Banana Molasses Cake With Molasses Cream Frosting (Vegan, GF & Oil-Free Versions)

I’ve never been much of a banana fan. I can only handle small doses of it. However, after I created this amazing banana molasses gluten-free cake, it was the perfect amount of banana, without overpowering. Topped with a light coconut molasses cream frosting made it pure heaven!

When I saw Christina mention on her blog Small Kitchen Chronicles that she, too, detested bananas but was posting a banana-flavored cake, I was intrigued. I thought, well if she loves and raves about this cake but doesn’t like bananas, I ought to give it a shot. Especially seeing as the other component was molasses…which we both love. Be sure to follow her blog full of beautiful photos and mouth-watering recipes…especially her Red Wine Cupcakes!!

Well, I have to say that this cake is divine. I made some changes to the original recipe to make it vegan and oil-free, but the banana and molasses flavors still really were front and center.

After my success with making the cake vegan and oil-free, I decided to basically write a whole new recipe as a gluten-free version as well, inspired by and hoping for the same banana molasses flavor and delicacy. I wanted to offer all versions for my readers. 🙂 So, today I present to you 3 versions of a banana molasses cake. Pick whichever one you like and I’m sure you will enjoy it, no matter what!

My vegan version: I used pecan butter and apple juice instead of butter and milk. I also only used 1 banana instead of two, because I knew 2 would be overkill for my gag reflex of bananas! The pecan butter lends a very creamy, sweet and buttery taste when baked, without screaming pecan. The apple juice also lends some sweet flavor and counteracts the heaviness of the pecan butter.

Result?…..It turned out incredibly light, tender, moist and with the perfect touch of banana and molasses. I was pleased, as my several changes worked on my first attempt! It was also confirmation that two bananas would have been too much for my sensitive tastebuds, as one was just perfect. But……..my next version…………

My vegan and gluten-free version: THIS one was my favorite…shockingly, you wouldn’t think so. However, this new version I made was so delicious and was BETTER than just my vegan version with whole wheat flour. I used almond flour, oats ground into a flour, maple syrup and a touch of cinnamon. Using so much almond flour and oats gave it such moisture and a perfect texture, it needed no oil. It also held together better because of the oats. Grinding them up though into a flour, you would never know there are oats in it…it is not oaty. I couldn’t stop eating it.

Side by side comparison. The left one is my vegan version using wheat flour and pecan butter, which is why it is darker. The right is the gluten-free version using almond flour and oat flour…..which was my FAV! I made a slightly larger recipe for the gluten-free, so it would be a taller cake.

Accented by the most amazing cream topping ever. It is SO light, creamy and subtly sweet…as to not compete with the banana molasses flavors.

I am sharing 3 versions with you today.

Banana Molasses Cake  adapted from Small Kitchen Chronicles. The original full recipe can be found here.

Recipe: Makes 16 cake squares  Prep time: 30 mins (using the vegan versions)  Bake time: 22 mins

Original recipe ingredients: (Not vegan)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 2 medium-sized very ripe organic bananas, peeled and mashed

2nd version. This is my vegan, oil-free version. Print recipe

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (126 grams)
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour (26 grams)
  • 1/3 cup evaporated cane juice sugar, (xylitol will work too for a sugar-free option)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1/2 cup pecan butter
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons room temperature water)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: This doesn’t make a high cake, it is about 1 1/2 inches tall. They are perfect sized mini cake squares.

Directions: (Vegan version)

1. Prepare the pecan butter first. Line a sheet pan with 1 1/2 cups whole pecans and spread out. Bake for 12 minutes at 300 degrees. Puree in a food processor until very smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as necessary. It should be smoother than almond butter. Specific directions and photos are here. Make sure to measure out just 1/2 cup, in case you made extra.

2. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease and flour a 8×8 inch square pan. I used Pillsbury baking spray, (it contains flour) it works brilliantly.

3. In a small cup, add the flaxseed with the water and whisk quickly with a fork for 30 seconds. Set aside for 5 minutes while preparing the other ingredients. It should become gel-like.

4. In a medium bowl, add the first 7 ingredients (all the dry ingredients) and whisk very well.

5. In a blender or food processor, add the remaining wet ingredients and the prepared flax egg. Pulse/blend for a minute or so until smooth and no lumps remain. This is an important step as it incorporates air and what gives a beautiful texture to the cake. Pour the batter into the dry ingredients into thirds and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. As soon as it comes together, stop mixing and pour into the prepared pan.

6. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out completely clean when inserted into the center. Mine was perfect at 22 minutes.

7. Place pan immediately on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes only. Gently turn over cake onto the wire rack and it should slide right out. Cool completely before frosting and slicing. Slice with a very sharp knife gently into 16 squares. Keep cake stored in the fridge.

3rd version. This is my vegan, gluten-free and oil-free version. It is a taller cake too. Print recipe

  • 2 cups quick cooking oats (160 g, ground into 1 ½ cups flour, measure 1 ½ cups after grinding)
  • 1 ½ cups blanched almond flour (168 g)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch (45 g)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice
  • 3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • ¾ cup grade a maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (use gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 square pan with baking flour non-stick spray. I use Pillsbury brand and it works perfectly. Otherwise, grease and flour it.

2. Next, process oats in a food processor into a fine flour, about a minute or so. Measure 1 ½ cups afterwards. Add them to a large bowl with the next 6 dry ingredients and whisk very well. Set aside.

3. Next,  add all the wet ingredients (the next 6 ingredients) to a blender and pulse until very smooth and there are no lumps remaining. This is an important step, as it incorporates air and gives a wonderful texture to the cake. It works better than a beater. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out completely clean when inserted in the center. Place pan immediately on a cooking rack for 15 minutes. Gently turn over cake onto the cooling rack and it should slide right out. Cool completely before frosting and slicing. Slice with a very sharp knife gently into 16 squares. Keep cake stored in the fridge.

Molasses Cream Frosting

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 teaspoons molasses (depending on how strong you want the molasses flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place the coconut milk into the fridge to chill overnight.

2. Carefully open the can and scoop out all the hardened cream at the top. It should be very thick…if it is runny, it is not a good brand or can and won’t work for the frosting. I recommend Thai Kitchen. Each can varies though, so I always keep about 5 cans in my fridge for recipes.

3. Add the hardened cream to a medium bowl and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, molasses and syrup and beat again for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. Taste and add any more sweetener if desired, but keep in mind the cake is slightly sweet too and a light frosting goes well with the cake.

4. Spread onto the cooled cake and slice into 16 squares, or desired sizes. My can had a lot of cream in it, so I had extra.

This cream is a must and a delicious companion to a wonderful cake.

I can’t thank Christina enough for sharing such a wonderful recipe. It truly inspired me to get creative and have a ton of fun in the kitchen with this one! There may just be hope for me yet with bananas….as long as they are in a cake or baked good! 🙂

Oh, and thank you to everybody who voted for me, I won Best dessert for my Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Bars! Yippee!

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Categories: Breakfast, Gluten Free, Sweet Treats, VEGAN, VEGETARIAN

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66 Comments on “Banana Molasses Cake With Molasses Cream Frosting (Vegan, GF & Oil-Free Versions)”

  1. June 3, 2013 at 6:18 PM #

    Wow, so impressive. You put a tremendous amount of work into this and look at the results. Either one is delicious, I don’t know if I could pick but if someone made me I would probably do the GF because it is higher and I trust your taste buds, Love the frosting too!

    • June 3, 2013 at 6:36 PM #

      Thank you so much Suzanne! Yes, it was a bit of work, but SO WORTH IT. The gluten-free was also my husband’s favorite. The almond flour really lended flavor and moisture. Since it was a larger batter, it was less of a banana flavor which I preferred, but that’s just me. I loved the texture as well…it held together slightly better than my vegan version.

      • June 3, 2013 at 6:39 PM #

        I love banana’s so I would up the banana to 2 would I have to decrease anything if I do that?

      • June 3, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

        Oh yay!! Please let me know how it turns out! I hope you’ll still love it, even though it’s a mild banana flavor. You definitely get the molasses flavor and notes of cinnamon and sweetness so it’s fabulous still. 🙂

    • June 3, 2013 at 6:46 PM #

      Well, if you do the gluten-free version, I’d probably try adding 1/4 cup more ground up oat flour…not sure though..just guessing off hand. It would be too mushy otherwise. Just use 2 small bananas. I guess I need to try my gluten free version with 2 bananas and upping the oat flour and see myself. You can still taste the banana, it’s just not strong like in my vegan version.

