February 10, 2022 4 min read

Everyone has a preference but what's the difference between cakey and fudgy brownies?

Cake brownies are as the names suggests more cake like in texture. They have an open cake style aerated structure. Fudgy brownies on the other hand are richer, deeper and more dense in structure. A fudgy brownie may have a cake like open or cracked texture at the top but remains gooey and viscous in the centre.

Our own brownie hearts sing loud and clear in rejoicing that all brownies are great! Though differences in Brownie preference do exist. At Dello Mano our Brownies are handmade with real chocolate and butter. Needless to say we have a very strong preference for a fudgy, creamy full bodied brownie. 

Early on in our brownie innovating days, we found very few brownies. Back in 2005 there wasn't much around.  The few brownies we found  were mostly of the cakey brownie style. We set out to create an indulgent, fudgy, chocolatey brownie that would make a perfect brownie gift.

Achieving a fudgy brownie is all to do with the ratio of fat to flour. A fudgy brownie recipe will use more fat than flour. Generally this is achieved by adding more butter or real chocolate to your brownie recipe. A cakey brownie recipe on the other hand will call for more flour in the ratio of fat to flour.

Cakey brownie recipes also generally have an aeration agent like baking powder for example. The aeration agent or leavening agent as it's often called helps trap air in the batter structure and hence results in the cakey brownie style.

Commonly asked questions about brownies and brownie recipes highlight that often as bakers or cooks are seeking to make one type of brownie and the result of their work is the other type. There are a number of things that may cause your brownies to be cake like when you wanted fudge brownie and fudge like when you wanted cakey brownie.

Why are my brownies cakey when they should be fudgy?

Setting out to make a fudgy brownie that results in a cakey brownie can be disappointing. Many recipes don't give a description of the brownie you can expect so it's important to run your eye over the recipe. At least take a look at the image and see if the recipe will give you a cakey or fudgy brownie.

If you've ended up with cakey brownies and wanted fudgy you've probably used too much flour. It is difficult to play around with flour levels in brownies and cake recipes so if you're going to innovate then be prepared for several batches that may not result in perfect brownies. 

A more certain result is to choose a brownie recipe that has a higher amount of chocolate and butter. A brownie recipe with baking powder should be avoided as you'll most certainly end up with a cakey texture. 

Another reason your brownies may be cakey is too much mixing or beating during the cooking process. Of course make sure you have a high fat to flour brownie recipe. Once you have your recipe confirmed, If you're are whisking then take it lightly. If you're using an electric mixer then don't walk away as it will over mix. Mixing incorporates air into the brownie batter. The more air that is incorporated will result in a more open, airy and cakey brownie. If you wanted fudgy brownies and you got cakey, check on your mixing technique and pull it back.

Making fudgy brownies at home is often best done with a wooden spoon. Premix your dry ingredients which often include flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar. Using the wooden spoon gently fold in your dry ingredients to allow the wet and dry to mix but not aerate. 

Eggs play a huge role in baking. They're responsible in part for the brownie texture so its important that they are at room temperature. Using eggs cold out of the fridge will result in poor mixing and effect your brownie recipe. 

Things to note when you're making cakey brownies vs fudgy brownies. 

  • Watch the baking time. A cakey brownie is lighter and more aerated so it will generally bake faster than it's more fudgy counterpart. Take note of your brownie recipe but importantly know your oven and watch if it's the first time you've baked that brownie.
  • With practice you'll pull your brownie out of the oven a little ahead of being fully baked. As we discussed earlier, the brownie will finish cooking on the bench. Leaving a brownie in the oven for too long will dry it out and crisp out the sides more.
  • Check your brownie baking tray. The size and material used for the baking tray can effect how a brownie bakes in the oven. A metal bowl will cook the outside more while glass will result in a brownie that has a more even consistent temperature from the outside all the way in. The size of the pan will impact your brownie texture. Make sure your pan is not too big as the batter will run to fill the pan resulting in a flatter brownie that potentially also over cooks in the oven.

So the difference in cakey vs fudgy brownies is in their texture. Of course texture does impact taste but so too do the ingredients in the recipe. The final brownie texture cakey or fudgy comes down to a number of things most importantly the oil to flour ratio, the mixing process and the recipe itself. Finally how you bake your brownies will impact the texture of your brownie. 

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