How Thick Should Cake Batter Be? (Avoid Common Mistakes)

Getting the right cake batter consistency can be challenging. While many home-chefs struggle to avoid common baking mistakes, there’s a few tricks you can use to bake perfect cakes.

But first things first – how thick should the cake better be?

The right consistency of cake batter for a particular cake depends on the technique and ingredients used to make it and the results you want to get. For example, chocolate and cheesecake batters are some of the thinnest, while angel food cake have a fluffy yet thick batter.

Ideally, cake batter should have a ‘dropping’ consistency. This means that the batter is fluffy and will rise evenly when baked. Secondly, it shouldn’t be too thick or too runny.

Thin Vs. Thick Vs. Airy Cake Batter – Does Cake Batter Consistency Affect Outcomes?

Thin Cake Batter

If your cake batter is turning out thin and runny, please don’t fret. Most people think that a thin cake batter makes a dense and unrisen cake. But that’s only true if you add no leavening agent to your batter. Also, recipes that rely on chemical leaving agents always give you a high-rising cake, so it doesn’t actually matter if your cake batter is runny.

Note:  If your batter relies on eggs as the key leavening agent, deflated egg whites will give a runny batter, and the result will be a chewy, dense cake.

Here are some cakes that don’t require a thick batter:

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake is easy to make and has a thin batter. Even when you’re working with runny batter, you can get a perfectly dense, crumbly, and soft chocolate cake.  

Chocolate cakes use oil in place of butter to balance out dry ingredients like cocoa powder. Oil-based cake batter reliably makes the result moist because oil doesn’t solidify or become lumpy as butter does. But because of not using butter, you will end up with a runny and thin batter. Some people also use warm water or coffee in most chocolate cake recipes to dissolve the cocoa powder.

In the case of chocolate cakes, a runny batter is perfect because the leavening of your cake relies on chemical leavening agents such as vinegar or baking soda. It is the same for chocolate cupcakes. 

 Here’s our favorite recipe for chocolate cakes.

2. Cheesecake

Thin batter works like magic for cheesecakes! If you’ve made a cheesecake before, you’ll have an idea of just how little flour is required. Some cheesecakes don’t call for flour at all. A cheesecake is mostly made of cream cheese and eggs. Sometimes, plain yogurt is added as well. Beating these ingredients together will make your batter quite runny.

The ideal cheesecake batter consistency is silky smooth and runs off your spoon easily when you take it out of the bowl. So if you think that your cheesecake batter is thin, know that it’s normal.

To make sure you’ve got the batter consistency right, check out this YouTube video.

Thick Cake Batter

In general, most people think that thick batter results in a stiff and dense cake that will dry out easily. While this is true for some cakes, some batter is naturally thicker, and the optimal thickness of the batter will give you a light and fluffy cake with tight crumbs.

Here are some cakes that use thicker batter.

Butter / Pound Cake

Whenever butter is in the recipe, you know you’re getting a thicker cake batter. This is because the right temperature of butter used in cake making is between 67°-70°F, at which state the butter would be at a melted-soft consistency.

When mixed with sugar and eggs, the batter because aerated, thick, and creamy.

The traditional recipe for pound cake calls for equal parts butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Dry and wet ingredients are equal in ratio to create a thicker, well-balanced cake batter.

Butter cake is also like a pound cake in terms of ingredient selection, except it uses more butter than eggs, making the batter even thicker.

The ideal consistency of pound cake batter is thick and a little clumpy. You might notice granules of butter, but they will melt when you bake pound cake. 

 Note: Over-mixing butter and pound cake batter can result in a dry, bready cake.  

Victoria Sponge

Victoria’s Sponge cake is different compared to foamy sponge cakes. The clearest difference is that it does not only rely on eggs for leavening.

Victoria’s sponge is a soft, moist, and buttery yellow cake. The batter is mixed gently until it’s just blended together. It’s loosened slightly with a very small amount of water which results in a thick and stiff batter.

Madeira Cake

Madeira cake is a classic butter-based cake. It has high flour content, but its texture resembles Victoria’s sponge cake. Softened butter is blended together with sugar, and egg whites are added to the mixture before the dry ingredients go in.

With the Madeira cake, you want to mix as little as possible after your flour is added in. This is because you don’t want gluten to form. As long as you see no clumps of flour, Madeira cake is ready to be baked.

Your cake batter should look smooth, fluffy, and pale in color. It is thick but a bit on the fluffier side of the spectrum, kind of like whipped cream.

