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I've read that dissolving cocoa in hot liquids is supposed to make it release its flavors and make it taste more chocolate-y. This sounds useful for things like frostings or no-bake cookies, but does it make a difference if you're going to cook the final product (eg. chocolate cake)?

I tried an A/B test with chocolate cupcakes, but none of the tasters could tell there was a difference. Did I mess up my test or is there really no difference?

  • I'm not sure that this is an answer yet - wouldn't the liquid and cocoa in the cupcake get heated in the baking process and result in the same effect? I haven't been able to find any science on this. I suspect that the fat content of the cocoa would play a bigger role than pre-heating/blooming, as you would lose some of the volatiles contributing to flavor in the blooming step, and the more fat - the more flavor for chocolate – bob1 May 29 at 16:30
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    Right, I'm wondering if the baking process adequately blooms the cocoa. I've seen people insist that blooming the cocoa before you bake makes it taste better (brownies, cake, etc.), but it seems unnecessary if its going into the oven for 20 minutes anyway. – cimmanon May 29 at 19:12
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    Exactly. I suspect it is more that they get the aroma of cocoa from blooming while baking and then perceive a better taste because of the memory of that aroma, a bit like the blind tests done with wine and cheap vs expensive bottles – bob1 May 29 at 20:47
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The interaction between the liquid and the cocoa during the blooming process and inside of the cupcake batter during baking is not the same.

During blooming, there is only the liquid and the cocoa interacting in a free-flowing liquid matrix, and in the baking, both liquid and cocoa are trapped in a coloidal matrix. If you bloom before you add to the batter, you make the aromatics in the cocoa more available for the taster.

Keep in mind that not everyone has the sensory acuity to notice the difference, so it is up to you if you want to invest the time for that

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