Original Banana Snacking Cake (circa 2005)

This simple, straightforward, gluten-free banana cake is mighty tasty despite its humble unadorned appearance. If it came to a party it would be a wallflower. The shy bookworm. The sweet no one notices, lost as they are in the shuffle and glitz of more charismatic confections. She may not ever be the center of attention or the one you call upon to impress your boss, but she's the one you turn to when you need something satisfying.

And real.

And comforting.

And like lasting friendship that doesn't care about the superficial- if your shoes are out of style or your nails remain unmanicured- she is lovely sharing a mug of tea.

Original Banana Snacking Cake Recipe (circa 2005)

We decided to use up our over-ripe bananas yesterday and baked one of our favorite cake recipes for snacking- an easy banana sheet cake featuring almond meal. This is a humble no-frills cake, true. It's not fancy. And it's not photogenic. But it is moist and delicious even without frosting. Trust me, Bubela.


1 1/2 heaping cups almonds- raw or blanched
1/2 cup rice or sorghum flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons GF Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinches of fresh grated nutmeg, to taste
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 large happy free-range organic eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup extra light olive oil
1 1/2 cups organic light brown sugar
3 medium very ripe bananas, cut up, mashed
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract (or Kosher vanilla powder)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 10x12-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment.

Process the almonds in a food processor by pulsing on and off until a fine almond meal is formed. Pour the almond meal into a dry mixing bowl. Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and spices and whisk to combine.

In a clean mixing bowl beat the eggs till light and fluffy; add the olive oil, light brown sugar, banana mash and vanilla. Beat well to incorporate.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet mix and beat for two minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in a preheated oven for 33 to 35 minutes until done. Check the center for doneness with a wooden pick. The cake should appear slightly golden brown at the edge, firm to a light touch.

Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.

This fragrant cake is very moist and slightly chewy from the almond meal. It's lovely with tea for an afternoon snack. And it freezes well for future snacking. I slice and wrap each piece in foil, then store them in a freezer bag. Serves ten to twelve.

Karina's Tips:

If you are frosting the cake, line the pan with foil before you fill it. This makes it easy to remove and frost the cooled cake. To remove: lift the cake carefully from the pan by holding the foil edges on the opposite long sides and place on a cutting board/surface.

Frost with vanilla-nutmeg cream cheese frosting, if you like, and scatter chopped nuts or coconut all over the top, if desired. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden the frosting (for ease in cutting). Remove the cake; cut into pieces, wrap in foil, and freeze in a large zip-loc bag or container. Unwrap before thawing so the frosting doesn't stick to the foil.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Slacker Mom said...

Next time I have some overripe bananas, I will try this recipe.

I love banana bread...now that I am becoming a braver baker..I may have to try to convert my Mom's banana bread...oh..so good with tea...

yum. Craving has officially arrived. :)

gilly said...

Hi Karina! It sure look photogenic to me - YUM!

Nina said...

Hi Karina,
I haven't yet gotten around to buying a food processor so I've been buying almond meal for baking. How many cups of meal do you think 1 and 1/2 cups of almonds would yield once ground?

Maeve said...


I followed your recipe (more or less!) today, but I couldn't bear to add almonds, given the fat content, so I substituted whole chestnuts (I had a jar leftover from Christmas) - and it was delicious, so thank you for the inspiration.

Karina said...

Hi Nina!

Good question. I use heaping cups. The rough estimate is: 1 pound [16 oz.] of almonds will yield about 4 cups of meal. So I'd say, it is about 2 cups of almond meal.

This makes a very textured chewy cake. If you want a slightly finer cake, use more starch in proportion to the meal. You want 2 1/2 cups flour total.


Karina said...

Hi Maeve!

What a wonderful idea. I've never baked with chestnuts. [I know almonds are high in fat, but I wanted to add how *good* they are for you. Adding almonds to my daily diet (and baking with almond meal), lowered my total cholesterol 50 points. And my good cholesterol is 100.]



Nina said...

Your HDL is 100? Wow. That is off-the-chart good. I'm jealous. Nothing I eat (including almonds and walnuts) or don't eat, seems to bring my cholesterol down. Last summer I started taking fish oil capsules. A few months later, my LDL (bad cholesterol) was UP 47 points. And it was high to begin with. So I immediately stopped the fish oil and a few months later, I was back to my "normal" high LDL. I don't think my doctor believes that fish oil was the cause of the spike but all other factors stayed the same. But I guess I've gone tangential...

Karina said...

Hi Nina!

Wow - interesting about the fish oil! I don't take any [I take vegetarian D caps].

