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 on white plate with kids hands

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:

ingredients in banana cake
  • 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!

Step-by-Step Instructions

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.

how to make banana cake step by step prcess
  1. Preheat the oven and gather your ingredients.
  2. Grind the dry ingredients into a coarse flour in a food processor or blender.
  3. Add the bananas and the remaining ingredients. Process into a uniform batter.
  4. 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.

slice of banana cake on green plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this gluten-free?

To make this cake without gluten, simply opt for certified gluten-free rolled oats when buying them at the store.

Does this work without dairy?

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.

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

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.

layered banana cake with cream cheese frosting

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.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe, so please comment below to share!

healthy-banana-cake-on-white-platter

Healthy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This lightly sweetened cake is perfect for a first or second birthday—or just any day where you’re craving some cake to share!
4.94 from 30 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Cuisine Birthday Cake
Course Dessert
Calories 396kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

Banana Cake

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 396kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 209mg, Potassium: 343mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 762IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 93mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published August 2018.

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Comments

  1. I have bananas but they are not overly ripe. Do you think it wouldn’t be sweet enough? I’m not well versed enough in baking to know what else too add or if it would be fine?

    1. It tastes best with ripe bananas. If they aren’t super ripe, I might add 1/4 cup granulated sugar to ensure it tastes good.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Amy,
    I baked this cake for my 2y/o birthday last month and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you! I would like to make it this time as muffins, so we don’t feel obliged to finish it off quickly 😝. Would it work? Also, for the frosting, is there a unsalted cream cheese or similar that can be used? I added the maple syrup but could still feel the saltiness of the traditional cream cheese..
    Thanks again 🌷

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Amy,
    I baked this cake for my 2y/o birthday last month and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you! I would like to make it this time as muffins, so we don’t feel obliged to finish it off quickly 😝. Would it work? Also, for the frosting, is there a unsalted cream cheese or similar that can be used? I added the maple syrup but could still feel the saltiness of the traditional cream cheese..
    Thanks again 🌷

    1. Hi- I’m so glad to hear this. And yes, you can do it as muffins. For standard size ones, I think the baking time will be about 24 minutes or so. I am not sure that I’ve seen an unsalted cream cheese, but you could use a very thick Greek yogurt instead like the kind from Siggis (or maybe try a different brand of cream cheese?). Enjoy!

  4. If I have two 9-inch square baking pans, could I still make the measurements in this recipe work? What would I change?

    1. I think it would work similarly, though I haven’t tested it so I can’t say for sure.