Cakey Brownies

Cakey Brownies

If you’re looking for a delicate crumb, bold cocoa flavor, and lofty height, our Cakey Brownies are the answer. Cocoa powder, not melted chocolate, gives these brownies their chocolate flavor, meaning they’re less dense and less fudgy, with a matte, slightly crunchy top. We added milk to help tenderize the batter without weighing down the crumb. While still warm, this brownie will have a closer crumb texture, but as it cools, the crumb becomes more cake-like, soft and spongy. Think of this as a brownie version of devil’s food cake—satiny and cocoa-rich but light as air. Don’t miss the Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chunk Cakey Brownies version as well!

4.7 from 3 reviews
Cakey Brownies
Makes about 9 brownies
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (165 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¼ cups (156 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (85 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon (1.5 grams) instant espresso powder
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars and melted butter until smooth and well combined.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder.
  4. Slowly add eggs to sugar mixture, whisking until combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stirring just until combined after each addition. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
PRO TIP- This recipe was made in an 8-inch square baking pan, but if you’re baking for a bigger crowd—or appetite— these recipes can easily be doubled to bake in a 13×9-inch baking pan. Simply double the recipe ingredients and, as a rule, increase your bake time by 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t be nervous about the bake time wiggle room. Just be sure to use our visual test for doneness: a wooden pick inserted in center should come out with a few moist crumbs.


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  1. Two questions – what kind of cocoa powder (natural or Dutch) and what kind of butter do you use (European style or regular)? Thanks so much for the 9×13 instructions…I think this is exactly what I’ve been looking for!!

    • Hi Marcy,

      Thank you so much for your questions! For the cocoa powder we used natural, and for the butter we used European style.

      We hope this helps, and happy baking!

  2. This is a bit of an odd review but I was desperate to make cakey brownies the night before Valentine’s and found myself stuck with only a tiny amount of cocoa (thought I had a bunch more)! Then I had a crazy thought, what if I divide the recipe to only make ONE brownie in a ramekin?! As fate would have it, I had exactly enough cocoa to reduce the recipe by 1/8! Then, thanks to your wonderful grams measurements of everything, it was a cinch to divide everything else and I ended up with the most beautiful brownie for one. A special surprise in my daughter’s lunchbox. Thanks for your impeccable measurements!!

  3. These are really good. But I would cut back on the salt if I made them again. I used unsalted butter, and kosher salt per the recipe. But I felt the brownies had a bit more saltiness than I care for.

    • Hi Mandira,

      Thank you for your question!

      You can absolutely add walnuts to this recipe! I’d recommend adding your chopped walnuts into your dry ingredients in step 3 of the recipe, potentially reserving a couple to sprinkle on top of the brownies before baking as well. For this recipe, I’d say you could safely add up to 1 cup of chopped walnuts without it affecting the rest of the recipe.

      Hope this helps, and happy baking!


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