Topped with salted caramel buttercream, this gluten-free banana cake is easy to make and a crowd-pleaser for sure. Made with brown butter and packed with banana flavor, it may be the perfect way to use up those ready-to-use bananas on your counter. And let's not forget the salted caramel buttercream made with homemade caramel sauce. Bananas and Salted Caramel - a match made in heaven! IF Salted Caramel is not your thing, I recommend using my Cream Cheese Frosting or my Dark Chocolate Frosting. Or just dust the gluten-free banana snack cake with powdered sugar and serve.
- Recipe Ingredient Notes
- What is Brown Butter?
- How to make Brown Butter
- How to make a Banana Cake
- What is Swiss Meringue Buttercream?
- How to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Frosting and Decorating
- Storage & Freezing
- FAQ about Gluten Free Banana Cake
- Baking in grams
- Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
- Substitutions and Modifications
- More Recipes to try
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gluten Free Flour: I use my own gluten-free flour blend in this recipe for Gluten Free Banana Cake which gives it a light and tender crumb. I have also tried the recipe with Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur Measure for Measure. Both flour blends give this snack cake the perfect texture. I am not saying other brands will not work in this recipe. I just have not tested other brands of gluten-free flour in this application. Flour blends used to develop this delicious banana cake do contain xanthan gum.
Brown Butter: This recipe calls for brown butter. This additional step browns the butter before creaming it with the sugars to give it extra nuttiness. Brown butter 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. Please be aware you will NOT be able to brown vegan butter.
Bananas: I like to use ripe bananas, with a lot of brown spots but aren’t mushy. You can also use frozen bananas for this gluten free banana snack cake 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 them to thaw at room temperature. Please be aware that they will release some liquid. You may discard that liquid.
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. Personally, I prefer homemade caramel sauce which can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 3 months. Detailed instructions with step-by-step photos for homemade caramel sauce can be found here: How to make Caramel Sauce
What is 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.
How to make Brown Butter
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 it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
If you are not planning on using the brown butter right away in this banana snack cake recipe, allow for it to cool completely before placing it in your fridge for up to 14 days. Use as directed in my recipes.
How to make a Banana Cake
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray an 8x8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Make sure to leave some overhang so it will be easier to remove the banana cake from the pan.
Step 2: In a small bowl combine the gluten-free flour, baking soda, kosher salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
Step 3: In the bowl of your stand mixer you should already have the browned butter. The butter should NOT be liquid or warm. Add brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla to the bowl and mix for 3 minutes at medium speed.
Step 4: Add the room temperature eggs one by one followed by the mashed bananas.
Step 5: Mix in the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.
Step 6: Transfer the gluten free banana cake batter to the prepared pan and with a small offset or the back of a spoon smooth out evenly.
Step 7: Place the banana cake in the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. If the middle still seems underbaked, allow baking for a few additional minutes or until a toothpick used to check the doneness comes out clean.
Step 8: Remove the snack cake from the oven and all cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before removing it from the pan and transferring it to a wire rack. Completely before topping with the caramel buttercream.
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 the softened butter is added along with vanilla and flavorings.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be made ahead of time and either be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature and re-whip it in your kitchen aid mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until it's light and fluffy again.
How to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream
I highly recommend using an electric stand mixer instead of a hand mixer to make swiss buttercream to ensure the egg white will be whipped all the way. Make sure the butter is very soft - around 80F.
Step 1: Combine the egg whites, granulated white sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl and place over a saucepan with simmering water.
Step 2: Cook the egg whites gently until they reach a temperature of at least 160F whisking them continuously. The egg whites are ready when you rub some between your fingers and don't feel any sugar granules.
Step 3: Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or use a hand mixer. Start on low and gradually increase 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 5-7 minutes.
Step 4: With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the softened butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla extract. Make sure to stop the mixer half way through to scrape down the sides with a flexible spatula.
Step 5: Add 125 grams of caramel sauce and whisk until fully mixed in. 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 until completely smooth and all the caramel is incorporated.
Keep the salted caramel buttercream at room temperature until the gluten-free banana cake is fully cooled and ready to be frosted.
Frosting and Decorating
Once the gluten-free cake is fully cooled, place it on a serving platter and top it with an even layer of salted caramel buttercream. Believe me when I say the frosting is indeed the best part and makes it the best gluten-free banana cake. Smooth it out with a small offset knife. If you like, swirl some additional caramel sauce into the buttercream. Transfer the cake to the fridge for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This will make cutting the gluten free banana snack cake a lot easier.
Storage & Freezing
Store any leftovers of this gluten free banana cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your kitchen is very warm, I recommend storing it in the fridge. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving to ensure the salted caramel buttercream is smooth and creamy.
This cake can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Allow for it to thaw at room temperature before serving. Do NOT microwave the cake since the salted caramel buttercream will melt (it's after all made with butter).
FAQ about Gluten Free Banana Cake
The gluten-free banana cake recipe is very simple to make dairy free. I recommend using 90g of dairy free butter melted and cooled instead of brown butter. As for the frosting, I have not tried making Salted Caramel Buttercream with dairy-free butter.
That sounds like a lovely addition. I recommend adding not more than 50g of add-ins to this cake.
Since this banana snack cake relies on eggs not only for the structure but also for taste and swiss meringue buttercream is made with egg whites, I recommend using a different recipe to make a gluten-free vegan banana cake like my gluten free vegan banana bread.
If you do not own an 8x8 pan, I recommend using a 9x9 (your cake will not be as tall) or an 8" or 9" round cake pan.
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and very affordable. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to gluten-free baking or baking in general. 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. To learn more about Baking with a digital scale, make sure to check out my post about Baking by weight.
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. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
More Recipes to try
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 overripe bananas, peeled and broken up in smaller pieces (400 grams after being peeled)
- 300 grams Multipurpose Gluten Free Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 200g granulated white sugar
- 50 grams warm water
- 150 grams heavy cream
- 60 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 90 grams egg whites
- 110 grams granulated white sugar
- 226 grams unsalted butter, very soft
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 125 grams salted caramel sauce (up to 165 grams)
- Additional Caramel Sauce, Flaky Seasalt
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 refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
How to make the Gluten Free Banana Snack Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray an 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 your 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 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 batter into the prepared 8x8 cake pan, and smooth out the top with an offset knife.
- Place in your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. If the middle still seems underbaked, allow baking for additional minutes or until a toothpick used to check the doneness comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely before topping it with the caramel buttercream.
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 the 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 it back to a low simmer and whisk to combine. IF your caramel looks broken or gritty, you can save 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/decorating the cake.
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 of the mixture between your fingertips).
- Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on low and gradually increase 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), for about 10 minutes.
- With the 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 it in your fridge for up to 7 days and make sure to bring it back to room temperature and re-whip it for a few minutes with the paddle attachment of your 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 it on a serving plate.
- Top with a generous heap of Salted Caramel Buttercream and spread it on top of the cake.
- Swirl in some additional salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with some flaky sea salt.
- Store any leftovers of the cake at room temperature up for 3 days. If your kitchen is very warm, I recommend storing it in the fridge. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving to ensure the salted caramel buttercream is smooth and creamy.
Brown Butter: You will need 85-90 grams of brown butter in this recipe. You may also replace it with 90 grams of room temperature butter or dairy free butter.
Bananas: Please measure 400 grams of bananas AFTER peeling
Salted Caramel Sauce: Instructions how to make Salted Caramel sauce can be found HERE
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400
Calories are a guestimate and randomly generated.