Mix up a simple batter bursting with banana, whole grains, and flavor for a healthy Banana Cake to celebrate a kids birthday or special event. Bonus: The simple whipped cream cheese frosting seals the deal and the whole thing can be made ahead!
Healthy Banana Cake
It’s always fun to make a cake to celebrate and share with the littles and this cake is one of our favorites for toddler birthdays! It’s easy to make, includes nutritious ingredients, is super moist, and is just sweet enough. And grownups will enjoy it too!
This easy banana cake comes together in a food processor, so it’s super easy to make—even if you have the kids around while you are making it.
You can also make it ahead of time if that’s easier on your schedule.
Ingredients You Need
To make this cake for a kids birthday or any dessert you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Ripe bananas: Very ripe bananas are key for the flavor in this recipe, so be sure that yours have lots of brown spots.
- Rolled oats: We use these in place of flour for extra nutrition and because they are super tender in the final recipe.
- Eggs: These help bind the ingredients together.
- Unsalted butter: I prefer to use unsalted butter so I can control the salt in the cake.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These help ensure that the cake rises and bakes through evenly.
- Cinnamon: This adds that classic banana cake flavor.
- Maple syrup: We use this as the sweetener in this recipe. You can also use honey for kids over age 1.
TIP: For the Cream Cheese Frosting, you simply need cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup or honey. So mostly pantry staples and too-ripe bananas!
Here’s a look at the easy process involved in making this healthy banana cake. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- Preheat the oven and gather your ingredients.
- Grind the dry ingredients into a coarse flour in a food processor or blender.
- Add the bananas and the remaining ingredients. Process into a uniform batter.
- Divide into the prepared baking pans and bake.
TIP: To make this cake without a food processor, mash the bananas very smooth with a potato masher or fork and use purchased oat flour.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make this cake without gluten, simply opt for certified gluten-free rolled oats when buying them at the store.
To make this cake dairy-free, use melted coconut oil instead of the butter in the cake. And nondairy Greek yogurt instead of the cream cheese in the frosting.
Sure! You can either bake just the cakes a day ahead or you can bake the whole thing and frost it ahead. I find it easier to store it if I just do the cakes ahead of time, so see the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe for details.
Healthy 1st Birthday Cake
This cake is perfect for a first birthday since the sweetness comes mostly from fruit and it’s super moist and easy for little ones to eat. You could even decorate it with fresh fruit or sprinkles if you want to!
How to Store
You can bake the cakes up to a day ahead and after they’re cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the cakes to soften a bit.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in the fridge for up to 5 days. We prefer this cake served cold.
Best Tips for Success
- Use very ripe banana with black spots for the best natural sweetness and flavor.
- Gluten-Free: Use certified gluten-free rolled oats.
- Dairy-free: Use melted coconut oil instead of butter and nondairy Greek style yogurt or nondairy cream cheese alternative in the frosting.
I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe, so please comment below to share!
Healthy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 medium)
- 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted and slightly cooled; or coconut oil)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray and line with rounds of parchment paper. Grease again with nonstick spray.
- Place the oats, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor. Grind about 30 seconds, or until the oats resemble a coarse flour.
- Add the bananas, eggs, vanilla, butter, and maple syrup. Process for an additional 30 seconds or until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out cleanly.
- Place pans onto a wire rack and let cakes cool completely in the pan.
- Make the frosting: Use an electric hand-held mixer to beat together the cream cheese, butter, honey (or maple syrup), and vanilla extract. Beat until very smooth.
- To frost, place one cake onto a plate, top with 1/4-⅓ cup of frosting. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining frosting over top.
- Slice to serve.
- Dairy-free: Use melted coconut oil instead of the butter and nondairy Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese in the frosting.
- Gluten-free: Use certified gluten-free rolled oats.
- Let cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack to ensure that they stay together well.
- Discard parchment paper before frosting the cakes.
- To make ahead, you can bake the cakes up to a day ahead. Let cool, cover completely, and store in the fridge. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before frosting.
- Store any leftovers covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This post was first published August 2018.
Can I use a blender(vitamix) on low, if i don’t have a food processor?
This was so yum for my baby’s first smash cake! Once we cut off the piece he ate all the adults and kids enjoyed the rest. Definitely make again!
