Why Are My Cookies Cakey?

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While cakey cookies don’t necessarily taste bad, if you wanted a thin cookie or a chewy cookie, a cakey cookie can be a disappointment!

Baking cookies that turn out cakey is a common mistake made in the kitchen, and while these are still edible, there are ways that you can prevent your cookies from turning out cakey in the future. 

Why are my cookies cakey? There are a few things that could cause cookies to turn out cakey. The most common reason is that the flour, fat, and sugar ratio is not right, but it could also be caused by overbeaten sugar and butter, or the inclusion of too much egg.

By understanding the different reasons why cookies turn out cakey, you could try to work out where you went wrong, and try to avoid doing the same thing next time!

To help you with all your cookie-baking needs, read on to find out the reasons why cookies turn cakey, and what you can do to fix it!

Reasons Why Cookies Are Cakey

There are some common reasons why cookies turn out cakey, and these can easily be fixed or avoided next time you bake a fresh batch.

If you are not sure what you did wrong, you could change a few of the below to see what works and to work out why they turned out the way they did!

Measurements Were Off

One of the main reasons why cookies turn out cakey is because the measurements were off.

You may have measured the volume of the ingredients correctly, but using cups or volume for measurements does mean that it will be slightly different from what the recipe calls for.

Flour is the main ingredient that is often measured incorrectly when using volume.

Flour is light and can be compacted easily, so this does allow for a variation between cups of flour. It is always best to measure flour by weight, as this is the most accurate way to get the correct measurement.

Even though it seems like a small measuring difference, it can cause the cookies to become cakey as they bake, or it could cause them to spread out too much.

Baking cookies is a science, and getting the measurements correct is essential for the cookies to turn out the way you intend.

Overbeaten Sugar And Butter

If the recipe calls for butter and sugar to be incorporated, you may have overbeaten them.

Overbeating the butter and sugar means that more air is incorporated into the mixture, which is what gives the cookies a cakey texture.

When baking a cake, you need to beat the sugar and butter together well to get a light and fluffy texture, so it makes sense that the same thing would happen if you beat the sugar and butter in a cookie mixture too.

Make sure to beat the sugar and butter less than you would with a cake, to ensure the cookies do not have too light a texture and are not cake-like.

Used Baking Powder And Not Baking Soda

It is really easy to mistake baking powder and baking soda, which means it is a common mistake made when baking cookies!

Both are leavening agents, but both react in different ways and give different results. Most cookies use baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda, which makes the cookies spread out as they bake. 

Baking powder, on the other hand, causes the cookies to rise instead of spreading out, which makes them cakier once they are baked fully.

To avoid cakey cookies, use baking soda if the recipe calls for it!

Too Much Egg Used

Adding eggs to a recipe is never going to be exact, as eggs come in different sizes, and one large egg in a recipe might be different from the large egg you have in your fridge.

Eggs work as a leavening agent in some recipes, so by adding too much egg, your cookies could rise too much, and therefore become cakey, instead of spreading out and becoming thin and chewy.

The egg could work more as a rising agent if it is beaten, as that allows more air to be incorporated into the mix, and therefore causes the cookie to rise even more.

What To Do To Avoid Cakey Cookies

So not that you know the reasons why a cookie might turn out cakey, you could try and do the below to avoid making cakey cookies!

Use Weight And Not Volume

To ensure that your measurements are as accurate as possible, you should use weight instead of volume, especially when measuring out the flour.

This will give you the closest measurements possible so that your mix closely resembles what the recipe calls for.

By using weight and sticking as close to the recipe as you can, the cookies will be consistent batch after batch, and you will know what results to expect.

You are able to measure by volume when adding ingredients such as salt, baking soda, or vanilla extract, as the difference here would be small.

But the larger the quantity, the bigger the difference in measuring might be, so it is best to stick to weight.

Mix Butter And Sugar By Hand

It can be easy to overbeat the butter and sugar if you use an electric mixer. Electric mixers are much easier to use, but it is easy to overbeat sugar and butter very quickly.

To avoid this, you should rather beat the sugar and butter by hand. Manually whisking these two ingredients might take some time and effort, but it is worth it to avoid cakey cookies.

You will not be able to incorporate as much air into the batter, which means less rising.

You could always beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer just until they are incorporated (which is the hard part) and then mix them together by hand until combined properly. Just be sure not to mix them for too long!

Melt The Butter

Instead of beating the butter, you can melt it instead. Not all cookie recipes call for butter to be beaten, and for these, you can melt the butter and then add it to the other ingredients instead.

It is also quicker to work with melted butter, as it mixes in much easier with the other ingredients.

Just make sure that the butter has cooled down before you add in other ingredients, especially the egg, as you don’t want the eggs to cook partially from the heat (then you’d have scrambled egg cookie dough)!

Adding melted butter to the ingredients instead of beating solid butter in means that you don’t run the risk of overbeating the butter and sugar together.

Use The Correct Leavening Ingredient

Make sure to check that you are not mixing up baking soda and baking powder, as this is a sure way to lead to a cakey cookie.

Check that you are using baking soda if that is what the recipe calls for, or vice versa

Check the recipe and then check that you have the correct leavening agent in the pantry, and if not, then make a trip out to the store to purchase the right one!

Drop The Baking Pan On The Counter A Few Times

This is a simple trick you should use for each batch of cookies!

After your cookies are finished baking, grab them from the oven wearing your favorite oven mitts and head over to your counter.

Once at the counter, drop the pan down 2-3 times. This knocks the air out of the cookies and makes them more compact, which means they are chewier and denser, and not so puffy and cakey.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how to make sure your cookies don’t turn out cakey, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

How can you make cakey cookies taste better?

There is nothing wrong with cakey cookies, they might just not be to your preference. However, instead of throwing them out, you can ice them a little thicker than normal, and enjoy them like it.

They will most likely taste more like cupcakes than cookies, but there is nothing wrong with that!

Why is my cookie dough cracking when I roll it?

If your cookie dough is sticky, you might add more flour to make it easier to work with.

The problem is that if you add in too much flour, the cookie dough could become too dry, and then it might start to crack as you roll it.

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