This vegan banana cake is perfectly soft and moist packed with heaps of banana flavour and spices and coated in a super thick and creamy cinnamon flavoured buttercream frosting.
Banana cake is the cousin of banana bread. It’s all the flavour you love with a light, soft and moist texture of a layer cake. It will come as no surprise that I love banana recipes, with a café style banana bread, a healthy banana bread, banana pancakes and banana muffins recipe all having made their way into the archives of this website.
So if you are in the same boat and love bananas and banana bread, but are looking for a new recipe to use up your overripe bananas then this is the recipe for you.
I don’t know how I always end up with overripe bananas. It’s like when the week starts I am so optimistic that I’ll eat fruit so I buy bananas and by the end of the week I’m making cake, banana bread or these AMAZING chocolate and oat banana cookies. So basically my health intentions get turned into sugar filled treats and I’m actually ok about it.
The thing with this cake is that you HAVE to use overripe bananas. You know, the ones that have gone spotty and you’re starting to question if they’ve gone too far. If you use bright yellow bananas that are at the perfect ripeness to enjoy as a snack, then you’re just not going to get the flavour and texture that we need for this cake.
How to make this vegan banana layer cake
This cake could not be simpler to make. All you’ll need are a couple of large mixing bowls, a whisk, a spatula and 2x 7inch baking pans. If you don’t have 7 inch pans, you can size up to 8 or down to 6 and this will still work, you will just have to adjust your baking time.
Start by mashing your super ripe bananas until they are smooth. I just do this with my whisk if they are soft enough, otherwise a fork works well. Then to this bowl add your vanilla and canola (or any light tasting oil) and whisk up until it’s all combined.
Next, add in the sugars. We are using both brown and white sugar here both for flavour and for other baking science reasons (brown sugar = delicious molasses flavours + acid that will react with the bicarbonate of soda to help the cake rise). Add them to your bowl and whisk up.
In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and give them a mix with your spatula to combine. Then grab your 1 cup measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and top the rest of the cup up with dairy-free milk (I use oat milk).
Finally, bring it all together. Alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients to the wet and make sure to give a mix between each addition until you have a smooth batter (maybe with a few banana lumps which is totally ok!).
Pour the batter into your 2 prepared baking pans and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. To prepare the pans I just give them a spray all over with cooking oil, add a layer on the base of baking paper and then give that another light spray with oil. Doing this I never have an issue with the cake sticking.
Once the cakes are cooked, you want to let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning them out. This is also an important step to make sure the cake doesn’t crumble and break or stick to the sides while you’re trying to release it.
Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
While this cake certainly is delicious enough on it’s own, what really makes this layer cake is the creamy lashings of cinnamon flavoured buttercream in each bite. It perfectly complements the lightly spiced banana cake and is just super delicious.
Like usual, I am starting with my base recipe for vegan vanilla buttercream, scaling it down so I just have enough for the middle, top and sides, and simply adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to get the flavour I want.
The quantity of buttercream in this recipe is the perfect amount for a light coating around the sides and top (you can see I added a nice thick layer to the middle). I had a tiny bit left that I used to pipe the decorations on top which was great as it meant that I didn’t have any buttercream left over.
If you’re looking for a more traditional cream cheese frosting, you can use the recipe from my vegan red velvet cupcakes.
I love the flavour of bananas and this cake is something a little more fancy than your usual banana bread. I’ve kept it simple with a little piped decoration on top and some chopped walnuts for extra crunch but you can decorate this cake as simply or as fancy as you want it to be depending on the occasion.
If you have some questionable bananas sitting around, or have some banana fans in your life, then this is the perfect recipe to have on hand. Plus this cake is vegan, so perfect for people who need a dairy or egg free option.
More Layer Cake Recipes
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Vegan Banana Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream
For the banana cake:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 medium overripe bananas approx 200-220grams
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
For the cinnamon buttercream:
- 60 grams vegan butter
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1-2 tablespoons dairy-free milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 x 7 inch round cake pans with baking paper and oil spray.
- In a large bowl, sift together the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Lightly whisk to combine and set aside.
- In another large bowl, add your overripe bananas and mash until smooth. Add the vanilla and canola oil and whisk until smooth. Finally add in the white and brown sugar and mix until well combined.
- In a 1 cup measuring cup, add your white vinegar and then top up with dairy-free milk. Add a little to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine, then add a little of the dry ingredients and again mix until just incorporated. Repeat, alternating with the milk and dry ingredients until a thick batter has formed. Only mix until the batter has just come together as you don’t want to overmix.
- Pour the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the cinnamon buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the dairy-free/vegan butter and the vanilla and begin to beat until creamy. Add in the icing sugar and the cinnamon and continue beating. Slowly add about 1 tablespoon of dairy-free milk and let the mixer continue to run. Add a little bit more milk slowly ensuring to beat really well between additions until you get a nice thick and creamy frosting. If you add to much milk, just add in a little more icing sugar.
- Assemble the cake. Using a large bread knife, cut off the top of the cakes so that they have a nice flat top. Place a little frosting on the base of a cake stand or serving plate, and sit the first layer down cut side up. Add a thick layer of frosting before adding the second layer, cut side down. This ensures a nice flat top. Add the remaining frosting to the tops and sides of the cake and use a metal knife or spatula to smooth out the sides. Use any extra buttercream to pipe decorations on the top, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.