These peanut butter cake bars are for you if you love peanut butter and chocolate! This cake is deliciously moist and not overly sweet, it’s easy to make and it’s good for your soul and your body. It’s naturally gluten-free as well as vegan, refined sugar-free and oil-free!
One of the best inventions ever (in my professional opinion) is peanut butter. I could go on and on about why I love peanut butter. I have some very fond memories of making peanut butter sandwiches as a kid. Soft white bread, a thick layer of margarine and an even thicker layer of peanut butter (the one with added sugar – YUM).
Nowadays, I tend to use it more in baking than on bread. Most of my recipes use peanut butter, come to think of it – like my 4-ingredient Oatmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter Millionaire Shortbread or my Vegan Brookies. Not only is it a great substitute for oil in healthy baking, but it makes everything taste one thousand times better.
So to show my appreciation for peanut butter, I thought what better way than to make a delicious, peanut butter cake! But of course, me being me, I had to make it healthier so that it not only nourishes your soul but your body, too!
This healthy peanut butter cake is made without flour, giving the cake a really moist texture that is sorely lacking in most gluten-free cakes. It’s also made without eggs and dairy, making it vegan, and on top of that, there is no refined sugar or oil in this cake either!
This vegan and gluten-free peanut butter cake sponge is topped with a healthier chocolate ganache and a peanut butter swirl. You could even make this Healthy Chocolate Frosting instead of the ganache if you prefer!
So if you’re not sold yet – have a look at the photo below and try not to drool all over your screen.
All you’ll need to make healthy peanut butter cake
- Mixing Bowl – technically you only need one bowl, you make the cake batter and then wash up and make the ganache in the same bowl. Or you can use two bowls.
- 8-inch Square Baking Tin – if you don’t have one this size, see the “Baking Tips” section for alternatives.
- Baking Parchment Paper
- Wire Cooling Rack
Ingredients and Substitutions
For the gluten-free peanut butter sponge, you’ll only need 8 ingredients!
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the page for the full ingredients list, measurements, method and video.
- Apple Sauce: (or Apple Puree) this is such a great healthy baking ingredient as it acts as an oil substitute, adding not only moisture and structure but also a natural sweetness to the cake. Make sure to use apple sauce made with just apples, without any added sugar. You could buy some online, find it at your health foods store or make your own! Alternatively, you can use mashed banana.
- Nondairy Yoghurt: try to use a thick yoghurt like coconut yoghurt or a greek-style yoghurt. If you don’t need to make this peanut butter cake vegan, you can use regular greek yoghurt.
- Liquid Sweetener: Maple Syrup, Agave, Coconut Nectar or Date Syrup are some great unrefined sugar replacements that you can use. You could also use sugar-free syrup or honey if you’re not vegan.
- Peanut Butter: It is peanut butter cake after all! Use a smooth peanut butter made from just peanuts with no added sugar or oil. You can use Almond Butter as well and make an almond butter cake!
- Oat Flour: One of my favourite flours (that isn’t technically flour). Oat flour is simply blended oats, so if you haven’t got any oat flour, just add your whole oats to a blender or food processor and blend into a fine powder.
- Almond Meal: Also known as Ground Almonds. This makes the cake super moist! You can use Almond Flour. Another option is to use more oat flour, however, the texture of the cake will be completely different, it comes out more “cakey”, but somewhat dry.
- Baking Powder: Please don’t use baking soda.
For the healthy chocolate ganache “frosting” you only need 3 ingredients.
- Unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
- Liquid Sweetener
- Nondairy milk or water
This healthy peanut butter cake is really quick and easy to make, that’s what I love about cake bars! All the cake but without the faff! I’ve inserted some images of the process and also made a recipe video.Jump to Video
- Step 1: Add all your wet ingredients to your mixing bowl and whisk until smooth (image 1). If your peanut butter is on the thicker side this may take a bit longer.
- Step 2: Add in your dry ingredients and mix until fully combined (image 2).
