Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Cake and Brownie

Cakes and brownies are both confectionery treats.  They have similar ingredients, but  are not exactly the same.  Although they both appear to be cakes, the brownie is actually more of a cookie than a cake.  Cakes are soft and fluffy, while brownies are more crunchy and have a dense texture.  The difference in the texture is due to the raising agent.  Brownies use little or no raising agent depending on the recipe you are following.  The brownie is generally cut into squares while the cake can be served round or square.  Cakes can be baked in all sorts of different sizes and shapes.  Cakes can be cut out to be shaped like numbers and letters.  Children’s birthday cakes fill a whole new genre of baking with molded figures and favorite characters cut out of cake.  Cakes have a smooth top and can be iced or dusted with sugar.  Brownies have a rough, cracked top and do not lend themselves to fancy iced decorations.  Cakes are served on special occasions as the center piece of the celebration.  Brownies may be part of the celebration treats, but not the focal point.  There are many types of cake, different flavors, shapes and sizes and all these cakes lend themselves to decorations of some sort.  Brownies are generally chocolate with the exception of a brownie called a blondi, a white, vanilla version of the brownie.  The brownie keeps a square or rectangle shape.  A variation of the brownie can be achieved with adding choc chips or nuts to the basic mixture.  The brownie and the piece of cake can both be served as a desert  The cake is more frequently the choice of confectionery, at special occasions. 


What is a Cake?

Cake is a light fluffy sponge confectionery.  It is made of flour, sugar butter or oil, eggs and a raising agent.  The flavor or substance of the cake can be changed by the addition of fruit, chocolate or cocoa, orange or lemon essence, choc chips and many other variations of flavors.  Cake is a modification of bread and was handed down in history, as it changed into the traditional desert or confectionery.  Cake became popular to be used at celebrations and is easily decorated and iced or filled with delicious fillings.  Before the French Revolution Queen Marie Antoinette was reported to say that the peasants should eat cake.  Apparently this is not altogether true, but cake and bread were similar foods at the time.  Cake has elevated itself to a higher position as a specialty food and served at weddings, birthday celebrations and anniversaries too.       

What are the confectionery values of Cake?

  • Cake is soft and light and easily sliced ready to eat.
  • Cake has simple basic ingredients of flour, sugar, butter and eggs.  They are mixed with a raising agent to produce the light fluffy texture that is cake.
  • Cake can be decorated in many different ways and takes well to icing and sugar decorations.  At each variety of event cake can be decorated to suit the mood or theme.  Cake can be baked in moulds to turn out as figures or well known characters and symbols to commemorate different occasions.  
  • There are a number of traditional cakes that have become associated with different events like Christmas.  Then there are different flavor cakes like vanilla cake, butter cake, chocolate cake and coffee cake to name a few.
  • Cakes are easily transportable to an event and sliced to serve the guests.


What are Brownies?

Brownies are also a form of confectionery, but made with cocoa and have little or no raising agent.  Brownies have a more dense texture and are set in a pan, baked and cut into squares, after they have been baked.  Brownies are a delicious teatime treat or a tempting desert.  The texture of their crusty top does not make them easy to decorate.  The basic brownie can be varied with the addition of choc chips or nuts and the top drizzled with a choc topping or dusted with icing sugar.  The brownie is closer to a cookie in nature because it is cut into squares and eaten as finger food.  Brownies are made with flour, eggs, butter and cocoa they do not rise to be fluffy like cakes.

What are the confectionery values of Brownies?

  • They are a delicious sweet treat very similar to cakes, but with a more dense cookie texture.
  • Brownies do not replace cakes, but are made with similar ingredients and are treated as a sweet or desert confectionery.  The emphasis of the brownie is on the chocolate flavor attributed to the cocoa added to the brownie mixture.
  • Brownies make a great teatime treat because they are a finger food.
  • Brownies have an opposite version of the original brownie called a blondi.  It is white or vanilla in appearance, but has the same texture as a brownie.
  • Brownies suit any occasion and are easily packed and transported.  They store well and are useful for teatime, picnic time and for special occasions.


Differences between Cake Vs.  Brownie

  1. Ingredients in Cake Vs. Brownie: 

Cakes and brownies share the same ingredients of flour, sugar, butter and eggs but brownies are made to have a denser texture by not including a raising agent or having very little baking powder or baking soda.  Brownies will always have cocoa to flavor the brownie  while cakes can have many different flavorings.

  1. Preparation of Cake Vs. Brownie:

Cakes and brownies are prepared in a similar fashion by mixing the core ingredients and the flour, sugar and eggs.  Cakes can be baked as round or square versions of themselves.  Cakes can be multiple layers, decorated and iced for celebrations.  Brownies generally are not elaborately decorated.  They are simply just brownies with their chocolate flavor or their blondi version with vanilla.

  1. Decoration and serving of Cake Vs. Brownie:

Cakes are far more elaborate if required or perhaps just remain a simple sponge, but cakes can be iced and decorated.  Brownies are not usually decorated.  Their crackled crusty top is what they are known for.  Cakes are usually served on a plate after being sliced.  They are eaten with a fork in most circles.  A brownie however, is eaten like a cookie with fingers.  It is crumbly and moist and enjoyed just as it is.  Cakes can come in all shapes and sizes.  Little squares called petit fours or enormous multiple tiered wedding and celebration cakes.  The brownie is best sliced into squares after being baked in a tin in the oven.

Cake versus Brownies: Comparison Chart


Summary of Cake Vs. Brownie: 

  • At first a cake and a brownie may look as if they come from the same genre of baking.  On further investigation it is apparent that a cake is more refined and lighter in texture while a brownie is closer to a cookie and is not as light as the cake after baking.  The reason for this is the difference in raising agent.  Cakes are designed to rise and be light.  Brownies are more dense when baked and resemble a cookie bar more than a cake. 
  • Cakes grace many occasions with a large variety of flavors and decorations.  The decorations are added after the icing process and this turns a simple cake into a complex and beautiful center piece, often the star of the show.  The brownie, while tasting delicious and making a beautiful desert or treat, is not overly decorated. 
  • The brownie, with its crusty top and square size when baked, is not suited to fancy decorations. The cake can be layered and tiered to create a large and glamorous center piece for any occasion.
  • Brownies are more transportable and easier to pack up for a picnic or for traveling.  Since they are classified as finger food, they are easier to eat at an informal occasion.  Cakes, due to their size as one whole cake that is cut into portions, are more difficult to transport and eat at an informal occasion.
  • However, a brownie is a popular, tasty treat on every occasion, while a cake may be more effort to prepare, ice and decorate to be just right for a special occasion.  It can certainly be said both the cake and the brownie taste good and could sit deliciously side by side on any occasion.


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1 Comment

  1. Nicely explained

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References :

[0] Sanchez Bradley. Brownies are they cookies or cake? Aug 6th 3013. www.wowcookies.com/brownies are they-cookies-or-cake. Pub Mightylittlewebsite.com reviewed 21/11/2018

[1]Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/chocolate-cake-with-white-icing-and-strawberry-on-top-with-chocolate-69817/

[2]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/ice-cream-dessert-brownie-ice-1613798/

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