Why Are My Cookies Cakey and How to Fix It

You love cake, and you love cookies, but cakey cookies? That’s not so enjoyable. If you’ve made a fresh batch of cookies and they turned out with a cake-like texture, it’s essential to know what went wrong and how to fix it for next time.

Hello, all! I’m Michelle, and I’ve enjoyed baking cookies for over ten years. It started with baking chocolate chip and walnut cookies with my mother, and now it’s advanced to some of the most delicious and unique cookie concoctions I could ever dream of.

Although I have many years of experience, it doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes along the way. One thing that happens to me – and many other bakers, new and professional – is cakey cookies. 

Today, we’re learning why cookies turn out cakey – and, more importantly, how to make them less cakey in the future.

Why Cookies Come Out Cakey (5 Reasons)

If you’re caught smack dab in the middle of a cakey cookie fiasco, you’re likely wondering what went wrong. Well, there are a few different reasons why your cookies didn’t come out with the texture you were hoping for. Here are the top five mishaps.

1. Used a different type of flour

There are many excellent flour options when baking cookies, but all-purpose flour tends to be the recommended go-to. If you’re experimenting with other types of flour, good for you – but you need to be aware that different types of flour can alter the texture of your cookie.

For example, let’s talk about cake flour. I’m a big advocate for using cake flour for specific cookie recipes. The results are perfectly flaky and delicious – but yes, they’re a bit on the “cakey side.” After all, the flour is named for its purpose – to bake cakes.

If you use cake flour, you should expect that your cookies will come out more cakey. If you want to use cake flour but are nervous about an overabundance of cakiness, consider using ½ cake flour and ½ all-purpose flour.

However, at the end of the day, if you step outside of your comfort zone and opt for flour other than all-purpose flour, you may be setting yourself up for a cakey disaster.

2. Used too much flour

Regardless of what type of flour you used, one thing remains true – if you use too much flour in your cookie dough, you will end up with cakey cookies. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. The flour is dry. If there’s too much flour and not enough liquid, the dryness will take over.

3. Added too many/too big eggs

Did you know that eggs are a liquid ingredient in baking, and one of their purposes is to leaven? Needless to say, if you add too many eggs or too big of eggs, you will be adding too much leavening to your cookies – leaving you with treats that rise rather than spread.

Tip: There’s a reason why recipes ask for a particular size of an egg(s), for instance, one large egg or three small eggs. They’re not just trying to be picky and annoy you with their precision – they’re trying to avoid cakey cookie nightmares!

4. Overbeaten sugar and butter

Yes, you need to beat sugar and butter together either by hand, with a stand mixer, or a hand mixer. But too much beating will cause cakey cookies as the excessive beating results in too much air in the cookie dough. 

5. Used baking powder – NOT baking soda

Baking soda is one of my best friends in the kitchen, and it’s a common ingredient for cookie recipes. However, some people don’t know the difference between baking soda and baking powder, so they end up using them interchangeably.

Baking soda and baking powder are quite different, though. Baking powder contains an acid, while baking soda requires an acid to activate.

Obviously, baking soda and baking powder will react differently in your cookie recipe. So, if you swap baking powder for baking soda, you’ll likely end up with cookies that rise high rather than spreading as they’re supposed to.

How to Fix Cakey Cookies (5 Tips for Success)

Okay, now we know what went wrong. But that doesn’t do anything unless we know how to fix it for next time. Well, I’ve added these five essential tips for cookie-baking success. Say goodbye to cakey cookies for good!

1. Use all-purpose flour

While there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with other types of flour if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing (yet!)It’s best to stick with all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour is typically the recommended flour in most cookie recipes. Follow along with the recipe, and you’ll be fine.

2. Weigh your flour/use less flour

So you’re sifting your flourgreat! That’s only half the battle, though. Although sifting will ensure more precise results, you won’t achieve superior accuracy without weighing your flour (and other ingredients, too).

If you sift and weigh your flour and find you’re still having trouble with cakiness, it may be a flaw with the recipe you’re using. Try holding back about ¼ cup of flour from the recipe. This way, you can add, if necessary, without using too much from the get-go.

3. Use the right size eggs

I know it can be annoying to have to go out and purchase “small” or “large” eggs for your cookies, but it will make a world of difference – and you can’t put your cakey nightmares to rest. Always make sure you’re using the right-sized eggs!

Tip: If you’re still struggling with your recipe, consider cutting down on the number of eggs. For example, if the recipe calls for two small eggs, use one instead.

4. Don’t overbeat the sugar and butter

I said it once, and I will say it again – you need to beat your sugar and butter. However, overbeating can cause cakiness. You never want to go beyond three minutes of beating if you’re using a mixer or five minutes if you’re beating by hand.

Tip: Consider using melted butter rather than room temperature butter. This will get rid of some of the sturdiness that can come from the room temp or cold sticks of butter.

5. Make sure you use baking soda

A lot of cookie recipes will call for baking soda, not baking powder. It’s critical to use what the recipe calls for. Otherwise, your cookies might turn out to be a cakey mess.

Now, that’s not to say that all cookie recipes are created equally. For example, these yummy cookies utilize baking soda and baking powder.

Does that mean you should nix the baking powder in fear of ending up with cakiness? No way! The right thing to do is always to follow the recipe you’re using precisely to get the best results. 

FAQs

Many problems can cause your cookies to turn out cakey, but now you know how to fend off cakiness for good. Still curious about this topic? Here are some interesting, frequently asked questions that people (like you) have asked.

How do you make cookies flatter?

Do you love flat and crunchy cookies as much as I do? There are a few ways to achieve maximum crunch! 

For one, reduce the amount of flour and cut out an egg (or simply use the egg white, no yolk). Reduce the oven temp by 25F and ditch the baking soda. Use more white sugar than brown sugar, and opt for light over dark when using brown sugar.

How do you make cookies dense and chewy?

Do you prefer a denser and chewier cookie? Then try swapping dark brown sugar for 75% of white sugar in your recipe. Use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Double your yolks and try using baking powder rather than baking soda. Always chill the dough and cut down on baking time ever so slightly.

Cakey Cookies: Common Problem with Easy Solutions

While cakey cookies are a relatively common problem, the good news is that there are many simple solutions. It really comes down to ensuring you’re not overdoing it with the flour and opting for all-purpose flour. 

Always ensure you use the correct egg size, avoid overbeating the sugar and butter, and don’t mix up baking soda for baking powder.

Have you ever struggled with cakey cookies? What did you do to solve the issue? Share some tips and tricks with us in the comment section!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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