This Chocolate Banana Snack Cake recipe (and post) has been updated as of May 2022.
Fluffy and moist Chocolate Banana Snack Cake flavored with fresh banana, ground cinnamon, and cocoa powder. With a chocolate buttercream frosting, this simple snack cake hits all the craving check boxes.
Chocolate Banana Snack Cake
One of my favorite things about baking is how easy it can be to take a recipe I already love and tweak a few things to make it like a brand new recipe. A few months ago, I came up with a dairy-free banana cake recipe for my husband’s birthday. When my mom requested a banana chocolate cake for my dad’s birthday celebration, I knew I had a delicious, fluffy banana cake that would be perfect with chocolate frosting. I added a bit of cocoa to the cake batter – nothing too rich – to add a little extra chocolate and whipped up a simple American buttercream with a bit of cocoa and cinnamon. I hope you like this simple cake as much as we do – it’s moist, fluffy, and everything you want in a simple snack cake (hello, easy cake baking!).
Ingredients You’ll Need + Substitutions
- All-purpose flour makes up the bulk of the cake batter. For a “healthier” option, you can replace up to 1/2 of the flour with a whole wheat alternative – I recommend white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
- Cocoa powder adds a hint of chocolate flavor to the cake and frosting. For a dark chocolate frosting, you can use a Dutched cocoa powder.
- Baking soda leavens this cake. Since this cake uses natural cocoa powder, you want to be sure to use baking soda.
- Salt enhances flavor.
- Ground cinnamon adds a lovely touch of that classic banana bread flavor. Feel free to leave it out, or add more, depending on taste 😉
- Granulated sugar sweetens the cake. You can use your favorite granulated sugar. I’ve successfully made this cake with both unrefined cane sugar and coconut sugar. Of course a standard white granulated sugar will work as well.
- Plant-based milk adds moisture to the cake and frosting. I used a sweetened almond milk, but you can use your favorite “milk” or cow’s milk.
Ingredients + Substitutions Continued…
- Oil also adds moisture. I like to bake with olive oil as it’s what we always have on hand. You can use whatever vegetable oil you’d like, as long as it’s in liquid form. If you choose to use melted coconut oil, it’s important that your other ingredients (eggs & milk) are room temperature.
- Vanilla extract adds flavor to both the cake and frosting.
- Eggs bind the ingredients together. For a vegan alternative, I recommend a simple flax egg sub. Mix 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal with 3 Tbsp of warm water (per egg); mix and allow to thicken for a few minutes. For this recipe you’ll need 2 Tbsp of flaxseed meal and 6 Tbsp of water.
- Mashed banana brings the banana flavor. You want to make sure your bananas are very brown before mashing with a fork.
- Plant-based butter makes up the buttercream frosting. Feel free to use your favorite stick butter for this recipe (vegetable shortening will work as well).
- Powdered sugar makes up the bulk of the frosting. There are no substitutes for powdered sugar in this frosting recipe.
More Banana Cake Recipes
Chocolate Banana Cake
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar - white, raw, or coconut (see Note 1 for grams)
- 1/4 cup (60g) almond milk
- 1/4 cup (45g) olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (255g) mashed banana (2-3 brown bananas)
- 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (20g) cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (113g) plant-based butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (20g) cocoa powder
- 2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1-2 Tbsp plant-based milk
Bake the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare an 8x8" cake pan with non-stick spray and parchment paper. I like to cut one strip of parchment paper and fold the excess over two of the edges - trim the edges so they hang about 1/2 inch over the pan edges.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk in the eggs and mashed banana; set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and whisk until combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry and gently stir until no flour pockets remain.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then use the parchment paper to gently lift the cake out of the pan and onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting
- Once the cake is totally cool, make the frosting: in a medium bowl, beat the softened butter and vanilla extract. Beat in the cocoa powder and cinnamon. Beat in the powdered sugar. Finally, add milk 1 tsp at a time, beating after each teaspoon, until the frosting reaches a smooth and spreadable consistency.
- Frost the cake (out of the pan) by plopping the frosting on top and gently spreading it over the surface of the cake with an icing spatula - I like to make big swoops with my frosting. Top it off with sprinkles, crushed cacao nibs, or extra cinnamon.
- Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Sugar: the gram measurement will vary depending on the kind of granulated sugar you use.
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar = 104g
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar = 83g
- 1/2 cup raw sugar = 96g
- 1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar = 110g