The coldest weeks of the year have just past in Australia but I’m still craving some wholesome fluffy baked goods to warm up my Winter bones. This banana bread is vegan, naturally sweetened, gluten free and oh so comforting. My favourite part are the blueberries and the coconutty frosting which is fluffy, light and just melts in your mouth!
If you follow me on social media, you may have seen my posts or stories about my quest to test and find the perfect banana bread recipe which is vegan, gluten free and paleo. I’ve had a tonne of people messaging me for the recipe. Unfortunately, I can’t share that recipe as it’s for a commercial client. However, I’ve developed an alternative banana bread recipe which I think you’ll love.
Over my last 20+ trials of banana bread (no kidding), I’ve learnt a few things about vegan and gluten baking and how to create a delicious banana bread:
It needs to be fluffy. Many people ask me how I replace eggs when baking. For banana bread to be fluffy, you need enough baking power/bicarbonate soda to lift the flours but not too much that all you taste is gross tangy baking powder. Ok, this banana bread did rise in the middle but it smelt so good when it came out of the oven that I basically picked the whole top and ate it. This probably makes me a bad food blogger and photographer, but I loooove fresh and hot banana bread…
It needs to be flavoursome and sweet enough for afternoon tea but not too sweet that I feel sick after 1-2 slices. I used very ripe bananas and coconut sugar to give this bread the perfect subtle sweetness. I also put cinnamon and coconut butter in the bread to give it more flavour without adding sugar.
It needs to be golden brown. I cannot explain to you how many times I’ve made banana bread and it’s turned out as dark as chocolate cake or as light as my scaly legs on a Winter day. The colour of the bread comes down to the ingredients you use. I used coconut sugar which gives the bread a beautiful colour!
It needs to be moist. There’s nothing worse than baking banana bread that looks great, smells great but is as dry as the dessert. The trick to making banana bread moist is using enough bananas, almond meal, adding some oil and not baking it for too long. Rather than adding a whole tonne of oil to the banana bread, I substituted some of it with Niulife coconut butter which is coconut that has ground up into a super dreamy and creamy state.
It needs to stick together. A lot of vegan gluten-free baked goods just crumble because eggs and gluten helps ingredients stick together. However, it helps to use a gluten-free baking flour blend which includes guar gum (or a similar gum) as they allow all of the ingredients stick together. Also, bananas are often used as an egg substitute in vegan baking so you’re pretty safe with this recipe.
I don’t want it to be grainy. There are many gluten-free flours that give baked goods a grainy texture, especially rice flour and almond meal. It helps to balance this with very fine flours such as a pre-made gluten-free flour blend, tapioca flour, corn flour etc.
I don’t normally make frostings for my cakes as I usually find them really heavy, thick and sickening. However, this coconut butter frosting was far from that because it didn’t contain any refined oil or shortenings. Instead of using pure fats to set the frosting, the integrated fats in the coconut butter helped firm up the frosting.
I love the smooth texture of Niulife’s Organic Coconut Butter and how it’s just bursting with a fresh tropical aroma and taste. I’ve used it in many of my food workshops over the years and often get asked:
“What’s the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter is and are they the same?”
Basically, coconut butter is dried coconut ground up into a paste and coconut oil is only the fat from dried coconut. The difference between the two is like the difference between peanut butter and oil. Peanut butter is ground up peanuts and the oil is just the fat.
If you’re into vegan and/or gluten-free baking, I hope this blog post has helped you! This banana bread is the perfect snack, breakfast or wholesome afternoon tea and I hope you enjoy it!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear about it! Comment below or, if you post it on social media, tag @rainbownourishments and #rainbownourishments!
This post was sponsored by Niulife Coconut. However, as always, all opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow Rainbow Nourishments to be sustainable.
Banana and blueberry bread with a coconut butter frosting
- 2 (~200g) very ripe bananas
- 1 1/2 cup plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut
- 1/4 cup Niulife Coconut Butter, softened* (Or substitute for finely dessicated coconut)
- 1/4 cup light-tasting vegetable oil, such as sunflower or rapeseed
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Add bananas to a mixing bowl and mash until there are only small lumps. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined
- Add all of the dry ingredients (except the blueberries to the bowl and mix until combined. Add the blueberries and fold throughout batter.
- Pour batter into a lined loaf tin (I used one that was 23x10cm). Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until a knife can be inserted into the centre of the cake and it comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and cool on a wire cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting by adding all ingredients to a blender and blending until as smooth as possible. Pour into a bowl and set aside in the fridge.
- For the decoration, if desired, add the blueberries in a small saucepan with a dash of water. Stew over medium heat for 5-10 minutes then remove.
- When the banana bread is completely cool, spread or pipe frosting on top. Sprinkle with blueberries and dust with cinnamon as desired. Enjoy immediately or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.