With a light fluffy crumb, you’d never guess this Banana Flour Chocolate Chip Cake is grain-free and vegan. Find out more about this funky flour and get the recipe!
I am both happy and sad to report that this cake was halfway demolished within hours of making it. Happy because it really is that good. Sad because all that demolishing was done by yours truly, and no matter how healthy/vegan/oil-free/grain-free/blah-blah-blah it is that is still a lot of cake for one person in one night. But no regrets. Mostly because that was like a week ago so the overly-stuffed-with-cake feeling is a distant memory at this point.
Before I dive into the whys and hows of this recipe though, I want to clarify a few things about this cake…
It does NOT taste like banana. I know reading that title it is easy for your brain to overlook that little “flour” word and think banana chocolate chip cake, but the there is no banana flavor to this cake. Now I may have just disappointed you if you love the chocolate + banana combination, but I’m hoping the chocolate + delicious sweet vanilla cake combo will suffice. And if you hate bananas…YAY!!
It’s actually a vanilla cake. Not chocolate. Not gingerbread. Not cinnamon mocha churro caramel almond spice something. I know the color is far from the dainty golden shade we expect with vanilla, but I promise the flavor says otherwise.
The nuts are optional. 100% not required. I know nuts in baked goods can be a controversial topic, I personally love the texture. But skip them if you don’t like them, we can still be friends. Now if you throw in a few extra chips to make up for nixing the nuts, then I might even come to your side.
Okay now that all the disclaimers are done, let’s get to the good stuff…
Banana flour. The unseen but cake-crucial elephant in the room. And what made this cake an especially fun experiment!
I have been asked about banana flour on countless occasions and my answer was always: “I don’t know, I’ve never worked with it before.” Truth be told I have had a container of the stuff sitting in my pantry for over a year now–opened but untouched. Why? One little reason: the smell.
Its not a terrible smell, but don’t hold out for a banana flour candle to hit the market anytime soon. It doesn’t scream scrumptious baked goods. It more screams going to take some getting used to. And please don’t taste it raw or you will never try it in anything (after you are finished gagging that is).
But when I was kindly sent another package to try out, I took it as a sign that I needed to quit resisting and give it a baking shot. For the sake of pantry space if nothing else.
But now I feel a little silly for waiting so long, because this stuff is awesome!
Banana flour texture. The biggest lesson I learned from the first few fails at this cake is that banana flour absorbs a lot of moisture. So unless you are trying to make an edible diorama of the dessert, you will need a lot of liquid/wet ingredietns to balance it out. I also discovered that date paste alone is not the best for the job, it made for a mushy un-baked texture that while tasty was not attractive.
The combination I eventually found to work wonderfully with this flour is applesauce + cashew butter. The applesauce is responsible for the majority of the moisture and some sweetness too. The cashew butter prevents the mushy date-paste problem from happening again, and keeps the cake moist while baking thanks to the nutty fat content. Together there is actually more liquid ingredients than flour.
Despite the very dry powdery texture, once you start mixing the banana flour makes for a lovely batter. It should be very much a batter, nothing near a dough.
My goal was to make this cake without any other flours or starches in addition to the banana flour, which I was successful with. But for that reason the cashew butter is absolutely necessary and I cannot recommend any lower fat substitutions. Of course you are always welcome to experiment for yourself
Banana flour flavor. I would go so far as to say the flavor is neutral. Undetectable. Not a hint of the bitter starchy taste it has in it’s raw form. I don’t know how exactly, perhaps it is oven magic at work, but it truly just tastes like normal cake in my opinion.
Everyone’s tastes are different, some more sensitive than others, so if you have tried banana flour or do try this cake I would love to hear your thoughts!
What is banana flour? (Hmmm guess I should’ve lead with this…) It’s flour made from green, unripe bananas. It is gluten-free and paleo. Since the bananas are not ripe (hence no banana flavor) it is very high in resistant starch. Resistant starch is a prebiotic that is said to be beneficial for gut bacteria. I won’t get too much into all that, you can google it if you are curious. There are not tons of recipes out there using it, and a large portion of them are paleo and require eggs, but there are some.
Now I’m not saying this the grain-free silver bullet substitution and you should just start swapping it in for wheat wherever you like–it’s certainly not. But it has major recipe potential when combined with the right ingredients. And compared to coconut flour it’s a grain-free walk in the park to work with if you ask me! You will definitely be seeing banana flour around here again.
