Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (Vegan + GF)

Author & Photographer: Dana aka. The Minimalist Baker

I've been following Dana + John for about a year now and have always been fascinated by the things they come up with and simple they make it. I saw this recipe and knew immediately I wanted to share it.

Truth is: Sometimes we just need Cake, y'all.

Not only is it two of my favorite things (chocolate and hazelnuts) but you just dump everything into one bowl and viola! Who likes easy clean up? This girl. This recipe serves between 14-16 people -- so make it and share it with your beautiful friends!


  • 4 flax eggs (4 Tbsp (18 grams) flax seed meal + 10 Tbsp water)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk + 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp (146 ml) maple syrup or agave nectar (sub honey if not vegan)
  • 2/3 cup (154 grams) cane or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (126 grams) melted coconut oil or vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (~486 grams) unsweetened applesauce (or other hearty fruit puree, such as beets)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup (120 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (if clumpy, sift)
  • 1 cup (118 grams) almond meal (finely ground from raw almonds)
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) gluten free oat flour (finely ground from raw oats)
  • 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) gluten free flour blend (*see notes)


  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cups (230 grams) dairy free dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) melted coconut oil or softened vegan butter, cut into slices (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/4 - 2 cups (~150 - 250 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (~175 g) roasted unsalted hazelnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter two 8" round cake pans (or line 24 muffin tins with paper liners). Dust with gluten free flour and shake out excess.
  2. Measure out almond milk and add vinegar. Stir and let curdle while moving onto the next step.
  3. Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Add baking soda to the almond milk vinegar mixture and stir.
  5. Add the sugar, maple syrup and almond milk mixture to the flax egg and beat/whisk to combine. Then add applesauce, vanilla, melted coconut oil, salt and mix.
  6. Add cocoa powder, almond meal, oat flour and gluten free flour and beat/whisk to combine. If the batter appears too thick, add a touch more almond milk, but it should be perfect. It should resemble a semi-thick batter that’s pourable.
  7. Divide batter evenly between cake pans (if using muffin tins, it should be enough for roughly 24 filling generously 3/4 full).
  8. Bake cake for 30-40 minutes (and cupcakes for 29-35 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top appears dry.
  9. Let rest in the tin for 15-20 minutes, then carefully run a butter knife along the edges and invert onto cooling racks. Let cool completely.
  10. FOR FROSTING: Add almond milk to your rinsed out mixing bowl from earlier and microwave for 1 minute. (Alternatively, heat in a saucepan until just simmering and then transfer back to mixing bowl.)
  11. Immediately add chocolate to warm milk but don’t touch for 3 minutes so it can melt.
  12. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate, then add coconut oil or softened butter and cover. Let rest untouched for another 10 minutes.
  13. Use your mixer (or a whisk) to beat the mixture together. Then add 1 cup powdered sugar, mix again, and place in fridge to set for 20 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you tip it and it’s slow to move.
  14. Remove from fridge and beat again. If it’s still too thin, add another 1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. I found that adding 1 3/4 cups total powdered sugar was perfect. Set aside.
  15. Transfer the bottom layer of the cooled cake to a serving plate/dish. Spread a semi-generous layer of frosting on the top of the bottom layer and top generously with hazelnuts. Press down with hands to settle them into the frosting (see photo).
  16. Carefully top with second layer and frost the top generously, then the sides. Using a butter knife yields a smooth surface. It should be the perfect amount of frosting - not too thick, not too thin.
  17. Add hazelnuts around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Slice and serve.
  18. Will keep well-covered at room temperature for several days, though best when fresh. Refrigeration not necessary.

Notes From Dana:

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 16 slices.
*For this cake I used the Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour blend. However, my DIY gluten free flour blend works well, too!

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 444 Fat: 25g Saturated fat: 12.5g Carbohydrates: 55g Sugar: 35g Sodium: 82mg Fiber: 6.5g Protein: 6.3

& Can we just talk about these cuties for a second? John + Dana have been infusing our lives with quick, simple + delicious treats via their blog The Minimalist Baker since 2012. Go check em out and thank them for sharing their food-genius with us!