Why this recipe works
This gluten-free banana cake is one of my absolute favorite desserts. It is so sweet and flavorful, with the perfect amount of sweet banana flavor balanced with warm spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
I love to top this gluten-free cake with a luscious brown butter cream cheese frosting and some crunchy toasted walnuts. Whether you’re looking for a spectacular dessert to share at your next dinner party or simply craving something sweet after dinner, this gluten-free banana cake is sure to hit the spot.
So what are you waiting for? Whip up a batch today and indulge in this delicious gluten-free treat!
- gluten-free flour blend – I have tested this recipe with both Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour and King Arthur Baking Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. Both of these blends already contain xanthan gum and are meant to be used as a 1-for-1 swap with regular all-purpose flour.
- xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is commonly used in gluten-free baking to act as a binding agent. Many gluten-free flour blends, including the one I tested this recipe with, already contain xanthan gum. If your flour blend does not already contain it, make sure you add the amount noted in the recipe card.
- ripe bananas – Be sure you are using ripe bananas that have lots of brown spots on the skin. The browner the skin, the better. As the bananas get riper, they are sweeter and have tons of flavor. That’s exactly what we want to make the best gluten-free banana cake! I like to freeze leftover ripe bananas so that they are ready to go for making any banana baked goods.
- vegetable oil – Oil adds so much moisture to this delicious banana cake, so it’s not to be skipped. You can use any neutral-tasting oil. Besides vegetable oil, you can use avocado oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or light olive oil. I personally would not use extra virgin olive oil as that will have too much flavor.
If you’re looking for some texture in the cake, you can add the walnuts into the cake. About 1/2 cup will do the trick.
If you’ve tried my gluten-free banana bread recipe, you know that chocolate and bananas are a match made in heaven! Add 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips to this recipe for a chocolatey twist.
- First, preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x-13-inch baking dish. If you use cooking spray, make sure that your spray does not contain gluten, as some will use flour in the spray. Then, add the dry ingredients (gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) to a large bowl. Whisk until combined.
2. Add the ripe bananas to a separate bowl. Mash with a fork until liquidy and thoroughly mashed. Lumps are okay!
3. Add the sour cream, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl of mashed bananas. Stir the wet ingredients until combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet ingredients. Stir until no more streaks of flour remain.
5. Add the banana cake batter to the prepared baking dish.
6. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. I also like to check the cake by lightly pressing the top of the cake with a finger. If it springs back, the cake is ready. If it leaves an indent, it still needs to bake longer.
7. Once the cake has cooled, frost it with cream cheese frosting (my brown butter cream cheese frosting is in the recipe card!) and chopped toasted walnuts.
8. Slice and serve! Keep any leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese frosting. If stored in the refrigerator, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- For the best results, weigh your ingredients. The way that you scoop your ingredients into measuring cups could cause varying results. I have provided metric measurements for this reason within the recipe. Food scales are very inexpensive and an invaluable tool in my kitchen!
- Bananas can vary in size, so a recipe that states 3 bananas could produce anywhere from 1-2 cups of mashed bananas. I use 360g of bananas (measured after peeling) in this recipe, which was from 3-4 bananas to produce 1.5 cups of mashed banana.
- If you are gluten-free or cooking for someone who is gluten-free, be sure to double check all of your ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free! Simple ingredients, like cooking spray, can contain gluten For example, the baking spray you see at many grocery stores contains flour for coating pans!
Typically, banana cake is NOT gluten-free. Conventional banana cake contains all-purpose flour which is wheat-based, and therefore not gluten-free. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt. My gluten-free banana cake recipe has been purposefully created to be a gluten-free recipe using gluten-free ingredients. Be sure all of your ingredients are gluten-free by checking the labels or contacting the manufacturer.
Banana cake is one of those cakes that COULD be served without frosting. However, I love it with my brown butter cream cheese frosting, which is written out in the recipe card. Another favorite is classic cream cheese frosting or my chocolate cream cheese frosting. Chocolate and bananas are a match made in heaven.
Ripe bananas are sweeter, softer and have more flavor than unripe bananas. Make sure your bananas are a deep yellow and have lots of brown spots on the peel. In fact, large patches of brown on the peel means that the bananas are very ripe.
If you really want to make this banana cake but don’t have super ripe bananas ready for baking, you can place your unripe bananas on a baking sheet and bake at 300F for 30-40 minutes. The peel will turn almost black and the insides will get soft and roasted. Just let the bananas cool a little before weighing and mashing for the recipe.
You can eat this banana cake without frosting, but all cake is better with a little bit of frosting smeared on top! Here are some of my favorites if you want to change things up from my brown butter cream cheese frosting which is listed in the recipe!
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Classic Cream Cheese Frosting
- Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting
- Caramel Whipped Cream
Did you make this recipe?
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Gluten-Free Banana Cake
For the banana cake:
- 2 ½ cups gluten free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour (360g))
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your flour blend does not already contain it)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ cups mashed bananas (from 3-4 ripe bananas (360g measured without the peel))
- 1 cup sour cream (240g)
- ½ cup vegetable oil (room temperature (100g))
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar (150g)
- 3/4 cups brown sugar (150g)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (12g)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (for topping (optional) (75g))
For the brown butter cream cheese frosting:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113g)
- 8 oz cream cheese (softened (225g))
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar (330g)
For the banana cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger.
- In a separate bowl, add the ripe bananas. Mash with a fork until thoroughly mashed and liquidy.
- Add the sour cream, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
- Gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing until no more streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the banana cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before frosting with frosting.
- Frost with brown butter cream cheese frosting (recipe below) and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- Slice and serve.
For the brown butter cream cheese frosting:
- Cut the butter into small pieces. This will help it melt quicker and more evenly.
- Add the butter cubes to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Let the butter melt slowly. It will begin to foam as it does.
- Use a spatula to stir the butter frequently to keep the milk solids from burning on the bottom of the pan.
- The butter will slowly turn golden brown and take on a nutty aroma, which can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl, including the browned milk solids on the bottom of the saucepan. Allow to solidify before using in the brown butter cream cheese frosting.
- Add the softened cream cheese and solidified browned butter to a large mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and browned butter until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Then, add in the vanilla extract and salt. Mix until combined.
- Gradually add in the powdered sugar, until smooth and silky.
- Frost the cake once it has cooled or store in the refrigerator until ready to decorate the cake. If refrigerating, let come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes so it is easier to work with.
- As always, if you are gluten-free, please double check that the ingredients that you are using are gluten-free by referring to the packaging. Ingredient formulas and manufacturing processes sometimes change.
- This recipe was tested with both Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour and King Arthur Baking Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. Both of these flours already contain xanthan gum, so additional xanthan gum is not needed. If your blend does not contain xanthan gum, you will want to use the amount specified in the recipe.
- For the most accurate results, I recommend using the metric measurements provided in the recipe, especially for the gluten-free flour and bananas.
- If you choose to measure the gluten-free flour in cups, be sure to not use the measuring cup to scoop the floor. This will result in too much flour and a dense cake. Instead, spoon flour into your measuring cup and then level it off with a straight object, like a butter knife or spatula.
- To store leftovers in the refrigerator, place the cake in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- You can freeze the banana cake for up to 3 months. First, slice the cake into individual portions. Freeze them on a lined baking sheet for one hour until solid. Then, tightly wrap individual slices with plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe container or bag.