This light and fluffy gluten-free banana cake is refined sugar-free. The recipe is from the Bojon Gourmet , one of our favorite blogs for alternative baking. We added a creamy pink topping with Greek yogurt, beet juice and maple syrup. I’m sure you’ll love this healthy and delicate dessert.
Why I Changed my Diet
I looove cake…and chocolate…and cookies. One of my favorite pastimes is baking healthy desserts and discovering ways to turn my classic favorites into their healthier versions. This wasn’t always the case. Growing up as a kid in the US I was exposed to plenty of sugar-packed white flour goodies. Cherry pies, donuts and milky ways were within easy reach. Then, in my early twenties I began having stomach aches all the time. Every month I would have a couple of days where I couldn’t function and would stay in bed.
Finally, I went to a dietician and she recommended that for 3 months I only eat a small list of very simple foods. After the initial cleanse I would slowly add others back in. This would clean out my system and help me notice what food made me feel good and what food didn’t. I took the challenge and this approach helped me discover that I was sensitive to dairy. Yogurt and butter were ok, but cheese, milk and cream gave me stomach aches. Big doses of white sugar and white flour would give me a headache and make me feel tired. Whole grains, nuts, lentils, fish, fruit and vegetables made me feel good.
Discovering Healthy Baking
The hardest part of reducing dairy and white sugar and flour was not having dessert. I had no choice but to discover the world of healthy baking. When discussing our vision for the blog, Einav and I realized that our love of healthy desserts was something that we have in common. She also has a big sweet tooth but feels tired and weak after eating sweets packed with white flour and white sugar. Einav discovered raw food desserts this past year. She was super excited by the experience of eating something that brought pleasure to her senses and eyes but also made her feel even more energized and healthy.
These are the type of sweets we want to be able to offer our kids. The natural sweeteners and complex grains give a gentle boost of energy that supports our bodies. The quick highs and the dramatic lows of empty carbs such as white sugar are gone. When we take the time to bake kid-friendly desserts we don’t have to fight with David and Sophia about having another slice.
How to Make a Recipe Healthy
When using a conventional recipe, the first thing we do is cut down the sugar. You’ll be surprised how many desserts are actually more delicious this way. On our last trip to France, it was noticeable how all of the amazing pastries and cakes we tried had half the amount of sugar than they would have had in the US. The other flavors have a chance to pop when the sugar steps back a bit.
Next, we check if there is a healthier substitute to the white sugar that would also taste good, such as maple syrup, date syrup or agave. You might be surprised how alternative sweeteners bring richer flavors as well. I’m crazy about our homemade nut milk that is sweetened with fresh dates. The sweet date flavor blends perfectly with the almond taste. After that, we substitute some of the dairy with non-dairy alternatives, such as almond milk replacing cow’s milk (if butter is integral to the flavor then I leave it, as butter doesn’t make me feel bad, and it can really make or break a dessert). After that, we sub the white flour for alternative flours.
Gluten Free Banana Cake Is Actually Delicious
I used to always substitute white flour with whole wheat or spelt until I discovered the Bojon Gourmet Blog. Alanna Taylor Tobin uses alternatives flours in genius ways, and I was amazed to learn about so many new types of flours like almond, millet, and teff. In her book Alternative Baker she has a whole section describing each type of flour and what baked good they are most suited for. I love this section because it gave me the tools to start experimenting on my own. Gluten Free lost its stigma as I saw how each type of flour, when used correctly, added interesting flavor and depth. Some types of desserts go well with nutty flours, while others are better with heavier earthy flavored flours, and some need fluffier lighter grains.
Gluten Free Banana Cake
Last week for our family picnic, we made this beautiful gluten-free banana cake from the Bojon Gourmet. On her blog, Alanna makes it with a delicious boozy chocolate frosting, but we opted for something more delicate and baby friendly and used Greek yogurt and maple syrup instead. The sourness of the yogurt goes surprisingly well with the sweetness of the bananas. The beautiful pink color of the frosting was made with a couple added spoons of beet juice. The cake is made with coconut, millet, sweet rice and tapioca flours. It is light and fluffy and perfectly moist.
Gluten Free Banana Cake
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt fine
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana 2-3 bananas
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk we used oat milk
- 115 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 3 large eggs separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The Yogurt Topping
- 1½ cups thick Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup grated beet
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 320 F (160 C). Line the bottom of an 8 inch
round baking pan with baking paper, and grease the sides with butter.
- Sift together the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl: coconut flour, millet
flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour and baking powder, baking soda, and fine
sea salt. Whisk together.
- In another medium size bowl: mix mashed banana, milk and yogurt and set aside.
- In a large bowl: beat together the butter with the coconut sugar. This can be done
with a paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or a by hand with a wooden spoon. Since mixing butter with a wooden spoon can be challenging, I start by mixing the
butter and coconut sugar together with my fingers and once they are coming
together I switch to the wooden spoon.Next beat in the egg yolks one at a time.Then beat in the vanilla.
- Pour the yogurt/milk/banana mix into the butter mixture and stir until unified.
- Slowly mix in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time.
- In a clean separate bowl, beat egg whites until firm. In the original recipe, Alanna suggests adding two tablespoons of sugar to the eggs in
order to form stiff egg whites. Perhaps because I used farm fresh eggs right
out of the refrigerator I found that there was no need for added sugar and the
beaten eggs quickly formed firm peaks.
- Gently fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to soften it, then fold in
- Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake about 1 hour. A toothpick inserted
should come out clean and the cake should be firm and golden brown.
The Yogurt Topping
- In a medium sized bowl add the Greek yogurt. If your yogurt
isn’t super thick then we recommend straining it in a cheese cloth first. See
recipe notes for tips on straining your yogurt.
- Stir in the maple syrup.
- Place the grated beet in a small bowl, then add enough water to just cover the beets.
Stir together the beets and the water. With your hands squeeze a handful of the
wet beets into a measuring spoon and add that juice to the yogurt mixture. We
found 2-3 tablespoons of the beet juice created a beautiful shade of pink.
Storing and Serving
- Store the topping in the fridge. If serving the cake whole then top right before. If
not, then we recommend putting a dollop of yogurt on each slice as you eat it.
The cake itself is delicious eaten warm or at room temperature. If you are
topping the whole cake, then make sure it isn’t hot, or the yogurt will become