A tender gluten free banana snack cake topped with salted caramel buttercream, fresh bananas, peanuts, milk chocolate shavings, and more caramel sauce. Because if we have a snack, we do it right. This delectable gluten free banana snack cake may not be banana bread but I like to refer to it as Banana Breads’ cool cousin.
- Recipe Ingredient Notes
- How to make Brown Butter
- What is Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- How to decorate and serve this Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
- Recomended Timeline to make Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Baking in grams
- Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
- Substitutions and Modifications
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gluten Free Flour: I use my own gluten free flour blend in this recipe for Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake because it does give it a light and tender crumb. But I have also tried the recipe with Bob’s Red Mill and Cup4Cup. Those blends mentioned already contain xanthan gum. You can easily swap this out for your favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you make your own blend, please add 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum to this recipe as well as substitute 30 grams of YOUR flour blend with corn starch.
Brown Butter: this recipe calls for brown butter. I will explain in a separate step how to brown butter.
Bananas for Banana Snack Cake: I like to use ripe bananas, with a lot of brown spots but aren’t mushy. You can also use frozen bananas for this recipe. To freeze bananas, just place them with their peel in the freezer. When I am ready to use them, I place them in a bowl and allow for them to thaw at room temperature. Please be aware that they will release some liquid. You may discard that liquid.
Bananas for topping the cake: I used fresh bananas to top this gluten free banana snack cake along with peanuts, dark chocolate shavings, and additional caramel sauce. It’s important to mention that the fresh bananas do turn brown after 2hrs sitting on top of the cake.
Caramel Sauce: You may use store-bought caramel sauce for the buttercream and the finishing of the cake. Please make sure to check the ingredients if it’s gluten free. I do provide a recipe for the caramel sauce
How to make Brown Butter
Brown butter (also known as beurre noisette) is just butter that’s been cooked past the melting point. The milk solids separate from the butterfat and sink to the bottom of the pan. It turns a brown color and takes on a deeper, nuttier flavor than regular melted butter. The caramelization of the milk solids gives brown butter a nutty, also caramel-like flavor.
If you have never made brown butter before, I recommend doing this at a very low temperature and don’t rush it. Make sure to use a heavy bottom saucepan (I recommend a light-colored non-stick pan) and a heat-proof spatula. Browned butter can be stored in your fridge for up to two weeks without any issues. It’s not only amazing in baked goods but also makes a fabulous “finishing butter” for roasted vegetables.
Step 1: Place your butter, straight from the fridge, in a heavy bottom saucepan. If you happen to have a pan or pot with white enamel, I recommend using that (makes it easier to see the milk solids caramelize)
Step 2: Let the butter melt and allow for it to simmer at medium temperature. Once the butter has melted, it will start to get thick and foamy and within seconds can witch to a rapid bubble. Make sure to stir it with a heat-proof spatula and get to the bottom of the pan.
Step 3: Continue cooking and stirring until the butter starts to smell nutty and turns a medium amber color. You will start seeing the brown specs on the bottom of the pan. Brown butter can burn very quickly at this point.
Step 4: Remove the browned butter from the heat and transfer it into the bowl of your stand mixer or a heat-proof bowl (make sure to get all the brown bits) of your stand mixer. Allow cooling for 10-15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
If you are not planning on using the brown butter right away in a recipe, allow for it to cool completely before placing it in your fridge for up to 14 days. Use as directed in my recipes.
What is Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Swiss meringue buttercream is a butter-based frosting that starts by heating and whisking egg whites, granulated white sugar, and salt together over simmering water until the temperature reaches 140ºF. The mix is then whipped and whipped until it cools. Then you add your soft butter, vanilla, and whatever flavor you are going for.
For this recipe, we will add salted caramel sauce. And the best part – it’s naturally gluten-free!
You can make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream ahead of time (up to 7 days if stored in your refrigerator) and when you are ready to use it, bring it to room temperature and re-whip it in your kitchen aid mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until its light and fluffy again.
How to decorate and serve this Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
This cake pairs wonderful with the Salted Caramel Buttercream mentioned in this recipe. If you are not a fan of buttercream, I recommend using cream cheese frosting (The recipe can be found here)
I used fresh bananas to top this gluten-free banana snack cake along with peanuts, dark chocolate shavings, and additional caramel sauce. Another fun way to decorate the frosted cake is with Gluten Free Caramel Popcorn
I also had readers mention that they enjoyed this cake plain as is.
Please make sure to store this cake in an airtight container for up to 4 days (at room temperature). If you live in a very warm climate, I recommend storing it in the refrigerator (up to 5 days) but please allow for it to come to room temperature before serving.