      • June 3, 2013 at 6:58 PM #

        I am going to stick to the recipe you don’t mess with perfection! Will let you know how it turns out, my friend is having a BBQ and is GF and I am going to make this to take there.

    • June 11, 2013 at 6:06 AM #

      Suzanne I just saw your last note! I hope you were able to make the cake and if so, I hope it turned out okay! I’ve had two people make it so far with great results, so I hope so! Anyways, thanks again 🙂

      • June 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM #

        I got so busy I forgot to report back, yes I made it exactly as you wrote it and it was amazing. My friend and everyone loved it. She asked that I make it for the next BBQ also on July 4th. Also, I get repeat requests for your chocolate chip cookies making those this weekend also.

    • June 12, 2013 at 4:42 AM #

      Oh, wonderful Suzanne!!! Thank you so much, you made my day. I’m so happy everybody enjoyed it. So happy to hear about the cookies too 🙂

  2. June 3, 2013 at 6:31 PM #

    WOW Brandi these cakes look fantastic!! I love Christina’s blog so much–I remember seeing that cake on her blog and bookmarking it. Your adaptations to the cake sound so delicious–almond flour in anything is so good! Haha I’m so happy you temporarily got over your banana aversion long enough to try this–when I saw “banana” on your blog, I did a double take!

    • June 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM #

      Thank you so much! I ate the gluten-free version in 2 days, it was SO good! Haha! I just laughed out loud at your “double take” comment! I know…but honestly after this turned out so good, I swer, I started thinking of all your banana recipes that I’m willing to try now! I can’t do them in smoothies though…yuck!

  3. June 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM #

    Think I will try the gluten free version – I trust you and if that is your fav then so be it!
    To think, I never baked before following your blog – now I have turned so many people onto your gluten free cookies!

    • June 3, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

      Cindy-you just made my day! All I want is to inspire people to get in the kitchen and if I’ve inspired you to bake-that makes me so happy. It means so much that you are making/enjoying and sharing my recipes! 🙂

  4. June 3, 2013 at 8:53 PM #

    This looks fantastic! I would love to try these out! They look so good! 🙂

  5. June 4, 2013 at 3:28 AM #

    Oh.my.GOODNESS! This looks/sounds sooooo amazing! Thank you for figuring out how to make it vegan and gluten-free! I have all the ingredients listed, so I have no excuse not to make this asap. 😉

    • June 4, 2013 at 5:52 AM #

      Thank you Raechel! Yes, it was important since we personally are vegan and mostly gluten-free and so many of my readers are gluten-free. Of course, if one isn’t they certainly can follow the original recipe if they want! 🙂 I just couldn’t resist making this after seeing Christina post the original recipe. They are all wonderful. Yes, please make it and let me know if you do! 🙂

  6. June 4, 2013 at 4:00 AM #

    The GF version is very lovely! And maybe we might get you to like bananas 😉

    • June 4, 2013 at 5:53 AM #

      Hey now, that’s pushing it, lol! I can handle them more now…as long as it is in dessert 🙂

  7. June 4, 2013 at 4:20 AM #

    You’re amazing, Brandi. You obviously put a lot of work in these recipes and it shows. And your photography is quite beautiful, too.

    • June 4, 2013 at 5:54 AM #

      You’re so sweet John! Thank you so much. It was a lot of fun!! 🙂

  8. June 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM #

    OHHH sweet deliciousness! I love your coconut topping recipe, AMAZING! I love bananas, but don’t like them in my baked goods (UNLESS it’s banana bread.) So I am sure that one banana would be perfect! Just enough to bind things together without the overwhelming flavor! These cakes look so good.

    • June 5, 2013 at 5:18 AM #

      Thank you so much Brittany! Yes, I agree…the one banana was just enough of banana without overwhelming me. My hubby who loves bananas even preferred it with one banana in the gluten-free version. He thought he vegan version was too banana-ish because it was a smaller cake (recipe) so the banana flavor was more pronounced.

  9. June 4, 2013 at 5:07 PM #

    Brandi, I am SO impressed by your experimentation in the kitchen. Reading your post, I was thinking, “Look … at … you … go, GIRL!” Love it!

