As if bananas could get any better, this gluten free banana cake proves that yes, they can! It’s an easy to mix, rich, glorious sheet cake that gets a kick from a heavenly cream cheese frosting.
And this recipe is so top notch - it gets rave reviews from even my pickiest eaters. No one can tell it's gluten free, that's how delicious it is. And the fact that it's dairy free (frosting and all) is just icing on the cake 🙂
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This has got to be the moistest cake ever. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of cakes - spice cakes, strawberry cakes, even flourless vanilla cakes (and we can't forget cupcakes too!), but this banana cake has the most tender crumb and gooey frosting that just takes it over the top. And it’s easy too – it’s as guest-worthy as it is a quick weeknight treat. And since the recipe uses 3 plump bananas, it’s a great way to use up those ripe bananas by making a treat everyone will love.
And actually, this cake didn’t start out with a cream cheese frosting. That tasty addition was decided on the spur of the moment. And to be quite honest, the cake really doesn’t need it. You could easily serve it as-is and everyone would love it and enjoy it.
But if you want something to give it a nudge. Maybe call it a little boost. Then definitely add the frosting.
Why this recipe is the best!
Besides being buttery and super easy to mix together, this cake is also:
- Dairy free - instead of dairy cream cheese, the dairy free cream cheese is equally as delicious. OR omit the frosting all together and just use a dusting of powdered sugar on top. The same with the butter - dairy free butter preforms exactly the same - Earth Balance butter is amazing!
- Single layer - no stacking or positioning layers
- Versatile - make cupcakes with the batter!
- Easy to make ahead and store
Ingredients and brands used:
- Dairy free butter - I use the Earth Balance brand of buttery sticks.
- Imperial brand sugar - for a sweet and perfectly textured cake, Imperial works beautifully, every time.
- Organic eggs - the brown eggs I use are called Cage Free eggs
- Bananas - I used 3, but it's enough to fill a 1 ½ cup measuring cup
- McCormick vanilla extract - look for pure vanilla extract - skip the imitation!
- Nuts brand flours and starches - I've used this brand for quite awhile and their flours and starches always produce perfectly textured baked goods.
- Bob's Red Mill xanthan gum - Xanthan gum isn't cheap but fortunately you only need a tiny bit. (Most recipes only call for 1 - 1 ½ tsp.)
- Cream cheese - for a dairy free cream cheese, Kite Hill works beautifully and tastes the closest to actual cream cheese.
Tips for Making Gluten Free Banana Cake
The Ingredients list
As with nearly every other gluten free recipe, from this white bread to this cornbread, room temperature ingredients are essential. From the eggs to the butter, warmer ingredients blend better which leads to lighter batter and a better textured cake.
Pro Baking Tip: Eggs can be quickly brought to room temperature by floating them in a cup of warm water for 5 – 10 minutes.
While waiting for the eggs to warm and butter to soften, measure out the flours and starches with a kitchen scale. Wondering why weigh rather than measure in cups? The short answer is weight is more accurate than cups. Flours, even different brands of the same flour, can measure significantly more or less in cups, but weight is exact.
Mixing the batter
After creaming the butter, oil and sugars (image 1), add the bananas, eggs and vanilla (image 2). Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. The mixture should look creamy and blended. The next step is to add the dry ingredients and mix the batter until it’s nice and smooth (image 3). The batter will look thick and well blended.
Set the batter aside to rest for 30 minutes, meanwhile move on to preparing the pan...
Preparing the pan
I’ve found the best way to prepare the pan for this cake is to with some old fashioned buttering. Take a small section of butter and run it all over the pan, covering every nook and cranny (image 4 above).
After the 30 minute rest time, spread the batter in the pan (images 5 and 6 above) and bake the cake for about 30 minutes. Test it with a toothpick after 30 minutes - the toothpick should come out clean, with no batter sticking to it.
Cream cheese frosting
This cream cheese frosting is a superb combination of tang and sweet all wrapped up in one amazing, creamy frosting. It’s an easy recipe to whip up and goes on super smooth. I’ve found the best temperature to frost this cake is slightly warm to room temperature. You don’t want melted frosting, but there’s no need to wait until it cools completely either.
FAQ's about the recipe
Banana-sweet, yes! A little tip for bananas… the riper the bananas, the sweeter they are. I use super ripe bananas in this recipe so it’s deliciously sweet and moist. And then there’s the sugar too. I’ve cut the recipe down to 1 ¼ cups rather than the 1 ½ cups I started with – and it’s still yummy and sweet.
Yes! Both the cake and the frosting can be made with dairy - just use regular cream cheese and regular butter.
Yes! Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are interchangeable!
This cake is pretty forgiving with substitutions. My advice is to reference this guide to gluten free flours and the substitution chart and match the flour that most closely matches the one you are substituting. So closest to sorghum flour, for example, are amaranth, millet or teff flours. Just match up the protein and fiber counts.
Banana cake cupcakes - absolutely yes! I like my cupcakes rather full, so a 12 cup muffin pan works beautifully, but if you prefer a flatter topped cupcake, then you'll need 2 muffin tins (for about 18 cupcakes). Bake the cupcakes for 20 - 25 minutes at the same oven temperature.
The easiest way to store this banana cake is to wrap it well with foil and place the pan in the refrigerator. I think it tastes even better the second day!
And be sure to check out these delicious gluten free recipes next!
- Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Artisan Bread
- The Best Gluten Free Peach Cobbler
- Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- Irresistible Gluten Free Banana Muffins
- Low Carb Bread: Gluten Free and Flour Free
- Gluten Free Apple Muffins
Amazing Gluten Free Banana Cake (Dairy Free)
For banana cake:
- ¼ cup dairy free butter softened
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 145 grams granulated sugar about ⅔ cup
- 50 grams brown sugar about ¼ cup
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups mashed banana about 3
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 45 grams sorghum flour about ⅓ cup
- 50 grams brown rice flour about ⅓ cup
- 120 grams potato starch about ¾ cup
- 60 grams tapioca flour or starch about ½ cup
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened, dairy free
- ½ cup dairy free butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mix, add the butter, oil, and white and brown sugars. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute to fully combine, scraping down the bowl occasionally.
- To the mixer bowl, add the eggs, mashed banana and vanilla. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, add the sorghum flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.
- All at once, add the flour mixture to the egg-banana mixture and mix for 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl to fully mix the ingredients. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.
- Set batter aside to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare 9" x 13" baking pan by buttering well.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake at 350° for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick tests done.
- Cool in the pan while preparing frosting.
- Mix cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl until fully combined.
- Add the vanilla and continue to mix.
- Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix.
- Add another cup of powdered sugar and mix, scraping down the bowl.
- Add another cup and mix again.
- Add remaining powdered sugar, a little at a time until you get to the desired spreading consistency.
- Frost over cooled cake.
- If you'd like to make cupcakes, portion batter into muffin tins and bake for 20 - 24 minutes.
- Use butter to prepare the pan.
- Frost the cooled cake with cream cheese frosting.
- Cake can be stored wrapped in the refrigerator.