Cocal; 5-Methyl-2 phenyl hexenal FEMA #3199

chocolatecakeWould you volunteer to taste chocolate cakes? Who says no to chocolate? Even though I’m in the middle of a house move and working long hours,I’ll manage to find time to judge chocolate cakes this week at the Thurston County Fair. Cake baking contestants can expect a critical assessment of the chocolate flavor in their cakes. Flavor Scientist knows taste is important and I’ll stick to the motto of “it’s gotta taste good”.

Chocolate can be made from roasted cocoa beans, milk solids, sugar and vanilla. When formulating a chocolate flavor, I blend flavor “keys”: vanilla, milk and cocoa flavors. Each”key”is composed of the chemical aromatics of each component. Cocoa “keys” are formulated using  aldehydes such as:

Cocal or 5-Methyl 2-phenyl hexenal (FEMA #3199): a POWERFUL aromatic which characterizes cocoa when used at a very low level. A general flavor description is sweet, syrupy, floral, herbal like and slightly nutty.

isoValeraldehyde or 3-Methylbutyraldehyde (FEMA #2692):  a powerful green aromatic, which can be described as fermented and sour (like powdered cheese).

Acetaldehyde (FEMA 2003): an ether like aromatic which is fresh, green and fruitty.

Aldehydes add character to chocolate flavor and are necessary in a dark chocolate flavor. Other useful aromatic chemicals for cocoa flavor are roasted notes (2,3,5 Trimethyl pyrazine, 2,6 Dimethyl pyrazine and 2,3,5,6 Tetramethyl pyrazine). Aromatic acids such as Butyric acid, Levulinic acid and Phenyl acetic acid add sweet fermented notes. Esters such as iso Amyl phenyl acetate complete the full sweet cocoa flavor.

In the flavor industry, we often “top note” a cocoa extract. Top noting improves and extends flavor. There are two types of cocoa which a flavor chemist will top note. Cocoa powder is what is left from the bean once the cocoa butter is removed. Dutch/alkali processed cocoa powder tastes mild and smooth and Broma/Naturally processed cocoa powder tastes astringent and intense.

Anyone who wants to impress flavor scientist should use naturally processed cocoa powder (like Ghirardelli). Intense chocolate flavor is my preference. Dutch cocoa is mild, sugary and flat.

Thursday I hope to taste the powerful aromatics naturally found in chocolate. Stayed tuned to Facebook for the inside scoop on Thurston County’s chocolate cake event.




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