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Banana Cake with Oil

This banana cake is made with oil and without butter, milk, or buttermilk making it dairy free.

You can make the recipe plain and it will be delicious, but I love adding chocolate chips and walnuts for an even better flavor.

chocolate chip banana cake with nuts on a white plate

Growing up, we’d make this banana cake whenever bananas were in season. 

While bananas go quickly in my family’s house at the beginning of the season, by the end of we often have plenty of bananas that have gone soft. 

Like many families, we’ve always done whatever we can to avoid wasting and would make recipes like Shakshuka and my mom’s garlicky avocado dip

This cake is my family’s delicious way of putting old, soft, spotted, and even blackened banana’s to good use.

I have to admit, while this cake is good plain, I rarely eat it that way.  Instead, we always adds dark chocolate chips making every bite so incredibly good. 

Recently, we started also adding walnuts to the mix which has made this banana cake practically addictive! 

In fact, one of my brother’s like it so much that he even asks for it as his birthday cake.

This recipe is great for overly ripe bananas that are spotted but not mushy. 

I find this cake comes out best when using half ripe or spotted and half mushy bananas. 

Other recipes you may like to use up old bananas are my banana bread and banana chocolate chip muffins.

I actually have a lot of banana recipes on my site to solve this problem.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

20% of all profits are donated to a women’s shelter to support the fight against domestic violence.

WHAT YOU NEED

Dry measuring cups and spoons
Liquid measuring cup
Whisk
Baking spatula
Mixing bowl
Rolling pin
9×13 baking pan

WHY USE OVER RIPE BANANAS?

There are many benefits to using over ripe bananas in baking. 

First and foremost, older bananas give a stronger flavor than fresh bananas. The blacker the better.

Secondly, they are easier to mash than fresh bananas. 

Lastly, it allows you to repurpose them instead of having food waste. 

CAKE FLOUR VS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

Cake flour is finer, lighter, and softer than all-purpose flour, as well as bleached, so the color is paler.  Most importantly, it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour so cake flour produces less gluten.

I use all-purpose flour in all my recipes because it’s cheaper and most people have it on hand.

HOW TO SUBSTITUTE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR FOR CAKE FLOUR

First, you can ignore any place that calls for cake flour and use all-purpose flour at a 1:1 conversion rate.  I do this all the time.

The results will be a little less than perfect, but not very noticeable.

How to make your own cake flour

You can do this by removing two tablespoons for every cup of flour.  Then replace the same two tablespoons with corn or potato starch. 

Doing this will remove enough protein to create a lighter cake.

HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS

Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup.  Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.

The one exception to this is brown sugar.  Brown sugar should be packed down and then any excess should be scraped off as well.

DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP

Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups?  I used to.  I didn’t see why we needed a set when we could have one large measuring cup. 

After a quick search, I had my answer.  I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.

As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up. 

First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more. 

By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.

WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients

There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa ingredients: 

It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tight in a bag. 

It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.

If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.

BAKING WITH OIL

In general, oil in baked goods makes for a superior texture than those made with butter.  

Oil cakes tend to bake up taller with a better crumb. They also stay moist and tender far longer than recipes made with butter.

Furthermore, since oil is lighter than butter, the texture of oil cakes is lighter too. Also, given that oil is 100% fat while most American butter is 15% water, it creates a more tender crumb.

This is due to the fact that the extra water strengthens the gluten, resulting in a crumb that’s more dense.

Which Type Of Oil to Use

I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil.  However, it’s not unheard of for oils with stronger flavors like olive oil or coconut oil to be used.

If using olive oil, I recommend using pure olive oil for its milder flavor and higher smoking point.

Baking with Oil Conversion Chart

If you want to convert your butter recipes to oil recipes, check out my baking with oil butter to oil conversion chart.

Understanding Sugar

Sugar may seem very basic if you’ve baked before, but I’ve been asked about it before, so I’m explaining.

There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.

When a recipe – any recipe, not just mine – says “sugar” without specifying anything else, it is regular white sugar.

White Sugar

White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.

It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it.

It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.

When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.

In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel.

Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different depending on what you choose to use.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is better known as “raw sugar”. But, despite this name, the sugar is not really “raw.”

