This Healthier Whole Wheat Banana Cake is dairy-free friendly, refined sugar-free and so moist you will not believe it. Plus it’s covered with a healthy 3-ingredient peanut butter frosting that is bowl-licking good.
In honor of my 4 year wedding anniversary, I’ve updated the photos in this post. Original recipe from May 2016 is the same!
So Drew and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary this weekend! It’s crazy to think this time last year we we had our mini-moon to the west coast of Michigan and saying “It’d be really nice to live here again, huh? …When do you think we’ll be back…?”
I honestly didn’t expect it to be so soon, but the world has a funny way of working out I guess.
We spent our weekend up in Grand Rapids, about an hour away from where we live, to do some wandering. And by wandering I mean checking out the countless breweries. I’m not a huge beer drinker, but if I am going to drink beer, I want it to be from a microbrewery. Translation: places that typically have decent food too.
Michigan has SO many breweries now, especially in the GR area. My favorite was Founders. The atmosphere was really cool, a huge outdoor patio area, and they’re menu of sandwiches was huge. As for a beer, I got their Rubaeus on nitro (super smooth) – deligh. Drew got a stout and an ale, don’t remember which ones 🙂 I meant to take pictures of our weekend. I even brought my DSLR, but then realized I forgot my SD card. *womp womp*
But guys, I just have to tell you about the breakfast place real quick… Drew knew I was super excited about breakfast (duh) so he obviously let me choose the spot, no questions asked. So I found Anna’s House on yelp and saw they had a lot of good reviews and a few locations in the area.
Local to GR with multiple locations? I figured that was a good sign. Then I looked at the menu online and saw they had sweet potato brussels sprouts hash… HELLO, winner winner. But really that was just one of the reasons it checked off the boxes on my list. The other reason? I scoped out some images and saw their decor was light blue, turquoise and green. I mean, those two factors alone (food and my favorite colors) were basically enough, right?!
When we walked in and sat down, I was just so excited at how cute everything was. Drew thought I was crazy but at least he’s used to me by now.
All this to say, go check out Anna’s House in GR if you’re in the area 🙂
Okay, on to what you came here for…
Whole Wheat Banana Cake
As another little celebration of our anniversary, I wanted to recreate a healthier version of one of our wedding cake flavors: banana cake with peanut butter frosting <– YES we legit had that as one of the layers in our cake, and yes it was freaking amazing.
I think my cake baker thought I was a little crazy, but I’m fairly certain it was a big hit. I’ve been obsessed with the peanut butter and banana pairing for a ridiculously long time, so it only felt right to have this combo on our wedding day.
Okay, can I be honest here? Cake is not my go-to dessert.
Cookies, brownies, pie, ice cream? Absolutely. But cake? Can I have that a la mode, por favor? I think I typically feel that way because of how many grocery store bakery cakes I had growing up at all of my cousins birthday parties. Too much sugary frosting, not enough good cake.
But guys, THIS cake. So moist and flavorful. I’m seriously in love.
Let’s take a look at some of the star the ingredients shall we?
Ingredients for Healthy Banana Cake
- whole wheat white flour – you can also use a mix of whole wheat with all-purpose. Or use whole wheat pastry flour. I haven’t tested this with a gluten-free baking flour, but Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 is always my go-to.
- bananas – use extra ripe, spotty bananas for lots of flavor!
- milk + vinegar – to create a homemade buttermilk. Use a non-dairy milk like cashew, almond or coconut. Soymilk would also work.
- coconut sugar – the dry sweetener used in this cake. Light brown sugar or white sugar can also be subbed.
- coconut oil – the coconut oil should be softened, not liquid here.
- eggs – to help with the structure of the cake.
- honey – adds more sweetness and flavor.
- vanilla extract – always a good idea for cake.
Simple, wholesome, refined sugar-free, dairy-free friendly! And easy to make too.
How to make this banana cake
First – cream together the sugar and softened coconut oil.
Then – add in eggs, honey and vanilla.
Next – add in dry ingredients alternating with milk.
Finally – fold in mashed bananas.
All that is left is to divide your batter into two 9″ round cake pans, bake for about 35 minutes, and cool it in the freezer <–yes the freezer!
Don’t forget the peanut butter frosting
All you need for this peanut butter frosting is: chilled coconut cream, peanut butter and honey.
And it’s AH-mazing. Like, try not to lick the bowl, amazing.
