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Brownies are such elite desserts but having them turn out cakey can be frustrating, especially if you are looking for a dense and fudgy texture. There are a few things that could be causing this issue, but don’t worry – I have solutions for you!
A major reason brownies turn out cakey is because of baking powder. Unlike cakes and cookies, brownies should not have this leavening agent. Baking powder will cause brownies to rise and create a cake-like texture. If you want to use a leavening agent, use a small amount of baking soda instead.
In this article, we will discuss more possible causes of a cakey texture in brownies and how to fix them. With these tips, you will be able to make the perfect batch of brownies every time!
Why Are Your Brownies Cakey In Texture?
Brownies are one of my absolute favorite desserts. They are super decadent and fudgy which makes them such a perfect dessert. But, when brownies have a more cake-like texture, it feels like I’m just eating a general chocolate cake. Let’s dive into why your brownies are cakey in texture.
*By the way, I recently came across the perfect Brownie Pan that slices the brownies into pieces without the hustle! This Metallic Professional Slice Solutions Brownie Pan is 9 inches by 13 inches and will help get your brownies out of the pan much easier! You can check out this Brownie Pan on Amazon!
There are many reasons why your brownies may turn out cakey and spongy instead of dense and fudgy. Let’s discuss some of the possible causes:
|Cakey Brownies||Fudgy Brownies|
|Higher flour-to-fat ratio||Higher fat-to-flour ratio|
|Uses baking powder||Does not use a leavening agent|
|Incorporating more air into batter||Cannot overmix batter|
|Bakes for longer a time to prevent raw center||Short baking time to ensure it doesn’t dry out|
You Used Too Much Flour
When measuring the flour, be sure to use the scoop and level method. This means that you should use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup, and then level it off with a knife.
Too much flour will dry out the brownies and make them cakey.
You Used Baking Powder
A brownie recipe with baking powder will most likely turn out cakey. Baking powder is a leavening agent that causes baked goods to rise. If you want dense and fudgy brownies, make sure to leave out the baking powder.
If you have to use a leavening agent consider using a small amount of baking soda instead.
You Overmixed The Batter
When you mix the batter, be careful not to overmix it. Overmixing will result in tough and cakey brownies. Overbeating or overmixing the batter introduces too much air, which will make the brownies rise and become cakey.
The more aeration you have in the batter, the fluffier and cake-like your brownies will be. When mixing the batter, mix until all the ingredients are just combined.
You Didn’t Use Enough Butter
Butter is critical in brownies – it adds moisture and fat, which results in a delicious, fudgy texture. If you want your brownies to be dense and fudgy, make sure to use enough butter.
I recommend using at least ¾ cup of butter for a recipe that makes 16 brownies.
You Baked The Brownies For Too Long
Baking the brownies for too long will also make them cakey. Brownies are ready when you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out with a few moist crumbs.
If the toothpick comes out clean, the brownies are overbaked and will be dry and cakey.
Used The Wrong Recipe
You could also be using the wrong recipe. Some brownie recipes. For instance, everything else in the recipe could be okay but the recipe calls for baking powder instead of soda which would make the brownies cakey.
I’ve seen recipes that are for chocolate cake but have also recommended the recipe as a brownie one.
I’ve tried a handful of recipes like this and it just turns out to be a square chocolate cake that I cut up into small brownie-shaped cakes.
*By the way, if you end up having failed brownies or leftover brownies, I recently wrote an article breaking down Creative Things To Do With Leftover & Broken Brownies. This article gives you many unique ways to use your leftover and broken brownies. You can check out this article here!
What Makes Brownies Fudgy Vs Cakey?
As a whole, fudgy brownies often contain a higher butter-to-flour ratio. This makes them more dense and moist. Cakey brownies, on the other hand, often have a higher flour-to-butter ratio. This makes them lighter and less dense. Leavening agents play a role in the proper texture of brownies as well.
To make fudgy brownies, you need to add more fat to your batter. Increase the amount of butter and chocolate you use in the recipe. You can also add an extra egg to make the brownies more moist and fudgy.
I came across a video that explains this perfectly:
*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about How To Remove Brownies Out of The Pan Without Breaking. This article breaks down the step-by-step process of safely removing brownies from their pans. You can check out this article here!
