Vegan cakes perhaps have a bad rep for being dry and bland. Having undertaken many experiments with vegan baking, I know that the results can sometimes be hit and miss. However, the search is finally over ladies and gentlemen! This banana cake is easy to make and definitely hits the spot.
I bet any money if you serve this up to your sweet-toothed friends they would never guess that it’s eggless. As a bonus it’s also relatively healthy compared to your typical sugary treats, due to the use of high-quality unrefined whole foods.
My easy eggless banana cake delivers everything that a banana cake should. It’s deliciously moist, sweet and wholesome, with a tender crumbly texture. So, if you’ve got a couple of ripe bananas that need eating up, you have the perfect excuse to get that oven preheated and give this recipe a whirl. Once you’re done, I invite you to stick the kettle on and wash this scrumptious cake down with a cup of earl grey tea – marvellously British!
A few tips before you get started:
- Use ripe bananas for the best results. The browner the skin the sweeter and more moist your cake will turn out.
- Don’t skip on the vegan buttermilk – it’ll be worth the wait, I promise.
- For a healthier cake, use organic and unrefined ingredients if you can. It’ll be less of a guilty pleasure, especially when you can’t resist that second piece.
The dairy dilemma – eggless baking
One of the main challenges with vegan baking is replacing the role of the egg. Well, I say dairy can beat it! The egg’s main function is to bind the other ingredients together. Luckily there are many cruelty-free, natural and healthy alternatives that do the job just as well. My personal preference, and an easy one to prep, is chia or flax seeds soaked in water (commonly referred to as “chia egg” or “flax egg”). These seeds not only do a great job at getting all gloopy, but they are super nutritious on top. Aside from a chia egg, mashed banana and buttermilk are also excellent binding ingredients. This recipe features all three, which perhaps explains why it turned out so moist, buoyant and smooth!
Plant-based homemade buttermilk
Buttermilk is a traditional dairy-based staple for fluffy and creamy cakes. There really doesn’t have to be any place for dairy in baking though, because the vegan version is extremely easy to whip up at home. Use any plant-based milk, add vinegar, then leave it to curdle – it’s that straight-forward.
For this recipe I used oat milk and apple cider vinegar, but you can sub with white vinegar and any plant milk you prefer. If you don’t have vinegar, then the acidity of lemon juice also does the trick. Be aware that the milk you choose (i.e. soya, almond, hemp) and even the brand, might mean your buttermilk curdles to differing degrees. Oat milk has always worked well for me, but you might need a bit of trial and error to find a milk that works best for you.
Why use unrefined flour and sugar?
Although I love eating cake (who doesn’t?), I’m also conscious about using healthy, quality products that are as natural as possible. I try to limit my intake of refined ingredients because the more processed a product is, the less goodness and nutritional value remains. For this reason, I use organic produce where I can, and opt for unrefined whole flours as well as raw cane sugar. You’ll feel less guilty as you’re nibbling on your homemade, wholesome treats. If you don’t have unrefined ingredients at home, use what you have.
Note: unrefined flour and sugar are heavier than their refined, processed counterparts. You might find that, if you use lighter white flour and sugar, that the balance of raising ingredients is a little off for this recipe. If you do try it with refined ingredients, leave a comment below to let us know how it turned out.
The cooking time may vary depending on your oven. You’ll know it’s ready when a toothpick or knife comes out of the centre clean. If after 25 minutes the cake is still liquid in the middle but it’s already browning, move the rack further down in the oven so the crust doesn’t burn.
To glaze or not to glaze? This is completely optional – the banana cake can be enjoyed just as much without any kind of icing. I did add a simple lemon glaze as a finishing touch which gave it a complimentary citrus tang. If you’re feeling more elaborate, you might even consider topping it off with a vegan cream cheese frosting instead. There are loads of vegan frosting recipes out there in Google-land. Another tweek to this recipe would be to add some nuts or dried fruit into the mix, if you want a more varied texture.
That’s it – my contribution to the vegan banana cake baking community. I hope you have fun in the kitchen and, most importantly, I hope your cake turns out just as yummy as mine did. As always, I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this out so please feel free to leave a comment below.
Easy Banana Cake (eggless, vegan, whole wheat)
- Loaf tin (21cm / 8 inch)
- Kitchen scales
- Food processor with whisk attachment
- 2 ripe bananas mashed
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 4 tbsp water
- 200 ml unsweetened plant-based milk I used oat milk but you can use soya, almond, hemp etc
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp unrefined organic coconut oil, melted Plus a little extra to grease the tin
- 200 g wholemeal flour
- 100 g unrefined organic cane sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamon
- 1 pinch salt
Lemon glaze (optional)
- 1 lemon rind grated
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 3 tbsp (heaped) icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
- Grease all sides of a loaf tin with melted coconut oil
- Make the chia egg by mixing the chia seeds with water, and leave to sit for 10 minutes
- Make the buttermilk by mixing the plant milk and vinegar, and leave to sit for 10 minutes
- Mash the bananas in a bowl, then mix in the chia egg and coconut oil (your oil should be melted but allowed to cool before mixing).
- In a clean mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together
- Make a well in the dry ingredients bowl, pour the banana mixture in and combine well. If too dry, add in a dash of the buttermilk to help combine the dry and wet ingredients.
- Transfer to a food processor with a whisk attachment. As you mix on medium power, pour in the rest of the buttermilk slowly until the consistency is thick but still liquid enough to fall off a spatula or spoon.
- Use a spatula to scrape any mixture in from the sides, then continue to mix. You might not need to use all the buttermilk once you reach the desired consistency.
- Transfer the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins.
- Remove from the oven, turn out of the tin, and allow to cool fully before glazing or serving.
- Grate the lemon rind into a bowl and pour in the lemon juice.
- Mix in the icing sugar with a fork until it’s smooth.
- Leave to cool in the fridge for around 1 hour.
- Once the cake is cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top.