Notes About This Banana Cake
Baking Temperature: This cake is baked at a lower temperature (275ºF) for a longer amount of time than traditional cakes. I read countless reviews from the recipe I adapted it from, and many of the reviewers said to follow the author’s lead on this. So that is what I did and I must also recommend this step. My cake also took less time than what was originally recommended, so check with a toothpick for doneness– mine took 35 minutes. You then transfer the cakes to the freezer to lock in moisture. Again, something I haven’t done before but definitely read a lot of the reviews (1700 total!) and many also followed through with this step.
The Sweetener: The color of the cake is a little darker because of the coconut sugar and honey. Granulated or brown sugar will also work, and will lighten up the color of the cake as well.
Texture: This cake is going to be a bit “heartier” of a cake if you’re used to baking with all purpose flour, but still amazing on flavor and super moist. You can also use a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat.
Ways to Celebrate with This Cake
1 Year Old Birthdays – I’ve heard from lots of readers and friends that have used this cake as a first birthday cake. So fun! If worried about the peanut butter, a basic vanilla frosting would work too.
Anniversaries – Obviously I am partial to this cake as an anniversary cake.
Mother & Father’s Day – A great cake to celebrate the parents and grandparents in your life.
Just Because – do we really need an excuse to make cake?!
If you make this banana cake, don’t forget to leave a comment and review below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too. Xx Ashley
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (`4–5 small bananas)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice* + 1 TBS apple cider vinegar (or buttermilk)
- 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar (or dry sweetener of choice)
- 3/4 cup softened coconut oil*
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 TBS vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter*
- 1 cup chilled coconut cream* (about 1 14oz can, see notes)
- 1/3 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 275ºF. Line two 9” round cake pans with parchment paper (cut in a circle), and grease edges of pan; set aside.
- Combine milk and vinegar in small bowl or large measuring cup, set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In large bowl using hand mixer, or bowl of stand mixer using paddle attachment, cream together coconut sugar and softened coconut oil on high until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. (Coconut sugar takes a bit longer to cream together than regular white granulated sugar.) Add in eggs one at a time, then vanilla and honey and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined.
- Start to add in flour, about 1/2 cup at at a time, mixing on low and alternating with milk/vinegar mixture. Once the flour and milk are fully combined, fold in mashed bananas with large spatula.
- Pour batter into prepared lined pans and bake for 25-35 minutes, turning the pans halfway through total time to ensure even baking. Cake is done when inserted toothpick comes out clean (no wet batter, but crumbs is okay). Check for doneness at 25 minutes, checking again every 3-4 minutes if necessary.
- Transfer pans immediately to freezer to cool, for 15-20 minutes. This allows the cakes to stay super moist. You can also cool in fridge for longer.
- While the cake is cooling, make your frosting: Using whisk attachment, combine peanut butter and honey. Add in chilled coconut cream (liquid poured into separate container) and whip until fluffy and thick. Transfer frosting bowl to freezer to thicken, about 10 minutes.
- Layer cake on stand or large plate and frost first layer, about 1/2” thick. Add second layer of cake and finish frosting. Top with fresh bananas if you’d like! Make sure to store cake in fridge until ready to serve**, and enjoy!
*I’ve used both non-dairy & regular dairy milk. Either will work, but always mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar to create a “buttermilk”.
Butter may be used 1:1 in place of coconut oil, but it should also be softened.
I used an all-natural peanut butter, nothing added. But whatever you have on had should work just fine.
I used a chilled overnight, 14oz can of coconut cream, which yielded about 1 cup of cream. There was still water in the bottom of the can, which I reserved for smoothies. You can also use chilled, full-fat coconut milk and scoop the cream off the top, but you will likely need two cans. If you can find coconut cream, I’d go that route.
FROSTING: Adapted from Minimalist Baker. I doubled the frosting recipe for the photos shown here. If you want a thicker layer in the middle as shown and plenty of frosting on the outside, double the recipe from what is written. With the coconut cream-based frosting, it will soften and “melt” slightly if kept at room temperature. Make sure cake is stored in fridge well before and after serving to keep thick frosting.
- Serving Size: 1/16th
- Calories: 309
- Sugar: 29
- Sodium: 239
- Fat: 8
- Saturated Fat: 2
- Unsaturated Fat: 6
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 53
- Fiber: 3
- Protein: 8
- Cholesterol: 35