The Search for the Ultimate Cocoa Powder (Part 2)

So, the first order of business was to figure out a rating system for assessing these cupcakes. I decided to rate the cupcakes on the following elements:

  • Color – Does it LOOK appetizing?
  • Smell – A lot of cocoa powders have other, complex flavorings layered in. I’ve read that certain brands have a burnt smell that puts some people off. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Taste – How chocolatey, rich, and decadent is it? This, of course, is the most important.
  • Texture – Is it moist and soft? Too dense? Too crumbly?

Then, of course, there was the question of finding an impartial jury. This turned out to be easier than anticipated. Thanks to the hungry crew at MangAnime Depot, I have 10 willing tasters. Thanks guys!

Now, for the methodology. To make sure that there is no bias, I planned it out as a blind taste test. Each cocoa powder will be randomly assigned a letter from A through G. The cocoa powder will be used to make mini cupcakes. Same recipe. Same quantities. The only thing different will be the brand of cocoa powder used. The tasters will have one of each cupcake, and score them on each of the 4 elements on a scale from 1-10. Tally up the numbers, and viola! The cupcakes with the highest score are the winners!

Making mini cupcakes proved to be a challenge. I found that Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe was too moist and soft to survive as a mini cupcake. I had to find a cupcake recipe that was a bit more dense. I settled on Cupcake Frenzy’s recipe for mini chocolate cupcakes, found at http://cupcakefrenzy.blogspot.com/2006/10/mini-chocolate-cupcakes-with-chocolate.html. Not as dark and rich as Hershey’s recipe, but firm without being dry. Works for me!

July 17th is the big day. About a week to go…

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