You can order it online of course, but I have also seen it at my local health food store. There are a few brands that make it at this point, but I find the Let’s Do Organic one to be the easiest to find, most affordable, and certified vegan, gluten-free, and organic.
Believe it or not, this was originally supposed to be a banana flour blondie recipe. But this cake just had an un squelch-able determination to rise and be fluffy (something I wish other baked goods would learn from!) With each trial I decreased the amount of leavening, but yet it still came out tall and cake-textured every time, so eventually I quit fighting and changed the name.
Cake, you win. The prize? A slice of celebratory…wait. Hmm maybe I did still win actually.Print
Banana Flour Chocolate Chip Cake
- Prep Time: 28 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 58 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
With a perfect light, fluffy crumb, you’d never guess this banana flour chocolate chip cake is grain and egg free!
- 1 cup banana flour
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup cashew butter
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts ((optional, I used pecans))
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except for the nuts and chocolate chips. Stir to fully combine.
- Add the chocolate chips and optional chopped nuts. Fold in.
- Transfer to a baking dish lined with parchment paper or lightly coated with coconut oil (I used an 8×5″ pan).
- Sprinkle additional nuts and chocolate chips on top. Press them in lightly.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350F.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and eating. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Leah M | love me, feed me says
Thank you for the warning to not try it raw… I’ve had similar experiences with chickpea flour… I’m really looking forward to trying this out with the banana flour that’s been chilling in my pantry for months! I had no idea what to expect with it, so I was intimidated to try. It’ll be nice to have some practice to feel it out before I experiment more with it! Although it does sound like a strange ingredient to work with 😛
Also love the addition of cashew butter aka life hehe.
I don’t know where the temptation to taste everything in it’s raw form comes from, even normal flour tastes terrible raw lol. Yes definitely skip that part 🙂 So many of the recipes with banana flour require egg, it really does feel like uncharted territory keeping things vegan with it. But I hope you try it out for yourself!! With all the cashew butter of course <3
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
I love bananas but I’m totally OK with a vanilla cake! Especially since there’s some chocolate in there too. I’ve never heard of banana flour and now I’m totally excited to experiment with it. It sounds like a great option for Paleo people :). This cake looks awesome!
Same here–if it’s cake with chocolate in it then I really am not one to nitpick about flavor 😀 Yep, totally paleo too!! It fits all the hashtags haha. Thanks Kelsie!
Hi! Could I potentially leave out the applesauce and do all nut butter?
Hmm I worry that the nut butter won’t add the same sort of moisture as applesauce especially since the applesauce is the only “wet” ingredient here. Yogurt (any kinda, dairy-free works!) or canned pumpkin would be better if you can do either of those!
EEEEEEPPP!!!! First, can I say how much I’m loving the purple on your site??? Makes me happy 🙂 OK. This cake looks amazing and I can’t believe you pulled it off…only using banana flour!!! I’m super duper impressed. And it’s SO fluffy! I have two bags of this stuff sitting in my baking drawer that I need to use. I went through a huge phase of making banana flour-sweet potato pancakes and then got sick of them, so I haven’t touched the flour since. Hehe! I know the smell and I agree…there won’t be a banana flour scented candle 😉 I am SO excited to try this! Yay for grain-free! I just need to grab cashew butter.
P.S. – I love the addition of chopped pecans!
So you like the purple!?!? Oh thank goodness, I so appreciate the feedback because I have been debating colors and flip flopping for a week+ now lol. Good to know 🙂 Ha it seems the banana flour pantry procrastination problem is a common one. Hmm those pancakes sound pretty tasty though! I was actually thinking a pancake recipe would be my next project with the stuff. I am loving having little bits of nuts back in my life, such a yummy crunch on top. Happy Monday <33
Demeter | Beaming Baker says
Just one look at these bars and I was SO not surprised that they were demolished like that! (Okay, imagine me snapping my fingers lol). There are so many intriguing aspects to this cake–no banana flavor, all the vanilla cake awesomeness, and could-be nut free–have I ever told you I love how versatile all of your recipes are? 🙂 Congrats on your banana flour conquering! There should be some kind of crown to signify this moment..should it be banana shaped or nah? 😉 Now, what can I do about getting the entire pan of this? Muah! Happy Monday my dear. <3
Checking off so many of the ______-free boxes with this funny floured cake! Um YES it should be banana shaped, I’ve always wanted fruit-inspired headwear? Although that could be misleading considering the whole it-doesn’t-taste-like-banana-thing…? Eh who cares! An entire pan might be tricky since I will inevitably steal at least one piece while wrapping it up for you…but I hope that’s close enough? xo
The Vegan 8 says
I have never seen banana flour before I don’t think! I’ve heard of it on Instagram but don’t recall ever seeing it in stores. Sounds so intriguing, especially that it doesn’t taste like banana?! Haha! I love vanilla cakes very much and of course, duh, chocolate chips! Mmm, love that you added cashew butter, one of my favorite nut butters! I like that you seem to be using a lot more nuts and fats in your recipes lately!! You know how much I love nuts so this recipe gets me all excited! I used my last bit of cashew butter for alfredo last night, so I need to whip up another batch like pronto!! Looks like I need to find some banana flour too so I can make this…because if there is no banana flavor, that sounds incredible. And I mean, hello, my favorite nuts-pecans-and chocolate chips are in this cake, so it has to be a slice of heaven!