    And, I know, bananas, who knew, right?! I felt the exact same thing when I took the first bite of the cake I created. I’m really excited that it inspired you to make it your own, and not one version, but two!

    Chef Ming Tsai of Simply Ming fame said it perfectly, paraphrasing … he just loves it when people change his recipes and make them their own because it means that now they’re really cooking =) To that I say, “amen, brother, amen.”

    Great job as always, Brandi, and thanks so much again for the love and shout out. You’re terrific (and congrats on winning Best Dessert for your bars too!)

    xo!

    • June 5, 2013 at 5:32 AM #

      Thank you so much Christina! I agree with that wonderful saying. I mean really…girl, you got me to try bananas, lol!! Such a fabulous cake…I was eating it like crazy. Thanks again! I’m making your cardamom carjeta next!!!

  10. June 4, 2013 at 5:28 PM #

    I’m in love with all three versions! You’re a trooper for experimenting with this so that you can give us three options. I’m going to try each one because they all look fabulous – so light, fluffy and flavourful! I’ve been dying to make frosting with coconut milk since I’ve been seeing it on so many blogs lately. Yours looks ridiculously good – so thick ‘n creamy, it looks just like cream cheese! Fabulous post, Brandi.

  11. June 5, 2013 at 2:33 AM #

    OMG PERFECT! Thank you so much for the variation in recipes – helps so much! 😀

    • June 5, 2013 at 5:21 AM #

      Wonderful! I figured 3 versions would give nobody an excuse NOT to try this cake!! 😉

  12. June 5, 2013 at 8:08 AM #

    If you start your own bakery, I will be your first customer. These cakes looks really good and I will buy all 3 versions 🙂 Am searching for molasses over here for my bread but it seems hard to find….

  13. June 5, 2013 at 10:29 AM #

    Waw, Brandi! The 2 versions are all looking equally delicious! I love, love that special molasses frosting too! MMMMMMM! You are certainly a cool baker!

    • June 5, 2013 at 7:56 PM #

      Thank you so much Sophie! Baking is definitely a passion of mine…something feels off if I’m not baking 🙂

  14. June 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM #

    Hi! You have been awarded the “shine on award”. Please visit http://eatliveburp.net/2013/06/05/shine-on-award/ for details.

  15. June 5, 2013 at 5:08 PM #

    These cakes look yummy. I have never tried gluten free cakes and I actually like bananas so this may be a good start.

    • June 5, 2013 at 7:57 PM #

      I guarantee you will notice no difference, the texture and flavor was just as good, better in fact, that the one I made with whole wheat flour!!

  16. June 5, 2013 at 10:13 PM #

    Delicious – it looks so moist, creamy and fantastic 🙂

  17. June 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM #

    Awesome how you improved the recipe and as always your photos look amazing 😉

    • June 11, 2013 at 6:07 AM #

      Thank you so much Thom-you’re too sweet!

      • June 11, 2013 at 9:36 AM #

        Thanks you are too with your comments !!! Thanks 🙂

  18. June 11, 2013 at 12:28 AM #

    You really are the sweetest (ha!) baker to make 2 versions so all your readers can enjoy! I can’t wait to try the GF vegan version. I love cooking with oat flour, too. And almond flour is a nice protein boost. Thanks again!
    -Dana

    • June 11, 2013 at 6:09 AM #

      Thank you so much Dana! I ate the whole cake in 2 days, haha! It was so good!! I liked it straight out the fridge and also would toast a couple of pieces in my mini bake toaster oven…oh my, so good! Please let me know if you try it! Oh, and yes, it’s so important for me to please my readers , I have so many gluten-free readers and I’ve pretty much gone gluten-free for the most part anyways. 🙂

  19. June 16, 2013 at 2:48 AM #

    Just followed your comments from Christina’s post to this vegan adaptation of her recipe. I have a few vegan friends who adore bananas so I’m going to make your version for a party next weekend! Hm, now… whether to make the GF version or the wheat-flour vegan version? You did say your preference was for the oat flour one so maybe I’ll go with that 🙂
    Thanks for putting the time and effort into creating these recipe versions for your readers. You’re wonderful Brandi!! xx

