This Banana Cake Recipe with Oil is so easy and moist and topped with an irresistible cinnamon cream cheese frosting! It’s also egg-free and dairy-free so completely vegan.
You can actually enjoy this cake unfrosted but serving it topped with the luscious and creamy dairy-free cream cheese frosting is highly recommended!
It seems I’m always baking with bananas! Most recently, I’ve been obsessed with these almond flour banana muffins and these banana blackberry oatmeal muffins. And now, of course, I’m obsessed with this frosted banana cake!
This recipe was actually inspired by this banana snack cake, which is also vegan and topped with a thick layer of chocolate almond butter ganache.
Why bake cakes with oil
I almost always use oil in my cake recipes. Very rarely do I use butter. Cakes made with oil are just so much more tender and moist, and will stay this way for longer than butter-based cakes.
Another benefit is that you don’t need to let oil come to room temperature or melt it. It’s just in your pantry and ready to go.
My final reason for preferring to make cakes with oil is that you can use a number of oils interchangeably, so you can usually use what you have on hand.
For instance, I prefer to bake with extra virgin olive oil, but if I’m all out, I easily substitute with regular olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil or vegetable oil.
Reasons to love this easy banana cake recipe
- It’s egg-free and uses plant-based substitutes for the milk, butter and cream cheese so it’s completely vegan and dairy-free.
- The cake is easy to make, with just 9 ingredients, and can be enjoyed without the frosting.
- The frosting, however, is super simple to make and perfectly spiced with cinnamon. (You only need 4 ingredients for the frosting)!
- It’s a great way to use up those few spotty bananas left on your counter. (You only need two small or one large banana).
- It’s a single layer, 8-inch cake, so it’s small-batch and you don’t need to fuss with assembling and frosting layers.
Ingredients and substitutions
Below is just an overview of the ingredients used and suggested substitutions. The recipe card at the end of the post contains the full details on the quantities used.
Bananas – You only need two small bananas, or one large one to make this cake. You’ll want your bananas to be overly ripe with plenty of brown spots. This will ensure the cake is sweet with noticeable banana flavour.
Oil – I’ve tested this recipe with both extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oil and both worked well. You can also use avocado or canola oil.
Flour – This recipe has only been tested with all purpose white flour.
Sugar – I usually use cane sugar and granulated sugar interchangeably, but I preferred the taste and texture of granulated sugar in this cake.
Almond milk – You can use any plant-based milk of your choice. Cashew milk or oat milk would be good options. I just always have almond milk on hand so that’s what I used. Just make sure whatever you use is unsweetened and unflavoured. If you don’t need this cake to be dairy-free, feel free to use dairy milk.
Vanilla extract – To enhance the flavours of the other ingredients. I recommend using real vanilla extract instead of artificial.
Cinnamon – I love how ground cinnamon complements the sweet flavour of banana. You’ll need some for the cake batter and the cream cheese frosting.
Baking soda – For leavening.
Salt – Another flavour enhancer, similar to vanilla.
Cream cheese – You’ll need plant-based cream cheese for the frosting. I used Daiya brand in this recipe (not sponsored) and really like how it was similar in texture to regular cream cheese. You can use dairy cream cheese if you don’t need this recipe to be dairy-free or vegan.
Butter – Any plant-based butter will work in the frosting. I like to look for ones that say on the label that they work like regular butter in baking. You can use regular butter if you don’t need this recipe to be dairy-free or vegan.
Powdered sugar – This will help thicken and sweeten the frosting.
How to make a moist banana cake with oil
Below is just a quick overview. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for complete instructions on how to make this cake.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, mashed banana, milk and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk until just combined.
Make sure you have your 8-inch square baking pan greased and lined with overhanging parchment paper.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 350F for 24-26 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack before frosting.
How to make dairy-free cinnamon cream cheese frosting
Bring your dairy-free butter and cream cheese to room temperature. In my experience, plant-based butters and cream cheese don’t need a lot of time to soften at room temperature compared to their dairy counterparts.
Some dairy-free cream cheeses may not even need to be left at room temperature. If the variety you’re using seems soft already, I would skip the step of bringing it to room temperature.
Add the butter, cream cheese and cinnamon to a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high until creamed together.
Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth. (You can add more powdered sugar if you like your cream cheese frosting thicker and sweeter).
Spread over the cooled cake and enjoy!
If you leave the cake unfrosted, you can store it covered at room temperature for 4-5 days.
The frosted cake should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. It will last for up to 5 days.
This cake can also be frozen. If the cake is unfrosted, just let it cool and then wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Let it thaw at room temperature before frosting.
