Chocolate Banana Cake Bars (vegan + gluten-free)

I have a hard time walking away from a sale.

I thought I’d learned my lesson from the 2011 canned pumpkin sale incident, but my freezer full of over-ripe bananas says otherwise. It’s just so challenging to say no to an over-ripe banana. They’re perfect for banana soft-serve, green smoothies, banana pops and can be stored in the freezer for ages!

Plus, the bananas I’ve been collecting aren’t your average run of the mill bananas. They’re organic, brown and mushy, and were 50% off; gotta love the Superstore aged produce bin, that’s like 20 cents per banana!

All things were fine and dandy with my ever-growing banana collection until Sunday evening when Kevin flung open the freezer door and a bunch of bananas came flying out, stubbing his toe and nearly crushing Pebbles. Weighing in at just under 6lbs, a banana falling from 3 feet could harm the little beast, not a laughing matter… but the stubbed toe was pretty funny ;)

In fear of a broken foot; Kevin’s words, not mine, he asked me to do something about our banana problem. Preferably something that involved chocolate… because we have a chocolate problem too I guess? Eh, nothing a little flour and sugar can’t fix, right?

I resisted the urge to make these cake bars with eggs despite my recent obsession with them. I’ve received requests to post egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free baked goods more often, so thought I’d attempt to solve my banana problem and try to make the recipe as allergen-free as possible.

The result? Rich and delicious banana cake fit for (hopefully) everyone!

Adapted from Fit for two and inspired by my blueberry banana cake bars

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4.3 from 3 reviews
Chocolate Banana Cake Bars (Vegan + Gluten-free)
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Nut-free (option)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 cake bars, 16 servings
Vegan and gluten-free chocolate banana cake, portable and snacktastic!
  • 2 tablespoon chia seed, ground + 7 tablespoon water
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup extra virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 2 vanilla beans, ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line 8×8 pan with parchment paper across both sides for easy lifting and set aside.
  2. Combine ground chia and water, set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, cream coconut sugar and coconut oil with a hand or stand mixer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add mashed banana, vanilla and chia mixture. Set aside.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all dry ingredients. Once combined, add to wet mixture and mix with hand or stand mixture until incorporated.
  6. Add walnuts if using them.
  7. Drop batter into prepared pan, flattening out as best you can.
  8. Bake until golden, 40-50 minutes, or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven, slide out of baking pan and place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.
    Because these bars are gluten-free and vegan, the consistency isn’t exactly the same as a regular cake. The end result is fully cooked, not mushy, but somewhat elastic-like, I believe from using ground chia. Kevin and I both really enjoyed them. The longer they sit after being baked, the less elastic-like they become.

    Just look at those beautiful frozen bananas just waiting to be baked!

    As I was carrying the cutting board back to the kitchen to start on the recipe, I turned the corner a bit too sharply and chia went everywhere.

    Pebbles came to the rescue… kinda.

    You want to cream the oil and sugar until it looks like the first photo above. Then, mix the chia and water. It’s going to be really sticky, that’s okay! Just get rid of as many clumps as you can. Allow the mix to sit for 5 minutes before adding it to the sugar along with the bananas and vanilla.

    Set the liquid mix aside and get going on the dry. All you need’s a little whisk and you’re good to go!

    Add the dry mix to the wet and stir with a spoon until combined. The batter is pretty thick due to the chia so don’t be alarmed. If you want to add walnuts as I did, do it now.

    Press the mix into your prepared baking sheet and place it in the oven. Then vacuum up the leftover chia seeds that are now caked to your kitchen floor with dog drool.

    awesome :|

    The end result is totally worth waiting for!

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    Comments | Leave Your Comment

    1. Oooh gorgeous photos Leanne! I have a hard time passing up a sale too, and I always manage to find a way to use bananas! I’ve had similar ‘falling’ incidents in my freezer recently, but in my case it was a bag of shelled edamame that wasn’t quite closed. ALL. over. the floor. Thankfully edamame isn’t heavy enough to bruise any toes or cause trauma to household pets, but it sure is a pain to clean up!!

      • Oh no! Not the edamame! That must have been a pain especially because you can’t just vacuum them up. Oh I feel for you!

    2. I have the same problem with sales. This is why I have 20 bags of chickpea flour in my pantry right now and my freezer is exploding with bananas too! Now I have something new to do with all those bananas! This looks like a perfect treat for us!

      • 20 bags of chickpea flour?! My dream come true! I’d say it’s one of my favorite gluten-free flours by far. You lucky duck, you!

    3. yuuuum! thanks for making the recipe vegan! i’m def going to make these :) question. can i sub another gf flour (say buckwheat or oat) for the tapioca starch/flour?

