Banana Cake With Peanut Butter Frosting: Love Me Tender

Vegan Banana Cake

You don’t have to be Elvis Presley to eat like the King.

The rock ‘n’ roll legend’s love for food was well-known, and the infamous peanut butter and banana sandwich he adored, dubbed the “Elvis,” is the stuff of  food excess lore. Here’s how it was rumored to be made:  two slices of white bread were slathered with peanut butter, layered with bananas (mashed or sliced, per different accounts), sometimes drizzled with honey, and then the whole sandwich would be pan-fried in  butter. More horrifying versions (if that’s possible) say the sandwich contained bacon, one of the most unhealthy foods you can possibly eat because it literally drips with cholesterol and sodium.

Whew! Leaves you all shook up just to read that, doesn’t it? No wonder a medical examiner is famously quoted as saying that the King died of a “terminal event on the commode.”

Vegan Banana Cake

But take heart. My Elvis cake– a wholesome but melt-in-the-mouth tender banana cake with a peanut-butter frosting– is nowhere near as fattening or scary. In fact, it’s a pretty low-on-guilt cake, especially if you make it with whole-wheat pastry flour.

I recycled my Banana Cake recipe for the base, and it was perfect. This cake, eggless and vegan of course, has a very moist, airy crumb and every bite bursts with startling banana flavor. I made just enough peanut butter frosting to get a nice, satisfying layer between the two tiers and on top, but if you are the sort who likes gobs and gobs of frosting on their cake, double the recipe. Do keep in mind that peanut butter– although healthy– is high in fat.

I fought off one of my own food quirks when I made this cake, or rather the frosting. I absolutely love peanut butter and can eat it out of the jar by the spoonful (I do.). But I hate it vigorously and vehemently when it’s combined with anything sweet. I cannot stand peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, I don’t dare go near a peanut butter cup, and if you’re my friend you would know better than to buy me peanut-butter candy

I know I am in a minority (perhaps of one) because everyone else I’ve ever met just loves peanut-butter-based sweets. So I’m really excited to share this recipe with you because it really, really worked. Maybe it was because the flavors of the peanut butter and bananas marry so well together. Elvis, you old hound dog, you sure knew what you were doing.

As for me, I’m a new woman. Now bring on those peanut butter cups…maybe!

Banana Cake

Banana Cake With Peanut Butter Frosting

5.0 from 1 reviews
Banana Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Banana Cake inspired by the King
Recipe type: Cake/Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan Desserts
  • (Recipe makes two tiers)
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (all-purpose flour is a good substitute-- it makes for an even more tender cake)
  • ½ cup canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 medium, very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup soy or any non-dairy milk, like almond, cashew, hemp, or pumpkin-seed milk + ½ tsp balsamic vinegar (set aside five minutes to curdle)
  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  2. Beat together the oil and sugar with a handheld mixer for about two minutes.
  3. Add the soymilk mixture and beat until just mixed.
  4. Add the mashed bananas and beat in. Make sure there are no big lumps remaining.
  5. Add the flour to the banana-soymilk-oil mixture in 2 batches, beating in after each addition until the mixture is smooth. Do not overbeat, though.
  6. Line the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans with parchment or wax paper. Oil and flour the pans.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the two pans and bake 25-30 minutes in a 350-degree oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
  8. Place on a rack to cool, about 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off the parchment paper, and leave on the rack to cool thoroughly before frosting.
  10. Place one cake on a cake stand or flat dish. Put about ⅓rd of the frosting (recipe follows) in the center of the cake and using a spatula spread it evenly across the surface.
  11. Carefully place the second cake on top of the first one. Put the remaining icing in the center of the cake and evenly frost the top and sides.
  12. Garnish with some chopped, roasted peanuts. In fact, if you have the time and the peanuts, sprinkle nuts all over the surface of the cake and press some into the sides.
  13. Cut yourself a hunka cake love, and enjoy!


Peanut Butter Frosting

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
Prep time
Total time
Peanut Butter Frosting
Recipe type: Cake frosting
  • ½ cup smooth and creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1½ tbsp vegan "butter", like Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  1. Have the peanut butter and Earth Balance at room temperature, and the cream cheese cold. Place the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wisk or with a handheld or stand mixer until everything's combined.
  2. Add the sugar ½ cup at a time, beating in well after each addition. I use less sugar than most peanut butter frosting recipes would, but if you want a stiffer frosting add more confectioners sugar.
  3. Place the frosting in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before frosting.


