Using 3 ingredients and a blender, this Sweet Plantain Cake is a perfect lesson in keeping things simple!
This cake has no added sweeteners. Its lightly sweet flavor comes from the plantains themselves. And, as you can imagine from a recipe that's only 3 ingredients, this recipe is gluten free, paleo, nut free, dairy free, and vegetarian.
You can top this cake with fruit, honey, or whipped cream, or keep things as simplistic as possible and snack on it plain!
Ingredients needed for 3-ingredient sweet plantain cake
As promised, you only need 3 ingredients for this flourless plantain cake. So here we go:
— Plantains: specifically, you'll need overripe (brown) plantains. The more plantains ripen, the more the starches in them convert to sugars. We need those sugars to sweeten up this otherwise sugar-free plantain cake!
— Eggs: to bind everything together and help provide lift to the cake.
— Baking soda: again, provides lift and prevents the cake from collapsing when it cools. Don't skip it!
What are plantains, anyway?
Presumably, you ended up here because you already know what plantains are! In the off chance you just loved the photos or did a Google search to try and figure out what the heck to do with the new-to-you produce you decided to try out, here's a brief rundown.
Plantains are a cultivar of bananas, meaning they've been selectively bred to become the starchy fruit they are today. While the two are related, they are not interchangeable.
Plantains are thicker and starchier than bananas, meaning they are most appealing when cooked. While you could eat a raw plantain, you'll likely be immediately turned off by the starch and bitterness. Always cook your plantains!
Want to learn more? I've written a whole guide for plantains, including nutrition, benefits, and how to cook them!
How to make flourless sweet plantain cake
This recipe is CRAZY easy, so I won't waste your time walking through the whole recipe.
But, first thing's first, you've got to peel the plantains. The easiest way to do so in my experience is to chop the ends off, slice down the peel lengthwise, and gently remove the peel.
With more ripe plantains, though, you might find that some of the peel just sticks to the plantain. In those cases, use your knife to help cut away these pieces. You won't want that tough peel to end up in your cake!
After the plantains are peeled, just throw 'em in a blender along with the eggs and baking soda. Blend until smooth, then pour the mixture into an oiled cast iron pan or cake pan. Bake and you're done!
If you plan to top the cake with any of the suggested toppings below, let it cool completely beforehand.
What's the difference between yellow, green, and brown plantains?
Similar to a banana, the color of a plantain will let you know how ripe it is.
GREEN plantains are unripe. They're super starchy, difficult to peel, and not that sweet. They're best used for more savory dishes like tostones or plantain tortillas.
YELLOW plantains are a little more ripe, easier to peel, and lightly sweet. Still WAY more starchy than a banana!
BROWN plantains are much sweeter and best for baking. They'll likely not keep their shape when you peel them.
For this recipe and most plantain baking recipes, you'll want to use YELLOW-BROWN plantains — pick ones that are either yellow with brown spots or pretty much brown. Or just let them ripen to perfection before using!
The ripeness of the plantains will significantly affect the texture and sweetness of this cake. Since there are no added sweeteners in this recipe, browner plantains will make a sweeter cake. However, since brown plantains are a little less starchy, the cake will be a little more dense.
For me, the best texture/taste for this plantain cake comes with plantains that are yellow-brown — not completely browned but also not completely yellow.
Can I use bananas instead of plantains?
NOPE! Not recommended at all.
Plantains are much starchier than bananas. The starch content has a huge impact on baked goods. So DO NOT use the two interchangeably.
Toppings and tips for serving this flourless plantain cake
This sweet plantain cake is super versatile as far as serving goes! Sometimes I opt to treat it like a snack cake, grabbing a piece without any accompaniament.
On the other hand, you can go all out (like I did for the photos!) and top this cake with a coconut whipped cream and fresh fruit.
But that's not the only idea I've got! Here are a few other ways to top and serve this cake. Feel free to mix and match to find your perfect combo.
- Whipped cream (Use coconut whipped cream as a dairy-free option)
- Fresh fruit
- Fried egg
- Drizzle of honey or maple syrup
- Crumbled bacon
- Dust with cinnamon
- Roasted berries
- Cashew cream cheese frosting
Otherwise, I put a spin on this recipe and made a gingerbread plantain cake — which is the cake I made for my wedding!
More creative plantain recipes to bookmark for later!
If you're on the hunt for even MORE things to do with plantains, look no further! I've got several plantain recipes using both green (unripe) plantains and brown (overripe) plantains and every shade in between.
Definitely try the plantain pancakes — they are THE BEST. And the Moqueca is the recipe my friends rave about most!
- Your Guide to Plantains: Nutrition, Benefits, and How to Cook Them
- Paleo Cod & Plantain Fritters
- Paleo Plantain Drop Biscuits
- Plantain, Bacon, & Chive Frittata
- Tostones with Blender Mango Salsa
- Plantain Gnocchi with Savory Short Ribs
- Flourless Plantain Skillet Brownie
- Flourless Plantain Empanadas
Did you try this recipe? I'd love to hear what you think! Comment below or tag me on Instagram.Print
3-Ingredient Sweet Plantain Cake
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 slices 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
This unsweetened, flourless 3 ingredient sweet plantain cake makes a light and satisfying snack or dessert. Top it with coconut whipped cream and fresh fruit for a stunning summer treat!