    • June 16, 2013 at 7:03 AM #

      You’re so sweet Laura! Thank you! My readers are everything to me. Um, the vegan one is yummy but I would definitely make the gluten-free version for the party because its a taller cake and would suit it better. It also holds together a bit more. I finished it in 2 days, it was so good! If you’re planning on making the frosting as well, make sure you get a real good thick coconut cream , because it may get too soft if it sits out too long or if the party is outside. I had a really good can so it did pretty well sitting out. But you could always add just a basic vanilla frosting with some molasses added to it also and that could work too. Please let me know how it turns out! Thank you so much!! 🙂

      • June 16, 2013 at 3:03 PM #

        Thanks for the reply Brandi! The good thing at the moment is that it’s winter here in Australia, so even if we sit outside it’ll be cold enough for the frosting to stay together. I’ll look out for some beautiful thick coconut cream though. Sounds so delicious! I’ll let you know how I go with the recipe. Love the idea of the taller cake… plus I’m a huge fan of oats anyway so the idea of adding oats makes me happy! Thanks again lovely… your readers (me included!) are really lucky x

    • June 18, 2013 at 6:56 PM #

      Sounds wonderful Laura! A friend just made this for a party and it was a hit, even with the coconut cream, it held up well! So, I hope it works out for you too! 🙂

  20. June 17, 2013 at 3:08 PM #

    Oh wow! That’s a great looking plate!

  21. Loni Gaboya
    June 18, 2013 at 9:31 PM #

    Brandi, I just want to thank you for sharing this recipe. I loved the cake! So did my family:) Thank you for giving step by step directions and for using amazing ingredients. I really was so happy that the cake I made, it came out looking like yours and was so moist and delicious! You are amazing!

    • June 19, 2013 at 5:46 PM #

      Thank you so much Loni for the feedback! Thank you as well for posting a pic on Facebook! You are so right, your cake turned out exactly as my photo and it looked beautiful! That just proves its an easy recipe for people too. I’m so happy everybody enjoyed it! Thank you. 🙂

  22. Elilta B.
    June 25, 2013 at 9:18 PM #

    Ok, I am not much of a baker…. But I decided to make the vegan version of the banana cake…. Loved it, my husband loved it. My sister and her children came over today, the cake is all gone…. They inhaled it…. I guess I will have to make some more soon….

    • June 27, 2013 at 10:18 AM #

      Awesome Elilta! Thanks so much for the feedback here. I’m thrilled that you made the vegan version because others have made the gluten-free, so all around success with both, yay! Yes, go make more! 🙂

  23. July 15, 2013 at 6:15 AM #

    Banana,molasses and cinnamon…!This combination is so great!!Your gluten-free version is really interesting!The almond flour it really gives the moisture that nobody expects!I will DEFINITELY make it!!

    • July 16, 2013 at 5:02 AM #

      Thank you very much! Yes, almond flour is my favorite “flour”! Please let me know if you make it 🙂

  24. August 5, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

    I do love bananas, but I know that you don’t taste much of the banana when you bake with it. Anyway, this cake looks wonderful. And I love, love, love that you have a vegan as well as a gluten free/no oil version. Anyone can make this cake. Celeste 🙂

    • August 5, 2013 at 10:02 PM #

      Oh yes, the banana flavor I can totally handle in baking because it is milder and I didn’t use too much in the recipe. It truly is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made and I never would have thought I’d say that about bananas! 🙂

  25. August 15, 2013 at 6:40 PM #

    DIVINE!!!!!!! I love banana-based cakes, especially with cream frosting, miam miam!

  26. August 30, 2013 at 9:50 PM #

    So pretty and sweet. I think bananas can be a powerful secret ingredient!

  27. September 6, 2013 at 11:16 AM #

    This looks so sweet and delicious, I am sorry I haven’t been around sooner but haven’t been receiving your posts in my email!

    Cheers
    CCU

    • September 7, 2013 at 5:40 AM #

      Don’t apologize…..I’m so behind on blog reading, it’s crazy! Thank you Uru!

  28. September 13, 2013 at 10:11 PM #

    Bananas, Frosting, and Molasses …OH MY! Licking screen NOW 🙂
    http://www.prettybitchescancooktoo.com

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  1. Vegan Gluten-Free Banana Date Muffins | Eat,live,burp - June 11, 2013

    […] inspired by Brandi’s gluten free banana cakes and wanted to bake something with almond flour last weekend. This recipe has many firsts to its […]

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