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whole grain banana snack cake

Most Mondays, I bake some type of loaf cake and keep it on a stand for my kids to snack on when they come home on Tuesdays and Thursdays with their manny Zach. Since it’s for the kids, I try to keep it relatively wholesome. But that’s a fine line, because my kids aren’t horses. Get the nutritional value too high and they’ll throw themselves on the floor and act like you tried to feed them jellied oxtails.  Once, when I made zucchini bread without shredding the zucchini fine enough, Finn pulled my head down towards his, stuck the bread in my face, and demanded to know what the green stuff was.

I have a couple loaf recipes on rotation, but I’ve never been inspired to post about one of them before. Until this one. No white flour–instead, it’s made with a combo of oat and whole wheat flours, and takes most of its sweetness from overripe bananas. Plain yogurt adds a slight bite. If you’re thinking “what the hell is oat flour,” don’t sweat it–you can make your own by whirring a cup of rolled oats in your food processor.

The best part of the cake is the texture–airy and bouncy, but toothsome and satisfying. It eats like a coffee cake, but has the added nutrients from the whole grains. The original recipe has a crunch topping and chocolate chips, but you can leave off one or both and it’ll be fine.

If you’re like me, you don’t have the patience to mess around with a recipe that doesn’t hit it out of the park every time. Whether you eat it or smell it, this cake just works. And that in itself is worth something.

Banana Crunch Cake

Recipe from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking


  • 1 cup oat flour (I whir a heaping cup of rolled oats in my food processor to get 1 cup oat flour-don’t worry if you can’t get it super fine)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour or 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter (fine to nuke til soft or melted)
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed banana (probably 2-3 large bananas)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (non fat to full fat is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or toffee pieces (optional)

Crunch topping (optional)

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup light or brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Grease and flour an 8-inch-square pan. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. For cake batter: Whisk flours, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl between eggs. Mix half the dry ingredients until moistened, then mix in bananas, yogurt and vanilla. Scrape the bowl down again before adding the remaining dry ingredients and nuts and chips (if using). Mix until everything is evenly moistened. Transfer batter to the prepared pan.
  3. For topping: Combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in melted butter until large crumbs form. Stir in chopped nuts. Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
  4. Bake until the edges pull away from the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Remove cake from the oven and place on a rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wandering Voiceless #

    I’ve emailed this to my whole-food-only kid (well… kid… she’s nearly 20!). She generally disapproves of butter, but I’m hoping this might otherwise meet her high standards. In any event, I can’t wait to try it myself! Thanks for sharing. :>

    May 17, 2012
  2. I have gotten really, really picky about food lately. (You know, that whole cleanse thing.) I have gotten especially picky about sugar, so I started reading your post, honestly, a bit skeptical. But wow — there’s not much sugar (by cake standards). And, like you said, I could experiment by leaving off the topping (or maybe just leaving the sugar out of the topping). It looks really terrific and I will definitely try it.

    By the way, I like to make pancakes out of oat flour. It’s a wonder!

    May 16, 2012
    • I bet you could get away with even less sugar, depending on how ripe your bananas are. The King Arthur cookbook has introduced me to all sorts of awesome recipes using whole grains, like buckwheat pancakes–I need to try some with oat flour! Let me know how the recipe goes over in your house.

      May 16, 2012
  3. hallerwoman #

    That picture is freaking adorable. I love that kid. Sounds delish.

    May 15, 2012
    • I had to talk him into using a fork but it worked out. It IS delish. You will have time to bake again soon, hopefully.

      May 16, 2012
  4. Have mercy, this is totally up my alley in the sneaky-good-for-you department. Thanks for sharing!

    May 15, 2012

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