The great brownie debate: cakey or fudgy

There is an ongoing and heated debate that divides people into two camps. No, I’m not talking about politics; this debate is between those who prefer their brownies to be cake-like and those who feel that fudgy brownies are the best. Have you ever wondered just what makes a particular brownie come out either cakey or fudgy? Fine Cooking has the answers, and shows us how to tweak recipes to come out on whichever side of the line we prefer. 

caramel pecan brownies

It turns out that there is a third alternative that differs from both of the above-named varieties, one that the author calls “chewy” brownies. To achieve different textures, a number of different tweaks come into play. First, using melted butter versus creaming the butter and sugar together will result in a fudgier brownie. Also, adding a bit more flour and some leavening will land you squarely into cakey-brownie land. 

The choice of chocolate isn’t as a big of a factor as you might think, and the article’s author says that great results can be obtained with grocery store brands. There’s no need to special order any fancy chocolate or cocoa powder, but where’s the fun in that? I’ll still get my cocoa powder from online sources, because what could be more fun than getting a box of chocolate goodness in the mail? Okay, I’ll admit that getting a cookbook may be more exciting. But why not both? 

The article includes links to recipes for achieving whatever texture you prefer, and even has a “make your own” brownie recipe creator that allows you to custom-tune your brownie. Which camp do you fall in – cakey or fudgy? Or do you split the different with the “chewy” alternative? 

Photo of Caramel-pecan brownies from Fine Cooking Magazine by Tish Boyle

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  • graciekitty2004  on  October 8, 2018

    Fudgy. There's no argument to be had.

  • Jane  on  October 8, 2018

    Fudgy all the way. I still have not found a brownie recipe to surpass Nick Malgieri's Supernatural brownies, which I streak with salted caramel. Though the photo with this post makes me think this is another recipe I should try out.

  • veronicafrance  on  October 9, 2018

    If it's not fudgy, it's not a brownie. It's just a square of chocolate cake, and where's the fun in that? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • BethNH  on  October 9, 2018

    The author lost credibility with me when she announced that she prefers cakey brownie. Fudgy brownies are the best. King Arthur Flour has recipes for cakey, fudgy, and chewy brownies in their cookbook. I've tried most and still have not found a recipe I'd consider 5 stars. I know what I want but I just can't find it.

  • annmartina  on  October 9, 2018

    slightly underdone and fudgy.

  • darcie_b  on  October 9, 2018

    I agree with veronicafrance – if it isn't fudgy, it's just chocolate cake.

  • Frogcake  on  October 9, 2018

    The Frogcake family adores when I undercook my brownies. Therefore, hands down we prefer fudgy brownies.

  • KarinaFrancis  on  October 9, 2018

    Add my vote to team fudgy (or gooey as its called in my household). BethNH, I've been making the Australian Women's Weekly brownie, from the Cakes and Slices book, for over 20 years and its never let me down. We even tried a "brownie off" against 2 other self proclaimed worlds best brownies and the AWW still won out. Maybe its the brownie you seek?

  • bittrette  on  October 24, 2018

    veronicafrance, annmartina, you have together expressed my preference to a T! A cakey brownie isn't a brownie; you might as well call it what it is: chocolate cake.

    Preferably without nuts, so I can enjoy all the brownie's fudgy smoothness. As for which chocolate to use, I haven't done any experiments, but I've had excellent results with Baker's, and if I want anything more extravagant, Ghirardelli is available in supermarkets.

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