Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake with Maple Glazed Walnuts

Today is my birthday. I am 30 years old.
Looking back on my teens and twenties, I remember how absolutely freaked out I used to be about getting older. Every birthday that ticked by seemed like a cruel joke to a carefree young lady with cool clothes and perfect skin tone. Now, not so much. I think I actually like getting older because it seems like life actually gets better. If you’d told me this even five years ago I would have scoffed, but how true it feels now. I may be a little less cool in the wardrobe department and have crows feet teasing the edges of my eyes, but I’ve traded in those things for the realizing that those things don’t really matter anyway. What a relief. 

And what does a 30-year-old woman want for her birthday? A kid’s cake, obviously. I know that this one is a little over-the-top, but it’s time to celebrate the beginning of an undoubtedly huge decade ahead, plus I really had to one-up myself from last year (not an easy task, I might add).
Chocolate and banana is one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations, and one that certainly hails from childhood. There is something so right about the mellow comfort of banana’s sweetness paired with deep, dark chocolate intensity. I am reminded of banana boats in the fire at summer camp, banana chocolate chip muffins on road trips, banana ice cream with swirls of fudge winding their way through saccharine, tartrazine-coloured dairy. Ahhh, those were the days.

So now, a slight improvement. The banana cake recipe is in fact my Coziest Banana Bread, just using all light spelt flour instead of half light and half whole spelt. I made this decision because we’re eating cake here, and a less dense texture was needed. If you simply cannot justify eating all sifted spelt flour, go halfsies – it will still be delicious. I also took out the chocolate chunks because there is, uh, plenty of chocolate to speak of in this cake. And speaking of which, the chocolate cake is just a simple vegan version of your childhood favourite – you could easily make this your new go-to. The nice things about both of theses cakes is that they use maple syrup instead of sugar (something I ate quite enough of way back when). I also used a flavour-neutral coconut oil for the fat, but you could use butter if you are so inclined.

Banana Cake
¼ cup / 60ml milk of your choice (nut, seed, rice, goat, …)
6 Tbsp. / 90ml melted coconut oil or ghee
6 Tbsp. / 90ml pure maple syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (approximately 5 medium bananas)
2 cups / 280g light spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1 cup / 100g walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
2. Lightly oil and dust a 7” round spring form cake pan with flour, shaking out excess.
3. Put the milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth.
4. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add banana mixture and combine using as few strokes as possible. Fold in walnuts.
5. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (approx. 60 minutes)

Chocolate Cake
2 cups / 280g light spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
½ cup / 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup / 250ml pure maple syrup
1 ¼ cup / 300ml milk of your choice (nut, seed, rice, goat, …)
6 Tbsp. / 90ml melted coconut oil or ghee
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
2. Lightly oil and dust a 7” round spring form cake pan with flour, shaking out excess.
3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
4. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, milk, olive oil, vanilla and vinegar. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps.
5. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (approx. 60 minutes).

Maple Glazed Walnuts
1 cup / 100g walnuts
1/4 cup / 60 ml pure maple syrup

1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast walnuts until fragrant. Add maple syrup to the pan and toss quickly to coat. Remove from pan to let cool. Enjoy.

Dark Chocolate Glaze
1 cup / 250ml milk of your choice
200 grams high-quality extra dark chocolate (I used 85%)
1 vanilla bean, scraped
pinch sea salt

1. Slice vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and place them in a small saucepan.
2. Add cold milk to the saucepan and warm slowly over medium heat. When hot, remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until fully melted, whisk in a pinch of sea salt and glaze cake immediately. If the glaze sets, simply reheat to melt again.

Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake with Maple Glazed Walnuts – Assembly
1. Bake cakes together, on the same rack if possible so that they cook evenly. Let cool completely. Slice each cake in half horizontally (I repeat, make sure they totally cool). You may need to slice the very tops off the cakes to make them straight. Discard (eat) the trimmings.
2. While cakes are baking, make the Maple Glazed Walnuts and Chocolate Glaze.
3. Start with one half of the chocolate cake on the bottom, spoon on about 1/4 of the glaze, with the majority being around the edge so that it oozes out when you place the next layer. Place a banana cake layer on top of the chocolate layer and spoon on glaze, repeat until the top layer. Pour the remaining glaze on the top of the cake and top with Maple Glazed Walnuts. Serve.

Now I’m off to party like it’s 1999. Still got it.

xo, Sarah B.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at


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  5. Charlotte

    I made this on the weekend for a good friend’s birthday! I’ve been wanting an excuse to make it since you’ve posted it and I FINALLY had one! Amazing! Sarah, your recipes never disappoint!!! Thank you so much! You and your recipes constantly amaze and inspire me!

  6. Anneke

    Just made this for my sister’s wedding and it was an absolute hit! Thanks so much for another inspirational recipe and tickling our tastebuds yet again! XOXO

  7. Chidinma

    I’m about to attempt this recipe right now :). It’s my sister’s birthday tomorrow and she loves all things chocolate and banana.. 🙂

    • Chidinma

      I made this cake and my goodness was it good 🙂 🙂 :).

      P.s. I’m making it again next week for another birthday. Thanks for the amazing recipe. HUGSXXXX

  8. goofy

    I needed to say thank you for creating new and exciting recipes. Everything I make of yours has never failed in exceptional taste. I have not yet made this cake yet, though your cozy banana bread is a staple in our house, but to ring in the New Year I made your Blood Orange Chocolate Cake from your book…Oh…My…Goodness. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  11. Sarah

    I just made this cake, yet again. This time it was a “good luck on your first day of school” cake for a little friend who is off to kindergarten tomorrow and it was amazing. Thank you for your continued inspiration, Sarah B!

  12. Alison

    For all you glutards out there, I have made this cake (successfully) without gluten! All I did was substitute the 2 cups of spelt with 1 cup of millet, 3/4 cup of sorghum and 1/4 cup of arrowroot starch. Yum!

  13. Natty

    Making this cake for my good friend’s bday today. I needed to make it GF, so I used Bob’s Red Mill AP flour. Turned out great, but only took 37 minutes to cook.. They started to smell done and sure enough, the knife came out clean. Must be the GF flour? Anyways thanks for the recipe!

  14. Sarah

    I made this beauty for my littlest one’s first birthday party today. I didn’t include the nuts and made an avocado and raw cacao pudding-like icing. It was to die for. Both cakes were moist and flavourful! Thank you for your continued inspiration!

  15. David Noël

    Just made these as cupcakes (The chocolate cake recipe). Took less than 15 minutes to bake. Also used gf flour (homemade mix of Sorgho, tapioca, potato and almond).

    I love you.

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  17. Arlette

    Hi Sarah

    Love this recipe and so many of your fantastic creations. If I was to use a gluten free flour in place of spelt ie teff or buckwheat, would it be necessary to add xanthum gum or something else to hold the mix together? Would really appreciate your thoughts. All the best.

  18. yoko

    made this today. i love that you use the cozy banana bread recipe as a cake – can’t get enough of that bread. literally have the recipe memorized.

    the glaze didn’t turn out well for me too. way runnier than pictured. should it be 400g chocolate?

  19. Regan

    We made this cake and it is amazingly delicious! We also just use the banana cake recipe and make muffins with it…they are so moist and tasty (sometimes we add some nice dark chocolate pieces too)!
    Thanks so much for the recipes (as always this one was very inspiring)!

  20. Rachelle

    This looks amazing!!! When you say “any flour of choice”….would you recommend using oat flour? I am gluten intolerant. Thanks your wonderful recipes 🙂 I love your nut bread!!! God-send! Would you consider trying to make bagels with oat flour and gluten free? I am having a hard time finding a recipe that has this ingredient and not all the starchy flours, such as tapioca, potato….Thanks 🙂

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  25. Greta

    Sarah, the cake in your pictures look so tempting and delicious. Well, I just baked the 2 cakes but the banana one has turned out flat and more like a soggy banana bread when its warm. The Chocolate is just fine. I baked them separately as I did not have 2 pans the same size. Banana one was baked for about 40-45 minutes and chocolate one was baked for 30 minutes. Please can you tell me what could have gone wrong with the banana cake? Did i bake it for too long? Please help. Thank you so much for your precious site.

