Hotel Chocolat Group plc

01/20/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/20/2023 20:15

Can I use hot chocolate instead of cocoa powder in baking?

What can you do when you discover mid-bake that you're out of cocoa powder? The answer could be hot chocolate flakes…

From cupcakes to brownies, we adore chocolate cake - but what happens if you're part-way through a recipe and you realise you don't have enough cocoa powder? We've all been there, sometimes, it's easy to forget to stock up your baking cupboard with the essentials. And there's nothing more frustrating than discovering you're out of an ingredient just when you need it most. So, have you considered hot chocolate flakes? As well as being a handy cocoa powder substitute, they can add an extra level of flavour and richness.

Read on to discover how to incorporate hot chocolate into your baking.


What's the difference between hot chocolate and cocoa powder?

Hot chocolate and cocoa powder are both staples when it comes to chocolate treats, but their strengths lie in different areas.

Put simply, cocoa powder is extracted from cacao beans. It's dried, fermented and then roasted at a high temperature to sweeten the flavour of the powder. Hot chocolate, on the other hand, can be made in a variety of ways and usually includes a few other ingredients.

In many cases, hot chocolate powder consists of cocoa powder, milk powder and sugar. It can also include preservatives or sweeteners.

Different types of hot chocolate

It's important to note that not all hot chocolates are made equal. We've discussed hot chocolate powder, and lower-quality products often have a low cacao content and use vegetable oils or milk powder to evoke a somewhat creamy texture. Hot chocolate flakes, however, use real chocolate. This means they feature a much higher cacao percentage, resulting in an irresistible silky-smooth texture and a far more satisfying flavour profile.

At Hotel Chocolat, all of our hot chocolate products are made with ethically sourced ingredients and high-quality cacao solids. We'd like to think we do hot chocolate indulgence at its best. From our creamy Vanilla White Hot Chocolate to our flavoursome Hazelnut Praline and nuanced Black Forest Gateaux, we've got something for everyone's hot chocolate fancy.

How to use hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa powder

Back to the question at hand: can you use hot chocolate as a cocoa powder substitute?

Hot chocolate powder tends to be more likely to be stocked in your cupboards rather than Dutch-process cocoa or natural cocoa powder, and the chances are that you have thought about including hot chocolate powder in your recipe when you've got to the dregs of your cocoa powder.

In short, you can use hot chocolate powder as a cocoa powder substitute in a pinch, but you may not experience the depth of flavour you want. Because most brands of hot chocolate powder include sugar or sweetener, you may wish to reduce the amount of sugar you add to your baking recipe.

To use it as a cocoa powder substitute, you need to use two teaspoons of hot chocolate mix for every teaspoon of cocoa powder in the recipe. It won't be as rich, but it will work.

We recommend that you only use this method in an emergency baking situation. If you want to experience the deep, nuanced tones of high-cacao ingredients, you might want to consider using real hot chocolate flakes as a cocoa powder substitute.


How to use hot chocolate flakes instead of cocoa powder in baking

If you're out of cocoa powder, a higher quality alternative to hot chocolate powder in baking is unsweetened hot chocolate flakes. At Hotel Chocolat, we use only the best ingredients and a higher percentage of cacao in all of our chocolate products. When it comes to chocolate, we believe that less sugar and more cacao make the richest, most decadent chocolate.

Our Dark 100% Hot Chocolate Flakes are decadently smooth but with an enticing edge. Because this hot chocolate is made from 100% cacao solids, it's unsweetened, making it a fantastic cocoa powder substitute. Alternatively, you can choose 85% Dark Hot Chocolate or 70% Dark Hot Chocolate for a more mellow flavour. Because these varieties do contain some sugar, you may wish you adjust the amount of added sugar in your recipe. This will prevent your cake from being overly sweet.

While you absolutely can use hot chocolate flakes in place of cocoa powder, it's essential to note that it will also add extra fat content, which may change the consistency of your bake. As a result, you might like to reduce the amount of butter or oil in the recipe to ensure you get a fluffy bake.

Can I use real chocolate flakes as a cocoa powder substitute in icing?

What adds the final flourish to a chocolate cake better than sumptuous buttercream? Traditionally, chocolate buttercream icing recipes call for cocoa powder to add that all-important cacao flavour.

Can hot chocolate act as a cocoa substitute here, too? You're in luck! Our hot chocolate pouches and sachets are all made with gossamer-fine shavings of chocolate, making them a wonderful addition to chocolate buttercream and rich chocolate ganache.

To use your chocolate in buttercream icing, you'll need to gently melt it in a bain-marie. Once melted, fold it into the rest of your ingredients (usually icing sugar, butter, and a drop of vanilla essence).

We suggest using one ounce (28g) of 100% Dark Chocolate for every three tablespoons of cocoa powder in the recipe. To get a light and airy consistency, reduce the butter in your recipe by one tablespoon.


Hot chocolate flakes from Hotel Chocolat

If you're looking for a perfect mug of decadent hot chocolate that can serve as a great cocoa powder substitute when needed, browse our collection of rich drinking chocolate flakes in a variety of flavours.

When it comes to baking, we recommend our 100% Dark Chocolate Flakes, rich in cocoa notes and depth. Whip up this treat in one of our Velvetisers to enter a whole new hot chocolate dimension.