Brownie vs Cake: What Are The Differences?

Without a doubt, cakes and brownies are two amazing treats. They have a lot of similarities and you may likely confuse a brownie for a chocolate cake if you really don’t know their differences.

Brownies are flat, chewy, and square-shaped with a cracked yet shiny top. Cakes on the other hand are light and fluffy with a smooth, creamy top.

The reasons for these differences are not farfetched. If you’re curious to know more about what makes them different, follow me as we explore more in this article.

What are Brownies?

Brownies are pieces of baked dessert that are denser than cake but softer than cookies. They have a cracked, crispy top and a body that’s compact and flat, and are usually cut into squares.

The basic brownie recipe includes chocolate, cocoa powder, flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Other ingredients like chocolate chips, and nuts, are also used to make the dessert more appealing and tastier. Although brownies can be topped with icing, their rough, cracked top makes them difficult to decorate.

Brownies have little or no leavening agents and the eggs are beaten rather than whisked. There’s also a difference in the proportion of flour, sugar, and butter used in preparing brownies to cake. That said, let’s see the types of brownies we have.

SEE: What Is Squaw Bread

Types of brownies

There is an endless combination of flavors you can create to make different types of brownies, and it’s all at the baker’s discretion. Let’s take a look at the most common of them:

1. Fudgy brownies

This is the common rich, fudgy, and chocolatey brownie we all know. It starts with melted butter and unsweetened chocolate to give a gooey and dense texture that makes you go on and on.

2. Cakey brownies

These types of brownies are even more similar to chocolate cakes. In this case, cocoa powder is used instead of melted chocolate and a little leavening agent is added to the recipe. The result is an airy, light texture brownie that’s moist and fluffy inside.

3. Chewy brownies

This type of brownies is somewhat like the fudgy variant but the melted chocolate is replaced with cocoa powder and the butter with oil in the batter. Additionally, it uses less flour and there’s an addition of brown sugar to speed up the formation of gluten for a chewy result.

Other delicious flavors you can try out include:

  • Fudge walnut brownies
  • Blondies
  • Peanut butter brownies
  • Cream cheese brownies
  • Espresso brownies

SEE: How Long Can Dough Sit Out Before Going Bad

What is a Cake?

A cake is a baked confectionery made from a mixture of flour, fat, sugar, egg, and leavening agents like baking powder or soda. Cake can also be accompanied by nuts, cocoa, vanilla extracts, and fruits to give it a unique flavor. The exterior can be iced with whipped cream, buttercream, and the like or decorated with marzipan.

Cakes were designed as a modification for bread but it has grown to become a specialty food served in ceremonies and special events like weddings and birthdays. There are varieties of cakes today based on many recipes and mixing techniques.

SEE: How Long Does It Take to Bake a Cake From Scratch

Types of Cake

There are basically two types of cakes with an endless variety in each category which are:

1. Butter/Shortened Cake

Shortened cakes are those that include butter, oil, or shortening in their recipe. They include but are not limited to yellow butter cake, carrot cake, upside-down cake, and coffee cake, among others.

SEE: What Does Red Velvet Cake Taste Like

2. Foam cake

Foam cakes have little or no fat content in them. Instead, it includes whipped eggs (whites, yolks, or both), and as a result, is airier and lighter than butter cake. Examples of foam cake include sponge cake, angel food cake, etc.

SEE: How to Cool Angel Food Cake Without a Glass Bottle

Difference Between Brownies and Cake Ingredients

1. Basic ingredients of brownies vs cake

The basic ingredients for brownies are flour, eggs, cocoa powder or melted chocolate, sugar, and butter. While the basic ingredients used for cake include flour, eggs, butter, and leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder.

Brownies do not include a leavening agent as a result it doesn’t rise like cakes. Additionally, brownies always include melted chocolate or cocoa powder to give them that browny appearance and flavor whereas cakes can come in different flavors.

SEE: Can You Melt Frosting for Cake Pops Without Ruining It

2. Taste & texture of brownies vs cake

Cakes are light and fluffy and the taste is dependent on the flavor. The flavor ranges from vanilla to chocolate, carrot, and walnut – the list is endless. Additionally, cakes have smooth and creamy tops.

Conversely, brownies are dense, and chewy, with a cracked and crisp top. Brownies are basically chocolatey, except for the blondie variant that uses vanilla instead of chocolate.

3. Ingredients proportion in cake vs brownies

Most brownies have a larger proportion of eggs to flour than most cakes. Also, brownies contain a large amount of sugar compared to cakes.

SEE: Is Pancake Bread

4. Preparation of brownies vs cake

There are similarities in preparing both desserts, however, when preparing brownies, the batter is beaten hard after adding the flour mixed with the egg. For cakes, you don’t need to beat the batter once the flour has been added.

SEE: How Long Can Cake Sit Out Before It Goes Bad

5. Uses of brownies vs cake

Brownies serve as tea-time desserts, home treats, or finger foods for picnics or special occasions. However, they cannot serve as the focal point of special occasions.

Cakes on the other hand are served on special occasions as the choice confectionery and the center of the celebration. Since they can be decorated elegantly and in different shapes, they can be designed to suit the mood or theme of any event.

6. Presentation of brownie vs cake

Cakes can be baked in multiple shapes and sizes, whether square, round, or modern fondant designs. They can be multiple layers, decorated, and iced for celebrations. 

Brownies generally are not elaborately decorated. They are simply cut into squares after baking. At most, it can be topped with a little icing or marzipan but it’s difficult to do.

SEE: Bread vs Cake


Are brownies healthier than cake?

Yes, brownies are a little healthier than cakes because the chocolate present in them acts as antioxidants.

Can cake turn into a brownie?

No. If you follow the recipe and preparation method of cake keenly, there’s no way you can have a brownie. However, a little tweak in the process can give you something that resembles a brownie.

Is brownie a cake?

No. Brownie is closer to being a cookie than a cake. It is denser than a cake and softer than a cookie.


Cakes are a lot different from brownies, and this article has done justice to the differences that exist between them. If you followed keenly, you should be able to tell the difference even if they are put side by side on any occasion.

To reiterate, cakes are light and fluffy, and they can come in varying shapes, forms, sizes, and flavors. Alternatively, brownies are dense, chocolatey, and gooey. Brownies have little or no leavening agent and as such, they are flat and usually cut into squares.

What’s most important is to be moderate in your intake of both confectioneries as they both contain high calories. You should check the article on how you can freeze your cake batter to extend its shelf life.

I hope this article was helpful. Thanks for reading.