- 3 large ripe yellow-brown plantains (~3 cups pureed plantain - the more ripe, the better!)
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel plantains. Combine all ingredients in a blender or large food processor and blend until smooth.
- Pour into well-seasoned and oiled 12-inch cast iron pan (or 9 inch round cake pan) and bake for 30 minutes.
This recipe will work with yellow to brown plantains. I find the best texture comes from plantains that are in between the two!
- Serving Size: 1 slice
Keywords: 3 ingredient plantain cake, paleo, vegetarian, gluten free
Nutty Abs says
Is the baking soda necessary? Looks super good, definitely will try 🙂
You're welcome to try it without. However, the baking soda provides the fluffiness that makes this a cake-like texture. It might turn out flat otherwise.
Jonathan Palochko says
I tried adding diced fresh cherries to it once and it was a perfect flavor combination! Of course, it was still a ripe plantain base.
Angelica Stevenson says
What do you mean by well seasoned, like with spices nutmeg or cinnamon?
Nope, when talking about cast iron pans, well-seasoned refers to the layers built up in the pan to make nonstick. See here for more info: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-season-a-cast-iron-skillet-cleaning-lessons-from-the-kitchn-107614
How do I turn it upside down afterwards. It's so heavy! I use my cast iron pan every day so don't want to store it in there
I'd just use two hands to flip it, with oven mitts if it's still hot. 🙂 Otherwise, you can cut it in the pan and remove each slice!
What would you use to sweeten it? I want to make a dessert cake.
Hi Iris! If you use overripe plantains (turning brown), I found that's it's sweet enough in its own, and if I want it sweeter I simply drizzle the finished cake in honey. Granted, I can't handle anything too sweet. You could add honey to sweeten it, but I don't know how that would affect the baking time/texture. I've made this cake as a "gingerbread" cake here: https://www.doyouevenpaleo.net/gingerbread-plantain-cake-maple-cashew-frosting/ and you could maybe sub honey for the molasses. But, like I said, I haven't done that before so I'm not sure what the end result would be.
Hi, I'm vegan and just wondering if I can sub the eggs with ground chia...? If so, how many tps of chia would you recommend. Do I mix the ground chia with water and add to the plantain puree. Do you add the baking soda directly to the plantain puree too? Please assist.
I tried it with 5 tsp of 'chia' egg, mixed with 3 tbsp of water/baking soda and it came out flat and soggy...but tasted delicious....but not the traditional cake texture at all!
Hi Sara! I'm sorry I can't be more help to you, but I've never made this recipe with anything but eggs. I have no experience using chia as a replacement so I can't offer any tips.
Jonathan Palochko says
This is FABULOUS! I make it several times a week. Shared it widely with friends and family. BRILLIANT!
Notes: I grease the pan with unrefined coconut oil , usually cut the recipe down by one third to make a personal sized treat, and I add brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon , and fresh coconut from the freezer. ( I always keep fresh coconut I scraped out myself on hand in the freezer for such occasions!) I find this especially useful when I have a single very old very black even sometimes moldy Plaintain on hand that I need to get rid of.
One day I'll experiment with making a coconut cream nondairy whipped topping.
I'm wondering if you can do this recipe with something besides plantains… Like some kind of berry or mango or prickly pear…..or even Caribbean pumpkin or zucchini? I don't know enough about baking to know what sweet fruits/veggies would behave properly with eggs in this recipe… Suggestions welcomed!
Pumpkin, sweet potato, or other hardy root vegetable may work! I don't see berries or fruit working well for this recipe because the starch in the plantains is what makes this work!
I was wondering the same thing. But the thing about flax/chia eggs is that they are for glominess. This recipe doesn't need that because of the plantains. It needs the floofiness and richness of eggs. So I added 2 C of cashews for richness (and a slightly nutty texture) and 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder (because it is an acid which together with an alkali like baking soda acts to make things rise) and I upped the baking soda to 1.5 t and it all worked perfectly! If you want a chocolate cake, that is 🙂
Just made it! Love, love, love 🙂 My plantains were so ripe, they were black (on the outside, but perfect on the inside). I just wanted to note, that it's more like a souffle ( a dense souffle), rather than a cake. But delish! Thank you for the recipe. Next time I will bake it in a smaller pan (10 inch), so it's a little higher 🙂
Thanks so much Lana!
How can i make this recipe for a crowd and can you freeze plantains
Yes, you can freeze plantians (just like freezing bananas)! You can double or triple this recipe to make it for a crowd - I'd probably triple it and bake it in a 9x13 cake pan if I were hoping to feed 20 or so people. Hope that helps!
If you're looking for plantain souffle, this is your recipe. !THIS IS NOT CAKEY! I added a pinch of salt, few drops vanilla essence and dash of cinnamon. Flavour was OK, but texture was disappointing.
Hmmm... not sure what happened here, but that's definitely not my experience every time I've made this! Sorry it didn't work out for you.