I think you would be the ultimate judge of does it taste like banana or not, your tastebuds seem to be much more sensitive than mine, but in my opinion it does not have any banana flavor whatsoever. Which makes sense since the bananas aren’t ripe when the make it. I would be really curious to hear your take on it though. I have been on a cashew butter and nutty addition kick lately, and loving it. It’s fun to branch out 🙂 The pecan + chocolate chip combo will definitely be revisited–so good. I bet it is perfect in brownies too!
The Vegan 8 says
I’ll definitely pick some up and scour the stores to see it. I’m thinking Sprouts will have it. And you know what is funny, I actually do have one recipe on my blog that it is a banana cake, but it’s a mild banana flavor, with molasses and ironically it’s one of my favorite cakes ever, which is crazy since I hate bananas! BUT, if it’s mild and other flavors play a role…there is hope for me, hahaha!
Really???? I am shocked…and happy to know that there is a chance for banana + Brandi redemption! However much molasses it takes, I’m okay with that?
The Vegan 8 says
I just left a really long comment on here, but don’t see it now? Did it not go through??
It went through, I got it 🙂
GIRL YOU FREAKING SLAYED WITH THE BANANA FLOUR! This looks absolutely incredible. I may be partial because cake is always my go to dessert, but this looks AMAZING!! The crumb looks so divine and perfect. Isn’t is so crazy how much banana flour changes from before to after baking?! I love love love it, and I’m super happy you decided to use it in this epic creation! I haven’t had dinner yet so this is seriously making me drool, and cake is sounding a whole lot better now than my planned dinner. Seriously though Natalie, this looks SO yummy!
I told you I had been experimenting with it. It’s tricky but awesome–I can see why you like it! I really really want to try pancakes with it soon (and since I have some left still) and I just realized you have a deliciously fluffy looking recipe already 🙂 Haha cake for dinner sounds like a good plan to me! With a side of vegetables of course so we can still feel healthy inside 😀
Oh my goodness. What perfect timing. I just came across some banana flour the other day on Vitacost and was thinking I’d like to try it sometime but wanted to look up some recipes first. Now that I have the perfect one I need to get so ASAP!!! I have a feeling it will be giving me a far to much cake at one sitting kind of belly ache as well…. However, I’m also curious if you have ever worked with Otto’s Cassava Flour? It is a similar starch kind of deal. I have some of that already and am thinking my impatient self might have to try that as a substitute until the banana arrives.
What a lovely coincidence! There are not too many vegan recipes out there using it yet, but it’s definitely worth experimenting with especially if you are after grain-free options. Ha yes too much cake can be a dangerous thing, sometimes I will half recipes for just that reason 😀 I have worked with cassava flour and actually really really love it! I don’t have any recipes with it yet though, hopefully soon. You could try using it here although the texture is quite different. I worry that it might make the cake too gummy. If you are looking for something to make asap, my favorite cassava flour recipe that I make quite often is this one: https://besolfulliving.com/2016/10/14/baked-cinnamon-mini-donuts-aip-vegan/
You are my hero!!! I FINALLY made the cake this morning and it’s so freaking delicious I cannot stand it! I haven;t enjoyed eating something I baked this much in a very long time. I am well on my way to having half of it eaten already… However, mine didn’t turn out quite like yours. It barely rose at all and is much denser and more like a blondie. I did substitute pearsauce for the applesauce, but other than that I think I did everything the same- although I guess did use the NuNaturals brand of green banana flour it that would make a difference. I just watched your video now (I know, smart to do it after I make it) and it did seem like my batter wasn’t quite as wet as yours so maybe I didn’t use quite enough pearsauce. I don’t know, but it’s not a huge issue because it’s still delicious. And it seems to keep getting better as it gets colder. Yum. I’m defiinitely going to be making this again and again. Thanks so much for making my belly so happy 🙂
Oh and even though I was using pears instead of apples, I couldn’t help but sing “I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas” while I was making it. Ha ha.
