Brownies vs Cake: What are the Main Differences?

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Bakers, trade your oven mitts for boxing gloves because it’s time for the ultimate baking showdown! Everyone to your corners as we duke it out to crown a champion in the battle of brownies vs cake!

Related: Americano vs cappuccino, caffe misto vs latte

Brownies vs cake Pinterest pin image.

Brownie and cake recipes both have delicious flavors and textures, but who is the real champion? Put the battle to bed by getting to know two chocolate classics a little better, brownies and cake.

These two delicious dessert contenders each have their highs and lows, but what are their significant differences, and which treat reigns supreme? Let’s take a closer look at all the delightfully tasty intricacies of each sweet baked dessert with this side-by-side comparison of brownies vs cake!

What are Brownies?

Ooey, gooey, and oh-so-chocolatey, brownies are an indulgent treat. Brownies are a comforting and unpretentious dessert with tons of luscious cocoa flavor. 

The core ingredients of these sweet delights are granulated sugar, chocolate, fat, eggs, all purpose flour, and a few extras to make them just right. The extras in brownie recipes often include flavorings, nuts, and chocolate chips.

Depending on your brownie preference, they can be made fudgy with a more dense texture or with an airier, cakey brownie feel. 

The main ingredient that gives brownies their a decadent, fudgy texture is their high amount of fat combined with eggs. Top that with plenty of rich cocoa powder flavor and you have a true chocolate lovers’ delight!

The perfect way to finish brownies is with a dusting of icing sugar and then slice them into little squares. Serve brownies with vanilla ice cream, or just on their own, to make the perfect downhome comfort dessert!

Brownie recipe with brown sugar bite shot.

What is Cake?

From holidays to birthdays to weddings, no special occasion is truly special without the perfect cake. The cake is an iconic dessert with a devoted following. There’s no need to wonder why cake is so popular because just one bite will have you totally smitten with this frosted delicacy.

Cakes come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, but for this comparison, we will focus on a fluffy chocolate cake. 

Chocolate cake recipes are made with similar ingredients as brownies such as granulated sugar, chocolate, fat, eggs, flour, leavening agents, and a few extra special add-ins to make it just right. The delectable add-ins in the cake batter often include flavorings and dairy, but because cake is airy and often layered with other elements, chunks, pieces, and morsels are often omitted from the batter and stacked into the final dessert instead. 

Although there are many types of cake, as a rule, cake is generally lighter and more spongy in texture than brownies. This is due to the leavening agent 

Leaveners are ingredients like whipped egg whites, baking soda, and baking powder. These ingredients cause the batter to rise during baking making for a soft, airy, and light texture. Traditional cakes use at least one of these leavening agents to help them rise; some cakes even use all three! 

The soft, lighter texture of cake is enhanced by the way it is served. Cakes are often stacked with a flavorful filling and then finished with a fantastic coat of frosting. This elegant design with extra tiers makes a cake show-stopping at any party!

Slice of chocolate cake for brownies vs chocolate article.

Differences Between Brownies and Cake

In baking, precision in both measurements and techniques is important. Altering either of these elements can significantly impact the final outcome of the dish. That is what sets brownies apart from cake; although these two treats share many common ingredients their ingredient ratios and techniques vary.

Let’s take a look at the two key differences between brownies and cake: ingredients and techniques. 

One big difference between brownies and cakes is in the leavening agent or lack thereof. Traditional brownies tend to lack leaveners, whereas cakes use baking powder, baking soda, and sometimes whipped egg whites to help them rise. 

Ingredients for brownie recipe with brown sugar.


This lack of a raising agent in brownie batter is part of why brownies tend to have a denser texture than chocolate cakes. It’s also why cake often has a fluffier texture than brownies because the cake rises while baking. 

Another ingredient at play in brownie textures is fat. It takes extra fat to create that wonderful chewy texture and flavor of fudgy brownies, but cakes don’t need quite as much richness. 

The last ingredient that makes brownies vs cake their own distinct desserts is chocolate. Both recipes use cocoa powder, often Dutch-process cocoa powder, to bring a kiss of chocolate flavour to their recipes. However, brownies often take it one step further by piling on even more chopped or chunked chocolate pieces. 

Pouring cocoa powder into bowl of melted butter and chocolate.


From start to finish brownies and cakes have distinct differences. Cake batter is often leavened in part with eggs which requires special folding techniques. Beautifully folding cake ingredients together is the key to a lighter-than-air sponge.

Brownies are the exact opposite. There are no special folds or techniques required and since most brownies use liquid fat you can mix them by hand without overworking your arm.

The treats are even finished differently with cake often being extravagantly frosted and brownies being simply dusted with powdered sugar or leaving as is to admire their perfectly cracked top! 

Chocolate cake batter in a large bowl.

How to Make a Brownie More Cakey

As mentioned above, brownies can have a more airy and cake-like texture, but how? The simple answer is in the rise. 

To transform your favorite fudgy brownie recipe into a cakey brownie recipe, try adding up to one teaspoon of baking powder to the dry ingredients. This easy addition helps take the chewy brownies from dense to a fully risen chocolate brownie cake that’s light, and fluffy!

The same principle can be used in reverse to correct brownie recipes that produce overly cakey brownies. If your brownies are baking up less densely than you’d like, check the ingredient list and if there is a leavening agent, cut it out. This will produce a denser, chewier dessert. 

Dry ingredients for coffee cookies.

Brownies vs Cake: Who Wins?

Beauty is in the mouth of the beholder, or at least that’s the case when it comes to choosing a winner in the battle of brownies vs cake. It’s up to you!

If you love deep chocolate flavor and decadent fudgy desserts then brownies are probably your best bet; however, if you’re into light and lovely desserts then a piece of chocolate cake is a great choice. 

Cakes tend to be more dressy and elegant for special occasions whereas  a batch of brownies is considered to be a more rustic dessert. Choose a vibe and then the perfect chocolate dessert will fit right in because you can’t go wrong with either of these amazing chocolate desserts! 

Landscape image of brownie square with peanut butter frosting on a small, white plate.

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