I use olive oil as my only oil, daily. I eat a lot of fresh garlic [cooked].

And the only other changes I made were to use Smart Balance Light with Flax Oil [instead of the little bit of butter I used to use on toast]; and I drink a lot of green tea and once a day, a cup of yerba mate - because I gave up coffee.

It's all interesting isn't it? I'm always learning something new...



~M said...

I have been trying several of your flourless cakes and this one is amazing (no surprise, though, since I adore the frosted banana cake without frosting too!). I seriously could eat at least half the pan right now, when it's still warm and almost gooey. My entire apartment smells of banana goodness. I will have to retry the apple cake again with the starch - although it was super tasty as is, confining the messiness to a bowl.

I wonder if you could make a sweet potato cake, subbing sweet potato for the mashed bananas - would you say that the mashed bananas equal about 2 cups? I imagine this would be great grilled or pan-fried, as a healthier corn-less cornbread with chili (I have been having corn issues).

By the way, thanks to your oven tips, and a random discovery that my oven thermometer wasn't centered within itself (I replaced it), I now have come to terms with my oven - I raise the temperature about 15 degrees and it behaves, baking around the suggested time! Thank you for all your tips!

Karina said...

Hey ~M!

Ah - I am jealous. We just got back from a hectic trip to Santa Fe. No cake in sight here. Sigh. Must bake something tomorrow...

Check out my Sweet Potato Cornbread recipe. That might convert, too, to a cornless cake. I'll look into later...

Glad you got your oven figured out! Ack.

Enjoy the banana cake!



Cynthia said...


I've been following your blog now for a couple of months. It is fantastic! I am not celiac, but I do have a gluten intolerance and my doc suggested I cut out gluten as much as possible. Your site has been a life-saver. I am feeling much better significantly decreasing the gluten in my diet. I bought the bread machine (my first one!) upon your recommendation and have been turning out some beautiful, tasty loaves. The Pamela's mixes are excellent and my pantry is stocked. A couple of weeks ago I made the Chocolate Chip Coconut Cake. And now -- tonight - the Flourless Banana Cake. It isn't even frosted yet and I can't leave it alone! Thank you for your recipes, encouragement and your inspiration!

By the way, I did use 2 cups of almond meal. It worked like a dream.

Another Celtic Jewish lass,

Karina said...

Hi Cynthia!

I'm so glad the gluten-free diet is helping you feel better. So many gluten sensitive people are undiagnosed - almost three million!

Thanks so much for stopping in. Glad to know there's another *slainte and shalom* girl out there! ;-)


Yehuda said...

Great recipe. I made it for Pesach and it was amazing. I was impressed at how few eggs there were. I used less almond and replaced it with matzah cake meal since I don't have a gluten allergy.

Karina said...

Hi Yehuda!

Thanks for stopping in and giving us the matzah meal tip [I have a lot of non-celiac readers].




Nina said...

This is a great little invention. I cut back the sugar by 1/3 to make it a bit more nutritious and it seemed sweet enough. Not as pretty though. The edges were chewy right out of the oven but by the next day, the chewiness was gone. Sigh. It seems that with the GF baked goods the texture can change rapidly. One day I've made a nice muffin with a crunchy top and the next day it's gone soft.

Karina said...

Hi Nina,

No doubt about it - the crust on GF baked goods is best the first day. They do go soft.

Heating and grilling banana bread/cake/muffins works to jazz it up, though.

I grill it in a little light olive oil until the edges get browned and crispy.



Anonymous said...

Soooo tasty...but mine was very crumbly. Not dry, it would stick when pressed with the back of a fork, but almost to fluffy. It couldn't be sliced without falling apart. Do you think maybe I didn't grind the almonds fine enough?

Anonymous said...

Hi there, and thanks for this great recipe! :) Skipped the eggs, as I'm vegan, and it worked fine - I had a little more baking soda/powder and banana instead (I'd usually use boiled linseed liquid, pretty much like egg white once the seeds are sieved out). A bit too sweet for my taste, though, and after a couple of days it's gone rather excessively moist so next time I'll cut down the sugar to 1 cup. Still, very nice!

Karina said...

Hi Anon,

I'm not sure - maybe? The almonds should be a fine meal- like whole grain flour. These nut flour cakes are different in texture, but I never had this one fall apart.

Hey Anon,

I'm happy to know this cake is possible without eggs. Thanks for sharing that piece of info.

I do find that gluten-free cakes fare best when wrapped and frozen for future enjoyment. A cake like this- with bananas- will definitely attract moisture and get sticky after a couple of days.