  26. Caiti

    This is so completely beautiful and delectable and perfection for a celebration of any kind! I was however wondering whether actual vanilla beans would be an appropriate substitute, rather than the extract, because I seem to have an abundance and think the flavour would be enhanced and make it fuller and richer. Thanks for the inspiration and INCREDIBLE insight into nutrition, all the recipes and of course the exquisite photography!

  27. Vanessa

    Thank you Sarah for the amazing recipe! This was my first time baking a cake without sugar!!! I’m so impressed I may never bake with sugar again. I made this for my husband’s 30th 🙂 My glaze really didn’t turn out – not sure where I went wrong, but other than that the cake was a hit. I also overcooked slightly, for me it didn’t need the full 60 min. I should have checked sooner, but oh well, next time. Thanks for a beautiful recipe!

  28. Anonymous

    Sarah, Happy Birthday!! =) This cake is gorgeous. Your blog continually inspires and educates me.
    I wanted to make this cake for a friend who is gluten intolerant, would it work with different flours such as almond flour or a gluten free flour mix? What would you suggest?
    ~Alayna in MS

  29. Jess

    Happy birthday! This looks so wonderful 🙂 I might make this for my birthday coming up 🙂

    the glaze typing came out funny and in the directions, you include olive oil instead of ghee.


  30. Daniela

    This wonderful cake inspired me for my 22nd birthday last weekend. I threw a big party and on 12 o’clock, I reveiled my personal try of this awesome recipe – people didnt even notice that it was vegan and almost gluten free haha ;D..
    .. So I totally hit the mark! Thanks to you!! =D

  31. Stephanie

    I laughed the dreading birthdays thing. How lucky you are that you realized so soon that the superficial things don’t matter. It took me until my late 30s to hit my stride, and now in my early 40s I am loving life and feeling the most beautiful I ever have, in spite of the wrinkles and greys peeking in. Aging has many underrated positives. A great decade ahead to you (and many more!) and thank you as always for the glorious work that you share with the world through this blog.

  32. trolley castors

    This post is so interesting to me because banana cake and chocolate cake are my favorite cake and I am always looking for the perfect recipe. This looks so delicious that’s why I think that this the one I am looking for.

  33. Candace Hendrick

    This looks dangerously good! I have been helping myself to your milkshake recipe lately when I need a sweet fix. Delish! Thanks for sharing all your goodness with us:) And Happy Birthday!

  34. Pauline AV

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday. The 30s are probably the best decade, so enjoy! The ones that come after are great too as long as we look after ourselves, as you are inspiring so many folk to do.
    love, Pauline (your age x2 and still rocking)

  35. Rebecca

    Joyeux anniversaire, dear! Congrats on all of your success, enjoy that amazingly delicious (ok I haven’t tasted it, but am living vicariously through your gorgeous photos and vivid descriptions, as usual 🙂 cake and hope this year is even better than the last. Bisous!!

  36. Emma Jane Photography

    Very Happy Birthday Sara!! I was also so dreading turning 30… and I must say, 5 years later that my 30’s have been the best years of my life!! 😉
    I so LOVE your blog and all the creative, delicious ideas you come up with….. keep up the great work!

  37. Julia Graham

    Happy Birthday Sara B!! Which date is it actually? Mine is the 26th 🙂
    The world is a yummier place with you in it!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gifts with us!! I might make your last year’s bday cake for Canadian Thanksgiving this year!! But, I KNOW I’ll be making this chocolate-banana one too!!

  38. Sasha

    Happy Birthday Sarah! And what a stunning birthday cake made by a stunning and inspiring woman. To the the next 30 years!

