Understanding the frustration that comes from ending up with brownies too dense or too dry, let’s get into what makes that perfect cake-like texture. Achieving cakey brownie perfection that promises to elevate your homemade brownie baking game and delight your taste buds is not as far away as you might think. Get ready to transform your brownie-making experience with my tips and recipe that will lead you to irresistibly light, fluffy treats every time.
Table of Contents
- What Sets Cakey Brownies Apart
- Ingredients and Their Effects on Cakey Outcome Explained
- Ingredients for Perfect Cakey Brownies
- What to Do Before Baking
- Mixing the Ingredients
- Baking the Brownies
- Cooling and Cutting – Important Step!
- Serving Suggestions
- Tips for Best Cakey Brownies
- Storage Tips
- Achieving the Dream Cakey Brownie Texture
What Sets Cakey Brownies Apart
Cakey brownies have a distinctive texture that sets them apart from other brownie varieties. While fudgy brownies are dense and chewy, cake-like brownies are lighter and fluffier. They have a fudgey, moist crumb while still being tall and rising to an even, domed top.
Airy Yet Fudgy Texture
The texture of cakey brownies comes down to the ratio of flour to chocolate. Cakey brownies tend to have a bit more flour than fudgy brownies, giving them lift, yet they still have plenty of melted chocolate or cocoa powder for decadence. Beating in eggs also develops cakey brownies’ structure by incorporating air. You get incredulous tunnels and small air pockets that make each bite taste impossibly rich.
Higher Flour to Cocoa Ratio
While fudgy brownies are intensely chocolaty thanks to lots of melted chocolate and little flour, cakey brownies fall somewhere in between. A moderate amount of flour provides lift while still allowing a fudgy, soft crumb. Using 1 cup of flour for every 3 ounces of melted chocolate or cocoa powder hits the right flour to chocolate ratio. Too much more flour and you risk dryness.
Baking Method Impacts Texture
How you bake cakey brownies also affects their delightful texture. Baking them gently at a low temp allows them to develop height while staying moist. Quick high heat would cause the exterior to overbake and pull away from the edges too soon, preventing lift. Removing them from the oven when the center is still ever so slightly underbaked keeps them fudge-filled too. Letting them cool completely sets the texture.
So while cakey brownies share traits with other brownies, their moderately fudgy, impressively airy crumb gives them standout status.
Ingredients and Their Effects on Cakey Outcome Explained
Baking cakey brownies is – though not as fun-sounding but very important to know – a science. When key ingredients are measured and handled properly, your desired sponge-like yet fudgy texture comes out.
All-purpose flour lends cakey brownies structure and shape. Gluten strands in the flour trap the gases produced by leavening agents, causing air pockets that make brownies rise high.
Using too much flour can lead to dry, bready texture, but too little won’t provide enough lift or structure to support a cakey crumb.
About 1 cup per batch hits the sweet spot.
Beating eggs into the batter creates countless air bubbles that expand further during baking, leading to lift. Eggs also provide structure through proteins that coagulate when heated. Lastly, eggs act as an emulsifier between liquid and fat, creating moisture and preventing a greasy texture.
For lift, structure and moisture, 2 eggs per batch works perfectly.
For brownies without eggs, check out my eggless brownies recipe!
While baking soda requires acid to produce lift, baking powder contains both sodium bicarbonate and an acidifying agent. When mixed into a brownie batter then heated in the oven, baking powder immediately starts producing carbon dioxide bubbles that cause rising.
Too much baking powder over-aerates the batter for proper texture, so only 1 teaspoon per batch is ideal.
Ingredients for Perfect Cakey Brownies
Achieving cakey brownie perfection relies on having the right ingredients on hand. While the ingredient list may seem simple, accurately measuring and properly preparing them makes all the difference.
For this brownie recipe, you will need:
Dry ingredients form the base structure and rise:
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour – Provides lift and structure through gluten formation
- 1 teaspoon baking powder – Creates air bubbles for lift through chemical leavening
- 1/4 teaspoon salt – Enhances flavor
Wet ingredients bind everything together and keep cakey brownies moist:
- 2 large eggs – Leaven, bind and add moisture
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar – Sweetens and retains moisture
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted – Enriches flavor and texture
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – Boosts flavor depth
You can’t have brownies without chocolate! Use either:
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted – Intense, bittersweet flavor
- 1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons (16g) additional sugar – Deep chocolate taste
What to Do Before Baking
Before you even start mixing and baking, having your baking equipment and oven ready avoids a rushed or chaotic baking experience.
