See that full-risen, gorgeous crumb? That is made almost COMPLETELY out of oat flour. Back in the day when I first started modifying/developing healthy recipes, all of the low-sugar, gluten-free/vegan recipes I attempted always turned out gummy and flat.
But this banana bread. THIS CAKE. It’s pretty darn wholesome and miracle of miracles, it puffed up all proud and bronzed in the oven and came out with a smooth, golden crust and extremely moist and sweet interior!
Here’s how I developed the recipe and why I think this recipe succeeded (I know there are some extra “special” ingredients in here, but I think they’re worth picking up. I’ll explain why I think they’re essential):
- Oat flour: While I love adding a bit of oat flour to wheat flour-based baked goods because it adds tenderness, using 100% oat flour and nothing else has always produced gummy, mostly tasteless results for me. I decided to try basing the bulk of my recipe on oat flour with a few added ingredients to combat gumminess, flatness, and tastelessness.
- Almond flour: I added almond flour to for its fat, moisture and structure to combat the gummy 100% oat flour effect. Since almond flour adds a substantial amount of fat, I figured I could cut down on the oil in the wet ingredients (which I did—to just 1 tablespoon!). Almond meal would also work since fine texture is not critical here.
Tip: You can make almond meal by grinding up whole almonds in your food processor.
- Cornstarch: I always think twice about using cornstarch since it’s a pretty processed nutritional wasteland, but I have a box that I need to use up and I knew cornstarch would help add structure to the cake. So I added it. Arrowroot powder or sweet rice flour may also work, but I haven’t tried them.
- Leavening: I used baking powder AND baking soda for maximum lift power—again, I did NOT want a gummy cake. Baking powder can basically act on its own in any recipe, but baking soda needs an acid (vinegar, buttermilk, cocoa powder, etc.) to react with in order to work. So I added yogurt to my wet ingredients to provide that acid, but a vegan substitute of non-dairy milk + a splash of apple cider vinegar should also do the trick.
- Eggs: I adore eggless baking for its convenience and limiting of animal products, but I had a feeling that without the binding structure of the egg, the cake would not rise as high and the structure would be compromised. I might try adding flax to the dry ingredients and subbing out the egg next time, but I’m a little wary of that method since it’s flopped for me in the past (see: flatness.)
- Sweetener: honey is sweeter than sugar, so I added ¼ cup and hoped that in conjunction with the bananas and chocolate chips, it would be enough to sweeten the cake. I thought this was the perfect amount!
Note: Since I don’t have a loaf pan at the moment, I baked it in my 6″ cake pan which was not the best idea since it took FOR-EVER for the middle to cook through. I’ve listed suggested baking times below for a standard loaf pan (this is basically banana bread after all) or an 8×8″ pan, although I haven’t tested them so, as always, check early and often on your bread, whatever pan you use.
Oat Banana Bread (gluten-free)
- 2 cups oat flour
- 2 tablespoons almond flour or meal
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder gluten-free if needed
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- generous ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ¾ cup mashed banana 2 medium/large bananas
- ½ cup plain yogurt if you only have Greek yogurt, whisk 1/4 cup with 1/4 cup milk to thin it
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a standard-sized loaf pan, 8x8" pan or 6" cake pan (I recommend a loaf pan).
- Whisk together the oat flour, almond flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and bake for one of the following times:
- If using a loaf pan, bake at 350 for about 40-50 minutes (check it at 35 minutes).
- If using an 8x8" pan, check it at 25 minutes and add 3-5 minutes more baking time until done.
- If using the 6" cake pan, bake for 20 minutes at 350, then lower the temperature to 325 and bake for 15-18 more minutes.
- Bread is done when the top springs back lightly under your finger. If inserting a tester (i.e. toothpick or fork), just watch to make sure there's no raw batter oozing off of it.
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Bananas are my fruit of choice for healthy baking since their high sugar content lets you reduce the added sweetener in your recipes. For more healthy banana/oat-filled recipes, try these:
Pumpkin banana breakfast cake: incredibly dense and delicious even with low sugar and fat!
Avocado banana bread: so. Moist. This takes the cake for softest banana bread ever.
Stovetop banana bread bites: I developed these for when it’s just too hot to use the oven, but these are good for a quick batch of delicious, nutrient-packed cookie bites any time of year!
Banana yogurt cookies: fluffy, slightly cakey and irresistible.
Peanut butter & banana Dutch baby: a poofed, heavenly-light pancake with possibly my favorite flavor combination!