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a slice of banana cake on a white plate with cream cheese icing on top.
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5 from 3 votes

Gluten-Free Banana Cake

This gluten-free banana cake is moist, fluffy, and rich. Topped with a tangy cream cheese icing, this is an easy yet impressive sheet cake recipe that your family will love. It can also be made entirely dairy-free.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Cooling Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 16
Calories: 266kcal

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • 8"x8" baking pan (or 9"x9")

Ingredients

Banana Cake

  • cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup salted butter use dairy-free if preferred. If using unsalted, add an extra ¼ teaspoon salt to the batter.
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas (medium size)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup milk use dairy-free if preferred
  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum I use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour (blue bag)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Icing

  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened use dairy-free if preferred.
  • ¼ cup salted butter, softened if using unsalted, add a small pinch of salt to the icing.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Banana Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease and line an 8"x8" (or 9"x9") baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), use the paddle attachment to cream the sugar and dairy-free butter together for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Crack the eggs into the bowl one at a time and mix after each addition. Add the ripe bananas and mix, starting on low and increasing to medium speed, until they are fully broken down into tiny pieces within the wet batter. Mix in the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and half of the dairy-free milk.
  • In a separate small bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Pour half into the batter and mix gently to incorporate. Add the remaining dairy-free milk, mix, and add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on low speed just until everything is combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, ensuring no dry spots.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. If using an 8"x8" pan, bake for approximately 38-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. If using a 9"x9" pan, begin to check the cake with a toothpick around 30 minutes and remove when the toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes, or until it is cool enough for you to lift it out of the pan with the parchment paper. Place on a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours or overnight.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • When the cake is cool, prepare the cream cheese icing. Place the softened dairy-free cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
  • Add half of the powdered sugar to the bowl and gently mix, starting on low, until incorporated. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix, starting on low and eventually turning the speed to medium-high until fluffy. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • Place the banana cake on a serving board. Use the rubber spatula to transfer the icing to the completely cooled banana cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the icing all across the top of the cake. It will be a thick layer of icing. Use a sharp knife to slice the cake into 9 large pieces or 16 smaller pieces. Be sure to wipe the knife after each cut for clean edges. Top each piece of cake with a banana slice and enjoy!
  • Optional: Place the iced cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour for the icing to firm up before serving. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Notes

  • To ripen bananas quickly: Preheat the oven to 300ºF and place bananas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping the bananas halfway. The peels of the bananas will turn black, and the inside will turn sweeter and more ripe. Allow the bananas to cool before peeling and using in the cake batter. 
  • Dairy: Feel free to use regular dairy, or dairy-free alternatives based on your preference.
  • Try some swaps: Add ⅔ cup of chocolate chips in the batter, sprinkle chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts) on top of the icing, or use less powdered sugar for more of a glaze rather than icing.
  • Storage: Banana cake can be stored at a cool room temperature for a few hours. If it is too warm or if the cake is not to be eaten for several hours, place the banana cake in the fridge. Leftover slices can also be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Place slices in an air-tight covered container and freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost, place the container in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a few hours. Note that the icing may "melt" slightly while defrosting as condensation forms, but it will still taste amazing. 
 
Nutrition facts are an estimation.

Nutrition

Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 40.7g | Protein: 2.1g | Fat: 12.4g | Saturated Fat: 6.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.8g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 1.78mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 0.25mg