This easy gluten-free banana cake is moist and tender. It’s a great way to use overripe bananas. Made with gluten-free flour, brown sugar, and melted butter. (Dairy-free variation included.)
Let’s talk about gluten-free banana cake. The first thing you need to know is that it’s not banana bread. Think of it more like a buttery yellow cake with a lovely banana flavor. It’s moist, flavorful, and best of all, really easy to make.
Gluten-Free Banana Cake: Ingredients and Substitutions.
- Ripe Bananas. The most important ingredient in this cake is the bananas. Ripe bananas to be exact. The riper the banana, the more flavor in the cake. Use bananas that are deep brown or very spotted.
- Gluten-Free Flour. A flour blend makes this batter easy to make. I tested the recipe with Bob’s Red Mill’s 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Other flour blends might work, however, I haven’t tried them. If you use a different blend, that doesn’t contain xanthan or guar gum, whisk a ½ teaspoon into the flour before using it. Without it, the cake won’t rise correctly.
- Granulated and Brown Sugar. A combination of granulated and brown sugar sweetens the cake and keeps it light. Blending the two adds the perfect amount of flavor from the brown sugar and gives you a nice light texture.
- Butter or Oil. Butter brings a nice richness and flavor to the cake. After melting the butter, cool it for a minute or two before adding it to the batter. This prevents the heat from cooking the eggs. For a dairy-free substitute, use dairy-free butter or neutral oil, like canola or soy
- Eggs. Three eggs give this cake lift and flavor. Use room-temperature eggs for the best results. I haven’t tested the recipe with an egg replacer. So I can’t say if one works.
- Milk. A little milk helps make the batter smooth. Use traditional (cow’s) milk or your favorite dairy-free milk. Full-fat coconut milk is not recommended. It’s too rich for this recipe.
- Vanilla Extract. Two teaspoons of vanilla extract adds a nice flavor.
- Baking Powder and Salt. The baking powder helps the cake to rise and gives it a nice “cakey” texture. Salt enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
Variations: Adding Nuts, Chocolate, and Other Good Things.
This cake tastes great as-is. It’s also wonderful with nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruit added to the batter. Here’s what to add.
- Gluten-Free Banana Nut Cake: add ¾ cup chopped walnuts to the batter.
- Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Cake: Stir 1 cup chocolate chips into the batter.
- Gluten-Free Banana Cake with Raisins or Dried Cranberries: Stir ¾ cup raisins or dried cranberries into the batter.
- Gluten-Free Banana Nut-Chocolate Chip Cake: Add ½ cup chopped walnuts and ½ cup chocolate chips.
- Spiced Gluten-Free Banana Cake: Add two teaspoons of pie spice to the batter.
How to Make a Gluten-Free Banana Cake.
- Preheat your oven. Cakes rise best when baked in a preheated (hot) oven. Most ovens take about 20 minutes to reach the required temperature. I like to turn my oven on and then measure and mix the batter. This way, the oven is ready to go once I’m done mixing.
- Make the Batter. You need two mixing bowls for this recipe. A small one to whisk together the dry ingredients and a large bowl to mash the bananas and make the batter. Whisking the dry ingredients together before adding them to the batter helps to distribute the baking powder evenly throughout the flour, giving you a cake that rises evenly.
- Bake. Spread the batter into a greased 9×13-inch cake pan. Since the batter is thick, use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to get the batter into the corners of the pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool and Frost. You can let this cake cool right in the pan. If you prefer removing it from the pan, let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack. Once the cake is completely cool, frost it. If you frost a warm cake, the frosting melts and runs off the cake.
If you frost this cake with cream cheese frosting, store the cake in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Freeze the cake for up to three months. You can frost it before or after freezing. The cake freezes great frosted. Be sure to let the cake cool before freezing.
Recipe Questions and Answers.
Can I use a different gluten-free flour blend?
All gluten-free flour blends behave differently, which can be frustrating. The recipe was tested with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Be sure to use a blend that contains xanthan or guar gum.
Can I use frozen bananas?
If you freeze your overripe bananas, this gluten-free banana cake is a perfect way to use them. When you’re ready to bake, thaw the bananas at room temperature and drain any excess liquid. Then follow the recipe as written.
Can I make these into muffins?
If you want to make muffins, I suggest following my recipe for gluten-free banana muffins. This recipe makes great cupcakes. What’s the difference? This batter contains a little more sugar than the muffin recipe.
To make gluten-free banana cupcakes, spoon the batter into a paper-lined muffin cup and bake until set, about 25 minutes. You should get about 24 cupcakes.
I want to make a layer cake. Can I use this recipe?
Yes! Bake the batter in two 8-inch greased round cake pans.
Gluten-Free Banana Cake
Easy gluten-free banana cake. Made with gluten-free flour, brown sugar, and melted butter, the cake is moist and tender. (Dairy-free variation included.)
Gluten-Free Banana Cake
- 3 cups gluten-free flour (Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour, suggested) (14 ounces / 420 grams)
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large very ripe bananas ( about 15 ounces/ 425 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (7 ½ ounces / 212 grams)
- ¾ cup butter, melted (see note for dairy-free option) (6 ounces / 170 grams)
- ½ cup packed brown sugar (3 ½ ounces/ 100 grams)
- 3 large eggs (about 6 ounces / 170 grams out of shell)
- ⅔ cup milk, regular or dairy-free (5 ½ ounces / 155 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (226 grams)
- ½ cup butter, softened (4 ounces / 113 grams)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (16 ounces / 453 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together gluten-free flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mash bananas in a large bowl until almost smooth. Use an electric mixer or fork to do this. Add the granulated and brown sugars. Mix until combined. Add the melted butter and eggs and mix until smooth. Mixture will be thin.
Stop the mixer and add the whisked ry ingredients. Mix until a batter forms. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined
Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean.
Cool cake in the pan. Once cake is cool frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe included) or chocolate or vanilla buttercream.
Store cake in the refrigerator for up to five days. Freeze the cooled and frosted cake for up to three months.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
Mix together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Spread on cooled cake.
- Gluten-Free Flour Blend. The recipe was tested using Bob’s Red Mill’s 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. If you replace the flour blend, use one that contains xanthan gum for best results. If your blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum, add ½ teaspoon to your flour blend before using.
- Dairy-Free Option. Replace the melted butter with an equal amount of either a dairy-free butter replacement or oil. And replace the milk with your favorite dairy-free milk.
- Nuts. Stir ¾ cup chopped walnuts into the batter.
- Chocolate Chips. Stir one cup of chocolate chips into the batter.
- Cinnamon. If you like cinnamon in your banana cake, stir 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon into the batter. For a spicy gluten-free banana cake, add 2 teaspoons ground pie spice.