    I keep making banana chocolate muffins with almond pulp and I just can’t get enough of the perfection of chocolate and bananas. Can’t wait to make this cake!

  39. Jane

    Happy Birthday!!

    I turned 29 this summer and made quite a cake as well. It consisted of a layer of gluten free almond orange cake, a layer of your pumpkin spice birthday cake (very good), a layer of gluten free coconut cake, and a layer of blueberry molasses cake (101 cookbooks) with lemon curd and cherry fillings and your coconut icing. Yeah, I couldn’t decide what to make so I made them all!

    I also made your banana bread last weekend with coconut cream whipped up on the side. So delicious!

    Can’t wait to try your chocolate cake and those maple walnuts! Have a terrific birthday!

  40. Jana

    a very happy (a bit belated) BDAY to my good-mood-happy-food-fairy:-)))wish u “tout le bonheur du monde (also in the gourmand-monde)” from sunny ontario…hugs!

  41. Stella

    Happy Birthday! thanks for all you words and inspiration.
    I am on my way to your healthy lifestyle. I need to buy some kitchen tools, spices, ingredients….I am searching and searching internet about the opinion on vita-mix. The only thing i do not like about it is the plastic jug! I found also a magimix blender with glass jug ( strong 1200W performance motor).My question: does vitamix have any special performance, special blades (laser cut or something) that is so special (apart from being strong like blendtec but also magimix -the cheaper one). Is it really special as it cuts vegetables in a way that any other blender cannot (I read that it cuts the cells!)
    Please, if you have any possibility to introduce us with special equipment that you use in your kitchen (blenders, juicers, food processors, dehydrators etc) it would be very useful. I have very limited budget that is why I would like to buy the best eqiuipmnet that will last .
    thank you in advance for your reply

    all the best

  42. Ash

    Happy birthday Sarah! You are such an accomplished, awesome young lady– you should be so proud of everything you’ve done in the last ten years. 🙂
    I, too, am pushing 30 and can’t wait to get older and have life settle down a bit.
    Thank you for the DELICIOUS looking cake (can’t wait to try it!!) and hope you have a fantastic day!

  43. Angelie

    I love that your birthday’s just a couple of days before mine – this way I get to enjoy your lovely birthday cakes on my birthday as well 🙂 I think I’ll do this one on Tuesday though, since we’re making almond/date muffins tomorrow. Hope it’s as good as the hokaido cake you did last year 😉

  44. Sparrow

    Happy Birthday Sarah! Another fabulous post. Once we’ve finished our latest batch of your amazing Raw Brownies, I’m making this cake! Love every recipe, thank you so much for taking the time to share and making my family healthy. Enjoy your 30’s, I’m about to leave mine!

  45. Angela Johnson

    Happy Birthday Sarah B! That cake will be my birthday cake too – it looks too A-MAZ-ING. Thank you for your truly AWESOME blog – you’ve inspired in me an exciting and fabulous change of life. May you keep sharing for a long while yet 🙂 xo

  46. Valeria

    Happy happy Bday! are you a libra? perhaps this is why i can always feel affinity with your recipes and way of living 🙂 And for banana bread –I created a specific pinterest board for my banana cravings, which I satisfy once in a while with close versions of your cozy banana bread. This cake is absolutely amazing –wow. My birthday will be soon, on October 19th, and I haven’t chosen my cake yet. I was thinking about your pumpkin cake with coconut frosting, but now there is this one…mmm such an hard choice! which one did you like the best? 😀
    again, all the best for the new decades that is about to begin, many say it is the best!

  47. Wen

    Happy B day! Happy 30! Thanks for posting this cake because tomorrow is my birthday 9/29 and I’m turning 40 and looking for the perfect cake to celebrate. I love what you said about turning 30 and realizing certain things dont matter anymore. So true! Happy celebrating!

  48. Mary @ Fit and Fed

    Happy birthday, Sarah! I’ve never had a chocolate banana cake but I sure like the looks of yours, especially with the maple glazed walnuts on top! I agree with you about using all light flour for a birthday cake.

