Vegan chocolate hazelnut cake - this delicious sheet cake is rich, nutty, chocolatey and indulgent.
Made with hazelnut flour and topped with hazelnut ganache, every bite is packed with flavour and it's easy to make too!
Chocolate and hazelnut is such a classic combination. If you are a fan of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher then you will absolutely love this vegan chocolate hazelnut cake!
The cake is moist, delicate and crumbly, with a wonderful rich flavour which is perfectly complemented by the incredible chocolate hazelnut ganache.
I baked it as a traybake as I am a big fan of simple sheet cakes and loaf cakes rather than towering layer cakes. I think that they can look just as good and they are less faff too!
What Do I Need To Make Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cake?:
For The Cake:
Ground roasted hazelnuts (hazelnut flour): You have a few options here;
1. you can roast, skin and grind your own hazelnuts (look for instructions online).
2. Buy pre roasted and skinned hazelnuts and just grind them yourself.
3. Buy unroasted hazelnut flour and toast it in a pan or the oven.
4. Buy roasted hazelnut flour.
I went with option 3. Hazelnut flour is easily found online but the roasted variety is more expensive so I toasted it myself; I'll provide instructions below on how to do this.
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour. I don't recommend swapping it for wholemeal, it will make the cake too dense.
Cocoa powder: I use dutch processed. For those of you in the UK, that is just regular cocoa powder.
Baking powder and soda: A mix of the two provides the best rise and light, soft texture.
Milk: You can use any kind you like but it should ideally be unsweetened and soy milk is best as it has the highest protein content.
Oil: Use a neutral flavoured oil such as sunflower or a mild olive oil. I wouldn't use coconut oil here unless you have no other option.
Sugar: I use light brown soft sugar as it adds extra moisture. Caster, granulated or coconut sugar will also work.
Yogurt: I love using plant yogurt in vegan cakes, it is a great egg replacer and keeps the cake moist as well as adding flavour.
Either soy or coconut yogurt will work, ideally unsweetened. I like the Coconut Collaborative.
I haven't tested any substitutes for the yogurt I'm afraid. Oatly creme fraiche would likely work, and possibly unsweetened applesauce.
Lemon juice: This reacts with the raising agents to make the cake rise.
Vanilla: Extract is better than essence and you can also use vanilla bean paste.
For The Ganache:
Hazelnut chocolate: I use (smooth) hazelnut flavoured chocolate (aka gianduja chocolate) to make the ganache. I recommend Vego hazelnut chocolate melts. If you can't get hold of any hazelnut chocolate I'll provide an alternative ganache recipe using chocolate hazelnut spread.
Vegan cream: You'll need a vegan double cream alternative such as Elmlea or Oatly. You can also use coconut cream.
How To Make Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cake:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl then whisk in the ground hazelnuts.
In a large jug, whisk together the milk, oil, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a balloon whisk until no dry lumps remain.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined 23x33cm rectangular cake tin and spread it level.
Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
To make the ganache, place the finely chopped hazelnut chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Heat the cream until almost simmering then pour it over the chocolate.
Leave to sit for 5 minutes then stir until melted and smooth.
Leave to cool until it is firm enough to spread then use a palette knife to spread it over the top of the cooled cake.
Decorate the cake with chopped roasted hazelnuts if you like.
How To Toast Hazelnut Flour:
Using roasted hazelnuts in the cake gives a much better hazelnut flavour than unroasted ones. If you have brought hazelnut flour only to find that it is made from unroasted hazelnuts never fear, you can toast it in a pan instead.
Place a large heavy bottomed frying pan or skillet over a medium-low heat and add your hazelnut flour. Stir constantly until the flour turns golden and smells nutty.
Be careful not to let it go too far, it can go from perfectly toasted to burnt very quickly so as soon as it is done, remove the pan from the heat and tip the flour into a bowl. Allow to cool before using it in the recipe.
Alternative Ganache Recipe:
If you aren't able to get hold of any hazelnut flavoured chocolate then you can make the ganache using a vegan chocolate hazelnut spread (nutella) such as Vego or Nature's Store.
Gently heat 250ml vegan double cream or coconut cream and 125g chocolate hazelnut spread in a pan until just coming up to a simmer.
Pour the mixture over 125g finely chopped 70% dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Leave to sit for 5 minutes then stir gently until melted and smooth.
Leave to cool until it is firm enough to spread then spread it over the top of the cooled cake.
All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup coversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
Make sure that you don't over-beat the batter as that can make the cake tough. Just mix it until no dry lumps remain. I recommend stirring it by hand with a balloon whisk.
Because it is important not to over-beat the batter, you need to make sure that your wet ingredients and your dry ingredients are extremely well mixed in their separate bowls before you combine the two together.
This cake can be baked in two 20cm (8in) - 23cm (9in) round cake tins instead of the sheet pan. The ganache is probably a bit too soft to fill a layer cake however so you would need to use a different frosting recipe to sandwich them together.
The cake will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
It can also be frozen, though if you are freezing it in advance of serving it then I recommend not making the ganche until the cake is defrosted as freezing it may affect the texture.
More Vegan Sheet Cakes:
- Vegan jam and coconut sponge
- Vegan pumpkin spice latte cake
- Easy ginger cake
- Vegan chocolate sheet cake
- Raspberry, chocolate and almond sheet cake
- Vegan coffee and walnut cake
- Vegan cherry almond cake
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
- 300 g (2 ½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 80 g (¾ cup) cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 130 g (4 ½ oz) ground roasted hazelnuts (hazelnut flour)
- 240 ml (1 cup) unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soy)
- 140 g (½ cup + 4 teaspoons) unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (I use the Coconut Collaborative)
- 160 ml (⅔ cup) neutral oil
- 300 g (1 ½ cups) light brown soft sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250 g (9 oz) vegan hazelnut flavoured chocolate (Without bits. I recommend Vego Melts)* finely chopped
- 250 ml (1 cup) vegan double cream (Elmlea double, Oatly whippable or coconut cream)
- chopped roasted hazelnut to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 23 x 33cm/9 x 13 in rectangular cake tin and line with baking parchment.
- Sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl then whisk in the ground hazelnuts.
- In a large jug, whisk together the milk, oil, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a balloon whisk until no dry lumps remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread it level.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
- To make the ganache, place the finely chopped hazelnut chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the cream until almost simmering then pour it over the chocolate. Leave to sit for 5 minutes then stir until melted and smooth.
- Leave to cool until it is firm enough to spread then use a palette knife to spread it over the top of the cooled cake. Decorate the cake with chopped roasted hazelnuts if you like.
- Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup coversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
- *If you aren't able to get hold of any vegan hazelnut chocolate there is an alternative ganache recipe in the body of the post using chocolate hazelnut spread instead.