- Step 3: Transfer the cake batter into your prepared baking tin, and spread it out making sure it’s nice and flat and evenly distributed in the tin (image 3).
- Step 4: Bake. The top should start going slightly golden (image 4). Insert a toothpick or skewer, it should come out mostly clean. If there is still some raw cake batter on the skewer, bake for a few more minutes.
- Step 5: Once your cake is baked, remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
- Step 6: Whilst your cake is cooling, prepare your chocolate ganache by combing the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Step 7: Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and spread it out evenly (image 5).
- Step 8: Dollop some peanut butter on top and use a knife to swirl it around (image 6). Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
- If you don’t have an 8-inch square baking tin you can try with a different size:
A larger tin: If you only have a tin larger than 8-inches, I recommend using double the recipe, otherwise your cake will be as thin as a pancake.
A smaller tin: Your cake will be thicker, therefore it will have to bake for longer.
Round tin: You can make this cake in a 7-inch round tin.
Please note that if you use a different size baking tin, your results may be different.
- To slice your cake, dip a sharp knife in hot water before slicing and make sure to clean the knife between every slice you make. This will ensure you have neat cake bars!
Storing the cake
You can keep the cake at room temperature for up to four hours, but after that, please keep it in the fridge.
Place some parchment paper in an air-tight container and spread the cake out in a single layer. The cake will last for up to five days in the fridge.
To freeze the cake, place the cake in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to two months. Leave the cake in the fridge for a few hours to thaw before serving.
More healthy cake recipes for you to try:
BAKING IN GRAMS
All of the recipes I create are tried and tested a few times until it has been perfected. My goal is to develop recipes that are simple to make and easy to follow so that anyone can make them – even if you’ve never baked before!
One very important thing that will ensure that you get the best results is to measure your ingredients by weight! I recommend purchasing a kitchen scale, they are very affordable and it will honestly change your baking game for good! Not all measuring cups are made equally – for example, a cup of flour to me weighs 120g, but for you, it may be anywhere between 100g and 200g – that’s a BIG difference!
I do provide cup measurements, but for best results, I recommend using the weighted ingredients provided.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale yet, you can use this Ingredient Weight Chart as a guideline to convert the ingredients to help you!
Now – dust your apron off and get baking! X
Hey! If you make this recipe, I would love it if you could leave me some feedback and a rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ in the comment section at the bottom of the page! Also let me know on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and see your photos!
Peanut Butter Cake (easy + healthy!)
- 8-inch Square Baking Tin see notes for alternatives
- 1 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce (250g) or Banana
- ½ cup Nondairy Yoghurt (125g)
- ¼ cup Liquid Sweetener
- ½ cup Smooth Peanut Butter (130g)
- 1 + ⅓ cup Oat Flour (120g)
- 1 cup Almond Meal (80g)
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
Healthy Chocolate Ganache
- ¼ cup Cocoa or Cacao Powder (30g)
- 2-3 tbsp Liquid Sweetener
- ¼ cup Nondairy Milk or Water
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°C / 350°F / 160°C fan and prepare your baking tin with baking parchment paper.
- Add your apple sauce, yoghurt, liquid sweetener and peanut butter to a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Add in your oat flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt and mix until combined.
- Transfer the cake batter into your baking tin, spread it out evenly and bake for 20 minutes.
- Once baked, place the baking tin onto a wire rack to cool.
- Add your cocoa powder, liquid sweetener and milk to a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth then spread it over your cake.
- Add a few dollops of peanut butter on top and use a knife to create a swirl effect.
- Place the cake into the fridge for at least 30 minutes then remove it from the tin and slice with a hot, wet knife.
- Apple Sauce: You can use ripe, mashed banana.
- Nondairy Yoghurt: Any thick vegan yoghurt or Greek yoghurt if not vegan.
- Liquid Sweetener: Maple Syrup, Agave, Coconut Nectar, Date Syrup or Sugar-Free Syrup.
- Almond Meal: You can use Almond Flour.