This super moist gluten free banana cake gets loads of flavor from brown butter, brown sugar, coconut flour, and butterscotch-swirled cream cheese frosting.
This week marks the 9th year of The Bojon Gourmet, and the second year of Alternative Baker. I started this site on a whim when I failed to find a good recipe for sourdough crackers online and took matters into my own flour-streaked hands. I never dreamed that it would bring so many good things my way. 550 recipes later, I’m blessed with a huge, supportive community of fellow bloggers, entrepreneurs, eco-conscious brands, and readers all around the globe. What better way to celebrate than with cake?!
This banana cake recipe is adapted from the dairy free + gluten free banana cake topped with boozy chocolate ganache that I shared earlier this year. I was so in love with its delicate crumb and warm banana flavor, I dreamed up this version infused with the butterscotchy flavors of vanilla bean brown butter and brown sugar. Inspired by this luscious photo from The Boy Who Bakes, I topped the cake with cream cheese frosting and swirled in boozy butterscotch sauce.
I always love when gluten free recipes best their wheaty counterparts, as is the case here. A trio of flavorful gluten-free flours – millet flour, coconut flour, and sweet rice flour – create a meltingly tender, yet well-structured, texture. Millet flour’s soft, powdery texture fluffs up the cake while adding buttery flavor. High-fiber coconut flour absorbs excess moisture while adding tropical topnotes. And sticky sweet rice flour (also known as mochi flour) holds the cake together.
My friend and sometimes assistant Bebe helped me test this recipe, and when we took our first bites of warm cake, redolent with sweet vanilla and caramelized butter, we both swooned and Bebe said, “this is the most moist cake I’ve ever baked.” Such can be the advantage of gluten free flours, which don’t develop the tough dryness of glutenous flours.
The original banana cake recipe fits a 9-inch square pan (or 8×10 rectangle) so I increased the recipe by 25% to accommodate the larger 9×12-inch sheet pan. And I simplified the method a bit: instead of beating the sugar into the cold butter, I simply whisk together all the wet ingredients, stir in the flour mixture, and fold in the whipped egg whites.
While the cake bakes, make the frosting and butterscotch sauce – both come together with speed and ease – and you’ll love swirling the two together on top of the cooled cake. Cut yourself a slice and revel in the addictive flavors of brown butter, brown sugar, ripe bananas, tropical coconut flour, and plenty of salty acidity in the frosting to contrast the sweet cakey richness. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself wanting to give away as much cake as possible while also hoarding it all to yourself. An impossibly delicious conundrum.
Thanks to all my wonderful readers for coming along with me on this 9-year journey! Thank you for all the sweet notes, smart questions, kind words, follows, likes, and supportiveness of TBG. I wouldn’t be doing this without you.
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten free banana cake, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
- 10 tablespoons (135 g) lightly salted or unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract added with the buttermilk)
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (175 g) packed organic light brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cup (320 g) mashed banana from about 2½ large ripe bananas
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 ½ (355 ml) cups low-fat buttermilk
- ¾ cup (110 g) sweet white rice flour (preferably Koda Farms or Bob’s Red Mill)
- ¾ cup (80 g) coconut flour (preferably Bob’s Red Mill)
- ¾ cup (100 g) millet flour (preferably Bob’s Red Mill)
- 3 tablespoons (23 g) tapioca flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (increase to ¾ teaspoon if using unsalted butter)
- 3 tablespoons (35 g) granulated sugar
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line a 9x12-inch baking pan with parchment paper on all sides.
- Place the butter and vanilla pod and scrapings in a medium, heavy saucepan. Melt the butter over medium-low heat, then continue cooking the butter until it turns golden and smells nutty, swirling the pan to prevent burning, 3-5 more minutes. Pour the butter into a large, heat-proof bowl and let cool to warm. Whisk in the brown sugar, banana, egg yolks, and buttermilk. Place a strainer over the bowl and add the sweet rice, coconut, millet, and tapioca flours along with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift into the wet ingredients, and stir to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or in a large bowl with an electric beater or whisk) beat the egg whites on medium-high until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the whites hold soft peaks. Gently fold one-third of the whipped whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake until golden on top and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan.
- Prepare the butterscotch sauce, cool, and chill until needed.
- Make the cream cheese frosting and reserve at room temperature until needed.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Dollop and drizzle some of the butterscotch sauce over the frosting, and use the back of a spoon to swirl it into the frosting. Serve slices of cake with extra butterscotch sauce if you like.
- The cake is best served at room temperature, but extras can be chilled airtight for up to 4 days.