Landscape photo of Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake

Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake (Vegan Gluten-Free)

This Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake is a showstopper for Valentine’s Day and for offering to loved ones. It’s rich and moist, tastes like red velvet cake with a banana bread base and decorated with luscious vegan vanilla buttercream.

The banana bread for February 2022 is here and I am so excited about it. After making this for my friends and I to share for Galentines this year, I could not wait to share it with you ahead of the celebrations. It’s fun, surprisingly easy to make and has a huge wow-factor when you serve this up. It’s a cross between red velvet cake and a banana bread load and a slice of this hits the spot every time.

Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake with a slice
Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake

What is this Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake like?

It is pure magic in heart-shaped form:

  • Moist, cakey and light
  • Rich and moreish
  • Slightly chocolatey and vibrant red
  • Naturally vegan and easily gluten-free
  • Naturally nut and soya-free
  • A real crowd pleaser
  • Easy to make in a few steps
  • A great way to use up ripe bananas
  • Made from a square cake and a round cake (no fancy tins required)

If you already know you are going to love this Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake then skip ahead to the recipe card below, or, let’s discuss the method in more detail.

Close up of Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake
Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake

What ingredients go into this cake?

The base banana bread recipe is based on a delicious one I used for my Snickers Banana Bread. We need:

  • Ripe bananas: the riper the better in terms of sweetness, taste and texture. I always recommend to weigh the bananas.
  • Sunflower oil: or you can use melted and cooled coconut oil (it’s important it cools down slightly so it does not harden as soon as it meets the cold dairy-free milk). Other neutral liquid oils will also work like vegetable or olive oil.
  • Plant based milk: any carton of milk will work like almond, soya, oat or coconut.
  • Lemon juice: this helps to bind the batter as it curdles the milk to form a quick buttermilk.
  • Vanilla essence: for the lovely flavour.
  • Plain or GF plain flour: this keeps the cake lovely and light and moist. I used plain white flour and if using a gluten-free blend, make sure it’s a 1:1 baking substitute with xantham gum.
  • Cacao powder: or cocoa powder for the slight chocolatey notes that are typical of red velvet cakes.
  • Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda: for the rise.
  • Salt: for the flavour.
  • Red food gel; it is important to note that NOT all food gels are vegan especially red and pink ones so make sure yours are free from animal products were needed. Colouring gel is better than liquid as they are much more concentrated and do not interfere with the liquid balance of the mix. If you don’t have food gel, then food colouring should work but the colour will not be as strong. You could also try beetroot powder, too.

For the buttercream, we need:

  • Vegan butter: it is important that the butter is soft when you start. Simply leave the block of butter at room temperature for 2 hours or so until soft, but not warm. Do not be tempted to microwave the butter. Block butter is much better and tastier than margarine spread.
  • Icing sugar: for the frosting.
  • Plant-based milk: as above, any milk will do.
  • Vanilla: for the flavour.
  • Red food gel: as above, gel is better.
  • Sprinkles: to decorate. Make sure these are also vegan and gluten-free, where needed. I love the range from Baking Time Club (and save 20% with code AMY20).
A slice of Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake
Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake

How do I make this amazing cake?

Although it look super impressive, this Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake is surprisingly easy to make:

  • Make the banana bread batter: I like to blend all the wet ingredients in a blender and then whisk into the dry mix but you can just mash the bananas, add in the wet and then whisk in the dry.
  • Divide the batter between two tins: one 6-inch square tin and one 6-inch round cake tin. A square tin holds about 25% more than a round tin, so divide the batter in a rough ratio of 1.25 (square) to 1 (round).
  • Bake until risen: about 22-24 minutes and check with an inserted skewer that they are clean (the square and round cakes may cook in different times).
  • Cool and prepare the buttercream: like normal buttercream.
  • Colour the buttercream: reserve half as plain vanilla and then divide the other half into three. Colour these in various shades of red. Insert into piping bags.
  • Slice the round cake in half: to make two semi-circles and spread the flat edge with plain buttercream.
  • Position the square cake like a diamond: and place the two semi-circles onto the top two edges to make a heart.
  • Cover with vanilla buttercream: along the top and sides.
  • Decorate with the shades of red buttercream: in various shapes and sizes.
  • Sprinkle: with your favourite Valentine’s sprinkles.

