Easy Vegan Banana Cake smothered in decadent vegan cream cheese frosting. It's soft, fluffy, moist, and perfectly spiced!
This Vegan Banana Cake recipe is for those times when you want to use up your ripe bananas but need something a little more refined than simple vegan banana bread.
Notice I stress "a little" ... We aren't getting all fancy here ... This is a really easy vegan cake, that also happens to be soft and fluffy, full of banana flavour, and smothered in vegan cream cheese frosting!
In this post:
Let's take a look at the ingredients you need to make Vegan Banana Cake. Some substitution ideas are also included.
- Bananas - These should be really ripe and spotty. This is important both for flavour and the texture of the batter.
- Flour - Use all-purpose flour or plain flour if you are in the UK. Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour works great if you are gluten-free.
- Sugar - I like to use golden cane sugar or white sugar. I don't recommend using darker sugars as they will affect the colour and flavour of the cake.
- Oil - Just about any will do here such as melted refined coconut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or light olive oil. Oil is important for moistness in the finished cake. I don't recommend using vegan butter in this cake. For an oil-free option use nut butter (see the FAqs for more details).
- Baking powder, baking soda & apple cider vinegar - Baking powder as usual in a cake but also baking soda and vinegar to make up for the lack of eggs. The combination of the three makes the cake perfectly light and fluffy. The reason many vegan cakes aren't as fluffy as non-vegan cakes is that the egg substitutes used (like flax, aquafaba etc), don't replace the leavening that eggs provide.
- Milk – Any unsweetened non-dairy milk such as cashew milk, soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk.
- Spices - Vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg complement the banana perfectly and add lots of extra flavour.
- Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting - This dairy-free frosting is made with vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and my magic ingredient arrowroot flour. The arrowroot is optional but recommended if you have some. For more information about why I use it check out my dedicated vegan cream cheese frosting post. Note that I don't recommend using Violife Cream Cheese to make the frosting. For some reason, it has a tendency to become grainy when whipped up.
If you want to make things extra easy though, Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting is accidentally vegan!
Feel free to add some chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, or pecans to the cake batter or on top of the cake for decoration. You can even add ⅓ cup of unsweetened cocoa to the frosting to make it chocolate flavoured!
Expert Tip - I highly recommend that you use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients. Cup measurements are not accurate enough to get the best results. Digital kitchen scales are pretty cheap and are such a great investment. If you do need to use cups make sure you use them correctly. Spoon the flour gently into the cup then level the top with a knife without compacting it or shaking it down. Do not scoop the flour up into the cup as you will end up with much more than intended which will affect the outcome of the recipe.
How To Make Vegan Banana Cake
It's classically delicious in a way that only banana cake can be, easy to whip up, and because it's baked in a 9 x 13-inch dish it's great for transporting and feeding a crowd.
Here's how it's done in a nutshell (for more details instructions see the recipe card and video):
- Mash the bananas then mix with all of the wet ingredients, sugar, and spices.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold them gently together.
- Spoon into a 9 x 13-inch pan then bake.
- Make the cream cheese frosting and spread it over the top of the completely cooled cake.
Expert Tip - Do not over-mix the batter. As with all cakes, the more you mix, the more you activate the gluten in the flour. This really affects the texture and rise of the finished cake.
Alternative Serving Suggestion
Bake the cake and don't frost it. Cut it into squares, warm each one for about 20 seconds in a microwave, and serve for dessert with a drizzle of hot vegan custard, or a dollop of melty vegan butter and a drizzle of maple syrup for brunch!
Storing & Making Ahead
Bake the cake, allow it to cool, then frost, cover tightly, and store in the fridge for up to 6 days. It also freezes really well without the frosting. Bake, allow to cool completely, then wrap the entire thing (dish as well as long as it's freezer-safe) very tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight then frost.
Preheat oven to 300°F (150°c). Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Separate the underripe bananas and lay them on the tray as they are, skins intact. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. They will have turned completely black and will be perfectly soft and sweet and mushy inside. When you want to use them slice the skin open and scoop or squeeze out the soft banana flesh and use in your recipe.
Yes. Replace the oil with the same amount of nut or seed butter and increase the amount of milk used by a third of a cup (80 ml). You will need to blend the nut butter with the milk before adding it so that it incorporates well. I recommend using cashew butter because it has a mild buttery flavour, but as long as you are ok with the nutty flavour coming through, almond butter or peanut butter will work too.
The frosting however needs the vegan butter to be successful so you will need to enjoy it unfrosted or find an alternative frosting solution.
Please bear in mind that when you make this banana cake oil-free, you will not get the same light, soft and fluffy sponge. It will be darker in colour, slightly heavier, and not as soft and fluffy.
You can use two lined 9-inch cake pans and bake at the same temperature for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. There should be enough frosting to sandwich it and frost the top and sides.
This recipe will make about 24 cupcakes so you might want to half it. Fill the cupcake cases to about ¾ full and bake at the same temperature for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Yes. Half the recipe. Bake at the same temperature for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan Banana CakeAuthor:
For the cake
- 3 medium (8 inch) very ripe & spotty bananas * (approx 375 grams or 13 oz with skin removed)
- ¾ cup (150 grams) white or cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (80 mls) plant milk , unsweetened & unflavoured
- ½ cup (120 mls) liquid oil , such as melted refined coconut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or light olive oil.
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cups (375 grams) all purpose flour , (plain flour in the UK)
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda , (bicarbonate of soda in the UK)
For the frosting
- 1 cup (227g / 8 oz) vegan cream cheese , straight from the fridge (I like Tofutti for frosting. I don't recommend using Violife)
- ½ cup (110 grams) vegan butter
- 4 teaspoons arrowroot powder , (you can omit but the frosting will be looser)
- ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 to 5 cups (500 to 625 grams) powdered sugar , (icing sugar in the UK)
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and grease a 9 x 13 inch ovenproof dish with some oil or vegan butter.
- Peel the bananas and put them in a large bowl. Mash them up really well until they are a smoothish puree.
- To the bananas add the sugar, vinegar, vanilla, milk, oil, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk it all up until well combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda to the wet ingredients and stir them together gently to combine. Don't beat hard or use an electric whisk, and stop as soon as there is no dry flour visible anymore.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until golden brown, coming away from the sides slightly and a skewer/toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. The time will vary depending on your oven and the dish/pan you are cooking the cake in. 40 minutes cooking time is based on using a glass dish. If you use metal it will likely be ready a little quicker so check from 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the dish on a wire rack.
For the frosting
- Add the vegan butter to a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer on a medium high speed until soft and fluffy.
- Add the cream cheese and beat again until combined and smooth but don't over-beat. As soon as it's combined stop.
- Now add the arrowroot powder, salt, vanilla and about 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat on the lowest speed for about 20 seconds until the powdered sugar has stopped flying around, then add another 2 cups. Beat again on low until it's mostly combined then turn the speed up to medium high again and beat until smooth and creamy, scraping down the edges with a spatula as needed to get any dry powdered sugar off the sides and into the mix.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar to thicken as needed. Using it all makes the frosting much easier to handle, spread and pipe.
- Do not be tempted to add any more liquid to the frosting at any stage because it will become too runny. Once done, cover the bowl and put in the fridge until needed.
- Slather generously all over the top of the completely cooled banana cake.