: 1g
Vitamin D: 0.0mcg0%
Calcium: 6.6mg0%
Iron: 2.2mg10%
Potassium: 75.7mg2%
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Source

Jelly-Grandmas-Famous-Mocha-Chocolate-Cake
My “famous” homemade chocolate cakes are made with Hershey’s

2. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

Even though I have never used the Dark Chocolate version of Hershey’s Cocoa, I know people who prefer the dark chocolate taste and have eaten the desserts they have made using Hershey’s Dark Chocolate and the taste is excellent, even though my preference is the original version of Hershey’s.

Benefits Of Using Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa.

Hershey’s:

  • Is 100% natural unsweetened cocoa with no additives.
  • Has only 10 calories per serving (1 Tablespoon).
  • Is a certified non-GMO product.
  • Has zero fat, sugars, and sodium.
  • Contains 10.1 mg of calcium, 2.1 mg of iron, and 250.2 mg of potassium. 
  • Is a certified Kosher product.
  • Is gluten-free.
  • Is Dutched cocoa.
  • Is packaged on a dedicated line in a dedicated room so that there is no danger of cross-contamination with other products.
  • Is packaged in plastic containers with a snap-on lid that contains 8 oz. of cocoa.

Nutrition Information For Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa:

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Container: 45Serving size: 1 tbsp
Amount per serving: 10 calories% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 0.5g1%
Saturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0g0% 
Cholesterol: 0mg0%
Sodium: 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrates: 3g1%
    Dietary Fiber: 2g6%
    Total Sugars: 0g
          Includes 0g Added Sugar0%
Protein: 1g
Vitamin D: 0.0mcg0%
Calcium: 10.1mg0%
Iron: 2.1mg10%
Potassium: 250.2mg6%
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Source

3. Nestle Toll House Cocoa

Nestle Toll House Cocoa is also 100% cocoa and would be my number two choice for baking and for making some frostings, chocolate beverages, hot and cold, and other desserts. However, even though it is sugar-free, fat-free, and keto-friendly, it is higher in calories than Hershey’s cocoa with 15 calories per tablespoon rather than the 10 calories per tablespoon in Hershey’s. Its price is in the same range as Hershey’s.

Benefits Of Using Nestle Toll House Cocoa. 

Nestle’s:

  • Is 100% pure cocoa with no artificial flavors or colors and no preservatives
  • Has 10 calories per serving (1 Tablespoon).
  • Is a certified non-GMO product.
  • Has 1% fat and 0% sodium.
  • Contains 2.1 mg of iron.
  • Is packaged in plastic containers with a snap-on lid that contains 8 oz. of cocoa.
  • The Nestle Company operates according to their Good Food, Good Life Plan described on their website: Their new sourcing plan tackles child labor risks and improves farmer incomes.

Nutrition information for Nestle’s Toll House Cocoa:

Nestle’s Toll House Cocoa Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Container: 45Serving size: 1 Tbsp
Amount per serving: 10 calories% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 0.5g1%
Saturated Fat: 0g0%
Sodium: 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrates: 3g1%
    Dietary Fiber: 2g7%
Protein: 1g
Iron: 2.1mg10%
Not a significant source of trans fat, cholesterol, total sugars, added sugars, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium.
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Source

4. Ghirardelli Premium Baking 100% Cocoa

Ghirardelli 100% Unsweetened Cocoa is the best quality cocoa powder on the market, but I find its flavor too rich for my taste and much prefer the more familiar taste of Hershey’s. Also keep in mind that Ghirardelli does have more calories per serving than Hershey’s cocoa, is quite a bit more expensive than Hershey’s, and does not safeguard against such allergens as tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs.

Benefits Of Using Ghirardelli Premium Baking 100% Cocoa. 

Ghirardelli’s:

  • Is 100% natural unsweetened cocoa.
  • Has 15 calories per serving (1 Tablespoon).
  • Has zero saturated fat, sugars, and sodium.
  • Contains 10 mg of calcium, 0.8 mg of iron, and 90 mg of potassium.
  • Is packaged in heavy plastic bags with a resealable top that contains 8 oz. of cocoa.
  • Is more expensive than the other brands.
  • Warning: May contain tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs.

Nutrition information for Ghirardelli’s Premium Baking 100% Cocoa:

Ghirardelli’s Cocoa Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Container: 38Serving size: 1 tbsp
Amount per serving: 15 calories% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 1g1%
Saturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0g0% 
Cholesterol: 0mg0%
Sodium: 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrates: 3g1%
    Dietary Fiber: 2g7%
    Total Sugars: 0g
          Includes 0g Added Sugar0%
Protein: 1g
Vitamin D: 0.0mcg0%
Calcium: 0.8mg4%
Potassium: 90mg0%
Iron: 0.8mg4%
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Source

5. Ghirardelli Premium Baking 100% Cocoa Dutch Chocolate

Ghirardelli 100% Unsweetened Cocoa, like all Ghirardelli products, is the best quality cocoa powder on the market, but I find its flavor too rich and too chocolaty for my taste and much prefer the taste of Hershey’s. However, this Dutch chocolate formula provides a different flavor that works perfectly with certain recipes. Ghirardelli does have more calories per serving than the other types of cocoa, is more expensive, and may contain certain allergens such as tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs.

