Classic Banana Bread with a Carrot Cake twist! This bread tastes like banana bread, but it’s also filled with carrots, nuts, coconut, and topped with a dairy-free cashew “cream cheese” frosting, for a fun carrot cake spin.
Do you “brunch?”
It seems to me like people either love brunch or they don’t. I love it. Breakfast for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner… I’m all about breakfast foods!
You know what the perfect brunch or breakfast food is? Banana Bread.
But not just any banana bread. Over the last few years I’ve seen a few Carrot Cake Banana Bread recipes floating around online, and thought the combination sounded delicious. It was more than time to make my own classic Banana Bread turn into a Carrot Cake dream!
And this bread delivers. It’s the perfect brunch bread, sweet breakfast, or light dessert!
It’s like I took Banana Bread and added healthy additions like carrots, coconut and walnuts, and then I topped it with a dreamy, dairy-free cashew “cream cheese” frosting. Banana Bread gone Carrot Cake. And I’m in love.
This bread is gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be made vegan with flax or chia eggs, so everyone can grab a slice!
Carrot Cake Banana Bread time!
Making this bread itself is pretty easy, so let’s talk ingredients.
First things first, be sure to use a high quality gluten-free all purpose flour. A few of my favorites are Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, King Arthur measure for measure, and Pamela’s Baking and Pancake mix.
And while you’re at it, be sure to use high quality cinnamon and nutmeg too! It makes the world of a difference because you get so much more flavor from them and can taste them even better.
Coconut oil: If you prefer, you can also use butter or a dairy-free butter alternative in this recipe. Either one will work.
Bananas: Be sure the ones you use are super ripe, with plenty of dark brown spots on them. The riper they are the sweeter they will be. This recipe needed about 3 medium-large sized bananas.
Brown sugar: I know many of you prefer using honey or maple syrup but I think brown sugar gives the perfect amount of sweetness to the banana bread, and it’s less than a cup for the whole loaf so it isn’t a lot! But, you could also use coconut sugar here if you prefer.
Vegan option: If you want to make this Carrot Cake Banana Bread vegan, you can simply use flax eggs or chia eggs in this recipe. The rest of the ingredients in this recipe are already dairy-free and vegan.
I know there’s some differing opinions out there about exactly what carrot cake has inside that makes it carrot cake. For those of you who are team pineapple: I don’t add pineapple bits to carrot cake because then I consider it more of a hummingbird cake flavor.
To make this Banana Bread turn carrot cake, I like adding shredded carrots, shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) and walnuts. You may prefer pecans instead, either one works. If you can’t have nuts, just go ahead and leave them out.
As for the dreamy, dairy-free cashew “cream cheese” frosting?
Because it isn’t carrot cake-like without cream cheese frosting! 😉
This frosting is my new favorite. I’ve been wanting to make my own healthier frosting recipe for a while now but most of the healthier frostings that I’ve tried are a little too healthy tasting to me... I think they aren’t sweet enough to really be called frosting.
This frosting is a great in-between because it still has powdered sugar (but only 1/2 cup!) and is made with healthy ingredients like cashews (raw, roasted, unsalted), coconut oil, almond milk, lemon juice and vanilla. And the lemon juice gives it the “cream cheese” tang, so don’t skimp on it!
It’s really simple to make too. You add all the ingredients except the powdered sugar into a blender and blend it till it’s well combined. Then you add your powdered sugar in and blend it again. Done! It should be thick and smooth (although depending on how high powered your blender is you may have little cashew chunks).
*Just be sure to soak your cashews in water overnight (the night before) so they’re soft and blend-able! I like to put mine in a mason jar, fill it full of water, put the lid on, and leave it on the counter.
And of course, you can forgo the frosting entirely and have your bread plain. But… the frosting really sells the carrot cake flavor to me!
If you love Banana Bread and Carrot Cake, are gluten-free and maybe even dairy-free and/or vegan, and love to bake.. THIS is the recipe for you! 🙂
This bread is easy to make, is packed with healthy ingredients like banana, coconut, carrot and nuts, and topped with a healthier, dreamy, cashew “cream cheese” frosting that you can’t resist.
I’m in love with it, and I hope you all love it too!
Need more food for thought? How about.. gluten-free Carrot Coconut Granola Bars, Chocolate Banana Breakfast Cookies, and Soft Banana Oatmeal Cookies!
- 1 3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or butter)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1 1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed (about 3 bananas)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs (or flax or chia eggs, for vegan option)
- 3/4 cup shredded carrot (about 3-4 large carrots)
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup raw roasted cashews, soaked in water overnight (or over 8 hours)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
To begin, preheat your oven to 350 and line a loaf pan with parchment paper, with two sides sticking out for easy removal.
To a small mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg) and stir them together till combined.
In a large mixing bowl, add your coconut oil, brown sugar and banana and whisk together till well combined. Add your vanilla and eggs and whisk again.
Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and stir them together till you have one consistent bread batter. Add your carrots, coconut and nuts, and gently fold them into your batter.
Pour your batter into your loaf pan, and bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes, or till the bread is springy to touch on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool entirely before slicing (and frosting).
To a blender, add your cashews, coconut oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla and blend till smooth. Add your powdered sugar to the mixture and blend again briefly, till well combined.
Spread across the top of your loaf, or across each slice. Devour!
I would recommend storing this bread and frosting in the fridge, for it to last longer. In an airtight container in the fridge this bread will last about a week.
do you think that I could make this into mini loaves or muffins?
Chelsea Green says
Hey Christy. I bet you could! I would recommend looking up another mini loaf recipe, for a rough estimate of how long it would take for them to bake. For muffins I would start checking them around 15 minutes. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂
This is the best banana carrot cake that’s GF & Dairy free… 🙂
Chelsea Green says
This was so good and a huge hit at home! It only last a couple of days. I omitted the frosting because I didn’t have cashews and it was still so delicious. Also, I felt less guilty eating it for breakfast without the frosting otherwise it would be like cake for breakfast. 🙂
Chelsea Green says
Awesome, thanks Michelle for the comment! 🙂