If you have overripe bananas, do not throw them away! Save them to make this soft and delicious gluten-free banana cake. It's made with simple ingredients and is always a crowd pleaser because of the rich banana flavor and tangy cream cheese frosting.
Have overripe bananas lying around? Use them for this gluten-free banana cake recipe. They’re so much easier to mash up and are super sweet, just what you're looking for when making a cake (although we wouldn't be mad if you opted for almond flour banana bread or banana baked oatmeal either).
Gluten-Free Banana Cake Quick Facts
- This cake is great to make ahead and freeze for up to 4 months. Just make the frosting before you serve!
- Don't toss your extra ripe bananas, make this instead!
- This recipe is easy to make dairy-free too. Scroll down for modifications!
- Make this without much planning, because I bet you have all the simple ingredients in your pantry right now.
This section contains extra information about each ingredient. Skip down to the recipe card for measurements.
- Butter: grab a quality unsalted butter and set it out at room temperature.
- Sugar: a white sugar is best here, but you could sub it 1:1 with a monk fruit sweetener.
- Brown sugar: use light brown sugar and make sure to pack it down to measure it.
- Eggs: room temperature is best!
- Mashed bananas: make sure to measure them out. The volume of banana is important and some bananas are larger than others.
- Vanilla extract: this goes into the cake and the cream cheese frosting.
- Gluten-free all purpose flour: There are several gluten-free flour blends out there. Our favorite 1:1 gluten free flour is bob's red mill 1:1 baking flour, but the King Arthur measure for measure flour is a close second. You just want to make sure you use a blend that includes xanthan gum.
- Leavens: we're using both baking powder and baking soda to help this cake rise.
- Buttermilk: the acid in the buttermilk gives this cake a super tender crumb and slightly tangy taste. It's really the best ingredient in cakes.
- Cream cheese: a quality softened cream cheese is best. You could also opt for a dairy-free cream cheese (more on that below).
- Powdered sugar: it wouldn't be a smooth and creamy frosting without this!
How to Make Gluten-Free Banana Cake
Here are the step-by-step photos to make gluten-free banana cake!
- Dry ingredients: Combine the gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl and whisk quickly to combine.
- Wet ingredients: Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed banana and vanilla extract and beat on medium high until incorporated.
- Finish the batter: add half of the flour to the banana mixture and beat well to incorporate then add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and do the same. Repeat the process with the rest of the flour then the rest of the buttermilk and beat on high until fluffy.
- Prep: spray a sqaure baking dish with non-stick spray and line it with parchment paper. Pour the cake batter into the pan and spread it evenly to each side.
- Bake: put the cake in the oven at 350°F for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Start checking the cake around 30 minutes and cover it with foil if the top looks too brown. Remove it from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Cream cheese frosting: While this delicious banana cake is cooling, cream together the butter and cream cheese for frosting. Slowly sift in the powdered sugar then add the vanilla and beat until it's smooth and fluffy. Scoop the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly to the edges before serving.
Prefer to Watch Instead of Read?
- Dairy-free: Use vegan butter in the cake and frosting and use a dairy-free cream cheese. We like Kyte Hill dairy-free cream cheese. For the buttermilk swap, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill it the rest of the way with non-dairy milk.
- Refined sugar free: swap the brown sugar for coconut sugar in the cake. You can also use a powdered monk fruit sweetener in the frosting or powdered truvia instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
Having the right ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients is important in all baking, especially gluten-free baking. A lot of times it's good to add a fruit or extra moisture to help gluten-free cakes. Luckily we're already adding banana to this, so it's extra moist!
You can definitely use gluten-free flours to make cake, and it's often times just as easy and delicious! There are so many amazing 1:1 gluten-free flour options out there, like the flour we call for in this gluten-free banana cake. We love Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour.
However, there are also amazing recipes that call for a mix of naturally gluten-free flours, like almond or coconut flour. You often have to use a mixture of 2 or more flours to reach a similar consistency, like in our paleo chocolate cake.
An overly dry banana cake is likely due to too much flour. Make sure you're measuring your flour correctly using the spoon and level method. Double check tje wet ingredient measurements as well to make sure the ratios are right. Refer to the images or video in this post to see what the cake batter should look like.
If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand either, measure 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar and pour it into a liquid measuring cup. Next, add enough whole milk to reach 1/2 cup, then stir together and let it sit for 5 minutes to curdle before using.
How to Ripen Bananas Quickly
- 20 Minute Method: place the bananas (with the peel) on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 250°F. Reduce the time based in initial ripeness.
- One day method: put the bananas in a paper bag, close and leave it at room temperature and you'll have ripe bananas the next day. The ethylene the bananas release speeds up the ripening. Add an apple to speed this process up even more.
Use room temperature eggs, butter and buttermilk for best results. Room temperature ingredients mix into batter easier and result in a better cake.
Don't skip on the buttermilk. You need the acid in this to help the cake react with the baking soda and rise. It's also important for a super tender crumb. Check out the FAQs above for a DIY buttermilk.
Know what room temperature butter actually is. This comes as a shock to most, but room temperature doesn't mean super soft. The butter should still be firm, but leave an indent when you push in. It should sit out for 1-2 hours before using.
Storage and Freezer Instructions
Store frosted cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, wrap the baked cake in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Cream cheese frosting also freezes well. Store it in a freezer bag. Allow both to thaw overnight in the fridge before whipping the frosting again and spreading it on the cake.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Gluten-Free Cakes
- Paleo chocolate cake
- Gluten-free angel food cake
- Paleo caramel apple cakes
- Paleo pumpkin coffee cake
- Sweet potato chocolate cake
Gluten-Free Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten-Free Banana Cake
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 large bananas)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups 1:1 gluten-free flour (we used Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Square baking dish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line the middle with parchment paper, then set aside.
- Combine the gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl and whisk quickly to combine.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed banana and vanilla extract and beat on medium high until incorporated.
- Add half of the flour to the banana mixture and beat well to incorporate then add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and do the same. Repeat the process with the rest of the flour then the rest of the buttermilk and beat on high until fluffy.
- Spread the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Start checking the cake at 30 minutes and cover with foil if it's starting to look too brown. Remove it from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- While the cake is cooling, cream together the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 3 minutes. Slowly sift in the powdered sugar then add the vanilla and beat until it's smooth and fluffy.
- Scoop the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly to the edges before serving.