If the cake is frosted, I like to freeze it in individual pieces. Just place pieces of cake in a single layer on a baking sheet or large plate. Place them in the freezer for a few hours until the frosting firms up. Then, wrap the pieces in plastic wrap and store them in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before enjoying.
Banana Cake FAQs
Many different oils will work in this cake to keep it tender and moist. One of the main differences in oils is the flavour it adds to the cake. I like to use extra virgin olive oil as it is on the healthier side when it comes to oils, and it adds a rich flavour to baked goods.
This recipe has also been tested with vegetable oil, and both canola and avocado oil would be good substitutes as well. I would avoid using virgin coconut oil as it will add a coconut flavour to the cake.
This usually happens when your cake pan is too small for the amount of batter being used. This cake was tested in an 8 x 2-inch square pan. If you use a smaller pan, your cake may sink in the middle.
If the size of the pan isn’t your issue, a sunken cake could be the result of an under-baked cake, the oven door being opened too soon to check on the cake, or the batter being over mixed. All of these things can result in a deflated or sunken cake.
If you don’t have an 8-inch square pan, you can use a 9-inch square, but your cake will not be as high. You will also need to reduce the baking time by a few minutes.
You can use an 8×2 inch round pan and add another minute or two to the baking time. Just note that the cake may sink a little in the middle. If you have an 8×3 inch round cake pan or a 9×2 inch round pan, those should work okay for this recipe. Just remember you will need to adjust the baking time slightly.
I have only tested this oil-based banana cake with all purpose white flour, but if you’re looking for a gluten-free banana cake, try this almond flour banana cake!
For convenience, US cup measurements are included in the recipe card for this recipe. To ensure greater accuracy, however, weight and volume measurements are also provided. So, if you see grams (g), you’ll want to use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients, and if you see milliliters (ml), you’ll want to use a liquid measuring cup. Smaller quantities of ingredients are provided in teaspoons and tablespoons.
Key recipe tips
- Banana. Make sure your bananas are super ripe. The spottier and browner they are, the sweeter the bananas will be. They will also add more banana flavour to the cake.
- Measuring the flour and sugars. If you don’t have a kitchen scale to weigh your flour and sugars, be sure to measure them using the spoon and level method with a dry measuring cup.
- Overhanging parchment. If you leave a little extra parchment paper hanging over the top of the pan, you can easily lift the cooled and frosted cake out when it is time to cut and serve.
- Let cake completely cool. Before frosting the cake, let it cool completely in the pan. If it’s still warm, the cream cheese frosting will just melt off the cake.
- Sift powdered sugar. If your powdered sugar is lumpy, sift it before adding it to the mixer. This will ensure your frosting ends up silky smooth.
- Frosting too soft. As mentioned above, plant-based butter and cream cheese doesn’t take long to come to room temperature. If you find that your cream cheese frosting is a bit too soft to spread on the cake, pop it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm it up before spreading it on.
Instead of the cinnamon cream cheese frosting, try this chocolate avocado frosting or just use a simple vanilla buttercream.
More banana recipes
- Spelt Banana Muffins
- Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Spelt Banana Bread
- Walnut Banana Bread with Molasses
- Healthy Banana Nut Muffins
More cakes made with oil
- Vegan Chai Cake with Orange Cardamom Frosting
- Apple Spice Cake with Buttercream Frosting
- Air Fryer Chocolate Cake
- Easy Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Orange Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!Print
This Banana Cake Recipe with Oil is easy and moist with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It’s egg-free and dairy-free so completely vegan!
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups (190g) all purpose white flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup (155g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup (130g) mashed ripe banana
- 1/2 cup (120ml) unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 4 ounces (113g) plant-based cream cheese, room temperature (see note)
- 1/4 cup (56g) plant-based butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (180g) powdered sugar (plus more, if necessary)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 2 inch square pan and line it with overhanging parchment paper
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, mashed banana, milk and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently tap the bottom of the pan off the counter to help release any air bubbles.
- Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Let cool on a wire rack before frosting.
- To make the frosting, add the cream cheese, butter and cinnamon to a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to cream together. Gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake, slice and serve.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- If you don’t have a kitchen scale to weigh your flour and sugars, be sure to measure them using the spoon and level method with a dry measuring cup.
- In my experience, plant-based butters and cream cheeses don’t need a lot of time to soften at room temperature compared to their dairy counterparts.
- Some dairy-free cream cheeses may not even need to be left at room temperature. If the variety you’re using seems soft already, I would skip the step of bringing it to room temperature.
- For a thicker and sweeter cream cheese frosting, just add more powdered sugar.
- If your powdered sugar is lumpy, sift it before adding it to the mixer. This will ensure you get a smooth frosting.
- Be sure to check out the other sections above the recipe card for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: banana, cake, oil, vegan, dairy-free, cream cheese frosting