Make your absolute favorite brownie: Classic, Fudgy, or Cakey

There’s something empowering about being a home baker, especially when it comes to making your favorite brownie.

You’re entitled to add a handful of chocolate chips or a sprinkle of nuts. You can bake the brownies 5 minutes longer if you like crispy edges, or maybe a few minutes less to make a molten center. That’s the beauty of being the baker: you can make your absolute favorite brownie just as you like it.

Make your absolute favorite brownie via @kingarthurflour

Three of our most well-loved brownie recipes, each with a slightly different texture: classic, fudgy, and cakey.

So what is the best brownie consistency?

If you ask this question in a King Arthur Flour break room, you’ll hear some passionate, heated discussion among our employee-owners. Asking about the best brownie is like asking about the texture of chocolate chip cookies or ideal pizza toppings — it’s a Pandora’s box in a room of bakers.

Opposing opinions are separated by just a few degrees of difference in texture: classic, fudgy, or cakey. Each kind of brownie has bakers willing to profess their love for it, determined to convince you their choice is most delicious.

But when you’re the baker, you get to decide. Let’s check out some of your choices.

Make your absolute favorite brownie via @kingarthurflour

Classic brownies

For some people, the word “classic,” is synonymous with “outdated” or “overdone.” But that’s not what we mean here. Think well-loved and time-tested.

Imagine the quintessential brownie: slightly chewy with crisp edges and a moist, tender center. That’s the classic brownie we’re talking about.

The recipe that best represents this fan favorite is our Fudge Brownie recipe. It’s a crowd pleaser, for sure. If you’re baking for a party and want everyone to be happy, this is the recipe to turn to.

My favorite part? The shiny crust! Oh man, is it shiny — even flaky. It cracks into a million delicious chocolate shards as you slice the brownies with a knife. Who doesn’t get excited about that?

(If you want to learn how to make your favorite brownie recipe with a shimmery crust, we’ve unlocked the secrets in our blog post: How to make brownies with shiny crust.)

“This is an easy, moist, and delicious brownie,” writes Yvette from Meadville in a 5-star review of the classic Fudge Brownie. “My family and my son’s bowling club loved them!! Thank you.”

See? Crowd pleaser. Potentially even my favorite brownie recipe.

Make your absolute favorite brownie via @kingarthurflour

Fudgy brownies

Next contestant: Deep-Dark Fudgy Brownies. If you love fudge or chocolate lava cakes, then this is the recipe for you.

Each brownie, from the center right out to the edges, is pleasantly dense and moist; not gooey, but rich and tender. It’s a recipe worthy of being served on its own as a decadent dessert.

Another plus? It’s oil-based instead of butter-based, which creates a moist interior that stays fresher longer. (Although there’s no guarantee these brownies will last for more than a few hours if you leave them out for curious chocolate-lovers to devour.)

“This is my favorite brownie recipe,” proclaims Polaris52 in a user review. “Deep chocolate flavor and moist. Also, the preparation is very easy — only one bowl is needed and you don’t have to melt any chocolate (which is WAY too much trouble for something as casual as brownies [in my opinion])! Make these now — you won’t regret it!”

Okay, confession time. THIS is truly my favorite brownie recipe. The classic Fudge Brownie recipe has its moments (brownie sundaes!), but for sitting down with just a brownie and a tall glass of milk, a Deep-Dark Fudgy Brownie is what I want in my hand.

Make your absolute favorite brownie via @kingarthurflour

These are two edges pieces — you can see cakey brownies dome a bit in the center, unlike other types of brownies.

Cakey brownies

So the cat’s out of the bag — when it comes to consistency, my favorite brownie is fudgy through and through. But hey, I won’t judge those of you who might like something different.

Which brings us to the uniquely charming black sheep of the dessert family: cakey brownies.

Our recipe for Cakey Brownies is butter-based and calls for 5 large eggs. The resulting texture is reminiscent of a bakery-style birthday cake with a delicate crumb. They’re lighter than traditional brownies, but more dense than a sponge cake. Surprisingly moist, too.

While it may not seem cakey brownies are wildly popular, some people certainly do call them their favorite. I used this recipe to make a friend’s birthday cake and covered it with vanilla-almond buttercream. It made a rich brownie cake. No complaints from anyone!

“I’m not a fan of the gooey fudge brownie,” admits Kelley50 from Texas in a glowing review of cakey brownies. “This recipe is a good compromise that satisfies the whole family, young and old alike. I’ve made it three times now with only good things to say about it.”

Make your absolute favorite brownie via @kingarthurflour

From left to right: classic, fudgy, and cakey brownies. Each has a slightly different crust and consistency.

Making your favorite brownie

How do these three stack up, side by side? Let’s look.

Each recipe uses a slightly different method and ratio of ingredients to create its signature texture. The classic Fudge Brownie recipe calls for two cups of chocolate chips, helping create that shiny crust. With four eggs and 1 1/2 cups of flour, these brownies are perfectly chewy and classic.

