Should I use only the bottom element for heating when baking cakes and brownies??

  • 1
    As a note, if you're using American recipes, most American ovens don't allow for both the upper and lower elements to run simultaneously... you chose either "bake" (lower elements) or "broil" (grill in the UK, upper elements).
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 16:20
  • My oven has a "Roast" setting which turns on both top and bottom. "Bake" is only the bottom.
    – talon8
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 17:37
  • I tried it again with only the bottom element. Wonderful chewy perfect brownies. Thank You.
    – Kanika
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 5:12
  • @Catija Strange, I always put all of my cakes on top and bottom at the same time. If I forget it and turn on only one, the cake fails. And I have been baking many American recipes in recent years.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 9:59
  • @rumtscho Is it possible that the strength of your upper element is different/more variable? Upper elements here tend to be pretty direct heat. It's also possible the OP was doing something else like using the upper rack?
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 15:07

2 Answers 2


Yes, I would suggest you only use the bottom element when baking the actual cake. Using both elements is generally used for pre-heating the oven, or to brown the top of a dish. Maybe use the top element to bring the oven up to temperature, then turn it off when you put the cake/brownies in the oven.


It depends on your oven and how bad the result is.

I suggest making different tries:

  1. use only the bottom element
  2. use both element and cover your cake with foil when you have the desired color on top to prevent over-cooking
  3. use a pizza stone to keep an even temperature in your oven

I had the same problem and tried all those solutions. They all have pros and cons and depends on the result you want to achieve.

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