Hi there! I plan on making this for my son for his first birthday… i want to use 4 inch pans – would i halve the recipe? and baking time? Thanks so much 🙂
Hi- yes, I think I would divide it in half. I would guess the baking time to be in the 12-16 minute range, so keep an eye on the center of the cake as that will be the past part to set. You could peek at it starting at 10 minutes. Let me know how it goes!
H! Just made this cake for my sons 18 month birthday (yes I celebrated his 1.5 years haha) and it was a huge hit! wanted to know if there’s an alternative to using eggs. My nephew is allergic and I want to make him one too but he can’t have eggs. Thanks in advance!
I think the best option for this since it’s made with oats is probably a store bought egg replacer like the one from Bob’s Red Mill. Happy year and a half to your kiddo!
I made these for my son’s 2nd birthday party they were a hit with the kids and adults. He was happy for the treat and I was happy that they weren’t that unhealthy. Thanks!!
Could I add something else other than coconut? More oats? Thank you in advance!
You can replace the coconut with additional oats, yes.
what can i use in place of the maple syrup for the cake? thank you
Honey would work or the same amount of granulated sugar and add 2 tablespoons milk.
Hi! Would I be able to freeze this cake? My sons birthday isn’t for 2 weeks but I’m trying to make as many things as possible before hand.
Yes, I think that should work fine. I’d let it cool completely, then place each on a paper plate, wrap in plastic and store in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible. Happy almost birthday!
Can the cream cheese frosting be made the day before and then frost the cake the day of? I’d like to make as much the day before. Thanks!
Yes, I would make it and put it into a plastic ziptop storage bag and remove as much air as possible before storing in the fridge. Then let it sit at room temp for 30-60 minutes before frosting so it softesns.
Tried this recipe for my child’s first cake. Turned out perfectly and my 1 year old easily ate it with his hands. Enjoyable for health-conscious adults as well.
Hi I’m wanting to make this as a vegan cake, if I’m using flaxseed “eggs” would I need to make any adjustments to keep the cake moist do you think?
I haven’t tested it that way so I can’t say for sure, but if you use flax eggs, I think you’d want to make sure it’s not too moist. I think I would increase the baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon to help the overall texture. Let me know if you try it!
Thanks Amy, the cakes turned out really well using the flax eggs and the extra baking soda. Parents and toddlers loved them
This looks delicious, really want to make it for my son’s first birthday next week but I’ve ordered 3 4inch pans. Has anyone tried that as wanted to know about quantities used? Thanks
I haven’t tested it in those pans, but you’ll have batter left over if you make the full recipe I expect. I think your baking time might be in the 14-18 minute range (that’s my best guess—you should be able to tell by looking at the edges of the cake for light golden brown and that the center is set). Happy almost birthday to your boy!
I made this today and it was absolutely delicious, my little one couldn’t get enough of it. I managed to get 4 4inch cakes that were quite tall, so made two cakes with two layers each which worked perfectly well for us. Cooking time was about 17-18 mins in my oven. Thank you for the amazing recipe!
I’m so glad to hear that!
What if you don’t have a food processor?
You could try using quick oats or oat flour and mash the banana very smooth with a fork.
I just used 1 cup of oats and omitted the coconut because i didn’t have any. Would that be okay? So far it looks okay, but maybe it’s a little too thin? What do you think?
If you want to omit the coconut, you’d need to add oats in their place to make up the volume. I hope things turned out okay!
Second time making this cake, tried spreading across two cake tins but was too thin for my liking so moved it all into 1 @30mins. Make some adjustments: 6 bananas, added 1/4 more coconut and omitted the maple syrup (completely forgot, didn’t do it on purpose) and added choc chips. Was worried it wouldn’t be sweet enough but the bananas made it plenty sweet.
Big fan of this cake, you better believe it’ll be made again soon!!
Amy, the cake was a success!! Cannot thank you enough! Not sure how to share a photo but just wanted to say that everyone enjoyed it and the diggers managed to stay nice and snug in the frosting! X
Yay! I’m so happy to hear that! I would love to see a photo if you have time to email whenever yummytoddlerfood @ gmail.com. I hope it was a very happy day!