Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with Caramel-Swirled Frosting

You’ll love this vegan hazelnut chocolate cake. The sponge is moist and delicate, the frosting is fluffy and swirled through with a luscious caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts adds a wonderful crunch (and an extra burst of flavour). Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make – and no egg replacements needed!

This post has been created in collaboration with Nature’s Charm. All opinions expressed in the post are my own… plus, there’s a whole lotta deliciousness ahead – so read on. (For more information you can check out my Disclosure Policy.)

Hazelnut chocolate cake, topped with caramel-swirled frosting, on a white plate. A few slices have been cut.

Can we all agree that caramel, hazelnuts and chocolate are a match made in heaven and definitely one of the best flavour combinations ever? If you need additional proof – I have it and it’s this amazing vegan cake that I just can’t get enough of.

The chocolate hazelnut sponge is moist and delicate and packed full of flavour (it tastes like Nutella in cake form!!) – without any egg replacements needed. If you’ve been round these parts before, you know I’m not a fan of things like chia or flax eggs in vegan baking. I just don’t find them necessary, and they often give bakes a stodgy or gummy texture. Instead, you can use just the usual pantry staples to get the most wonderful soft, fluffy cake crumb, no strange/unfamiliar ingredients required.

The caramel swirled frosting is an actual flavour explosion thanks to Nature’s Charm vegan coconut-based products. I’m a big fan of them, and have used them previously in everything from the Vegan Chocolate Babka to the Vegan Hot Chocolate Cupcakes. Here, I’ve used their Coconut Whipping Cream (which whips up beautifully to soft, fluffy peaks) and their Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce (which I could eat by the spoonful, I kid you not).

A piece of vegan hazelnut chocolate cake on a white dessert plate with a fork next to it. An opened jar of salted caramel sauce in the background.

Close-up of the caramel-swirled frosting, sprinkled with chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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How do you make this vegan hazelnut chocolate cake?

Making this vegan cake truly couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is:

  • Melt together some dark chocolate and sunflower (or other neutral-tasting) oil.
  • Sift together plain all-purpose flour, ground toasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder, caster/superfine sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the melted chocolate along with some non-dairy milk (I used almond milk), warm water and lemon juice, and whisk it all together until smooth.
  • Then, transfer into a lined 8 inch cake tin and into the oven it goes!

Seriously, how easy is that?! (As always, you can find the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, at the bottom of this page.)

As I’ve mentioned above, there are no egg replacements here. By adjusting the other ingredient quantities (like the wet:dry ingredient ratio and the amount of raising agents), you can achieve a wonderful cake crumb without any chia or flax eggs or similar.

The purpose of the lemon juice is to give an extra boost to the raising agents and make the cake extra airy and soft. The warm water (in addition to the almond milk), on the other hand, ensures a wonderfully moist sponge.

How do you know when your cake is perfectly baked?

This cake requires about 35 minutes at 355ºF (180ºC). However, since your oven might be incorrectly calibrated, I recommend you check the doneness of you cake with the “toothpick test”.

All you need to do is insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of your cake – and it should come out clean or with a few stray crumbs attached. If it comes out covered in half-baked batter, return the cake to the oven and continue baking until the toothpick comes out clean.

Note that the oven temperature refers to a conventional oven, not a convection/fan/fan-forced oven. I generally don’t recommend using a fan oven for baking, as it tends to dry out the outer surface of cakes before the interior is fully baked through. However, if you prefer to use a fan oven (or have no other option), you’ll need to decrease the oven temperature to 320ºF (160ºC).

Overhead view of the hazelnut chocolate cake, topped with frosting. A few slices have been cut.

Assembling the caramel & hazelnut chocolate cake

Once you have your hazelnut chocolate cake baked and cooled, it’s time for the fun part – preparing the frosting and assembling the cake!!

First, you’ll need to whip up Nature’s Charm Coconut Whipping Cream and a few tablespoons of powdered/icing sugar to soft peaks. (Note that you need to refrigerate the Coconut Whipping Cream ideally overnight before using.)

Then, spoon it on top of the cake and create pretty swirls with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

Spreading whipped coconut cream on top of the hazelnut chocolate sponge.

Next up – add a generous drizzle of Nature’s Charm Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce and swirl it into the frosting.

Drizzling vegan salted caramel sauce on top of the frosting layer.

Swirling the salted caramel sauce into the frosting.

And to finish it off: an sprinkle of  roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts. They add a delicious crunch and make eating the cake an even more amazing experience.

Sprinkling the cake with chopped toasted hazelnuts.

How long does this vegan cake last?

The cake keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place for about 3 – 4 days. I actually like to keep it in the fridge, as it’s even more delicious slightly chilled (especially in these warm summer months).

And here you have it, friends. A delicious, easy to make vegan hazelnut chocolate cake with caramel-swirled frosting that just goes to show that, yes – caramel, hazelnuts and chocolate were clearly meant to be.

Enjoy.

Signature of the author, Kat.

A piece of vegan hazelnut chocolate cake on a white dessert plate with a fork next to it.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with Caramel-Swirled Frosting

You’ll love this vegan hazelnut chocolate cake. The sponge is moist and delicate, the frosting is fluffy and swirled through with a luscious caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts adds a wonderful crunch (and an extra burst of flavour). Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make – and no egg replacements needed!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Dairy Free, Vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Bake/Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

For vegan hazelnut chocolate cake:

  • 75 g (2 2/3 oz) chopped dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids)
  • 40 mL (1/8 cup + 1/2 tbsp) sunflower oil or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 120 g (1 cup) plain all-purpose flour
  • 125 g (5/8 cup) superfine/caster sugar
  • 55 g (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) ground toasted hazelnuts
  • 20 g (3 tbsp) Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 160 mL (2/3 cup) non-dairy milk, room temperature (such as almond, rice, soy or oat milk)
  • 80 mL (1/3 cup) warm water
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

For vegan caramel-swirled frosting:

Instructions

For vegan hazelnut chocolate cake:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 355ºF (180ºC) and line an 8 inch (20 cm) round baking tin with baking/greaseproof paper.

  2. In a heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water (or in the microwave) melt the chocolate and oil together. Set aside to cool until warm.

  3. Sift the flour, sugar, ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the non-dairy milk, water and lemon juice, and whisk well until combined and you get a smooth cake batter with no flour clumps.

  4. Transfer into the lined baking tin and bake at 355ºF (180ºC) for about 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  5. Cool in the baking tin for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For vegan caramel-swirled frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the Nature's Charm Coconut Whipping Cream and powdered/icing sugar until soft peaks form.

  2. Spoon the frosting onto the cooled cake and swirl it around into an even layer with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

  3. Drizzle the Nature's Charm Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the frosting and create swirls with the back of a spoon.

  4. Finish with a sprinkling of roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts, and serve.

Storage:

  1. The cake keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place (or the fridge) for 3-4 days.

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