What Is Cacao Butter

What Is Cacao Butter

Published by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 3rd Sep 2022

If you're interested in cooking and baking, whether as an amateur or on a professional level, you're bound to discover amazing ingredients that you'll simply have to try. One of them is cacao butter - that's what gives chocolate treats their silky-smooth texture and delicious taste! However, not many people are aware of how versatile this product really is. Cacao butter is an important ingredient in both the baking and the beauty industry, and it's clear to see why! Vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and sugar-free, it's also considered one of the superfoods.

If we had you already at silky-smooth and delicious, let's just add that the benefits of cocoa butter don't end there. On the contrary, the good stuff seems to go on and on! If you want to learn more about cacao butter, keep on reading.

Everything You Need to Know about Cacao Butter

Pure cacao butter is a natural, plant-based fat made from cocoa beans. It is 100% cocoa solids, vegan-friendly, and a heavenly tasting edible ingredient you can use in chocolate making and cooking. It’s pale yellow in color and has a mild flavor with a strong cacao aroma.

Cacao butter can be found in many different chocolate-based products, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and even white chocolate. However, it can also be used as a stand-alone ingredient for desserts, toppings, and - yes! - even skincare products.

How Is Cacao Butter Made?

Vegan cacao butter is one of the most versatile of all chocolate ingredients. Before you can use it in your kitchen, keep in mind the way it had to come through. Cacao butter, never heated or processed, is the richest part of the cacao bean. The beans are harvested from cacao pods, cleaned, and roasted. They are then stripped from their shells and crushed into nibs. Cacao nibs are then ground into cocoa liquor - a liquid that is then pressed to separate the fat, which is none other than cacao butter you can purchase.

During this process, it's possible to utilize the whole cacao pod. Whatever remnants are left after pressing cocoa liquor, they're then processed into cacao powder. Cacao powder can be used as a separate ingredient as well. As an unsweetened chocolate product, it adds deep chocolate flavor to desserts and beverages.

Wholesale Cacao Butter Ingredients

Santa Barbara Chocolate's Cacao Butter is filtered for safety, fresh-pressed, and tempered. Considered a chocolate factory ingredient, edible cocoa butter is suitable for pharmaceutical-grade applications. Pressed fresh cacao, the highest quality, with top cleanliness standards results in good-tasting cacao ingredients. At Santa Barbara, we do not use unwashed raw cacao for pressing. If you want to use safe, high quality, and the best-tasting cacao butter, you've come to the right place!

Is Cacao Butter and Cocoa Butter the Same Thing?

We get it, the spelling tends to be inconsistent, and it can be misleading! However, it is the same single ingredient standard of identity and the terms are synonyms. "Cacao Butter" as a definition is more popularly used in Latin America while "Cocoa Butter" is more commonly used in the USA. Cocoa fat and Cocoa oil are common names as well. Additionally, you can also encounter it under the name Theobroma cacao.

The process of making the ingredient can vary as can the resulting raw material after pressing. Santa Barbara Chocolate tests for heavy metals and harmful chemicals for food safety. You will notice the difference in tasting and manufacturing quality. Cacao butter colloquially refers to the minimal handling of the raw ingredient, but from a technical terminology regulated by the FDA, there is no difference in this ingredient listing. In fact, the term used by regulatory agencies is simply cocoa butter.

Is Cacao Butter Good For You?

Aside from being undeniably delicious, is cacao butter good for you? It's actually famous for its moisturizing properties, and there are various studies carried out to determine whether it offers some health benefits. Let's take a closer look:

  • It can prevent skin dryness. Cacao butter is famous for its emollient properties, which means it soothes and softens dry, flaky skin. When applied topically, it hydrates your skin and lips, which is why it's often used in body creams, moisturizers, and lip balms. It locks the moisture in and provides you with a protective barrier. You don't have to be a beauty guru to know how important it is to your skin but as a reminder, you should know that regular moisturizing reduces skin problems and helps maintain a youthful, radiant, healthy appearance. Let your inner beauty shine through!
  • It's rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that eradicate potentially damaging oxidizing agents. As a result, they counteract the deterioration of stored food products and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation in a living organism. When it comes to edible items or skincare products, it means that they're less likely to go rancid fast. As for your health, antioxidants may be helpful in lowering inflammation, boosting your immune system, and promoting good heart condition.
  • It's a great source of protective fatty acids. Cacao butter is one of the most stable fats available, both as a skincare product and as an edible ingredient. It's rich in omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which are important dietary fats. When taken in moderation, they may support your overall health, reduce inflammation, and promote efficient metabolism. However, keep in mind that dosage is key, and you should always pay attention to your food intake. The best diet is a balanced diet, which means a moderate amount of fatty acids is very likely to provide you with the health benefits you need.
  • It's full of healthy fats. A tablespoon of raw cacao butter contains 14g of total fat, 8.1g of saturated fat, 4.5g of monounsaturated fat, and 0.4g of polyunsaturated fat. If you're on a low-carb diet but feel the need to satisfy your sweet tooth, try to incorporate some of it into your meals!
  • It's a perfect ingredient for healthy diets. Cacao butter is plant-based, sugar-free, and dairy-free. As such, it's suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Additionally, it's often featured in keto diet recipes, especially in chocolate bars and other keto treats - that's because it doesn't contain carbs or hidden sugars.

How Can You Use Cacao Butter?

Now you know that cacao butter not only looks delicious but that it also has the potential to give you a healthy boost - provided you prepare it the right way and use it in moderate amounts. Luckily, you don't have to be a professional chocolatier to make tasty desserts with cacao butter, and you can even make your own skincare products. That's right, cacao butter is really THIS versatile!

Cacao Butter For Cooking and Baking

Cacao butter melts in just below human body temperature (93–101 °F) and can be used in many different ways. Its rich flavor and smooth consistency make it perfect for chocolate-based desserts without the need for dairy or cream. It can also be used in place of coconut oil or butter in all recipes. Your possibilities are almost endless - you can use it to make smoothies, ice cream, cakes, cookies, fancy chocolates and pralines, chocolate bars, and other treats to achieve that melt-in-your-mouth quality. Try adding it to coffee, or use it in addition to chocolate syrup.

Additionally, professional chocolatiers use cacao butter to create colorful designs on their chocolates and pralines. Unlike dark chocolate and solid milk, cacao butter is lighter in color. As such, it can be mixed with many different colors and then painted directly onto chocolate molds.

Cacao Butter In Skincare

And that's not all! Cacao butter is an amazing ingredient that can be used in natural body remedies, such as moisturizing creams, body butters, or treatments for dry, chapped lips, sunburn, stretch marks, and scar tissue. When stored properly (in an airtight container in a cool, dry place), its shelf life is quite long - from three to five years.

The easiest way to make your own cacao butter-based skincare products is by slowly melting one part of cacao butter with three parts raw essential oil, such as coconut or chamomile oil. You can also moisturize and invigorate your skin by taking a warm bath - just add a small spoonful and relax!

Where Can You Get Cacao Butter?

Generally, you should be able to buy cacao butter in your local store. Make sure you check the baking aisle, the natural foods aisle, or aisles with oils and supplements. However, you can also purchase it online without even leaving your house! Just remember to look for reputable websites, like Santa Barbara Chocolate. It's your best bet to ensure that the products you get are fresh, high-quality, and have been produced according to safety and cleanliness standards.