The Deep-Dark Fudgy Brownies is an easy stir-together recipe that uses confectioners’ sugar for an almost creamy mouth-feel. Also, there’s no chemical leavening (no baking powder or baking soda) in this recipe, so you’ll get a dense, fudgy texture every time.

And last, the cakey brownies, which you can see are deserving of their name, have the highest rise. The responsible ingredients are eggs, plus our underrated friend in the kitchen: water. Baking powder is activated by liquid, so by adding 1/2 cup of water you give the leavener what it needs to work its magic. Voilà: moist, cakey brownies.

Make your absolute favorite brownie via @kingarthurflour

From bottom to top, all three brownies are a delicious choice: classic, fudgy, and cakey.

These three brownie recipes represent a complete trifecta of brownie consistency: classic, fudgy, and cakey. Take your pick or try them all — I bet you’ll find your favorite brownie among these three recipes.

Gluten-free brownies

If you’re looking for a gluten-free recipe that will knock your socks off, we’ve got great news; you can simply replace the all-purpose flour with our new Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. Making your favorite recipes gluten-free has never been easier.

Interested in something entirely grain-free? Try our Almond Flour Brownies. I make these for gluten-loving friends just to switch things up sometimes, and they always produce lots of chocolatey grins.

Make your absolute favorite brownie via @kingarthurflour

Time to dig in!

Is your favorite brownie classic, fudgy, or cakey? Share your secrets to brownie perfection in the comments, below.

Thanks to Nic Doak for taking the photos for this blog and helping me eat the leftover brownies.

Kye Ameden
About

Kye Ameden grew up in Fairlee, Vermont and has always had a love of food, farms, and family. After graduating from St. Lawrence University, she became an employee-owner at King Arthur Flour and is a proud member of the Digital Engagement Team.

comments

  1. Jain

    I was born without a sweet tooth. I have no desire for cakes, cookies, ice cream; I’ll eat a slice of pie only if it’s fruity and tangy. But I love brownies! I’ve often wondered what makes them distinctive. Why are they so different than, say, chocolate cake? Do you know?

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      I’m with you Jain, on many fronts. I’ve got a sweet tooth of my own, plus my mother’s! 🙂 I prefer a fudgy brownie over a slice of cake any day. While these two desserts share many of the same ingredients, the ratios give them their unique taste and texture. Cake recipes usually call for about twice the amount of flour and quite a bit less cocoa powder. Brownie recipes also include much less leavener (baking powder and baking soda) or none at all, whereas cake recipes rely on these ingredient to help them rise. The result is two very different chocolate desserts. Happy brownie baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Ann

    I love chocolate so brownies are on the top of my dessert list. Thanks Kye, for the specificity given in the brownie comparisons. Now I feel compelled to try them all❤️

    Reply
  3. Susan

    I generally find brownie recipes to be overly sweet, but I’ve found that when I reduce the sugar, I lose moisture. Any tricks? Increase the fat content? Other? Thanks for any help you can offer!

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Susan, try adding in some apple sauce (or another fruit puree, but apple is the most neutral in flavor) to replace the sugar you omit. It will add a nice moistness and tenderness to the texture. Might just be the fix you’re looking for. Kye@KAF

  4. Peggy

    Oddly enough I am not a fan of chocolate. I can easily walk past any chocolate candy, don’t even blink at chocolate ice cream and I add so little chocolate syrup when I make hot chocolate the milk barely changes color…but brownies…now that’s a whole different story.

    Brownies are the ultimate indulgence for me. I will choose them over pretty much anything. Juicy steak or a brownie? Brownie wins every time! The fudgier the better. I would have to say that I even prefer them gooey…with a ton of walnuts!!

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Sounds like you’re a woman of my own heart, Peggy! Brownies are the ultimate indulgence, time and time again. The fudgier, the better! Kye@KAF

  5. Sue Rose

    I love cakey brownies. They have always been my favorite! When I make them for others, I’m always asked what I did to the brownies. I never realized my favorite way to make brownies isn’t the norm 🙂

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Cakey brownies have a special place in the hearts of those who love them. Tender, soft, moist, deeply chocolate-y… what’s not to love? They’re especially nice in brownie sundaes. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  6. Amanda

    I’m curious about how necessary the espresso powder is in a brownie recipe. This is not an ingredient I tend to keep on hand since we prefer fresh brewed espresso, so I have to admit I often choose not to try recipes that call for espresso powder or instant coffee. I know a bit of coffee is supposed to help accentuate the chocolate flavor, but how much will I miss it if i leave it out? Or maybe I should just keep some on hand for baking.
    Thanks for featuring brownies that use cocoa powder! I tend to prefer to use powder since melting on a double boiler seems too fussy when the brownie cravings hit. I prefer a fudgy brownie myself so I’m curious to try both the classic and fudgy recipes!

