How do we convert a plain sponge recipe to a chocolate form

The use of the term ' chocolate' to describe a cake varies a little around the world and is often regulated in some way. For example, in the UK chocolate can be used as a cake descriptor only if the final product contains not less than 3% dry, non-fat cocoa solids (LAJAC, 1963). This is usually achieved through the addition of cocoa powder and when calculating the level to use in a recipe allowance must be made for variations in moisture (usually around 5%) and fat (commonly between 10 and 20%).

The calculation is quite straightforward, as shown by the following example:

• Cocoa powder contains 5% moisture and 15% fat.

• The mass of cake crumb after baking is 100 kg.

The quantity required is given by---- = 3.75 kg

It is wise to increase the level of added cocoa powder slightly so that any variations in cocoa composition or cake moisture content are taken into account. Thus in the above example the level of cocoa powder could be increased to 4 kg.

The addition of cocoa powder should be considered as 'flour' for the purposes of recipe balance. It is common practice to add extra water along with the cocoa powder (Cauvain and Cyster, 1996). For the example given above the addition of 2 kg extra water would be recommended. Without this extra water addition the batter would be very viscous and may become difficult to process in the normal manner.

Even with the addition of extra water chocolate cakes tend to be more dry eating than the equivalent plain form. It helps to increase added oil or fat levels slightly, or to add glycerol. There may also be some loss of volume in chocolate sponge; this can usually be compensated for by slightly raising the added emulsifier or baking powder levels.

Often chocolate batters may contain an excess of sodium bicarbonate to yield alkaline cake which helps enhance the chocolate colour in the final product.

References

CAUVAIN, S.P. and CYSTER, J. (1996) Sponge cake technology. CCFRA Review

No. 2, CCFRA, Chipping Campden, UK. LAJAC (1963) Baking Industry Committee and the Local Authorities Joint Advisory Committee (LAJAC) on Food Standards (1963).

Continue reading here: What is vol and what is its function in biscuit doughs

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