Peanut butter-banana-chocolate cake

I’ve got a friend who is gluten intolerant and has recently gone vegan, so for her birthday I attempted my first vegan and GF cake. The problem I often have with egg-free cakes is that they can be very oily or greasy, especially if you’re not using butter, either. Eggs also contribute to the rise of a cake, so I tend towards solid cakes when baking vegan/egg-free as light and fluffy is trickier to do. I find that GF flour makes cakes drier than usual, too, so would usually add ground almonds or something for extra moisture. This time, I used peanut butter and bananas for oil and binding, respectively. I have to say, the resulting cake was a triumph: dense but not too dense, fudgey and not dry at all, and you could really taste all three flavours.

This recipe made one loaf tin and six cupcakes – your choice which you prefer, and I’ve given baking times for both below.

2 large ripe bananas
2 heaped dessert spoons of peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
200g plant-based margarine (or butter if you’re not vegan)
180g light brown sugar
100g gluten-free flour (I used Dove’s Farm plain flour blend)
100g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
50ml almond milk (or soy, oat, rice milk etc)
Vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 4. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper (or use a silicon loaf tin), or put paper/silicon cases in a shallow muffin tray. I think this will make about 24 cupcakes instead of one loaf cake + six cupcakes, but haven’t tried yet!

Cream together the margarine and sugar until fully combined. Mash the bananas to a smooth pulp. If they’re not super-ripe, blend until smooth.

Add bananas and peanut butter to the sugar mix, and beat thoroughly to combine.

Add flour, cocoa and baking powder, and beat thoroughly to combine. Don’t worry about being gentle as there’s no air in this cake to knock out!

Add the milk a little at a time, until the mixture drops easily off a spoon. You may need more or less milk depending on the size of your bananas.  Mix through the chocolate chips, if using.

Spoon the mix into the prepared tin, or put about 2 heaped tsp of mix into each cupcake case.

Bake cupcakes for about 18mins, until firm and slightly springy to the touch. Bake loaf cake for  an hour to an hour and a quarter, covering for the final half hour if the edges start to catch. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should have only a few crumbs sticking to it, and no raw batter. Cool in the tin for 10mins, then turn out carefully onto a wire wrack. The cake will be quite delicate until it cools, when it will firm up.


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