Pull out all necessary baking tools and bowls:
- 8 or 9-inch square baking pan – Nonstick is ideal
- Large mixing bowl
- Medium mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
Make sure everything is cleaned. Having organized equipment ensures no ingredients get missed.
Prepare your brownie baking pan by coating with nonstick spray or lining with parchment paper. This prevents sticking and helps cleanly lift out finished brownies. Parchment overhang also simplifies lifting from the pan.
For this recipe, I used an aluminum tray that I had in my kitchen, but you don’t need to!
As you prepare your ingredients, heat your oven. For best lift without overbaking, preheat to 325°F. Rack position middle is ideal.
Mixing the Ingredients
Proper mixing techniques are vital for light, airy texture with a fudgy crumb. Carefully combining dry and wet ingredients introduces air into the batter while thoroughly incorporating components.
Creaming Butter and Sugar
Start by beating 1/2 cup softened butter and 3/4 cup sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. This aerates the mixture and distributes fat evenly. Scrape down sides as needed.
With the mixer running, add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next. Take your time here, beating for a good minute after each egg goes in. This achieves maximum rise in the finished brownies.
Dry Then Wet
In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients – the flour, cocoa powder if using, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing to incorporate. Then in thirds, alternate adding the remaining dry mixture with the wet ingredients – melted chocolate and vanilla.
After adding the last of the wet ingredients, mix just until combined, no more than about 30 seconds. Overmixing deflates the batter rather than aerating it. The consistency should be thick and spreadable.
Baking the Brownies
With your cakey brownie batter mixed, carefully pour the batter into the pan. Bake at an ideal temp for bakery-style results at home.
Prepare and Pour Batter
Make sure your baking pan is prepared and oven preheated to 325°F. Give the brownie batter a few final folds with a spatula to incorporate any separated ingredients without overmixing. Pour and spread evenly into the baking pan.
Bake Low and Slow
Bake for 20 minutes at 325°, then check brownies with a toothpick. When it comes out with just a few crumbs, it’s time to pull them out. Baking low and slow allows lift to develop without overbaking the exterior.
Fudgy Centers = Success
Underbaked centers that jiggle slightly means moisture remains inside. This fudginess sinks as it cools, concentrating in the middle, while the structure sets around it. Overbaked brownies dry out instead.
Cooling and Cutting – Important Step!
After baking, cooling cakey brownies completely before cutting is vital for preserving moisture and texture.
Let Brownies Rest
Allow just-baked brownies to cool in the pan on a rack until completely room temp, about 2 hours. This finishing stage sets their structure so steam doesn’t escape when cut. I know it’s tempting, but actually, warm brownies deflate when sliced.
Use a Sharp Knife
Use a chef’s knife or serrated knife to cut smooth, clean lines through cooled brownies. Press straight down rather than sawing for perfect squares. A dull knife mashes surrounding texture.
Cut Smaller Pieces
Cut brownies into smaller 1.5 to 2-inch squares rather than larger hunks. This gives you more edge pieces with delightful crisp exterior giving way to a soft, cakey center.
Chill Again Before Serving
Once sliced, you can chill brownies briefly to firm texture before serving. The cold intensifies chocolate flavor.
Let sit about 10 minutes on the counter to take off the fridge chill before gobbling up.
It’s time for the fun part – devouring! Here are some ideas for your crowd-pleasing squares that will enhance enjoyment of that first blissful bite.
Arrange brownie squares artfully on a platter, alternating direction. Stack 2 or 3 high on a dessert stand for a bakery look. Garnish the platter with chocolate shavings or powdered sugar if desired.
A La Mode
Serve brownies a la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – the cold creamy contrast with fluffy brownies is divine! Add chocolate or caramel sauce over the ice cream for extra decadence.
You can also make homemade fudge for an extra chocolatey kick!
Get creative with fun pairings:
- Berries – raspberries or strawberries
- Whipped cream – clouds of sweet complement
- Nuts – walnuts or pecans add crunch
- Coffee – mocha brownie heaven!
- Chocolate chips or chocolate candy – M&Ms, Reese’s pieces, what have you!
Tips for Best Cakey Brownies
Seemingly small details make a big difference in taking your squares from good to incredible.