Benefits Of Using Ghirardelli Premium Baking 100% Cocoa Dutch Chocolate. 

Ghirardelli’s:

  • Is 100% natural unsweetened cocoa.
  • Has only 15 calories per serving (1 Tablespoon).
  • Has zero saturated fat, sugars, and sodium.
  • Contains 10 mg of calcium, 0.8 mg of iron, and 90 mg of potassium.
  • Is Dutch chocolate.
  • Is packaged in heavy plastic bags with a resealable top that contains 8 oz. of cocoa.
  • Is more expensive than the other brands.
  • Warning: May contain tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs.

Nutrition Information For Ghirardelli’s Premium Baking 100% Cocoa Dutch Chocolate:

Ghirardelli’s Cocoa Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Container: 38Serving size: 1 tbsp
Amount per serving: 15 calories% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 1g1%
Saturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0g0% 
Cholesterol: 0mg0%
Sodium: 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrates: 3g1%
    Dietary Fiber: 2g7%
    Total Sugars: 0g
          Includes 0g Added Sugar0%
Protein: 1g
Vitamin D: 0.0mcg0%
Calcium: 0.8mg4%
Potassium: 90mg0%
Iron: 0.8mg4%
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Source

6. Store Brand Cocoa Powder

Any cocoa powder is a good substitute for Hershey’s or one of the other brands of cocoa powder. At my local grocery, it’s called “Always Save Cocoa Powder.

Though it is not as rich and flavorful as Hershey’s, it is just slightly different in taste, and if you were not aware that the store brand was being used, you probably would not be able to detect the difference. Besides, if you are on a strict budget, the store brand is less expensive at about ⅔ the cost of Hershey’s.

Benefits Of Using Store Brand (Always Save) Cocoa Powder. 

Store Brand (Always Save) Cocoa:

  • Is unsweetened cocoa.
  • Has only 10 calories per serving (1 Tablespoon).
  • Is a 100% Guaranteed Quality product.
  • Has zero fat, sugars, and sodium.
  • Contains 8% iron and 7% dietary fiber
  • Is a budget-friendly product. 
  • Is packaged with a snap-on lid that contains 8 oz. of cocoa.

Nutrition information for Store Brand (Always Save) Cocoa Powder:

Store Brand Cocoa PowderNutrition Facts
Servings Per Container: 45Serving size: 1 tbsp
Amount per serving: 10 calories% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 0.5g1%
Saturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0g0% 
Cholesterol: 0mg0%
Sodium: 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrates: 2g1%
    Dietary Fiber: 2g7%
    Total Sugars: 0g
          Includes 0g Added Sugar0%
Protein: 1g
Vitamin A:0%
Vitamin C:0%
Iron:8%
Calcium:0%
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Source

What Is The Best Way To Store Cocoa Powder?

The best way to store cocoa powder is as follows:

  • In an airtight container,
  • In a cool, dry area such as your pantry or cabinet,
  • Away from any light source,
  • In an area not subject to drastic temperature changes like the cabinet over or next to the stovetop, oven, or other appliance. 

PRO TIP: Even though many foods benefit from storage in the refrigerator, do not refrigerate cocoa powder because the humid conditions of a refrigerator could cause the cocoa powder to spoil.

Health Benefits Of Cocoa Powder

Tiramisu Cake With Cocoa Powder Being Sprinkled on Top
  1. Aids in the Prevention Of Cancer

Cocoa contains antioxidants that have been shown to prevent the kinds of free radical damage that have been associated with cancer development by neutralizing the effects of those free radicals.

  1. Aids In Weight Loss

Cocoa has been found to aid in weight loss in two ways: (1) by making you feel full longer thereby suppressing your appetite, and (2) by boosting the natural fat-burning process.

  1. Good For Mental Health

Studies have found that cocoa intake improves the flow of blood to the brain which improves all brain functions and reduces stress and depression. Chocolate has long been known to improve that feeling of happiness and wellbeing.

  1. Improves Dental Health

Studies have shown that dark chocolate contains polyphenols that can boost dental health in the following ways:

  • Fights bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay.
  • Fights bacteria in the month that can cause bad breath. 
  • Prevents some sugars from turning into acid which breaks down tooth enamel.

Studies have also shown that dark chocolate contains the phytochemical theobromine that can help to remineralize teeth.

  1. Reduces The Risk Of Heart Disease

According to an article in the Journals of the American Heart Association, recent studies have provided evidence that cocoa is one of the foods containing chemicals called Polyphenols that are found in high concentrations in certain plant-based foods and beverages that when regularly consumed reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. 

Final Thoughts

The first evidence of cocoa consumption dates back to the Incas in 1600 BC, who called cocoa the drink of the gods. Montezuma in the 16th century called it a divine drink, and in 1519, Hernán Cortés declared that “A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”

In spite of those illustrious beginnings, chocolate in modern times has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. However, recent studies have shown that there is now scientific evidence that those ancient “chocolatl” drinkers were right after all and that chocolate does in fact have health benefits. 

So, this shift from thinking that chocolate is causing all kinds of health issues to having scientific proof that chocolate has positive health benefits should be excellent and welcome news to those of us who are real chocolate lovers!

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, check out Can I Use Nesquik Instead of Cocoa Powder in a Recipe?

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