      • Ohhh good question. The tapioca helps hold everything together. If you wanted to sub it, I’d try arrowroot, corn starch or sweet rice flour before buckwheat or oat as they’re heavier. You could replace the brown rice flour with buckwheat or oat… I think. Enjoy!

    4. They look amazing, as per usual with your recipes.

      Oh, and any extra bananas can always be sent my way. The kiddo could live off of smoothies and banana ice cream. I haunt the reduced produce bin at our Co-op and have more than once been accused of harboring a monkey in the house. :)

      • haha I have a monkey living with me *cough* Kevin *cough. That man goes through 2-3 bananas a day! It’s unreal.

    5. Yum! Great recipe. I too, have a frozen banana haul. Can’t wait to try out this recipe as it satisfies my chocolate need too.

    6. Oh Gosh….they seem PERFECT!!!!
      In my opinion banana is the most wonderful fruit on the Earth. Can you imagine that I had detested bananas for years???? I’ve “discovered” them maybe one year ago – thanks to banana soft-serve :P. xo, valina

    7. Yum! We have a similar banana problem in our house because I will buy bananas in bulk and stack our freezer full of them! Luckily there haven’t been stubbed toes over here… yet. :)

    8. Oh yes the reduced produce section is always my FIRST stop in the grocery store and when there are spotty bananas its a good day. I have a hugeee bad of them in the freezer! I actually rarely bake or make smoothies and end up eating them frozen spread with nut butter as snacks.

      • I love the idea of eating them frozen with nut butter, that’d be such a great (cool) treat!

    9. Jeez I love all your recipes! I’ve seriously been bookmarking every recipe of yours lately. Now I just need some time in my life to try them all! Beautiful photos as well :)

    10. Hahaha I have a banana-hoarding problem too. My freezer is packed to the brim. I NEVER eat them fresh, they’re always intended for smoothies or baking. How do you ground your chia seeds? Food processor?

      • I grind my seeds with a coffee grinder. Just a little cheap one I got for Christmas ages ago! Does the trick quite well!

    11. Chocolate Banana Cake Bars? 4 of my favorite food words all together! Nice! :) These are completely mouthwatering. I really need to get me some tapioca starch, as I’ve been wanting to try it in a lot of different recipes lately.

    12. Dogs are the best “vacuum cleaners” I don’t know what I’d do without mine, especially now I have a toddler who throws food everywhere.

      Delicious looking bars…. LOVE a good mushy sweet banana!

      • I’m sure you could! Perhaps 2-3 eggs would do the trick

    13. I’m so excited about this recipe because I know my mom will love it! She loves baking with chocolate and making banana bread, so this is the perfect combination. Yay!

      • How sweet of you to want to bake for your Mom! Hope she enjoys them :)

    14. I have a recent egg obsession also, having just started eating them again.

      I have NO problem with bananas to bake with – I only want to eat a banana if it is perfectly yellow, still slightly green! any brown gets made into something else, always! ;)

    15. Looks great! I’ve just recently started eating gluten and dairy free and am excited to try new recipes. What is palm sugar and can you use regular sugar or stevia instead?

      • Thanks Taylor! Palm sugar is also called coconut sugar, it’s the sweet sap from coconut trees. Generally it can be interchanged with regular sugar, demerara, sucanat, any of those. As for stevia, it’s a bit different as you don’t need a lot of it to make the recipe sweet so it changes the ratios throughout. Hope that helps!

    16. cannot believe how well this cinnamon banana loaf turned out – but it tasted weird – does cinnamon go with banana and cocoa… and olive oil??!!

      • Hmm cinnamon and olive oil? Did you add those in yourself? I don’t believe those were in the original recipe. I can’t see cinnamon, banana and chocolate going well together, no.

    17. Thank You for this easy recipe I am going to make today, Can I say that Celtic Salt is much better than sea salt, I say this because Celtic Salt has ALL the 85 Minerals where as Sea Salt doesn’t.

      • Enjoy the bars, Leigh! I’m a big fan of Himalayan rock salt but it’s a bit expensive out here so we went with a little bag of sea salt during this period. Of course, use whichever salt you find works best for you and your health :)

    18. Amazing! I had all the ingredients. I did cut the sugar down and add an extra banana. Also, I used hazelnuts and they were delicious. Such a wonderful brownie recipe. Really excited about it!

    19. This recipe is brilliant. I made it tonight and it turned out great . it’s the first time that the texture for a vegan slice is just right and tastes great to and has nothing but the best ingredients in it. Thank you so much for your wonderful effort to give us these recipes . Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes.I have been vegan for just over a year now after years of dairy,eggs,wheat. I have always loved cooking and it has taken me quite a lot of research to change my whole way of cooking,although in saying this I have never felt better in myself .So I really appreciate great recipes as this one.

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