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Banana Cake Squares with Chocolate Chips and Hazelnuts

Banana Cake Squares with Chocolate Chips and Hazelnuts, a perfect antidote to the shut-in blues. (all photos from Deborah Brooks)


If you’re like me and have had it with the cold and rain, may I suggest baking this super moist banana cake. It’s definitely an antidote to the shut-in blues. I might even go so far as to rephrase that time honored quote to “When the going gets tough, the tough get baking!” And it’s been tough!

On a rainy day we need some comfort food. And there’s no better comfort food than a big square of super moist cake baked with bananas, chocolate chips and hazelnuts. A trifecta of comfort, one might say.

Truth be told, this cake was created because of ingredients I had in the house: Three very ripe bananas. Oat milk. Chocolate chips. Roasted Hazelnuts. My usual pantry baking items. I just didn’t want to go to the market in the pouring rain. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I’ll leave that quote as is!

That’s the great thing about vegan baking. If you have the baking basics in your pantry, you can always throw together something yummy to bake on the spur of the moment. No need to worry about having fresh eggs and butter in the fridge.

So how do you make a pantry items vegan cake? For the leavening I used a combination of baking powder and baking soda, as well as apple cider vinegar that was added to oat milk to make a plant-based buttermilk. For the fat I used hazelnut oil, though you can use regular vegetable oil. I like using nut oils in baking as they impart a bit more flavor.

I find that the rain does make me a bit lazier, so I definitely don’t want to fuss too much. Good news! Not only is this cake delicious, it’s very easy to make as it all gets mixed by hand.

While most banana cakes get iced, I decided to let the cake be the star. I added lots of chocolate chips for additional sweetness. Simple and delicious for breakfast, a post workout snack or dessert.

Please note that you can substitute granulated white sugar for half or all of the brown sugar. That’s what I had in the house. Brown sugar makes a denser cake with a bit more caramel flavor. Substitute granulated sugar for a lighter cake.

Banana Cake Squares with Chocolate Chips and Hazelnuts

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 large very ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup vegan buttermilk (recipe follows)
2/3 cup hazelnut oil or neutral vegetable oil
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip plus more to dot the top of cake
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl mash up the bananas until pureed. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is melted into the bananas. Add the vanilla and buttermilk and incorporate thoroughly. Whisk in the oil until all is well combined.
Immediately pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients. Fold the flour into the banana mixture until no flour is visible.

Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Dot the top of the cake with more chocolate chips for a pretty presentation.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. The top should be a golden brown. If it seems to be getting too dark, while baking, cover the pan lightly with foil. Let cool completely on a rack before serving.

Vegan Buttermilk
1 cup minus 1 T full-fat plant milk. Oat or soy work best.
1 T apple cider vinegar

Whisk together the plant milk and vinegar. Let rest for 10 minutes until thickened.


Truth be told, this cake was created because of ingredients I had in the house. I just didn’t want to go to the market in the pouring rain. “Necessity is the mother of invention.”


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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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