All chocolate lovers probably felt even happier when cacao was declared a super food. However, a chocolate and raw cacao are very different. The process of producing cacao powder involves cold-pressing raw cocoa beans to remove cacao butter before turning the product into cacao powder.
So, how harmful is a high temperature for the health benefits of cacao? It was found by multiple researchers that the critical temperature for cacao is 130C. Temperatures above 130C reduce the cacao’s antioxidant activity, however temperatures above 170C significantly change the product.
I came across one study that investigated insulin secretion qualities of cacao under various pH (3.5 and 5.2). In that research, fat, alkaloid and polyphenol (which act as antioxidants) were removed from cocoa beans before the material was used for these experiments. The cocoa under 3.5 caused the highest insulin secretion, but both types decreased blood glucose. The research paper concludes ‘It can be suggested that besides other compounds of cocoa, its peptides and amino acids could contribute to its health benefits.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 134, Issue 2, 15 September 2012, Pages 905-911 )
Cocoa contains about 60% of dietary fibre, most of it is insoluble fibre. This is why raw cacao as a low calorie and high-fibre food with exceptional anti-oxidants qualities is an amazing product.
Of course you could sprinkle cacao over your porridge, add some to your chia puddings, add into your coffee instead of adding a chocolate syrup…
I worked very hard on this chocolate cheese cake, but finally I am very happy with the result and can’t wait to publish my recipe!
Chocolate Cheese Cake
350 g ricotta cheese (at room temperature)
250 g cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup stevia
1/2 cup raw cacao
1/4 teaspoon agar-agar powder
Extra cacao (for dusting the cake)
Cake spring form 20cm
1. Preheat oven to 150C. Make a single layer a piece of baking paper for the base of the 20 cm cake spring form, and a double layer for the sides. Lightly spray the form with a coconut cooking oil.
2. Pre-mix the cream cheese, Ricotta, vanilla essence and yoghurt using a large spoon. Then put it into a processor and pulse a few times.
3. Beat eggs using an electrical mixer to achieve a smooth consistent mixture, add Stevia, cacao, and Agar-Agar and continue mixing until well combined, and the mixture is of consistent colour.
4. Slowly pour the egg-chocolate mixture into the food processor with the cheeses and process it until the mixture is smooth and consistent.
5. Transfer the cake mix into the prepared form and bake for 10 minutes at 150C, then for 40 minutes at 130C. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in for another 20 minutes.
6. Take the cake out and let it cool, then refrigerate. Before serving dust the cake with extra cacao.