Some of you have asked me how my other animals, especially Pie, have been reacting to Pubm’s death. The answer is, not significantly. Over the past six months, we have come down from a family of three dogs and two cats to one with two dogs and one cat. Freddie’s passing did not seem to make a huge impact on Lucy and Opie, largely perhaps because he stopped interacting with the other dogs during his long illness and — being the smallest and oldest guy in the house– had hardly ever interacted with them much before, when he was in good health. Pubm and Pie came to our home together at the age of six, and the shelter told us they had lived together in a home all their lives and were sisters. But they weren’t terribly close in the eight years we’ve had them, and the only times they did interact, really, was to quarrel.

While it might work differently for dogs and cats who are really close, like Lucy and Opie are, I like to think that animals have better instincts than we humans do when it comes to death. They are not aware of their own mortality, they do not worry about those closest to them dying, and when someone does pass on they take it in their stride without obsessing over it, like we humans do. They don’t think of going to a better place, or being condemned to a bad one. Rather, they just live in the moment– something we all could learn to do.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


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  1. says

    I have been to your blog many times ,silent mostly,but today’s post made me comment.I love bananas and peanut butter and the cake looks gorgeous.I have started baking just recently, so this is going to be the next in my to-do list. One small doubt-What can I use as a substitute for soya milk?

  2. says

    You are a brave person! My boyfriend hates peanut buter combined with sweet things, too. I will better not show him this post and tell him about the fact that you made this cake although you have the same “peanut issues”. I think the cake looks and sounds delicious.

  3. says

    I’ll take peanut butter in any form, and this is particularly fetching with the addition of bananas!

    How true about our pets, they live in the moment and that’s what I try to tell myself when I look at Dale aging and feel a pang about his mortality.

  4. df says

    Sounds great. When bananas get too ripe, I peel & freeze them waiting for a recipe like this. I’m going to try it with 2 changes: 1) Eliminate the peanut butter. It’s a trigger food for me, plus I’m not a frosting person; 2) I’d reduce the sugar by half or replace it with applesauce or crushed pineapple. I made Dr. Banards Wacky Chocolate cake and reduced the sugar by 1/2 and it was great. See:

    I don’t want to have tons of flour in my cupboard. I only have whole wheat flour. It seems to work out when pastry flour is called for. I play games with flour, sometimes swapping oat bran & multigrain. I buy them when they are on sale. Just have to find the right ratio of dry to wet ingredients.

  5. says

    I must be of the quirkiest people around when it comes to peanuts. I love them on their own and mixed into some savoury recipes but have never liked peanut butter and don’t enjoy recipes where peanuts are the dominant flavour (eg. satay). This means your cake is somewhat conflicting for me, the banana part sounds delicious but not so much the frosting.

    Thanks for the update on your kids! When one of our cats passed last year, the other one didn’t seem to care as they used to fight as well even though they grew up together. Our dog Jasper probably just missed having one less bottom to sniff!

  6. says

    Reminds me of the excellent, if not disconcerting, documentary movie, “The Burger and the King.” It is about Elvis’ food habits that ultimately led to his unseemly death in the W/C. In this true black comedy, his cook is shown shakin’ that PB&B in a whole lotta butter. Definitely a must-see for any foodie, especially for the vegan-at-heart.

  7. says

    The cake looks noce! Peanut and banana combination is something i’ve not tried yet…
    And the last lines about your pets are nice thoughts to ponder about…

  8. Anonymous says

    Hi vaishali,

    Great cake. I guess we humans need to learn something from the animals, and always connect to the fact that everyone has an end of this life,s journey, as m still unable to cope with the loss of my father 3 years back. Is that what makes humans different from animals!!!!!!!!!!!? Don’t know!

    God Bless.

  9. says

    I absolutely love peanut butter!! But I do agree with you – why combine its inherent salty-sweet nuttiness with something cloyingly sweet?? However, ur cake does sound fantastic i must confess!

    ps – Bacon??! really????

