Cacao Banana & Buckwheat Snack Cake

by Lu
Cacao Banana Buckwheat Snack Cake

I purchased a bag of locally grown cacao powder on a recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Cacao is cocoa in its raw form. It’s less refined and retains many nutrients because it isn’t heated like cocoa. If you get the chance, I recommend trying it.

I brought this cake to a pizza party, and nobody could tell it was gluten free, only describing it as a healthier tasting brownie. I did try to make this cake as healthy as possible, cutting down on sugar, oil, and using 100% whole grain flour. The chocolate flavor is still rich and the texture moist and light. It’s meant to be an everyday, quick bake kind of cake, healthy enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert.

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Cacao Banana Buckwheat Snack Cake

Cacao Banana Buckwheat Snack Cake

Cacao Banana Buckwheat Snack Cake

Cacao Banana & Buckwheat Snack Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Cacao Banana & Buckwheat Snack Cake

This is a simple cake. You can add nuts, bake them as muffins, cupcakes, layer cakes, whatever you want!


Butter or oil to grease the pan, and parchment paper (optional) to line the pan
6 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups mashed banana (3-4 very ripe spotted bananas)
1/2 cup sugar (I use coconut sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup / 125 grams sifted buckwheat flour (You can substitute 1/4 of the buckwheat flour with potato starch to make the cake more fluffy)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 42 grams sifted cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Generously grease a 9 by 9 inch square pan with butter or coconut oil, or line the pan with parchment paper, then grease.
  3. Mix melted butter (or olive oil), mashed banana, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, then beat in the eggs.
  4. Whisk flour, cacao powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  5. Beat the dry mix into the wet mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan, let it sit for 5 minutes, then bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Leah March 1, 2018 - 10:06 am

Do you have a cool recipe for frosting of some sort?

Lu March 7, 2018 - 10:38 pm

Hi Leah, you can try either (or both!) of the frosting recipes from this post:

They’re pretty basic and both work well with chocolate. Enjoy!

Josy Nobre May 2, 2017 - 7:06 am

Can i use corn starch instead of potato flour?

Lu May 2, 2017 - 9:42 am

Hi Josy, I’ve never tried that so can’t vouch for it.

Patti January 30, 2017 - 9:53 pm

This is definitely a recipe I’d like to try. Wondering tho if I can use melted coconut oil.

Lu January 31, 2017 - 9:25 am

Hi Patti! Yes, absolutely. Just make sure the coconut oil is melted. Hope you try it!

Maryann Rizzo January 29, 2017 - 7:20 pm

Great Cake! Taste is like a light fluffy chocolate cake. Would never know it is gluten free. Used the potato starch. Used a little less sugar, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup walnuts. This is a go to cake and easy to make.
Thank you for A GREAT recipe

Lu January 30, 2017 - 9:40 am

Awwww thank you so much for your kind words Maryann! So glad you enjoyed the cake. Walnuts are a great idea!

Christine // my natural kitchen December 7, 2015 - 9:52 pm

What a delicious looking cake! That’s really awesome about the cacao too, I often buy raw cacao powder but haven’t noticed much difference from the cocoa powder I use for baking. I wonder if yours was that much fresher? Really interesting either way!

Lu December 31, 2015 - 9:24 am

I think mine was just rougher! Cause I got it locally in the DR. I’ve since run out and gotten a bag of raw cacao sold in the U.S. and it definitely looks just like cocoa haha. Chocolate sourcing is endlessly fascinating!

CakePants December 5, 2015 - 12:53 pm

I do love a good snack cake, and this one looks wonderful! I don’t think I’ve tried cacao powder but I’ve been wanting to do a taste test, so it’s really interesting to read about your experience with it!

Lu December 7, 2015 - 10:10 am

I hope you try it! It’s supposed to be healthier, although I think it’s meant to be eaten raw for those health benefits, and I ended up baking it… lol.

Emily November 18, 2015 - 1:45 pm

Yeeesss!! Love cacao. So good also in a “milkshake” with coconut milk ice cubes, medjool dates, and a hint of vanilla. Cake sounds and looks fabulous!

Lu November 24, 2015 - 10:15 pm

Ohhhh I’ll have to try coconut milk ice cubes! Genius

Medha @ Whisk & Shout November 15, 2015 - 11:37 am

Love the banana in here and I’m always down for cake as a snack! 🙂

Lu November 24, 2015 - 10:16 pm

Me too, I think I even prefer cake to cookies as a snack!

Claudia | The Brick Kitchen November 15, 2015 - 2:46 am

WOW I would not have guessed how healthy this is just by looking at the pictures – sounds gorgeous! Banana and chocolate is a perfect flavour pairing, and love how you have used buckwheat too. And I haven’t used cacao but may have to give it a try, if only for the caffeine kick – thank you for sharing the differences! <3

Lu November 24, 2015 - 10:17 pm

Haha those melty chocolate chips can be deceptive, but as far as cakes go, this one is at least not terribly unhealthy 😉


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