Chunky Monkey Cake Recipe

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.

A fork sits in front of a slice of vegan chunky monkey cake with 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!

A plate of mashed bananas sits next to two ripe bananas.

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.

A knife is spreading chocolate frosting over a cake.

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.

A collage of three photos shows a chocolate chip cake with chocolate frosting.

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:

  • flour
  • sugar
  • bananas
  • 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.

Definitely.

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.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 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.
  • Sugar
  • 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.
  • Salt
  • 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.

Ingredient Spotlight

A bunch of 3 very ripe bananas sit on a white counter.

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

  1. Combine the wet ingredients from the peanut butter to the vinegar.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients from the flour to the salt.
  3. Make the batter by stirring together the wet and dry ingredients until well combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips into the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes until done.
  6. Let the cake cool completely then ice with vegan chocolate frosting

I love the tip from The Kitchn to mash bananas with a potato masher.

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!

Storage Tips

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.

Frosting Options

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:

Marly’s Tips

  • 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.
Chocolate frosted cake in a 9X13 baking dish has chocolate cacao nibs sprinkled on top.
I LOVE this recipe for Vegan Chunky Monkey cake because it's SO easy to make and so fun to eat!

Chunky Monkey Cake

This chunky monkey cake includes bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate. It's a delicious dairy-free cake made with ingredients you might have on hand right now!
5 from 2 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 385kcal
Author: Namely Marly

Ingredients

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

Chocolate Frosting:

Instructions

For the Vegan Chunky Monkey Cake

  • Heat your oven to 375°F. 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.

Recommended Equipment

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Nutrition Facts
Chunky Monkey Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 385 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 204mg9%
Potassium 213mg6%
Carbohydrates 57g19%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 230IU5%
Vitamin C 1.3mg2%
Calcium 60mg6%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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.

15 Responses to Chunky Monkey Cake Recipe

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNoelle Reply

    That DOES look good. I need to get bananas ASAP! I like that: triple threat.

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyPam Reply

    With a cappuccino…..perfection! Enjoy!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyStella Reply

    Yum! I can tell by the ingredients list that this is one moist cake…sounds so good, Marly.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRyan Reply

    I’m ashamed to admit it but my fall back recipe has been to pick up the phone to the Chinese take away.

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMonet Reply

    Delicious. I may have to change my baking plans and make this tomorrow! Can anything be better than chocolate and bananas? I think not! Thanks for sharing one of your go-to favorites!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJeanne Reply

    This cake sounds perfect! Unfortunately, I can’t use anything with chocolate as a fall-back recipe. Chocolate always disappears pretty quickly around here and I never have it in the pantry. But next time I buy chocolate chips I just may have to make this cake!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I feel your pain. We go through the chocolate here too. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to work on a back-up to the fall-back recipe. 😉

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyEpicurean Vegan Reply

    Oh, my, my, that looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlymangoaway Reply

    Can’t wait to make this; salivating at the very thought! Just a quick question: did you use crunchy or creamy PB – or would it not matter? Thanks!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I used creamy peanut butter, but you can’t go wrong either way. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAshley Hoober Reply

    WWOW! so delicious! family loved it

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I’m so glad to hear this Ashley! Those flavors and the moisture and the frosting! It’s just so great! ❤️

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySilvia Reply

    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!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Silvia. So glad you liked it! I’m usually a frosting girl, but this one with the chocolate chips in the cake makes it ok without frosting. 🙂

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