I think the extra banana helped make the cake "too sweet", perhaps? If I was going to make this without eggs, I'd use another egg sub (not more banana).

Thanks for the report! ;) Feedback is good.


Andrea said...

Love the Banana cake, so did everyone in the family. Now I want to triple the recipe and make it in a bundt pan. Do you think it will fall apart, and how much cooking time should I add?

Karina said...

Hi Andrea- Well...first, glad you liked the recipe!

Next- since I have not made this any other way, it would be a guess.

I would double the recipe- based on flour/sugar amounts. And I would bake it for say, 50 minutes, and test.

But before I did, I would look up standard banana cake recipes for a bundt pan and compare amounts (flour and sugar) and baking times.

As for the falling apart issue- I might add a little xanthan gum or gelatin- say half a teaspoon.

If you try this- please stop back and share your thoughts for others. I love bundt style cakes- I bet our readers do, too!



Rebecca said...

Must say, the snacking cake was fabulous - I didn't realize how much I missed them! I haven't quite figured out my new location (I grew up in Alberta, then moved to eastern Ontario, and now to the West Coast) and my new silicon bakeware. I doubled the recipe and put some walnuts and chocolate in one of them (yum!). The cake on the bottom rack had a burnt bottom, but the top camoe out okay, but the cake on the top rack ended up with the bottom still stuck to the pan (which I scraped off and ate). It doesn't look pretty, but it sure is good! Maybe next time I'll leave it in the pan or only make one recipe.

Karina said...

Hi Rebecca!

Yes- when baking a cake- it's best on the center rack. Too low and the bottom cooks too fast; too high and the top gets over-done. Sharing the oven (with two cakes) can cause uneven heating, as well. It's best to make one cake, and bake it in the center. Or two equal smaller sizes, centered, side by side.

I've never used silicone bakeware. For this cake I use a metal baking pan and line it with greased foil.

I have heard that certain GF batters can stick to silicone.

I like your addtions- nuts and chocolate. I may make a version this week with chocolate chips.



Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. The almond-based cakes look great. Do you know how many cups of puree do the 3 bananas yield? I also want to substitute sweet potatoes like ~m but am allergic to corn.

Instead of anonymous, I'll be...a corny-free [sweet] potato-head

Karina said...

Hi Corny-free [sweet] potato-head! ;)

I'm gonna say, about a cup.

So for three medium bananas, I would sub about a cup of sweet potato puree, or pumpkin, or even applesauce.

I'd boost the cinnamon and spices, too; to taste. Pumpkin, applesauce, and sweet potatoes can use a flavor boost- like 1/2 teaspoon extra cinnamon, pie spice, or even ginger...yummy!

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

I am pleased to report corn-free sweet potato perfection. I realised that your sweet potato cornbread was closer to what I wanted - less sugar, springform roundness and height. Definitely Deceptively Delicious! I used 1 cup pecanmeal and 1 cup Pamela's, only 1/3 cup canola oil, 1 full cup sweet potato, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3 eggs, 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie spice, and baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, baking powder, and a bit of salt.

Karina said...

Fantastic! Thank you for stopping back to post your success. I love the idea of pecan meal (it's the one nut I'm not allergic to).

Thanks for sharing your recipe.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karina,

I absolutely love this cake. Made it 3 days ago and it is gone. I did some tweaking and this is what I changed. I used 2 cups almond meal, 3/4 cups agave nectar iso sugar, 1/4 cup oil and added 1/2 cup of flax meal. Yummy! yummy! yummy! My kids love it too and it felt great to see them eat it cause it's so healthy. Shh! don't tell them!!

Thank you so much for your recipes. I've tried 2 and I love both of them. Will definitely be trying more.

GIM - Gluten intolerant momma.

Jamie said...

Hi Katrina,

I was wondering if there is anyway to cut out the eggs without comprimising the integrity of the cake? My one year old son has multiple food allergies and eggs is one of them. He is the pickiest eater on earth, but bananas is one of his favorite foods. Can you please help me. Also, I'm a little weary on the almonds due to a peanut allergy, and he hasn't been tested them yet, so is there anything else I can do instead?

Thank you for your time.

Karina said...

Hi Jamie! I don't believe a nut based cake will work ver well without eggs to bind it.

I do have more banana cake recipes on the blog. Look for my Frosted Banana Spice cake recipe under Sweets. That one would work with an egg replacer. It also has a recipe modification below it for allergy-free cupcakes.

Also- check my Sweet Banana Polenta Cake recipe- also yummy- and would work with egg replacer.

Good luck!


Brenda said...

