A basic chocolate cake can be tasty, but let's face it, during the holiday season, it often takes a backseat to more festive desserts like pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies. Fortunately, there's a simple way to make your chocolate cake stand out and capture the cozy flavors of a classic holiday drink. All you need to do is incorporate hot cocoa mix into your cake batter.
If you aren't an avid baker or just rely primarily on boxed cake mix to make chocolate cake, the idea of adding hot cocoa might not strike you as a game-changer. Hot cocoa mix however is not the same thing as cocoa powder. Cocoa powder has a more intense chocolate flavor because it only consists of powdered cocoa solids. Hot cocoa mix is sweeter and not as chocolatey because it contains a combination of cocoa powder, sugar, powdered milk, and any other flavoring agents a manufacturer might add, like vanilla or peppermint. Because the two are different, they result in slightly different-tasting chocolate cakes.
What Happens When You Add Hot Cocoa Mix To Chocolate Cake
As you might assume, hot cocoa mix will produce a slightly sweeter chocolate cake, thanks to the added sugar. However, its most significant effect on the baked good has more to do with the powdered milk. Powdered milk is simply dehydrated milk, and when you remove all the liquid from it, what's left is milk solids and fat.
If you've ever baked with brown butter before, you've already worked with milk solids, whether you realized it or not. The milk solids are the little brown bits that settle at the bottom of the pan when you make brown butter, giving it its signature color and rich toasty flavor. Since powdered milk is a main ingredient in hot cocoa powder, adding hot cocoa mix to your cake also introduces milk solids to it. This addition produces a similar effect to baking a cake with browned butter, giving the flavor more complexity and ultimately resulting in a better-tasting dessert.
How Much Hot Cocoa Mix Should You Add To Chocolate Cake?
When making the ultimate chocolate cake with hot cocoa mix, you can substitute it for the cocoa powder or simply add it to your recipe. If you want to replace the cocoa powder, simply substitute 2 teaspoons of hot cocoa mix for every teaspoon of cocoa powder in your recipe. This adjustment will result in a cake that has the taste-improving effects of the milk solids but with a sweeter, milder chocolate flavor.
If you want to use hot cocoa mix to supplement the cocoa powder already in your chocolate cake, you don't have to be too precise. About a teaspoon is usually sufficient, regardless of whether you're working with a boxed cake mix or making your batter from scratch. To introduce even more layers of flavor, consider experimenting with different hot cocoa mix variations like peppermint, caramel, or dark chocolate. Whichever option you choose, your extra delicious chocolate cake is sure to be a hit at any holiday gathering.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.