No-Bake Vegan Nutella Cake
An indulgent No-Bake Vegan Nutella Cake that tastes like Nutella but is not only dairy-free and vegan, but also gluten-free, paleo-friendly, oil-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free! Plus, the food processor does 95% of the work and there’s only a handful of ingredients required!
I recently came up with the EASIEST recipe for a Nutella-flavored dessert, and I am beyond excited to share it with you. But first…a video teaser of this No-Bake Vegan Nutella Cake!
The idea for this No-Bake Vegan Nutella Cake came from two sources. First, I noticed that A LOT of you really love my No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars, so I wanted to make another easy, no-bake vegan dessert. Second, I have been wanting to make (and eat) Nutella-flavored brownies for a long time, so there’s that.
And you could just as well call these brownies instead of cake because they are rich and dense, just like brownies. But I prefer to call it a “brownie cake” because it’s in the shape of a loaf cake. Whatever you call it and whatever type of pan you use, I am 100% confident you will love it!
I used a standard loaf pan (hence brownie cake), but you could easily use an 8x8-inch square pan instead. The slices won’t be as tall/thick and they’ll look/feel more like brownies than cake, but they will taste just the same (and let me tell you, they taste ahhh-maaaazing).
Let’s talk about the ingredients in this cake, shall we?
Hazelnuts. Hence, the Nutella flavor! I use raw hazelnuts and roast them in the oven. It takes only 10 minutes or so, and it will have your kitchen smelling like heaven.
Almond flour. I usually have store-bought almond flour on hand, but if you don’t have any, here’s a really comprehensive guide on how to make your own almond flour.
Raw cacao powder. Or cocoa powder. The choice is up to you (unlike cocoa powder, cacao powder is unprocessed, but cocoa powder is cheaper).
Medjool dates. Yes, there are A LOT of dates in this recipe, but dates are the only source of sugar in the cake. So if you don’t make the Chocolate Avocado Frosting, this cake is free of any added sugar (plenty of natural sugar in them dates). The reason I use Medjool dates instead of, say, the Deglet variety, is because they’re naturally plump and soft. If, however, your dates aren’t soft, soak them in warm water for 5 minutes and then thoroughly pat them dry.
Cacao nibs: These get folded into the batter at the end and could be optional, but I love the crunch they bring to the sticky, dense cake bater.
And I can’t forget this incredibly easy and healthy chocolate frosting! It is silky, creamy, and luscious, but so nourishing. All you need is a ripe avocado (please make sure it’s ripe, otherwise the recipe won’t work), cacao powder or cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a little bit of salt.
Just blend everything together in a food processor until creamy and thick. If you don’t have maple syrup on hand, you could also coconut nectar or agave nectar (use a bit less of agave since it is sweeter).
I doubled the frosting recipe to make these photos and the video look real good, but one batch of frosting should be sufficient for most needs. Plus, if you want to freeze leftovers, I suggest making just one batch now and one batch later (more on that in the next section). That’s because the frosting has avocado in it and won’t stay well for more than a few days.
And in case you haven’t already fallen in love with this No-Bake Vegan Nutella Cake and aren’t already dashing to the grocery store to stock up on these ingredients, here are some other reasons to love this cake.
It’s rich and Indulgent AF. It’s like eating the densest, richest brownie, except all of the ingredients are wholesome and nourishing. Yep, this cake is vegan, gluten-free, paleo, oil-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free. So unless you have a nut allergy or are on a keto diet, you can happily enjoy this recipe!
Just a little goes a long way. Because this cake is so rich, even a small piece will satisfy even the most intense chocolate cravings. Trust me, I have the biggest sweet (chocolate) tooth and a small slice was enough satiate my inner chocolate monster.
It’s SO easy to make. All you need is a good food processor - it really does 90% of the work in this recipe.
The leftovers taste so so good. You can store the leftovers in the freezer for 2-3 days, but if you want the leftovers to last even longer, just frost the portion of the cake you plan to eat in the next few days. The unfrosted cake will stay good in your freezer for a month or two. As I mentioned above, I doubled the frosting recipe, but one batch of frosting is sufficient for most tastes. Plus, unless you are serving this cake at a party or feeding a crowd, you’ll probably have leftovers that you’ll want to freeze for later. And when you’re ready to serve those leftovers, you can whip up another batch of the Chocolate Avocado Frosting (it takes less than 5 minutes to make).
I hope you give this No-Bake Vegan Nutella Cake recipe a try! If you do, drop me a comment down below and tag me with your recreations over on Instagram!
What you need to make this recipe
No-Bake Vegan Nutella Cake
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo
1 1/2 cups (~200-220g) raw hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups (~168g) cups almond flour
24 ounces (~680g) Medjool dates, pitted
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (~65-75g) raw cacao nibs
Chocolate Avocado Frosting*
1 medium ripe avocado
4 1/2 tablespoons (~68g) pure maple syrup
A generous pinch of sea salt
Flaky sea salt
*I doubled the frosting recipe for the purposes of the video + photos, but 1 batch of frosting is sufficient for most needs.
Prepare the Nutella Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking tray and spread out evenly. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and very fragrant. Allow the hazelnuts to lightly cool.
While the hazelnuts are roasting, line a 9x5-inch loaf pan (23 x 13 x 8 cm pan) with parchment paper, with the ends hanging over sides of the pan. If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can use an 8x8-inch square pan (20 x 20 x 5 cm).
Place the hazelnuts on top of a clean kitchen towel and wrap into a bowl. Rub vigorously to remove the hazelnut skins. It’s not necessary to remove all the skins.
Place the hazelnuts in a food processor or high-powered blender until finely ground (but don’t blend too much, you don’t want it to turn into nut butter).
Add the almond flour, dates, cacao powder, salt, and vanilla and process until you have a sticky dough that you can press together with your fingers Stir in cacao nibs with a silicone spatula.
Transfer the Nutella cake dough to the lined pan. Using your hands and/or a silicone spatula, press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan until it is flat and firm.
Freeze the cake for 30 minutes to set, or refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
When ready to serve the cake, make the Chocolate Avocado Frosting. Place avocados, cacao powder, maple syrup, and salt in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. You should get 3/4 -1 cup of frosting.
To serve the cake, spread the frosting on top of the cake and sprinkle a generous amount of flaky sea salt on top. Store leftovers in the freezer for 2-3 days. If you want the leftovers to last longer, just frost the portion of the cake you plan to eat in the next few days. The unfrosted cake will stay good in your freezer for a month or two.