Excellent Gluten-Free Recipe for Ripe Bananas
Plus Instructions for Using a Gluten-Free Cake Mix
When it comes to very ripe bananas, you can’t beat a hearty loaf of gluten-free banana bread, but bread isn’t the only thing you can do with bananas that have sat for a little too long. Adding mashed or chopped bananas to homemade ice cream, throwing them into a protein shake, or folding them into pudding or pancakes can take your gluten-free meals to a whole new level.
While you’re at it, don’t forget how rich and moist mashed bananas, applesauce, yogurt, or sour cream can make your next gluten-free cake. Although most people turn to tried-and-true traditions such as a gluten-free chocolate cake when trying to make their gluten-free meals as normal as possible, mashed bananas and a dab of cream cheese added to the batter can also make a great gluten-free banana cake that’s tender and moist!
When you top this cake with a luscious gluten-free cream cheese frosting that’s loaded with mashed bananas, coconut, and pecans, you’ll have a gluten-free cake recipe that good enough to serve to company. You don’t even have to tell them it’s gluten free unless you want to. But don’t try to make that gluten-free cake with bananas you recently brought home from the grocery store. The very best gluten-free cakes use black, very ripe bananas.
The Best Gluten-Free Cake Uses Very Ripe Bananas
Very ripe bananas are a must for this cake recipe, as well as any recipe, since the flavor intensifies as bananas ripen. While a teaspoon of banana extract can sometimes hide your impatience, the best gluten-free muffins, breads, and cakes need the extra moisture from using ripe fruit. Speckled bananas really aren’t ripe enough.
As they ripen, the acidity level decreases, but that can easily be made up for by using extra baking powder in the recipe. While both baking soda and baking powder produce carbon dioxide and help a gluten-free cake to rise, baking soda is generally used to keep a recipe’s acid ingredients in balance.
How to Store Ripe Bananas
If you need to save those ripe bananas until you have enough time to bake that special bread or gluten-free dessert, it’s easier to store them in a freezer-storage zip-lock bag than it is to toss them into the freezer whole and unpeeled. The peel of a frozen banana will stick to the banana’s flesh, making it impossible to remove if you store them as is.
While frozen bananas can always be microwaved or allowed to sit out at room temperature until thawed, un-skinned, they will shrink inside the freezer. Measuring accurately will be more difficult once they wrinkle.
To take the guesswork out of a bag of frozen, peeled bananas, make sure you mark the storage bag with the number of bananas inside the bag, and remark the bag as you add additional fruit. It also makes preparation easier if you use storage bags that hold just the right amount of bananas for each recipe.
Best Gluten-Free Flour Mix for Cakes
I’ve tried a lot of different gluten-free flour mixes since I first went gluten free, but I haven’t been able to find any mix that improves on the very first one I tried. Unlike a hearty, gluten-free pumpkin spice cake, a banana cake needs a gluten-free flour mix that is light and grit free.
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup tapioca starch or flour
- 1 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 2-1/4 cups white rice flour
The lightness generally comes from using more starches, as well as a finer grind of rice flour, but even a traditionally ground white-rice flour will work well if you incorporate a little bit of cornstarch into the mix. I’ve tried substituting additional tapioca or potato starch to replace the cornstarch, but my gluten-free baked goods just didn’t come out right.
They were either too gooey from the extra tapioca, or too dry from the extra potato starch. The cornstarch in this particular gluten-free flour mix definitely isn’t optional. However, a gluten-free flour mix isn't the only way to make a great banana cake. You can also use a Betty Crocker yellow gluten-free cake mix. You can find that recipe at the bottom of the article.
Gluten-Free Banana Cake
- 2 large very ripe bananas, divided
- 1-1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/4 cup soft butter or shortening
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a square baking pan, and then set it aside.
- Mash the two ripe bananas. Measure out 1 full cup of the mixture, dump it into a very small bowl, and then reserve the rest of the bananas for the frosting.
- In a small bowl, combine flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and xanthan gum. Mix well, and then set the dry ingredients aside.
- In a larger bowl, beat together the butter or shortening and 1-1/2 ounces cream cheese until light and fluffy. Set the rest of the cream cheese aside for the frosting.
- Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until well mixed.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in the vanilla.
- Add about half of the dry ingredients, and stir to mix well. Do the same with the mashed bananas. Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients, and then end with the rest of the bananas. The bananas might make the batter a bit chunky, but that’s okay.
- Pile the cake batter into your prepared pan, smooth the top out as best as you can, and then bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until it tests clean with a toothpick.
Once the cake bakes, allow it to cool for several minutes, and then cover it with plastic wrap to help the cake retain its moisture. Finish cooling the cake on a wire rack before frosting.
Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Frosting With Coconut and Pecans
- rest of the cream cheese
- 1/4 cup soft butter or shortening
- rest of the mashed bananas
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- heavy cream or milk alternative, if needed
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter or shortening and the rest of the cream cheese until well mixed and fluffy. Add in mashed bananas.
- When well combined, add powdered sugar and beat well. If the mixture is too thick, add a little heavy cream or almond milk and continue beating until it makes a nice spreading consistency.
- Fold in the coconut and pecans.
How to Turn a Cake Mix Into a Gluten-Free Banana Cake
A homemade gluten-free flour mix isn’t your only alternative when it comes to making a great gluten-free cake. Thanks to Betty Crocker, you can streamline the process if you’re short on time, or don’t have all of the gluten-free flours necessary to make the above mix.
Although Betty Crocker gluten-free mixes are available at most grocery stores, one of the major problems with them is that their yellow cake mix often turns out dry. When you add mashed bananas to the rest of the ingredients, however, you no longer have that problem.
The recipe uses a bundt cake pan to bake the cake, rather than the 8-inch square pan that Betty Crocker calls for, but you can just as easily bake it in a 9-inch square pan, or even a 7 x 11. Notice that when you add mashed fruit to the traditional recipe on the back of the box, you have to bake the cake a little longer. This gluten-free cake bakes for 38 minutes instead of 30.