Instead, it’s partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.

The term “raw sugar” may also give off the impression that it is somehow healthier.

In reality, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.

Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is very popular in Israel and is especially delicious in tea but is also used for baking.

Unlike white sugar, demerara sugar undergoes minimal processing and retains some vitamins and mineral.

However, it is still not much healthier than white sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe.

This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.

Caster Sugar

This type of sugar is common in the United Kingdom.

It has a finer grain than white (granulated) sugar and larger than powdered sugar.

Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.

You can use a 1:1 conversion rate between caster sugar and white (granulated) sugar.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture.

This sugar is rarely, if ever, used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting and icings.

In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar. It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla sugar

In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use.

The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used. Meanwhile in Israel, along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.

In most, if not all recipes, both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used.

In recipes where vanilla sugar can be used instead of extract, you can replace them 1:1.

Types of Vanilla

Vanilla comes from a pod commonly known as a “vanilla bean”, which comes from the vanilla orchids. Vanilla pod has been used for flavoring since the Aztecs, and was introduced to Europe by a Spanish conquistador, along with cocoa.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for some time. This is the most commonly used type of vanilla.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is common in Europe and some parts of the Middle East, like Israel.  It is made from vanilla beans sitting in sugar, vanilla bean powder mixed with sugar, or sugar mixed with vanilla extract.

In some countries, like Italy, you can also find vanilla powdered sugar which is used for confections.

Vanilla Paste

Vanilla paste is generally a specialty item.  It is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract.  You can use it as you do vanilla extract and it will leave flakes of vanilla bean like you see in vanilla bean ice cream.

Imitation Vanilla

Imitation Vanilla, otherwise known as artificial vanilla, is made from synthetic vanilla.  This is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.

Can I use imitation vanilla?

Many will tell you that you should use high quality vanilla, just like they say you should use the best cocoa.  However, most of us will probably not be willing to pay the hefty price that comes with exceptionally high-quality ingredients.

Overall, vanilla is very expensive, so the extract is as well.  So, if you’re not going to get regular quality vanilla extract, you might as well use imitation vanilla.

DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?

The short answer is “no”.  While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not otherwise noticeable.

What are Eggs used for?

Eggs do three things in most recipes: they help bind the ingredients together, act as a mild leavening agent, and they add moisture.

EGG FREE OPTION

Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg.  This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

The reason applesauce makes a good binder is that it’s high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and berries that acts as a thickening agent and stabilizer in food.

This happens when combined with sugar and acid (if the fruit or berry isn’t naturally acidic).

Just keep in mind that it may change the flavor slightly.

ARE EGGS DAIRY?

No, eggs are not dairy.  Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. 

So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy. In fact, eggs fall under the protein food group.

BAKING POWDER VS BAKING SODA

I’ve had a number of comments asking me questions about baking soda and baking powder. 

I’ve also noticed that if the wrong one is used, things don’t come out as they should. 

Using baking soda instead of baking powder can give your recipe a terrible metallic taste, while using baking powder instead of baking soda leaves your baked goods looking flat.

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps things rise.  It does this by creating carbon dioxide when it reacts to an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. 

When the carbon dioxide is released, it causes the familiar texture and crumb in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.

Baking soda works well with sourdough because sourdough is acidic.  When combined, it makes a lighter product with a less acidic taste, since baking soda is alkaline.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.

BAKING POWDER

Baking powder is also a leavening agent and it’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.

Most baking powder sold is double-acting. This means that the leavening occurs in two steps.

The first time it’s activated is when baking powder gets wet, which is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later.

The second time is when the baking powder is exposed to heat.  This happens when the batter is being baked or fried.

Since baking powder already contains an acid, it’s most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient or too little of one.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.

WHY SOME RECIPES CALL FOR BOTH

Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda when the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven the volume of batter in the recipe.  

Too much baking soda gives a terrible metallic taste, so baking powder is added to give it more lift.

WHICH ONE IS STRONGER?

You may have already guessed the answer since baking soda is used to make baking powder, and you need more baking powder per cup of flour. But I’ll tell you anyway.

Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder.  That’s why you will more often than not see recipes that only call for baking soda rather than recipes that only call for baking powder.

HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time.  A rule of thumb is two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package.   

However, to be honest, I’ve used very old baking soda with good results.

BAKING POWDER

Like baking soda, baking powder is good indefinitely past its best by date, and can lose its potency over time.  For both opened and unopened, it’s ideal to use it within nine months to a year.

While storing it, make sure to keep it in a dry place and away from humidity.

HOW TO TEST IF IT’S STILL GOOD

BAKING POWDER

To test baking powder, pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and stir. If the baking powder is good to use, it should fizz a little.

BAKING SODA

To test baking soda, pour 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir.  The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh.

HOW TO HALVE THIS RECIPE

If you halve the recipe you will need an 8-inch square baking pan

The area of a square or rectangular pan is calculated by multiplying one side times the other side. 

This recipe calls for an 9 x 13-inch rectangular pan so a 9 x 13 = 117 square inches where an 8 x 8 = 64 square inches.  If you halve 117 it comes out to 58.5 square inches which is close enough to 64 square inches.

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHY IS IT TAKING LONGER THAN DESCRIBED TO BAKE?

Over time the thermostat on ovens gets a little off, causing some ovens to run hot and others to run cool.  This is why recipes tend to say things like “10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.” 

So, if it takes you longer than expected that’s fine, don’t worry about it. Just keep baking until ready.

WHY DID MY RECIPE COME OUT TOO DRY?

Just like some ovens run cool, others run hot.  If your oven runs hot, bake these at a lower temperature.  Ideally, you should get an oven thermometer to know what temperature you’re really baking at.

HOW TO STORE

Let cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container.  Then store on the kitchen counter at room temperature for up to five days.

How to freeze

Let cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap then wrap again in aluminum foil.  Freeze for 2 to 3 months.  After that, the cake is safe to eat but the quality begins to degrade.

Yield: 16 servings

Banana Cake with Oil

chocolate chip banana cake with nuts on a white plate

Banana cake is made with oil and without buttermilk. It's moist and fluffy. and a great way to use up old soft and spotted bananas. You can have plain, with nuts, with chocolate chips, or with both as my family does.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil* (250 milliliter)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (385 grams)
  • 2 cups white sugar (400 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water (250 milliliter)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, optional
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add bananas, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  4. Pour in hot water. Stir until well incorporated.
  5. Add chocolate chips and/or walnuts if desired.  Use a baking spatula to mix until evenly dispersed.
  6. Pour the batter into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle more chocolate chips and/or nuts on top. 
  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a tester is inserted into the center and comes out clean.
  8. Remove and let cool before cutting.

Notes

*Click here to jump to notes on oil

Recommended Products

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 214mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 3gSugar: 35gProtein: 6g

Calorie count includes both chocolate chips and walnuts

Did you make this recipe?

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shubhangi singh

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Can u recommend a frosting with thtis cake? I want to make it for guests

ElissaBeth

Thursday 10th of September 2020

I'm always a big fan of chocolate ganache and it's easy to make.

Soh Chwee lang

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Hi may I know can I use milk instead of water. Thank you

ElissaBeth

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Sure

Angel

Saturday 9th of May 2020

3 cups all-purpose flour (385 grams) 2 cups white sugar (400 grams)

How come 2 cups in grams is greater than 3 cups? Do I follow the cups or gram equivalent? Thanks.

ElissaBeth

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Sugar weighs more than flour so 3 cups of flour will weigh less than sugar. You follow cups if you're more comfortable using cups or grams if you're more comfortable following grams. They measurements will be the same.

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

i like it even without choco chip and walnuts.

ElissaBeth

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Happy to hear it! I agree that it's delicious without them too :)

Sophia Poly

Thursday 12th of December 2019

I am trying out this recipe for the secound time with nuts ❤ First time i didt add nuts of choco chips and it was really good i did get a lot of compliments from my friends when i took it to college and the only difference what i made to this recipe was instead of a adding 2 cups of sugar i reduced it and added 1 1/2 cup of sugar since the bananas was over ripe and it worked perfectly for me . This recipe is seriously a gem.?

ElissaBeth

Thursday 12th of December 2019

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed my banana cake! Thank you for sharing that with me :)

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