  49. Anna Russ

    Happy birthday, Sarah B!!! You are an incredible inspiration! Thank you for sharing your passion and wisdom. It has had a significant and beautiful impact on my life. Wishing you much joy, love, laughter and health. ~Anna

  50. Kasey

    Happy birthday miss Sarah! This would definitely be my cake of choice – bananas and chocolate with glazed walnuts?! Live it up girl! I’ve got one more year before 30 and I’m bookmarking this recipe for then 🙂

  51. Unknown

    Happy birthday lovely Sarah! That is a damn fine birthday cake. I just celebrated my birthday a couple days ago and had an epic cake as well! Gorgeous blog and photography 🙂 Enjoy your weekend! xo

  52. Jo Hodson

    Wohoo…happy birthday to you. Two of my favourite flavours too, and i love the fact you’ve kept them seperate as i tend to just mix them up together! I reach the big 30 next spring and i have a very similar philosophy to you. Bring it on, i’ve only just begun!!

  53. Iren

    Enjoy you’re 30 years – it’s a real great age, believe me!

    I’m not so into bananas, normally, but if YOU give a recipe with bananas, I know that I have to try it. And I will.

    Lot’s of love

  54. Explody Full

    Happy birthday your cake looks amazing! But shouldn’t someone else be making the cake for you? My friend is really hung up on getting ‘old’ it freaks her out. I don’t get it – the number associated at it with your age really only has the meaning you choose to assign to it! Glad that you now have the more laid approach too 🙂


    Happy Birthday, Sarah! I’m a first-time commenter but long-time reader and lover of this here blog of yours! In fact, banana bread was the first of your recipes I ever made! I’ve enjoyed many MNR inspired eats since then, and my recipe book is chock full of MNR print outs. Thanks for sharing and for helping to teach this girl how to truly eat well! Cheers to many many more happy birthdays!

  56. Kate

    Happy birthday, Sarah! I hope you have a delicious year ahead. Everything does get better with age, I can guarantee it. And that cake? Oh my, girl…… killer stuff there.

  57. Renee

    Happy birthday, Sarah! 🙂 I laughed when you were talking about how you used to dread birthdays, because I’m still at that stage in my life. I’m in my mid-twenties and hate the sound of it. Early-twenties doesn’t sound too bad..but mid-twenties!? Ugh. I figure it starts getting better once you have your life figured out a bit more, though. And I’m looking forward to that aspect it.

  58. Angela

    Happy birthday Sarah! I don’t think this cake could be any more perfect. Enjoy it and have a great time celebrating.

    I agree with you – it just gets better as we go.

  59. Liz B

    Love, love, love totally!!! Happy birthday!!
    Sending lots of love and kisses!! Bring on the cakes and cookies soon 🙂 Enjoy and happy dancing! xxxxxxxxx

  60. Miss Vite

    OH MY GOD! You did it, you toped last year cake!! 🙂 Yaaaaaaaammmmmm! 😉 I think this is going to be my first layer cake. Hope you had a wonderfull day for your birthday! Much love, Joana*

  61. Nina

    Many Happy Returns of the Day! The cake looks fabulous – might have to put a link on Facebook as a hint to certain people for my birthday next month…

  62. Anonymous

    At first: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    Keep going, your blog is great!
    What a beautiful cake, the pictures are really mothwatering!

  63. Stacy

    Happy birthday to you! I think you’re spot-on with your attitude about getting older — and with this cake. I hope it’s a wonderful year. Cheers to you!

  64. marz fraser-buchanan

    Happy Birthday Sarah!! your cake looks amazing and your outlook on life and age amazing as well. I have heard this before from some of the wonderful women in their thirties that I know, that life improves with age, which they never would’ve guessed in their twenties. This is heartening to me turning 25 this year; that life is just getting started and will continue to grow more beautiful. Thanks for sharing and have a spectacular day!

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