Christmas Banana Bread landscape photo

Christmas Banana Bread (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

This Christmas Banana Bread has the best Christmas flavours: cranberry, orange, eggnog and gingerbread in one show-stopper dessert. Easy to make, this two-tier vegan and gluten-free sponge is layered with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.

The banana bread for December is here and I am so excited about it – it might just be my favourite one yet. It combines all the best festive flavours: cranberry, orange, eggnog and gingerbread. Don’t worry, it’s not Christmas overload but just the right amount and all the flavours work so beautifully together.

Christmas Banana Bread with Christmas lights
Christmas Banana Bread

How amazing is this Christmas Banana Bread?

I am just in love with the flavours of this one and the texture, too. It is:

  • Light and fluffy sponge
  • Moreish and rich
  • Packed with orange and cranberries
  • Lightly spiced with eggnog, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • With a hidden gingerbread cookie filling
  • Decorated as a little winter wonderland
  • Easy to make and bake
  • Naturally vegan and nut-free and easily gluten-free

This one is such a showstopper this festive season and so good to make for friends, family and other gatherings. If you are already in love, skip ahead to the recipe card or let’s see what goes into this cake.

What ingredients do we need?

The base banana bread recipe is really similar to my Strawberry Shortbread Banana Bread and requires a few simple ingredients:

  • Ripe bananas: essential for banana bread. The riper the banana, the better as they are sweeter and softer. I always advise to weigh the banana for the recipe as they vary so much in size.
  • Sunflower or coconut oil: either oil will work or light olive oil, too. I tend to use sunflower oil for my cakes and bakes to keep them really light.
  • Vegan eggnog or plant-based milk: I had some leftover homemade eggnog but you can use normal plant-based milk or even shop-bought vegan eggnog. It adds a lovely cinnamon-y nutmeg flavour to the batter.
  • Sugar: I use light brown sugar and caster sugar as the flavours work the best. The light brown sugar is more Christmassy but also using white sugar makes it not as rich. You can use all golden or white caster sugar or all coconut sugar, too.
  • Lemon juice: or apple cider vinegar helps to bind the batter by reacting with the milk.
  • Vanilla essence: for the sweet flavour.
  • Orange: adding orange zest to the Christmas Banana Bread adds so much festive flavour that works so well with the cranberries.
  • Plain or GF flour: this keeps the batter really light and moist and if you are using gluten-free flour, make sure it is one you usually bake with and has xantham gum.
  • Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda: for the rise.
  • Salt: to enhance the flavours.
  • Cranberries: fresh is best for this Christmas Banana Bread but you can also use frozen cranberries, just add them to the batter while they are still frozen. If you are out of fresh or frozen cranberries you can use dried cranberries, too.
Christmas Banana Bread close up
Christmas Banana Bread

That is it for the ingredient list for the cake, and as you can see, this makes a two-tier cake. Method-wise, I like to blend all the wet ingredients together until smooth and then whisk in with the dry ingredients before folding in the cranberries, dividing between the two tins and baking until golden and risen.

How do I make the swiss meringue buttercream?

This is my absolute favourite buttercream to make as it is so light and fluffy – much more luscious than regular buttercream and the secret is aquafaba (the water from a tin of chickpeas). For this recipe, you can use plant-based milk instead of the aquafaba which will make just as delicious vanilla buttercream, just slightly less fluffy. The ingredients are vegan butter, icing sugar, aquafaba (or plant-based milk) and vanilla essence. The trick is to leave the butter at room temperature for 1-2 hours until it’s softer. This makes for the best and fluffiest buttercream frosting. I also use an electric hand beater/whisker, too.

What decorations go on top of this Christmas Banana Bread?

To make this festive showstopper even more special, there is a hidden centre of gingerbread biscuits (like these ones here) and on top, I cut out and built a gingerbread house. I also topped the cake with some fresh redcurrants, cranberries, rosemary trees (a sprig of rosemary dusted with icing sugar) and some sprinkles.

Christmas Banana Bread cut open
Christmas Banana Bread

How do I build and gingerbread house?