Invest in quality measuring cups and spoons and carefully level off ingredients. Too much or too little of any component throws off the ideal balance. Over-measure flour and you lose decadence. Under-measure leavener and you lose lift.
Whether using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix just until your batter comes together and ingredients incorporate, no more than about 30 seconds after adding the last wet ingredient. Overbeating deflates those vital air bubbles you worked hard to incorporate.
Check for Doneness
Test brownies with a toothpick at 20 minutes – when it comes out with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it, they’re done. A toothpick that comes out clean means overbaking.
Use an Oven Thermometer
Even if your oven dial is accurate, temperature fluctuations still happen, which affects baking outcomes. Use an oven thermometer to ensure it’s maintaining an even 325° F and adjust as needed.
Proper storage maintains divine texture and taste.These helpful storage tips ensure fresh, moist squares ready to enjoy for days.
Let Cool Completely
Before attempting to store brownies, allow them to completely cool in the pan at room temp, about 2 hours after baking. Warm brownies that are packaged up will trap steam, causing soggy texture.
Store in Airtight Container
For the best texture preservation and longest shelf life, store cooled cake brownies in an airtight container like a container with a tight-fitting lid rather than loosely wrapped in plastic wrap or foil. This prevents moisture loss.
Include a Paper Towel
Place a piece of paper towel in your storage container and lay brownies on top. This soaks up excess moisture that can otherwise cause sogginess during storage. Replace the towel as needed.
Enjoy Within 5 Days
Stored properly in an airtight container, cakey brownies stay fresh for 3-5 days at room temp. After that, the texture declines. For maximum enjoyment, bake brownies to be devoured within several days.
Achieving the Dream Cakey Brownie Texture
Ultimately, baking up cakey brownie brilliance comes down to understanding what sets them apart texture-wise and mastering a few key techniques.
Embrace cake-like brownies in all their chocolatey, fudgy glory topped with crackly, delicate crust.
Savor success when that first bite melts in your mouth with ideal richness and lift you created by hand.
Hope you enjoy this cakey brownie recipe!
What makes brownies cakey vs fudgy?
The texture of brownies hinges on the ratio of fat (butter or oil) to flour and the use of leavening agents. Cakey brownies have more flour and often include baking powder, creating a lighter, airy structure. Fudgy brownies, in contrast, boast a higher fat content and less flour, resulting in a denser, moist texture.
What causes cakey brownies?
Cakey brownies result from a higher proportion of flour and the inclusion of leavening agents like baking powder, which introduce air into the batter, creating a lighter, more aerated texture. This flour-to-fat ratio, along with careful mixing and baking techniques, ensures the brownies have a cake-like structure.
Is baking soda or baking powder better for brownies?
For brownies, baking powder is typically used to achieve a cakey texture due to its ability to rise, while baking soda is better for creating a fudgy texture because it requires an acidic component to activate and doesn’t introduce as much lift.
Cakey Brownies Recipe
This recipe will lead you to irresistibly light, fluffy treats every time!
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 2 hrs 45 mins
- Yield: 1 tray of brownies 1x
- Category: dessert
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
- 1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons (16g) additional sugar
- Coat the baking pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Ensure parchment paper has an overhang for easier lifting.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack positioned in the middle.Carefully combine dry and wet ingredients to introduce air and incorporate components for a light, airy, and fudgy texture.
- Beat 1/2 cup softened butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
- Add eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture, beating for a minute after each addition for maximum rise.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- Alternately add dry ingredients and wet ingredients (melted chocolate and vanilla) to the butter mixture in thirds, starting and ending with dry.
- Mix until just combined after the last addition of wet ingredients, about 30 seconds, to maintain batter’s consistency.
- Prepare baking pan and preheat oven as specified.
- Fold batter with a spatula to incorporate any separated ingredients without overmixing. Pour and spread batter evenly into the pan.
- Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes, checking with a toothpick for doneness.
- Let brownies cool in the pan on a rack until room temperature, about 2 hours.
- Cut cooled brownies with a sharp knife into 1.5 to 2-inch squares for a mix of edge and center pieces.
- Optionally, chill sliced brownies briefly to firm up texture before serving. Let chilled brownies sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 piece
- Calories: 170 kcal
- Fat: 9 g
- Carbohydrates: 21 g
- Protein: 3 g
Keywords: cakey brownies