Also, avoid using baking powder and too much flour.
Be careful not to overmix the batter, as this will make the brownies tough. Leavening agents will activate and cause your brownies to rise just like a chocolate cake.
How Do You Fix Cakey Brownies?
While it is hard to reverse the effects of too much flour or baking powder, there are some things you can do to try and salvage your brownies. Topping them with ice cream or moistening them with syrup or hot fudge can introduce much-needed moisture for a more fudgy texture.
Pouring syrup or hot chocolate over the brownies can help to moisten them and make them fudgier. However, this will also make them sweeter so only do this if you are okay with that.
If you’re not set on just serving brownies, you can improvise by making a completely different dessert!
Besides just adding some ice cream to moisten them up into a more fudgy consistency, you can make a stunning trifle! Layer the brownie, cream, and your choice of fruits in a tall glass and you have a beautiful and delicious dessert!
I’m a big fan of cake balls, or “truffles“, which are cake pops without sticks. Crumble up your cakey brownies and add a cup of frosting to them as a binder.
Mix together and then roll into small balls, the size of cake pops. Melt some chocolate, roll it around, and voila! You have a fun new treat!
*By the way, my oven recently wrote so I decided to write an article about Baking Brownies Without An Oven. This article breaks down all the things that you can use to bake brownies without using a traditional oven. You can check out this article here!
How Do You Prevent Brownies From Getting Cakey?
Generally speaking, to prevent your brownies from turning out cakey, avoid recipes that use baking powder. Make sure the recipes call for high volumes of oil or butter. Also, when baking, make sure not to keep it longer in the oven than the recipe calls for as this will dry out the brownies.
Be careful not to overmix the batter and be sure to use enough butter. As a general rule, the ratio of fat to flour should be higher to achieve dense and fudgy brownies.
You also don’t want to bake your brownies for too long. Make sure you follow the recipe in instructions on how long to bake and at what temperature. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the brownies. They should be between 180-190 degrees F.
What Happens If You Overmix Brownie Batter?
As a whole, overmixing brownie batter incorporates too much air into the batter which makes the brownies rise and become cakey. To prevent this, when you are adding the last of your ingredients, mix gently by hand and avoid using an electric mixer. This will give you control over the amount of mixing.
Here’s a short point from Insider Magazine talking about it:
“According to Food52, you want to mix any batter until it forms a uniform dough, no more and no less.”
*By the way, to save even more time, I found this amazing brownie pan that pre-cuts your brownies! The Non-Stick Brownie Baking Pan with Dividers cuts my time down AND prevents any of my brownies from breaking! You can find them on Amazon!
When you bake the batter, the trapped air will cause the brownies to puff up and become light and cakey instead of dense and fudgy. The more you mix the batter, the more air is trapped in it. The brownies will come out fluffier and more cake-like.
What I find most helpful is if I’m using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer, I mix together most of my ingredients with it until the end.
Once I’m left with the last 1-2 ingredients, I stop using the electric mixer and start mixing by hand. This allows me to control how much air is incorporated into the batter.
How does sugar affect brownies?
As a general rule, sugar is responsible for the lightness and tenderness of baked goods. In brownies, too much sugar will make them flat. Also, brownies are known for a slight crispness when you bite into them. Less sugar prevents that wonderful outer layer from forming.
What happens if you overmix brownie batter?
Generally speaking, when you overmix brownie batter, too much air will be incorporated into the batter making the brownies light and cakey instead of dense and fudgy. Make sure to check on the brownie batter as you’re mixing it so that you won’t overmix it.
Is butter or oil better for brownies?
Generally speaking, both butter and oil will add enough moisture and aeration to the brownies to get them to properly rise, however, butter is still a better choice for making brownies since it adds better quality moisture and fat, resulting in a delicious, fudgy texture.
What does adding an extra egg to brownie mix do?
As a general rule, adding an extra egg will make the brownies more moist and fudgy. It will add more fat to the batter, making the brownies richer in flavor. Make sure to only add the egg yolk since it contains the additional fat content needed to create a fudgier brownie.
I hope I have been able to provide some clarity on why your brownies might have come out cakey and how you can fix it. Check out my other blog post on how to make perfect brownies for more tips.