Gluten-Free Banana Cake is so flavorful and moist, you’d never know it’s gluten-free! This spiced banana cake comes together in one bowl and is topped with a silky maple cream cheese frosting. It’s the ultimate fall comfort food, and it’s easy enough to bake on a weekday – no special occasion necessary.
This recipe was originally published in August of 2022, but I just updated it with a few additional tips and added cinnamon & nutmeg to the cake. The recipe has not otherwise changed.
Why you’ll love this Banana Cake:
- Banana Cake – Your favorite loaf of banana bread meets cake in this delicious banana cake that’s bursting with banana flavor!
- Cozy Spices – Both the cake and the frosting have tons of flavor thanks to some cozy fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Maple Frosting – This frosting is extra special because it has real maple syrup, brown butter, and cream cheese. You can’t beat that trio for flavor!
A full list of ingredients is in the recipe card below as always.
- Ripe Bananas – Use overripe bananas for this cake. The browner they are, the better. I recommend weighing out your bananas (weight given in the recipe card) with a scale rather than a measuring cup here, since they can range in size quite a bit.
- Gluten-Free Flour – Use your favorite 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free flour. I like the one from Trader Joe’s and Bob’s Red Mill! I’ve had a few people say they were wary of making a gluten-free banana cake because it can come out gummy with the bananas & gluten-free flour, but I haven’t had any issues like that with this cake.
- Salted Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted if you prefer.
- All-purpose flour – You can use all-purpose flour in the same quantity as the gluten-free if desired. It’s equally delicious either way!
- Dairy-Free – Sub your favorite vegan butter in the frosting, and use vegan butter and cream cheese in the cake to make this recipe dairy free.
- Spices – Feel free to switch in your favorite baking spices if you don’t love cinnamon and nutmeg. Cardamom would be a good option!
How to Make this Gluten-Free Banana Cake Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make the Cake Batter. Cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large bowl, then mix in the wet ingredients – the mashed bananas, water, and eggs. Add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined. You’ll have a slightly runny batter.
Step 2: Bake the Cake. Pour the batter into a greased & floured 9×9 inch square pan, and follow the baking time given in the recipe card below.
Step 3: Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely before topping with the frosting. Don’t fret if the top of your cake is a bit wrinkled – mine certainly was.
Step 4: Make the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. Beat together your butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. You’ll have the creamiest frosting! Spread it on your cooled cake.
And now, we dig in! I topped my cake with banana slices and pecans for an extra cozy feel, but you can skip this if you like. This gluten-free cake is exceptionally moist and flavorful. It’s sure to be your go-to all through the cozy baking season, and I guarantee that no one you serve it to will know it’s gluten-free!
Expert Success Tips:
- Overripe Bananas – Be sure to use overripe bananas for more of that sweet banana bread flavor.
- Frost a Cooled Cake – Never frost a warm cake. The frosting will completely melt into a puddle and it will be a mess.
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate. Accurate oven temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave an oven thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on my oven’s calibration.
- Kitchen Scale – A food scale is the best way to make sure your flour is at the proper weight, since amounts will vary SO widely based on how you measure it, as well as the measuring cup you use, as they are not standardized.
- Frosting – Feel free to skip the brown butter if you’re short on time. The frosting is still delicious without it.
- Chocolate Chips – We all know banana bread & chocolate chips are the perfect combo, so feel free to add those if you like.
- Peanut Butter – For those who love peanut butter & bananas, try adding 1/3 to 1/2 cup of peanut butter to the frosting! Cream the peanut butter with the butter before adding the remaining ingredients.
If your bananas are ripe but not brown, you can throw them on a baking sheet with the peels on, and bake at 300 degrees F for 20-40 minutes, until the peels are brown. They will be a bit more runny when you do this, so try to drain some of the liquid off the bananas before mashing them. You may also need to add 1 tbsp of extra flour to compensate.
No need to sift your powdered sugar! I never do. The trick is to mix in the cream cheese last, to avoid the frosting becoming weepy. Sugar is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts water, so it will pull water from the cream cheese if you don’t add it last.
Yes, you can double and bake it in a 9×13 pan if you want a sheet cake for a larger crowd. Double the frosting as well.
Yes! Swap in all-purpose flour in the same quantity as the gluten-free flour.
Make-Ahead Tips & Storing this Recipe:
The banana cake can be baked, cooled at room temperature, and stored in an airtight container for 24 hours before frosting it. Once frosted, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Let this delicious cake come to room temp a bit before enjoying.
- Offset Spatula – Offset spatulas make frosting a cake so easy! They can also be used for spreading cake and brownie batters evenly, and decorating cupcakes.
More Fall Baking Recipes to Love:
- Mini No Bake Apple Pie Cheesecakes
- Butternut Squash Galette with Asiago & Parmesan
- Homemade Apple Cider Donuts
- Maple Bacon Cupcakes
- Salted Caramel Apple Galette
- Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
- My Favorite Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe
More Small Cake Recipes to Love:
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Gluten-Free Banana Cake with Maple Frosting
For the Banana Cake
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup water, room temperature
- 3 medium overripe bananas, mashed 1 cup, 250 grams
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/2 cups gluten-free cup-for-cup all-purpose flour 320 grams
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
For the Maple Frosting
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1-2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- pinch of cinnamon
- Brown the Butter: If browning the butter for your frosting, do it ahead of time so it can chill in the fridge. In a nonstick pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter over medium low, stirring constantly. The butter will get foamy, then turn golden, then start to turn brown and develop a nutty/caramely aroma. Once it reaches a deep golden color, remove from the heat and pour into a heat-safe container. Let it chill in the fridge so that it can come back to the consistency of room temperature butter.
- Prep: Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×9 inch cake pan with shortening (use a paper towel and make sure to get into the corners). Then, dust the pan with flour, tapping it around to coat the entire pan, and tapping out the excess. This will ensure your cake pops out perfectly after baking!
- Make the Cake Batter: In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter for 30 seconds with an electric mixer. Add the sugars and cream together with the butter on high speed for 1 minute. Add the mashed banana, water, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until the last streaks of flour disappear. The batter will be slightly runny.
- Bake: Pour batter into your prepared pan and bake for 46-52 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean or pull out moist crumbs. Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, and invert again so it's right side up. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Make the Frosting: Cream butter in a large mixing bowl on high speed with an electric mixer, for 30 seconds or so. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix until creamy. You may need to add a splash of milk to help it come together. Add the maple syrup, heavy cream, salt, and cinnamon. Beat in the cream cheese last. Taste and adjust as desired. Frost the cooled cake with a spoon or offset spatula and create swoops and swirls.
- Serve & Store: Top the cake with banana slices and chopped nuts (optional). Slice and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Let come back to room temp a bit before enjoying as the frosting will be quite solid.