Baking for guests: Gluten-Free Banana (and Chocolate Chip) Cake.

This weekend I had the last of our visitors for a while, two of our awesome friends from Bristol, one of whom I used to work with, and who we had a reciprocal cat-sitting arrangement with. I think they were just as excited (if not more so) to see our cats as they were to see me!

One of them avoids wheat, so I thought it an ideal opportunity to try out some gluten-free baking, good practice for if our friend’s super food-intolerant boyfriend comes to visit with her in June!

I have had the Babycakes book for a long while, I had read about it online and was intrigued by the idea of gluten-free baking, although not sensitive myself (Thankfully – gimme ALL THE BREAD!) I like to try out different recipes, and these are vegan too, which satisfies a few different groups of people!

Vegan and Gluten-free Banana and Chocolate Chip Cake

Banana (and optional Chocolate Chip) Cake Recipe – taken from Babycakes by Erin McKenna


2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour – NB. I used Bob’s Red Mill brand, which is blend of various different types of gluten-free flours

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut oil

2/3 cup agave nectar – NB. actually in this instance, I didn’t have any, and as I wasn’t making it for a vegan, I substituted honey, which is a contentious subject amongst vegans! It will work just fine in this recipe, but will give a less sweet result than the agave, and if wanting to keep it vegan, best stick to the agave and leave the bees alone!

2/3 cup rice milk – NB. again, I didn’t have any, my non-dairy of choice is almond. I think rice is probably used in this recipe to keep things nice and low on the allergens, but I imagine that any non-dairy milk is fine to please your vegan friends.

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas – approximately 3 large bananas, and as usual I used ones from the freezer, they lose all structural integrity in the freezing process and so once defrosted are ready mashed!

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325F/160C. Grease a couple of  7x4x3″ loaf pans with a little coconut oil. NB. I just lined my tins with some non-stick paper for ease. 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda,xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon, to combine.

Add the oil, agave, rice milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients, stirring until the batter is smooth, then gently fold in the mashed banana and chocolate chips until they are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.

Fill the prepared pans approximately halfway with the batter, then bake for 35 minutes, rotating after 20 minutes. The finished loaf should spring back when pressed. NB. this took an hour (!) in my crappy oven, so check with a toothpick, which should come out clean after being inserted in the centre.

Let it stand in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, either serving warm, or allow to cool before storing.

Vegan and Gluten-free Banana and Chocolate Cake

Verdict? Tasty! Tilly made sure my having one slice….. then another, you know, just to make sure…. then another little slice……. 🙂

It tasted a little less sweet than a usual cake, but this was probably in part due to my honey substitution because I didn’t want to walk to the shop! It was also super duper easy, as I had already got the rest of the ingredients (check out your gluten-free section and you should be able to pick up xanthan gum pretty easily), and it just involved a few steps!

My visitors left to continue on their little road trip up north to Seattle yesterday afternoon, so I made sure to send them off with a few more slices for the journey (it will keep a few days no problem apparently – but let’s face it, is unlikely to make it until then), and a couple of slices of a tasty little experiment I made earlier this week – to be blogged soon!

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