WTF Wednesday: Cacao Powder

cacao powder christina canters recipe

Ok, all you Paleo-ites. Admit it. You’re all SUCKERS FOR DESSERT.

If you don’t believe me, present a CrossFitter with a rich chocolate fudge brownie and say “It’s totally Paleo!” – their face will light up like Christmas.

Anyway, clean dessert recipes often use ‘raw cacao’ to add a chocolate flavour. Cacao (pronounced ‘ka-cow’) is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. It’s easily confused with cocoa powder, so this week I’m going to explain the difference and why cacao is the bomb!


How is it made?

To produce both cacao and cocoa powder, cacao beans are ground to a paste which then has all the fat (cacao butter) pressed out of it. Natural cacao powder is cold pressed (hence the ‘raw’), which means it retains more of its good-for-you enzymes. The other type, Dutch cocoa, gets heated during pressing which strips it of most of its antioxidants and minerals. Therefore, always look for raw, non-roasted cacao to get the most health benefits.

Why should I eat it?

  • Raw cacao is naturally rich in antioxidants
  • It contains lots of dietary fibre
  • It also possesses many other essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium
  • It’s so good for you it’s considered a superfood!
  • What’s not to like about HEALTHY CHOCOLATE??

How do I use it?

  • Use in place of any recipe that calls for cocoa powder
  • Use in baking to add a chocolatey flavour
  • Make your own healthy chocolate! (Just google ‘raw chocolate recipe’)
  • I add a tsp (or two) to my green smoothies
  • Make your own Nutella by blending cacao powder into almond or hazelnut butter – it can be store-bought or DIY in your blender (it’s super easy)
  • Remember it’s more bitter than regular cocoa, so you will need to add a natural sweetener like banana, coconut, dates, Stevia etc to your baked goods.

Try this amazing smoothie:

1 frozen banana (chopped)
1 tbsp cacao powder
scoop of protein
handful of shredded coconut (or 1/3 cup coconut milk)
thin slice of ginger (acquired taste, but I love it)
a few mint leaves (again, optional)

Add a few ice blocks, cold water (or coconut water) and blend. Sooooo good.

When you feel ready, add a handful of washed spinach or a small bunch of chopped bok choy for a vegie injection.  

Where the fork do I find it?

I checked out the health food aisle in Woolworths and had no luck. You’ll most likely find it in health food shops. Great Earth stores are the best value I’ve found in Melbourne.

I get big bags of the Navitas Naturals cacao online from, which is awesome value and the shipping is super quick. (Use the code HTH016 to get $10 off your first order…nice)

Remember, look for RAW CACAO, not ‘baking cocoa’ or ‘bournville cocoa’.

This is the good stuff

Have you tried raw cacao? What is your favourite clean chocolate recipe?