This moist chunky monkey cake recipe is made with bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate. It’s a delicious, dairy-free cake made with everyday ingredients. Each slice yields a buttery banana cake base, with chocolate chips, and a generous layer of vegan chocolate frosting.
The Fall-Back Recipe
Do you have a fall-back recipe?
You know, one of those tried-and-true dishes you can always make in a pinch if you need it?
My fall-back recipes save the day. If I’m going to a potluck-type dinner and need to take something, or have friends stopping, by, or just need a quick fix for a weeknight meal, my fall-back recipes save the day.
Today’s Chunky Monkey Vegan Cake is no exception. If you’re into chocolate, banana, and peanut butter mixed all together, then you and me? We are two peas in a pod. Kindred Spirits!
You had a bad hair day, followed by traffic jams, incessant meetings, and general overall life gridlock?
And there’s nothing in the cupboards to make that day any better. Put the kibosh on that negative vibe. That’s right…fall-back recipe to the rescue!
But this can be more than a fall-back recipe. In fact, it’s so delicious, serve this as a chunky monkey birthday cake, too.
We all need a recipe like this and today I’m going to share mine with you. It’s one of those recipes that you can make time after time and everybody loves it, or you can wait three months to make it and everyone loves it even more.
Personally, trying new recipes is a hoot, but it’s also important to have some oldies but goodies in the mix.
What is Chunky Monkey Cake?
A chunky monkey cake recipe includes peanut butter, chocolate, and bananas. It’s my favorite triple threat combination!
This cake is made with the kinds of ingredients that you almost always have around the house:
- peanut butter
- chocolate chips
- cocoa powder
It’s the simple ingredients that make the Chunky Monkey Vegan Cake so easy to throw together for just about any reason. See? It’s my fall-back cake!
It’s a real crowd-pleaser which means when I announce I’m making my chunky monkey vegan cake, the crowd goes wild. OK. Honestly, they might applaud a little, which may not be the true definition of wild, but there’s excitement in the air.
This is a dense, moist chunky monkey banana cake that’s full of flavor..and chocolate! The peanut butter, bananas, and chocolate combine in each bite to keep you coming back for more.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Peanut butter — I use creamy peanut butter (the kind that doesn’t have to be stirred).
- Vegetable oil — Any neutral vegetable oil works, such as canola oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
- Vanilla extract
- Bananas — You’ll need 3 ripe bananas.
- Plant-based milk — Use your favorite plant-based milk such as soy, almond, oat, cashew milk, or even pecan milk.
- Ground flax seeds
- Corn starch
- Apple cider vinegar — You can substitute white vinegar.
- Flour — We’ll be combining all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour, or you can use the entire flour quantity of whole wheat pastry flour.
- Baking powder + baking soda — Make sure yours is fresh by testing a bit of baking powder in hot water and a bit of baking soda in vinegar. If it bubbles, your batch is good to go.
- Chocolate chips — Use my Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips Guide to find the best chocolate chips for you.
- Chocolate Frosting — Use the recipe below or make my vegan chocolate frosting. See more frosting options below.
What Bananas are Best for Chunky Monkey Cake?
Using ripe bananas brings out the sweet flavor in this cake. I like using bananas with a few or even a lot of brown spots. If the bananas are too ripe (verging on dark brown or even black), the flavor may be too overpowering.
How to Make Chunky Monkey Cake
- Combine the wet ingredients from the peanut butter to the vinegar.
- Stir together the dry ingredients from the flour to the salt.
- Make the batter by stirring together the wet and dry ingredients until well combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes until done.
- Let the cake cool completely then ice with vegan chocolate frosting
Oh, and I sprinkled some Cacao Nibs on the top to give each bite a little pop. Cacao Nibs are crunchy and chocolate, but you can’t always find these at Target so if you don’t have them on hand, just chop up some chocolate chips and sprinkle those across the top. Whatever works!
Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days or you can freeze individual slices in an freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
WOW! so delicious! family loved it.
This cake was absolutely great! I didn’t have time for the cake to cool off completely so I didn’t use frosting and it was still amazing!
Use the vegan chocolate frosting in this recipe or try any of these:
More Vegan Cakes
I’m a big fan of this chunky monkey cake. It’s my go-to favorite to take to parties! Here are even more favorite vegan cake recipes:
- Bake this cake into layers and add vegan ice cream in between the layers to make a chunky monkey ice cream cake. Be sure to store it in the freezer.
- Make a chunky monkey banana peanut butter cake with chocolate peanut butter frosting by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of peanut butter powder to the chocolate frosting.
- You can spread the batter into loaf pans to create chunky monkey bread. Be sure to add 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time to make sure the loaves are done in the center.
- Make chunky monkey muffins by distributing the batter into muffin tins.
Chunky Monkey Cake
For the Chunky Monkey Cake:
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large bananas mashed with a fork
- 1 cup plant-based milk soy, almond, etc
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups chocolate chips dairy free
For the Vegan Chunky Monkey Cake
- Heat your oven to 375°F/190°C. Spray a 9×13 cake pan with vegetable spray
- In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla, mashed bananas, soy milk, ground flaxseed, corn starch, and apple cider vinegar. Stir together until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together until combined and then pour into the bowl with wet ingredients. Stir vigorously until combined.
- Finally, add chocolate chips and give the batter a couple more stirs to incorporate them.
- Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan and place in the heated oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until a piece of dry spaghetti inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool completely then ice with Chocolate Frosting
For the Chocolate Frosting
- Combine powdered sugar, cocoa, and vegan butter in a medium bowl and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add the vanilla and stir some more.
- Finally, add plant-based milk one tablespoon at a time until you get a desired consistency.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.