This is really simple, all you need is a Vegan Gingerbread dough and some house-shape cutters. As normal, make the dough, cut out the shapes and bake. Once cool, make up a batch of icing and decorate the house pieces. Once fully set, “glue” the pieces together with the icing, starting with the base and then securing the top. It helps to lean the house against something to keep it upright and then place the house(s) in the fridge to set more quickly.

Is this cake gluten-free and nut-free?

This Christmas Banana Bread is naturally nut-free, just check your plant-based eggnog or milk recipe. To make this cake gluten-free, use your favourite GF flour blend with xantham gum.

A slice of Christmas Banana Bread
Christmas Banana Bread

Can I make this in a loaf tin?

This batter makes enough for two 6-inch cake tins but you can also use one normal-sized loaf tin and check the cake after 40-45 minutes. It may take longer to cook, just keep checking until an inserted skewer comes out clean and cover the top with foil if it is browning too much.

How long will this cake last?

This Christmas Banana Bread will keep for 2-3 days in a sealed container at room temperature although it is best stored in the fridge for 3-5 days in a container. Allow the cake to rest at room temperature before eating it. Unfrosted cake will also keep for up to 1 month in the freezer, wrapped well.

I love this recipe for Christmas Banana Bread what other festive recipes will I love?

I hope you will really enjoy baknig this banana bread and for more ideas, how about my:

Christmas Banana Bread (Gluten-Free)

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This Christmas Banana Bread has the best Christmas flavours: cranberry, orange, eggnog and gingerbread in one show-stopper dessert. Easy to make, this two-tier vegan and gluten-free sponge is layered with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.

Ingredients

    For the banana bread:
  • 3 large ripe bananas (350g)
  • 80ml sunflower or melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp vegan eggnog or plant-based milk
  • 40g light brown sugar
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 250g plain or GF plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 150g fresh cranberries
  • For the swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 100g vegan butter, softened at room temperature
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp aquafaba or plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 25g crushed gingerbread biscuits
  • To decorate:
  • Gingerbread house and shapes
  • Rosemary twigs
  • Fresh redcurrants
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Sprinkles
  • Icing sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and grease and line two 6-inch cake tins with parchment paper.
  2. Weigh the banana and add to a blender with the oil, eggnog or milk, both sugars, lemon juice, vanilla essence and the orange zest. Blend until really smooth. Or, mash the banana until no lumps remain and whisk in the oil, eggnog or milk, both sugars, lemon juice, vanilla essence and the orange zest until smooth.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl and add the salt. Pour in the wet banana mix and whisk to a thick batter.
  4. Fold in the cranberries and divide between the two cake tins. Smooth over the top and bake for 33-35 minutes or until golden brown on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, lift out the tins and cool fully on a wire rack.
  6. Allow the butter to soften at room temperature and then beat with free-standing or hand-held electric mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, aquafaba or milk and the vanilla essence and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  7. To decorate the cake, slice off the tops of the cakes to make them flat. Add a smear of buttercream to your serving plate or cake board and place on the first cake. Cover with a layer of buttercream and make an indent in the middle. Fill this with the crushed cookies.
  8. Add on the second cake and work your way gently and carefully round the edges to cover with an even layer of buttercream. Also cover the top with buttercream.
  9. If you have any left, you can pipe on some shapes on top. Chill the cake for 10 minutes in the fridge to set the buttercream.
  10. When ready to serve, decorate with the gingerbread house and shapes, twigs of rosemary as trees, fresh redcurrants and cranberries and sprinkles. Dust with icing sugar.
  11. Eat straight away or store leftovers in a sealed container for 2-3 days at room temperature or for 3-5 days in the fridge. The gingerbread will soften over time, so best to add those on before serving. Un-frosted cakes can be frozen for up to 1 month in the freezer, covered tightly.
Christmas Banana Bread landscape photo
Christmas Banana Bread

I hope you will love this Christmas Banana Bread so please let me know what you think in the comments below. If you do make this banana bread, I would love to see so please tag me in your creations – I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With Christmas BB love x

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