AHHHH I am so happy you tried it and are enjoying it!!! It disappears so fast right, which makes me want to double the batch…but it’s probably safer not too 😀 Hmm that’s so interesting on the rise/texture difference. I have not experimented with banana flour enough to know if the brand can make that much difference, but it certainly could be that. The first trial I actually used the WEDO brand and they came out very dense and blondie like as well but I thought that was due to differences in ingredients since I changed a lot the second time around. If you can find the Let’s Do Organic brand, try it with that next time and hopefully it will come out cake-like. Although blondies sound pretty yummy too 🙂 The pear vs. apple sauce shouldn’t matter at all. Hehe love the song–so many preschool memories 😀 I am just thrilled that you like it, thank you so much for the lovely feedback Sarah!
I’m so glad you shared this recipe Natalie! I bought a bag a few months ago but I have only used it in my flourless oatmeal raisin cookies, which only requires a small amount as a binder. I have been hesitant to go all-in and use it like you did but I have thrilled to see you were successful. This cake sounds like a grain-free, vegan dream!
Here’s my recipe: http://thenakedfoodlife.com/2017/03/10/cinnamon-oatmeal-raisin-cookies-paleo-vegan/
Oh but those cookies look so tasty!! Love all the other ingredients too, I will have to try those next. You should totally go for it, it’s not as weird or tricky as it seems 🙂
Yep! The cookies are totally your style =) And you should really get some type of award for this cake because there is a serious shortage of banana flour recipes and none of the existing ones look appealing so THANK YOU. And happy Friday!
Anyone have any idea how to calculate calories from a recipe
Sure, you can plug in all the ingredients here and the number of servings: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator
rachel @ athletic avocado says
I remember trying banana flour a few years ago and having no idea what to do with it lol! I haven’t tried it since but this is such a great way to use it! The thickness and fluffiness of this cake is UNREAL, just like any cake should be in my opinion. Totes pinning for later and checking if I still have some banana flour in my pantry 🙂
It’s one of those elusive ingredients that just lurks in the background of the blogging world (and pantries lol) only showing itself every once in a while…or so it seems. I am glad I finally tried it myself though! Going to try to crank out some more goodness with it before it gets lost amidst my flour collection again 😀
Wow, wow, wow! This sounds like such a cool recipe. I never ever tried banana flour before. I can buy plantain flour here, do you think that’s the same? It’s grayish and doesn’t taste very good raw. Maybe it’s the same lol?! If yes, I will definitely give it a try. Thanks for sharing this great recipe, my mouth is watering 🙂
This stuff tastes awful raw too and is a funky color, so yes I’m guessing they are probably similar! I’ve never seen plantain flour here actually, so funny how the selection varies 🙂 Thanks for checking it out Ela!
Hi!! Your recipe look incredible amazing!! i must look for banana flour ! until now i found just plantain flour (for sweets recipes and another kind for salty recipes) do you think it is the same thing ? Have you ever tried to work with that ?
thankyou and still my best compliments for your creative ideas!
I had a friend mention plantain flour in regard to this recipe as well. Honestly I have never seen or worked with it before, but based on her description it sounds very similar. There is no way for me to guarantee it will work since I’ve never tried it, but I think it’s worth a shot!
thank you Natalie!!
audrey @ unconventional baker says
This sounds really wonderful. I enjoyed reading your experiments and thoughts on it — I get asked about it a lot, and unlike you I’ve not only never tried it. I’ve never even had the pleasure to even see it (let alone smell it ? — so curious what the smell is like now!). But I am really curious to make something with it — it seems like a really good alternative and your cake sold me! 🙂
Aww so no banana flour up there huh? I think we can safely assume it’s not a universally available thing…hello oddball US niche food product #307? The smell is so tricky to describe–bitter and starchy and a little bit like alfalfa? It could come in handy with all the crazy nut/grain/seed/legume/food-free challenges you seem to receive, although you always manage to pull it off as is so who needs it?
audrey @ unconventional baker says
Hehe. I could “smell” it pretty well from that description. Actually sounds just like a green or unripe banana, you know when the peel gets all shreddy and fiberous when you try and remove.