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Amanda, you’ve got to try the classic and fudgy versions and let us know which you like best. It was a close call for me, but fudgy was just a bit more tempting. As for your question about espresso powder, it’s completely optional. However, if you’re a chocolate lover (or a coffee lover) you’ll be thanking yourself for adding this ingredient to your pantry. It adds a wonderful depth of flavor. It’s your choice if you’d like to give it a try. Happy brownie baking! Kye@KAF

    2. Amanda

      I did try both and I think I actually like the classic one better. My ‘fudgy’ batch actually came out cakey, somehow, despite the lack of any leavening. I did realize I only had regular cocoa, not Dutch process, so maybe that was the problem. Maybe I’ll try again when I have the proper ingredients, and get a 9″ pan instead of an 8″ one so they aren’t so thick.

    3. Kye Ameden , post author

      We’re surprised to hear your fudgy brownies came out cakey even without baking powder or baking soda, Amanda. This probably means you’re mixing the ingredients together for too long or perhaps using too much flour. Try weighing your flour using a scale, and bake them in a medium-colored metal pan. You can also press the brownies down with the back of a large spatula once they come out of the oven to get a truly fudgy and pleasantly dense texture. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  7. Shelly

    We love brownies! I would like to know how do I get that lovely cracking on the top of my brownies? We tend to like the classic brownie & Fudgy. Thank you Kye for this email.

    Shelly

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this chocolate-filled post! I certainly do love the shiny crust on brownies — one of their best parts if you ask me. We have another full blog post about how to make brownies with a shiny crust if you’d like to check it out. The surprising ingredient is chocolate chips! Kye@KAF

  8. Shirley Dunton

    Why is it that some of your recipes say “Print” and I know that I won’t get all the whole page and some of your recipes don’t say “Print” so I only get the recipe???? Copy and paste is a real pain with the server I have. Please help me not to have to sit here and write it down. I am 90 yrs. old and can’t sit that long to copy it manually.

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Hi Shirley,
      All of our recipes have an easy print option — just make sure you’re looking at the actual recipe you’d like to print instead of the full blog. Click on the orange links underneath the top-most photo. The print recipe button is located in the upper right hand corner. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      What a combo! You have a few options if you’d like to make a chocolate-peanut butter treat. You could simply top your favorite brownie recipe with some peanut butter frosting, or you could add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of peanut butter right to the batter (cut back on the butter or oil by about half if you do this). Want peanut butter swirled brownies? Add some confectioner’s sugar to your peanut butter until it’s as sweet as you like, then swirl it into the brownie batter once it’s already in the prepared pan. Voilà, peanut butter brownies! Kye@KAF

  9. Kim

    My favorite kind of brownie is the crunchy, yet chewy edge in classic brownies. The more edge, the merrier. I have a pan with 3 wells so I can bake brownies (3 different varieties, if I so choose) and everyone gets 2 edges. While the rest are still edible and will soothe a chocolate craving, the edge is really where it’s at.

    Reply
  10. elizabeth kopniske

    Hi,
    Thanks for all the great info! Can I bake the recipes in cupcake tins? Easier to take, frost and customize with different icings. Just watch the bake time? Thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Brownie cupcakes? Who doesn’t love that idea! You sure can go ahead and use cupcake tins to bake all of these brownies, but the Cakey Brownie recipe will probably be the most successful. You’ll get thick edges on each of the brownies, so to avoid an overly crunchy texture, try reducing the temperature by 25°F and check for doneness after about half the time called for in the recipe. Salted Vanilla Caramel Icing would be a truly decadent way to top off this dessert. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

  11. Joanna Grammon

    I love brownies, but am nearly sugar-free. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with 1/3 coconut sugar and 2/3 xylitol, plus roughly the same proportions of coconut flour and unbleached flour. I use two cocoa powders, one dutched, plus chocolate chips (which do add some sugar). Brownies seem to do fine in the toaster oven, and the square pans fit.

    Reply
  12. Jo

    Secret confession:

    I prefer…box brownies.

    I’ve made three of King Arthur’s brownie recipes (classic, deep-dark fudge, and whole wheat) and all of them have tasted like chocolate cake, which I hate. No matter what I try they seem to come out dry or cakey and usually flavorless. Box brownies just taste better. Any suggestions? Brownies are my absolute, die on a desert island, favorite dessert.

    Reply
    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Hi Jo,
      It’s okay to share your confession with us — safe space. But let’s help you make the kind of brownies you’re looking for! If your brownies are coming out cake-like, you might be mixing the batter together for too long or at too high of a speed, which then incorporates excess air. We also recommend using a scale to measure your flour by weight, as flour compacts into the measuring cups if you scoop it right from the bag. Last tip? Be sure your oven is not running hot and that you’re baking in a medium-colored metal pan. Glass or ceramic pans can bake unevenly and prevent a fudgy, moist texture. Check for doneness early and often. The classic recipe might be a good place to start. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

    1. Kye Ameden , post author

      Lynda,
      Thanks for writing in and sharing your baking success with us! We’re glad to hear you’ve come up a tasty way make brownies exactly how you (and your son) like them. That’s the best feeling! Kye@KAF

  13. Deanna

    I have used KA’s “On the Fence Brownies” recipe that was published in the catalog years ago. Whenever I take it to a party, several people ask for the recipe. It’s just the perfect balance. Thanks for helping me find the only brownie recipe I need, KA!

    Reply

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