cacao butter in a bowl
Organic Traditions Blog

Superfood Spotlight: Cacao Butter

by Vickie Chin on Dec 11, 2020

You’re likely familiar with cocoa butter benefits and some uses. It is a popular skin soothing and nourishing ingredient in so many topical skin care products like lotions and creams. You’ve probably even lathered it on without realizing only to be pleasantly surprised by the faint smell of chocolate on your skin. Did you know that you’ve most definitely also eaten it before too? Cocoa butter is found in pretty much all types of chocolate - dark, white and in between. So what is it good for? Is there a difference between Cocoa and Cacao? What else can you do with it? Keep reading to find out!

Cocoa VS Cacao Butter:

Much like the difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder, the difference between cocoa and cacao butter is both big and small. In terms of usage, they’re interchangeable. The big difference between cocoa vs cacao butter lies in how the food is processed. Cacao butter is pure and cold-pressed while cocoa butter is typically processed under high heat. In order for cacao butter to remain ‘raw’ the oil-pressing process can’t exceed a certain temperature. Ensuring that cold-pressing process doesn’t exceed a certain temperature results in fewer nutrients being lost during the process - which is what happens when cacao powder is cooked and processed into cocoa powder.

cacao butter uses

Benefits of Cacao Butter:

Even though we refer to it as a ‘butter’ cacao butter doesn’t contain any dairy whatsoever. It’s actually an oil that is extracted from the cacao bean by pressing the beans at a low temperature in order to separate the oil from the protein and the fiber. Cacao beans are seeds from the Theobroma cacao L. plant which are most popularly used to make everyone’s favourite food: chocolate. The cacao plant was once so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that it was used as a form of currency. 

Just like other unrefined and non-hydrogenated oils like coconut and avocado, the main benefit of cacao butter comes from it being an excellent source of saturated fats. Saturated fats have gotten a bad rep in the past but we’re seeing more and more how beneficial they can be. Consuming higher amounts of saturated fats has been linked to: reduced risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, stronger bones, liver health, brain function, regulated insulin release and an overall stronger immune system.   

However, high amounts of saturated fat isn't the only thing to sing about. Another benefit of cacao butter is that it also contains polyphenols and flavanols, a class of antioxidants. 

Flavanols are a class of antioxidants found in cacao products. They’re amazing for improving vascular function and reducing blood pressure. When you hear people talking about the benefits of dark chocolate, this is what they’re often referring to.

Cacao, and therefore cacao butter has an awesome benefit, as it is also known for its ability to increase energy and elevate your mood. This is thanks to phenylethylamine, a compound which acts as a stimulant and mood enhancer. Cacao butter is also a beneficial source of serotonin and dopamine, both of which stimulate better moods and give us those feelings of pleasure. Makes sense because eating chocolate does = happiness in most cases. 

While cacao butter works to do all of that and more on our insides, it also works wonders on the outside! Cacao butter is a popular with its numerous benefits for skin, as it is a popular ingredient in many topical products like lotions, creams, lip balms, scrubs and more. It can act as a wonderful skin nourishing moisturizer and has been used to treat and prevent dryness and peeling. So while cacao butter works to strengthen and repair you from the inside it can also do the same from the outside contributing its great benefits to your glowing skin.

cacao products

Why You'll Love it:

  • It's a super versatile oil that can be used in recipes like DIY chocolate and also topically in DIY skincare
  • Despite the name, It's 100% dairy and lactose free
  • It's an ultra nourishing oil packed with healthy saturated fats
  • You'll smell and taste a delicious but subtle chocolate flavour
  • Energizing and mood enhancing
  • Offers a ton of benefits like enhanced brain function, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and more 

How To Use Cacao Butter:

These are some of our favourite ways to use our cacao butter, both internally and externally!

Enhance Your Hot Beverages:

The favourite way of so many cacao butter is to add add a piece of it to your coffee, lattes and elixirs. Not only will this give it a delicious, subtle chocolate flavour but you’ll be getting all of those brain boosting benefits of cacao butter too! Similar to the effects of adding coconut oil or mct oil to your high fat coffee or latte!

recipe for mood mylk using organic traditions cacao butter

 Mood Mylk

  • 2 tbsp of cacao powder
  • 1.5 tbsp of cashew mylk powder
  • 2 inch piece of cacao butter
  • 1-2 tsp of yacon syrup
  • 1 tsp maca x-6 powder
  • 8oz hot water or coffee
  • Tiny pinch of pink salt

Blend and enjoy of a meed elevating and uplifting start to your day.

Make Homemade Chocolate:

Hands down one of the best uses of cacao butter is to include it in your homemade chocolate bars, barks and even fudge!. Looking to pick up everything you need to make your own homemade chocolate? check out these recipes from our #otlifestylers:

Chocolate Pecan Pie Fudge Recipe with cacao butter recipe for holiday spice bark using cacao butter 

chocolate superfood bark with cacao powder homemade chocolate with cacao butter

Nourish Your Skin:

Try making your own hydrating lip balm with cacao butter.

Check out this recipe for DIY Coconut Pomegranate Lip Balm by The Florestic. You can also try making homemade whipped body butter by melting ¾ cup of cacao butter with ¼ cup of coconut oil and whipping it into a butter until you’ve created a light, fluffy body butter.

Check out this homemade whipped body butter recipe by The Little Green Dot that we just loved!