I’ve never seen it here in person, but I think I could order it online if need be. Just good to know it’s an option, because, yes I get my share of really odd requests sometimes… ?
Molly Lay says
Hi Natalie, i was wondering if banana starch is the same thing as flour also if it is optional or not
Hmm I’ve never heard of banana starch…if you tell me the ingredients/what it’s made from I might better be able to guess.
Alisa Ewert says
Well, This is great and I need to know if you have any Dish which I recommend for summer and in Hot places.
Ice cream is always my top pic for summer and hot weather! I have lots of different flavors if you are interested: https://www.feastingonfruit.com/category/puddings-and-ice-cream/
Hi Natalie, I want to make this cake but I have two questions about the ingredients. In the written recipe it says you use 1/2 tsp baking powder but in the video it says you use 1/2 tsp baking soda. Should it be baking soda and is that the reason why Sarah, who commented on April 2nd, didn’t get the rise you got?
My second question is about the vanilla extract: the written recipe says to use 1 tsp but in the video only 1/2 tsp. As soon as I am sure about using the right ingredient/amount, I will make this delicious looking cake (and I will tell you how it went and do the recipe rating, ok?). Thank you for creating all the marvelous recipes!
P.S I will have to sift my banana flour because the only one sold here in the Netherlands is tremendously clumpy – even sifting it is almost impossible because of the big, dense clumps. But I hope I can manage 🙂
Hi Yvonne! It should be baking soda–good eye I will change that in just a moment. It could be part of the reason for the difference in rise, but I think that has more to do with the brand of banana flour because I have tried this with a different brand now and it came out more blondie like. And since you are in the Netherlands with a completely different brand again the rise/texture may vary somewhat. It will still taste good though, sifting is a good idea! The 1/2 vs 1 tsp vanilla really won’t make any difference to be honest. I increased the amount to 1 tsp in my last test batch and had already exported the video at that point (hence the disparity) but either is fine. I love the flavor so I use the 1 tsp. I hope that clears everything up for you, best of baking luck! 🙂
Gigi Clark says
Like this is so delicious and really beautiful decorated. I’ll try this first.
It’s been one of my favorite sweet treats lately, simple but really hits the sweet chocolate-craving spot? I hope you love it too Gigi!
Hi, I’m following the AIP diet for a couple months, I was wondering if you think I could replace the cashew butter with coconut butter instead and leave out nuts and chocolate?? I’m trying to find recipes with banana flour and there’s not many online.
Yes and yes! Leaving out the nuts and chips will definitely be fine. The coconut butter for cashew may change the texture a little bit, I can’t say as I haven’t tested it in this one personally, but I have used coconut butter in similar recipes and it always turns out great! Also since I somewhat follow AIP myself and I know apples can upset my gut, feel free to sub pumpkin puree for the applesauce too if you like 🙂 Enjoy!
Homes & Weddings says
Looks so good. Enjoyed reading the intro too. Can’t say I ever read a full intro before jumping straight to the recipe. ha! Anyway, has anyone tried with a sugar substitute like a stevia baking blend or?
Haha most people probably haven’t. But thanks for reading and I hope you nejoy the cake too if you try it out, one of my favorites!
Aimee Brimmer says
Oh my gosh, thank you so much for such an amazing recipe! I made this today and it is lovely! It’s perfectly moist with just enough sweetness. My whole family loves it. I didn’t add nuts or the extra chocolate chips on top. I also used caramel extract instead of vanilla. I baked this in my toaster oven for 20 minutes. This is a most definitely keeper. I’d continue to buy banana flour just for this cake. 🙂 <3
Aimee Brimmer says
Oh, and I used peanut butter because it’s all I had on hand. 🙂
YES!!! I am so happy to hear it Aimee, and I love the sound of all the little tweaks you made, especially the PB one–yum! I’m with you, if this is the only recipe I ever make with banana flour it will still be stocked in my pantry at all times 🙂 Thank you for the awesome feedback and I hope you and your family enjoy many more batches to come!
Is there a way to sweeten this recipe with dates instead of coconut sugar? 😊 Thank you!
My past experiments with banana flour and dates tend to turn out gummy, but you could give it a try replacing the applesauce with date paste and leaving out the coconut sugar!