Carrot Cake

The carrot cake batter is thick and thin. Moisture is key for carrot cakes, so most carrot cake recipes are oil-based.

As we discussed earlier, oil-based cake batter is thin in consistency. But for carrot cake, a large amount of carrot, nuts, and other ingredients add texture and thicken the batter.

Some recipes tell you to alternate between the dry ingredients and carrots, so you don’t risk an overly thick batter.  

Carrot cake batter is thick, clumpy, and brown. But the result is a moist and super flavorful cake.

Red Velvet

On top of their bright red color, red velvet cakes are popular for their velvety fine crumbs.

To achieve its distinct soft texture, there is a high proportion of butter in the batter. The butter is blended with the sugar using the creaming method.

The red velvet cake also uses vinegar or buttermilk as its leavening agent. The reaction can make the batter appear bubbly and fully aerated on top of being thick and red.

Here’s a recipe on red velvet that you might like:

Airy Batter

The airy or foam-style batter makes a very airy and fluffy cake that is so tender you barely have to move your jaw muscles!

Eggs are usually blended with sugar at high speed until they reach stiff peaks. Adding little flour, make sure the batter is light enough to be held up without any extra leavening agents.

Sponge Cake

Sponge cakes spring back up like a sponge when pressed. Eggs are beaten at a very high speed for a minimum of five minutes or until the batter drips off of the whisk, making defined drawings on the surface of your cake batter.

At this stage, the dry ingredients are gently folded in along with the wet ingredients. It’s important when making cakes with an airy batter that you don’t deflate egg whites, or you will end up with a flat cake.

Angel Food Cake

Angel food cakes don’t contain chemical leavening agents, only egg whites and acidic tartar cream to create a light and airy batter.

Ideally, you want all dry ingredients to be extra fine, and your egg whites should be beaten until they have reached stiff peaks. After folding in dry ingredients, your batter should look a bit like marshmallow fluff.

Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cake is light and has a texture similar to angel food cake, except it contains egg yolks.

To make chiffon, beat your egg whites until the batter has a glossy, fine texture. Fold in the egg yolks and other ingredients gently to avoid deflating the mixture. Your final batter should be fluffy, glossy, and pale in color.

Japanese Cheesecake

Cheesecake batter is generally thin, but there’s always an exception.

Like a soufflé, Japanese cheesecake features a melt-in-your-mouth texture. It is very moist as it’s steam baked and isn’t dense like the traditional American cheesecake.

The fluffiness of the Japanese cheesecake comes from the beaten egg whites. The ideal Japanese cheesecake batter is airy and shiny. It should be smooth with no clumps of flour or cream cheese.

3 Common Cake Batter Consistency Problems

The batter that is too runny.

The ideal consistency for many cake batters is on the thin side. However, sometimes your batter may come out too runny. When you have overly runny cake batter, the cake will be undercooked. In this case, all you need to do is to add some flour to the batter. But remember to start slow, as you can quickly make the batter too thick. Add and mix spoon after spoon until you reach your desired batter consistency.

The batter that is too thick.

 If your batter has turned out thicker than expected, don’t risk it and bake it, as your cake may come out dense and dry. Instead, add any of the liquid ingredients, like eggs and melted butter. You can also add water to thin out the batter. 

Read more on how you can prevent and fix thick batter here.

Curdled cake batter.

Curdled or lumpy cake batter is another problem you may face when making a cake. In many cases, the cause of a lumpy batter is mixing cold eggs into the ingredients. You can try fixing lumpy batter by mixing flour into it tablespoon by tablespoon. The flour will help fix the consistency of the batter by binding the liquid and fat ingredients.

Read more on how long can cake batter sit out before changing consistency.

Related Questions – Cake Batter Consistency

What’s the right consistency for funnel cake batter?

The consistency you want is thinner than a pancake batter. It should flow easily, but not as easily as thick cream. You might need to experiment with the water content and brand of flour you use. For example, wetter flour needs less water to get the same results. Once you get the consistency that you prefer for your cakes, note what the batter is like and aim for that viscosity every time.

What’s the right consistency for bundt cake batter?

Bundt cake has a thick and dense batter consistency, but not as thick as pound cake. A perfect bundt cake has a golden brown color and is soft and sturdy and

What’s the right consistency for a coffee cake batter?

The coffee cake batter is dense and thicker than the homemade cake batter. The dense batter gives the coffee cake its signature rich, soft, and moist texture.

What’s the right consistency for cake donut batter?

Donuts are made from dough leavened with yeast. Their batter is tacky and soft.

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