Can I use regular buttercream?

Yes, you do not have to colour the buttercream at all. If you want to cover this cake in just one coat of buttercream, make up two thirds of the recipe below and decorate as you like. You could also try a chocolate buttercream or a cream cheese frosting (which is more traditional with red velvet cakes).

Can I make this into a two-tier cake?

Yes, you can. You will have to double the batter and the buttercream. You would make two 6-inch square cakes and two 6-inch round cakes. Slice off the tops of the cakes as they will need to be flat. Start by making one heat as below then cover the top with buttercream. Make a second heart shape as below and add on top. Cover the tops and sides with buttercream and then decorate as required.

A fork and a slice of Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake
Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake

Is this Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake gluten-free and nut-free?

This cake is naturally nut-free (check your plant-based milk) and it is gluten-free if you use your preferred GF flour blend.

How long will this banana bread cake last?

Once frosted, cover the cake where it will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge or you can freeze the frosted cakes for up to 1 month (wrap up well).

I love banana bread, what other recipes can I make?

I hope you will love this Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake so for more banana bread recipes how about my:

Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake (Vegan Gluten-Free)

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake is a showstopper for Valentine’s Day and for offering to loved ones. It’s rich and moist, tastes like red velvet cake with a banana bread base and decorated with luscious vegan vanilla buttercream.

Ingredients

    For the Red Velvet Cake:
  • 3 medium ripe bananas (350g)
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 70g coconut or caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 220g plain or GF plain flour
  • 15g cacao powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 drops of vegan red food gel
  • For the Buttercream:
  • 200g vegan butter, softened
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Vegan red food gel
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and grease and line one 6-inch square tin and one 6-inch round tin.
  2. For the blending method: weigh the bananas and along with the oil, sugar, milk, lemon and vanilla to a blender and blend till smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl. OR, for the mashing method, add the weighed ripe bananas to a large mixing bowl and mash until very smooth. Stir in the oil, sugar, milk, lemon and vanilla and mix again.
  3. Sift in the flour, cacao powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and add the salt. Start to whisk the batter and then add the vegan food gel, start with 4 drops and whisk the batter until completely smooth, adding more red food gel as needed. Do not overmix.
  4. Divide the cake batter between two tins in a ratio of 1 (round tin) to 1.25 (square tin). I used approximately 350g for the round tin and 450g for the square tin. Bake for 22-24 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean (the cakes may bake in different times).
  5. Cool for 10 minutes then carefully lift out the tins to cool fully.
  6. Once cool, prepare the buttercream. Add the softened butter to a large mixing bowl and use a handheld or freestanding mixer to beat until smooth. Now gradually beat in the icing sugar, milk and vanilla and continue to beat and whip until light and fluffy.
  7. Place just over half of the buttercream in a separate bowl (this is our underneath buttercream). Now divide the second half into 3. Using various amounts of red food gel, colour the three buttercreams in various shades of red, beating with the mixer to incorporate the colours. Start with very small amounts of colouring. Place each colour into a piping bag with a nozzle attached (any shape you like).
  8. Have the two cakes ready and the buttercream. Slice the round cake in half and spread a layer of plain buttercream on the exposed flat edge. Position the square cake like a diamond and attach the round halves of cake onto the top two diagonals to make a heart shape.
  9. Spread the entire cake with the plain buttercream (top and sides). Now use the red buttercreams to pipe on any designs and shapes you like and decorate with sprinkles.
  10. Place the cake in the fridge to firm up slightly and then enjoy. Leftovers will keep for 3-5 days in a sealed container in the fridge and unfrosted red velvet banana bread cakes will keep for 1 month covered in the freezer.
Landscape photo of Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake
Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake

I look forward to hearing what you think of this Red Velvet Heart Banana Bread Cake so please let me know in the comments below. If you do make this, I would love to see so please tag me in our heart cakes, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With heart cake love x

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