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Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread with Coconut is a glorious gluten-free cake, intense with chocolate, chewy with coconut and beautifully moist from the banana. Covered with glossy chocolate and snowy with coconut flakes.
Table of contents
I have been doing a lot of vegan baking recently. I am not and never will be vegan because all my food intolerances mean that I would be a very malnourished individual if I were. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the way that veganism has opened up so many opportunities in baking (how fascinating is aquafaba!) and alternative ways of eating and drinking (you know I am a fan of non-dairy milk!). I really appreciate vegan baking and I find when it works well the results can be incredible.
How can you achieve excellent vegan cakes?
My most important tip in vegan baking is that the most successful vegan cakes are achieved when the recipes are built from the ground up.
Recently I made a big mistake with one of my cake orders and agreed to make a vegan cake for a client that was based on one of my non-vegan recipes. Since I wanted the cake to resemble my original recipe as closely as possible I made compromises in the ingredients. For example, when making the buttercream I just swapped out regular butter for vegan butter. Have you seen the ingredients on the back of vegan butter? Palm oil is such a problematic ingredient (not sure why then google it) and something I wouldn’t normally bring into my kitchen at all.
I was totally unhappy with the choices I was making to produce this cake and when I sat back and analysed the situation I realised I was making the same mistakes a ton of people make when they first start free-from baking. I was thinking that with a just a few ingredients swaps I could turn a tried and true recipe into a successful free-from recipe. But it doesn’t always work like that. In making like-for-like swaps you will often be making compromises, in flavour, in texture and in this case, environmental. This is something I learnt the hard way when first baking gluten-free and now I’m learning it all over again with vegan baking.
This Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread is marvellous as it uses fantastic techniques and ingredients that will satisfy anyone who knows good cake. No vegan butter or egg replacement here, just honest natural ingredients for delicious flavour and texture.
Why is this cake so brilliant?
- It’s an amazing chocolate cake and holds its own even with non-vegans and wheat eaters.
- Incredibly bold in flavour and texture.
- Intensely chocolatey, moist from the bananas and flecked with chewy desiccated coconut.
- This is a cake you need when the chocolate craving hits hard, it will fuel you and treat you.
Note. The slices of this cake cut up huge so it is not a dainty loaf.
How to substitute eggs in vegan cakes
Eggs provide many roles within the bake of your cake but the two most important are:
Eggs bind you cake together so it doesn't fall apart. My favourite way to substitute eggs in a cake is by using chia or flax eggs for the bind. This is basically chia or flaxseeds which have been mixed with water to create a sticky gel which you then just mix into the batter.
Eggs also help lift the cake. For the cake to rise here I have opted for using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar which react with the coconut milk to lift the cake up.
Gluten-free flours needed
Here we use a three flour blend of white rice flour, oat flour and tapioca flour. I use this blend a lot in my chocolate recipes and find it works an absolute treat.
- White Rice Flour - This is an economical flour and is great in a chocolate cake due to its neutral taste.
- Oat Flour - A lovely fluffy flour with a toasty taste that goes so well with chocolate. If you are intolerant to oat flour then you can sub with teff flour or sorghum flour.
- Tapioca Flour - This is the necessary starch you need just to make sure the flours bind together nicely. Extra important to use a good starchy flour in vegan cakes since you don't have the eggs to assist in the structure.
Full list of ingredients
- Desiccated coconut
- Cocoa powder
- Rice flour
- Oat flour
- Tapioca flour
- Ground chia seeds.
- Coconut milk.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Light brown sugar
- Coconut oil
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Vanilla extract
- Vegan chocolate
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut flakes
For full recipe instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Chia egg. Mix the ground chia seeds with water and leave to thicken and gel.
- Mix flours with desiccated coconut, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- Beat the coconut milk with the apple cider vinegar until frothy then beat in the bananas, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and chia egg.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry then pour into a loaf tin and bake.
For the glaze
- Melt chocolate with coconut oil, maple syrup and salt in a bowl set over simmering water.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Allow to thicken then spoon over cooled cake and sprinkle over coconut flakes.
How to store
Store the cake at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
How to freeze
The cake can be frozen whole. I recommend freezing before adding the glaze. Wrap up well in plastic wrap and aluminium foil and freeze up to 2 months.
Thaw at room temperature overnight before removing from the foil and plastic wrap.
Shop the recipe
- Anodised 2lb Loaf Tin
- Vegan Chocolate
- Gluten-Free-Oat Flour
- Gluten-Free White Rice Flour
- Gluten-Free Tapioca Flour
- Ground chia seeds
Other vegan/gluten-free recipes you'll love
- Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins
- Gluten-Free Parkin
- Healthy Banana Flapjacks
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Cereal Bars
- Chocolate Courgette (Zucchini) Muffins
- Gluten-Free Soda Bread
If you make Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread with Coconut then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own cake creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread with Coconut
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 150 g rice flour
- 75 g oat flour
- 50 g tapioca flour
- 100 g desiccated coconut
- 60 g cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 200 g coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 bananas - peeled and mashed, 300g
- 300 g soft light brown sugar
- 140 g coconut oil - melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 125 g vegan chocolate
- 50 g coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 70 g coconut flakes
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 9 inch loaf tin.
- Make the chia egg by mixing the ground chia seeds in a small bowl with the 3 tablespoons of water. Place in the fridge and it should be ready to use by the time you get to that step.
- Mix the flours in a large bowl with the desiccated coconut, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside.
- Pour the coconut milk and apple cider in a food mixer and beat until it's frothy, do not overbeat in case the coconut milk should separate.
- Add the bananas, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and the chia egg into the coconut milk and beat together until smooth.
- Spoon one third of the flour mixture in and mix until smooth, then the next third then mix, then the next*.
- Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin and smooth the surface.
- Bake for 1 hour or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
- Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool before adding the glaze.
- Combine all the ingredients (except the vanilla and coconut flakes) in a bain marie or a glass bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water and melt together.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Leave the glaze to thicken slightly until it is at a consistency where the glaze will cling to the cake rather than running straight off down the sides.
- Pour over the surface of the cake then sprinkle over the coconut flakes.
Flour substitutionsYou can sub either the rice flour or the oat flour for sorghum flour or teff flour (preferably not both).
How to storeStore the cake at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
How to freezeThe cake can be frozen whole. I recommend freezing before adding the glaze. Wrap up well in plastic wrap and aluminium foil and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature overnight before removing from the foil and plastic wrap.
- Please note when you see ‘grams’ listed as opposed to ‘millilitres,’ or any other term of measurement, that is not incorrect. I weigh all of my ingredients, including liquids, for accuracy.
- US customary measurements for the ingredients provided are based on a conversion calculator. This recipe was tested with metric measurements and I recommend using a digital scale to weigh ingredients for the most accurate results. READ MORE >>> Why you should always weigh vs measuring with cups