  10. says

    Vaishali…you cake looks simple superb….am drooling already…

    hey….first of all I would like to apology…that I told you that I met you before …you just look like one of my friends…her name is also vaishali….so I previously commented as do you recognize me…
    I met my friend later then I realized you are not the one….sorry dear…

    Chk out my DIWALI Event
    September – ALMONDS Event & GIVEAWAY
    September – WWC – “Cornmeal for Breakfast”

  11. says

    The Cooker, Hope you try it. :)

    Mihl, It did take some courage. And glad to know I’m not the only “weird” one. :)

    Alpana, Thanks!

    Nupur, I look at Opie and Lucy (my first two rescues) and wonder if I’d ever be able to deal with their passing…it’s tough, but it’s the deal we make when we adopt them. All they want is lots of treats, a safe home, lots of walks, and lots of hugs.

    Divya, Thanks!

    DF, I’ll look up the recipe– thanks for the link. And yes, playing around with different flours is a good idea. I like using stuff I have on hand too, rather than rushing to the store for the perfect ingredient…at least most of the times.

    Mel, your quirk sounds a lot like mine. :) And your comment about Jasper and the cat’s butt made me smile, because that’s the main thing– I’m sure– my dogs miss about having Pubm around. I hope Jasper’s doing well.

    Sharmilee, Thanks!

    Solaripedia, thanks for telling me about this movie– I love black comedies and I love Elvis despite his very non-vegan lifestyle (I don’t think I’ll ever get over the sight of his fur-covered bed in Graceland), so I gotta see this!

    Sum, Thanks!

    Nisha, I am sorry about your father, and I understand because after all these years I still miss my mom who died when I was seven. I don’t think animals lack the sensibility to love and miss the ones they love– in fact they love with all their hearts. It’s just that because they don’t think of the future or dwell in the past, they don’t react to death the way we do.

    Swati Sapna, Priya, Thanks! :)

  12. says

    This recipe is amazing! I’ve made it three times so far. Everyone who has tried it (vegans and non-vegans alike) love it. It even made one of my friends dance for joy. The only alteration I made was the addition of 1/8 of a cup of soy milk in the frosting. It made the frosting a little easier to mix. Thank you for posting this. Your website is fabulous.

  13. says

    Banana cake is my fav and peanut butter i can have anytime.. I couldn’t resist looking at your great clicks..they were just heaven on earth..oh nice!I did not add cream cheese to icing still it was amazing..

  14. Helen Bradbury says

    Brilliant. I’m having a vegan month (normally a lactose-intolerant vegetarian). I love your taste combinations and I’m a big fan of spice.

  15. Vidhya says

    Hi vaishali,

    Hope you ve been well. Your website looks great as usual and I do come back every few weeks to check out some of your recipes :)

    This cake looks amazing. I have sadly not been baking much since I turned vegan but this is inspiring and I definitely want to give it a try. I live in Singapore , where we can get vegan butter ( earth balance) but am not so sure abt the vegan cream cheese. Any substitutes? Or can I just omit it?

    • says

      Hi Vidhya, you can use shortening, make sure it’s free of trans fats, instead of the cream cheese. Or use more of the earth balance. Hope you try the cake– vegan baking is a lot of fun! :) Cheers!

  16. Trish says

    I made this cake yesterday. The cake part was so deliciously moist and flavorful, however, my peanut butter icing did not turn out at all. It was more like fudge so I heated it up slightly to make it spreadable but even that didn’t help much. Perhaps my peanut butter was at fault? I had an organic, no sugar-added type. I’ve made frosting/icings many times before so I’m not new to vegan baking. Still a great cake and I won’t give up on the frosting just yet 😉

    • says

      Hi Trish, I find that the organic, no-sugar butter tends to be too oily at the top and no matter how much you mix it, it becomes rather dry at the end. If that was the case, your peanut butter could be at fault. I used the regular supermarket kind for this one. Glad you liked the cake! :)

  17. says

    This was very, very good. Prep time actually took me about 30 mins. I checked the cake at exactly 1 hour and it was still pure batter in the middle, I ended up baking it for 1 hr 20 mins and it was perfect. I too used the freezer trick and the cake was so moist! I spread a thick layer of the frosting on and still had quite a bit left, but that wasn’t a problem as my DH ate the rest from the bowl! Again, this was a VERY good cake. I think I will turn it into our regular birthday cake!

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