Love, love, LOVE your recipes, Karina! You are my hero! My 4-year old son went GFCF three months ago and every GFCF recipe I tried was terrible! I was sure we were doomed to eating tasteless or worse forever! I stumbled upon your site and wow, what a treasure trove! Without fail, your recipes turn out DELICIOUS! Your photos are beautiful, your writing is honest and funny, and your recipes are fabulous. Just made this banana snack cake for the second time and it was even better than the first. In my spare time, which is too rare to believe, I browse your site looking for the next one to try. Your potato soup is my new favorite comfort food and, boy, do I need it! I've made it once a week without fail since I've discovered it. Your meatloaf is outstanding. I haven't even been able to save the leftovers for the shepherd's pie. I threw away all my other useless GFCF recipes and books! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your yumminess!

Karina said...

Brenda- You made my night! What a great comment. Thank you so much. Hope to hear from you again- soon! Take care.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful site and recipes, I will be sure and try many of them in the future :) I made this snack cake today with a couple of changes, and it turned out lovely! I used virgin coconut oil instead of light olive oil (very heat stable and non processed/plus has got all that good lauric acid and thyroid stimulating effects!) and did 1/2 cup light brown sugar and 1/2 cup agave nectar. I also didn't have sorghum or rice flour so I used arrowroot flour. It was warm, banana-y bliss! I use bob's red mill almond flour so used the 2 cups as you recommended above. My 4 and 6 year old gobbled it up and asked for more, and I wasn't afraid to let them keep snacking cause it's so good for them! Thanks for the wonderful recipes and ideas!

CtheG said...

This is the first gluten free recipe I have every tried. I substituted the brown sugar for agave nectar as I do not eat sugar. It was DELICIOUS. I shared it with some friends and they could not believe it was gluten and sugar free! This will be something I share with family and friends for years to come. Thank you so much for the recipe. Also - I read in the comments that the cake can get crumbly the next day and I must say that with agave nectar that cake is really moist even on day 3. Cheers to you for coming up with such wonderful ways to be gluten free! Thank you!!!!!

Doreen said...

Hi Karina,
This is sooo good!!! I tried it last night, it filled the house with the warm scents of the cinnamon hmmm! awesome!! i didn't have enough almonds so I mixed with walnuts. My kids ate 2 pieces each this morning, and my husband who doens't really like sweets... LOVED IT!!
Thank you :))

Karina Allrich said...

Becky- Thank you for stopping back to share- I'm glad it works with agave! Yay.

CtheG- Fab. Funny- this was one of my first post-celiac cake experiments. And it's so simple. But so yummy. Thanks!

Doreen- Ooh- walnuts. Sounds divine. I've been thinking I'd like to try this recipe with pecan meal, too. Thanks for your kind words.


vogtforvogt said...


This is the best snaking cake ever...as you said---perfect with with afternoon tea! I made it with pumpkin because I didn't have bananas and substituted brown sugar for 1 cup of maple syrup. Its came out moist and wonderful! Thanks!!

Diane Kolack said...

We made this last night and swapped 1 cup cooked and mashed carrots for the bananas + added some unsweetened coconut. It was amazing! Thank you for the recipe. I had never used nuts before instead of flour and will definitely be experimenting with that again!

Kathy F. in Ct said...

Hi Karina,
This recipe is awesome. I used this recipe as a muffin recipe, using a 12-tin muffin pan, and it came out great! The baking time is less, 20-25 minutes. I added 3/4 cup of chocolate chips too, yum. Just let the muffins cool, before removing them..gently. But they're so moist. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Love the recipe, and i don't even like bananas! the second time i made it with apple peach sauce instead and used a little less cinnamon and only 3/4 cup of the sugar. was amazing. my daughter has requested it as her birthday cake!

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Karina
I am in a bit of a quandary. I not only have Celiac, but also cannot tolerate dairy, soy and am Hypoglycemic, so sugar, honey, maple syrup is out as well. I am meeting my daughter's future in-laws and am looking for a meal we can all eat together. They are Vegetarians. I want to make a Crab Corn chowder, but am wondering if I can substitute the milk with either Coconut milk or Hemp Milk?? What would you use in place of flour? I am anxiously awaiting your expert response.

Karina Allrich said...

I vote for coconut milk. They'll love it.

Do you have any kind of starch for thickening? Arrowroot or cornstarch or potato starch work. Make a slurry first with a little liquid, add to the hot liquid/broth in the pot, stir till thickened.

FYI I have a coconut milk based roasted vegetable chowder recipe here that is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free; and a corn chowder (you can leave out the chicken and it is delicious).

Good luck- and hope your day is delicious!


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