Recomended Timeline to make Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
This recipe may look intimating but the salted caramel sauce and buttercream can be made while your snack cake bakes and cools. The caramel can be made up to 7 days ahead (leftovers can be used to make my Caramel Meringue Cookies). Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be made 1-2 days ahead (it can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, refrigerate for up to 7 days, or be frozen for up to 3 months). I recommend starting with the banana snack cake, making the caramel sauce next, and finishing with the salted caramel buttercream before assembling your snack cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this recipe dairy free?
The actual cake is very simple to make dairy free. I recommend using 90g of dairy free butter melted and cooled instead of the brown butter. As for the frosting, I have not tried it dairy free.
Can I freeze this cake?
Freezing the baked and frosted banana snack cake is no problem. I would avoid freezing after you decorated it with fresh bananas (They will turn into mush). Place your leftove cake into an airtight container and freeze up to 3 months.
Can I add chocolate chips or nuts ot my banana snack cake?
That sounds like a lovely addition. I recommend adding not more than 50g of add ins to this cake.
Can I use a different size pan?
If you do not own an 8×8 pan, I recommend using a 9×9 (your cake will not be as tall) or a 8″ or 9″ round cake pan.
Baking in grams
My recipes are posted in grams since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and can be found on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to baking. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. My recipes have been tested several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe found on our website.
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Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
- 113 grams butter, melted and browned (see instructions below)
- 100 grams light brown sugar
- 100 grams granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 400 grams ripe bananas, peeled and broken up in smaller pieces (400 grams after being peeled)
- 280 grams Multipurpose Gluten Free Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 200g granulated white sugar
- 50ml warm water
- 150 ml heavy cream
- 60 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 3 large egg whites
- 110 grams granulated white sugar
- 226.8 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup salted caramel sauce (you want want to add more)
- 1-2 large bananas, ripe but not brown
- ¼ cup roasted, salted peanuts
- chocolate shavings (you can use a chocolate bar and a vegetable peeler to make your own)
- additional caramel sauce
How to make brown butter
- If you have never made brown butter before, I recommend doing this at a very low temperature and don’t rush it. Cut butter into small cubes and place in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Let the butter melt and then begin cooking. Stir frequently and watch the butter.
- Continue cooking and stirring until the butter starts to smell nutty and turns a medium amber color. Remove from the heat and transfer into the bowl (make sure to get all the brown bits) of your stand mixer and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
How to make the Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 8x8 square cake pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
- Combine the gluten free flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of you stand mixer you should already have the browned butter. Add brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla to the bowl and mix for 2 minutes at medium speed.
- Add the eggs one by one and mix to until fully incorporated.
- Mix in the 400 grams of ripe bananas.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Make sure to scrape down the sides to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Pour the patter in a your prepared 8x8 cake pan, smooth out the top with an off set knife.
- Place in your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. If the middle still seems under baked, allow to bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick used to check the doneness comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and all to cool completely before topping with the caramel buttercream and garnishes.
How to make Salted Caramel Sauce
- In a large saucepan, stir the sugar and warm water together until dissolved, keeping the sides of the pan as clean as possible.
- Carefully bring the sugar and water mixture to a simmer without stirring. Allow to simmer under supervision until it reaches a copper/iced tea color - this depends on your stove. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and carefully add the heavy cream little by little.
- Please be careful because the mixture will bubble up and may splatter. And caramel burns are the worst. Once all the liquid has been added, add the butter and whisk vigorously until it is combined. You may need to return your sauce to the stove on low heat for a minute and bring back to a low simmer and whisk to combine. IF your caramel looks broken or gritty, you can safe it with a squeeze of lemon juice (like a teaspoon or less!)
- Once the butter has melted, whisk in the vanilla and kosher salt.
- Allow your caramel sauce to cool completely before adding it to the buttercream/decorate the cake with.
How to make Salted Caramel Swiss Buttercream
- Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of your stand mixer and set over a pot of simmering water. With a whisk, mix constantly until the mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (You can test this by rubbing some the mixture between your fingertips).
- Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is airy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
- With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.
- Add ½ cup of caramel sauce and whisk for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides. Now is a good time to check the "carameliness" and "saltiness" of the buttercream. Remember - You can always add caramel sauce and salt but you can't take it back out. Add additional caramel sauce and salt IF you would like and whisk the buttercream for another 2-3 minutes, until completely smooth and all the caramel is incorporated.
- Keep the buttercream at room temperature until you are ready to decorate your snack cake (for up to 2 days). If you make it ahead of time, store in your fridge up to 7 days and make sure to bring it back to room temperature and rewhip it for a few minutes with the paddle attachment of you stand mixer before using.
How to decorate the Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
- Make sure your cake is fully cooled. Remove the cake from the 8x8 pan and place on a serving plate.
- Top with a generous heap of Salted Caramel Buttercream and spread over the top of the cake.
- Slice your ripe (but NOT overripe, brown) bananas and top the cake with.
- Add salted peanuts and chocolate shaving and drizzle with more caramel sauce.
This cake is the best within 5 days after baking. As mentioned above, the bananas will turn brown over time.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 635