Mum’s Hazelnut Coffee Cake

Whatever happened to that glorious spring sunshine we had earlier this week? I woke up this morning to a grey dreary morning. The breeze was more than just chilly when I stepped out the door. For a moment, I was tempted to dive back underneath the covers and skip class altogether; but I’m too much of a perfectionist to miss even one lecture, especially when I struggle with the subject (stupid Literary Criticism!).

Luckily this baby welcomed me home after lunch time. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for a cold winter day: a light, spongy hazelnut cake topped with a smoother-than-smooth coffee cream covering. Enjoy this one with a cup of steaming tea and a few friends, or curl up by yourself on the sofa with a big ol’ mug of Spicy Hot Cocoa. Maybe winter days aren’t so bad after all. 

Mum used to make this cake from a recipe she’d found in something like Elle magazine eons ago (no offence, Mum). The original recipe called for beaten egg whites to be added to the batter. If you’re already seasoned in the art of veganising cake recipes, you’re probably making a hissing noise and a commiserating kind of face. This cake drove me nuts. (‘Scuse the pun.) But in the end the kind diet has prevailed. This slice of heaven is now available for all of us hungry vegans to enjoy.

For the cake:
100ml (1/4 cup) hazelnut milk
150g (1 cup) plain flour
100g (3/4 cup) ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
100g (1/2 cup) vegan margarine + extra to grease
For the coffee covering:
1 tablespoon agar flakes
100ml (1/4 cup) almond milk
1 teaspoon coffee extract
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Cream the vegan margarine and sugar together with a spoon. In your food processor, or even a blender, grind the hazelnuts to a fine powder. It’s alright to leave a few bits if you like that in your cake. Add this powder to the margarine and sugar, and the flour as well. Combine, then add the hazelnut milk and mix again. Finally add the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Pour the batter into a greased 8 to 9″ pan (I used a 20cm diameter pan) and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Set aside to cool while you make the covering.
In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients for the coffee covering. Boil for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Whisk for a minute, then place in the fridge for about 5 minutes until it gets a bit more solid but not completely firm, then whisk again and spread over the cake when it is cooled. Ideally you want it to be a light mousse that will not spread and melt off the cake. 
Top your cake with chocolate sprinkles and leftover hazelnuts to look something like this:

Let me know if you try out this cake!
What do you like to do when the weather turns grey? Baking, reading, watching a film? Leave me a comment 🙂

— Clem

8 thoughts on “Mum’s Hazelnut Coffee Cake

  1. Let's see what you need the eggs for in the first place: Are they used for binding? To make the batter more liquid? And what does the baked cake look like (dry, moist, dense, fluffy)? If you're using the eggs for binding, I'd suggest replacing maybe two of the three eggs with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons tepid water for each egg, and 1/4 cup soya milk. Maybe you could get away with substituting 1/4 cup soya milk (or hazelnut milk) for each egg. I'm more partial to the latter because not only is that the cheapest option, it's also what worked for my cake. Give it a try and let me know 🙂 As for the chocolate ganache, you could easily replace the whipping cream with some soya cream, a little bit of non-dairy milk, even just a tad of water. Or if you don't mind coconut flavour, refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk for a few hours, then spoon out the top layer and whip that to a cream.


  2. I would say that it is a bit drier/dense than average. I've described it as soft biscotti (although, it's more moist than biscotti).

    And my youngest would love me for life if I made a ganache with coconut milk. I'm going to try that for sure.

    Incidentally, where on gods green earth do you get hazelnut milk?! I know about almond milk, but I've never seen hazelnut (and I LOVE hazelnuts)


  3. You can get hazelnut milk in most health stores in the UK, or you can make it yourself! Here's a handy link on how to make your own almond milk (just replace the almonds with whatever you want to make milk out of, like brown rice, hazelnuts, etc.): Warning: hazelnut milk is more addictive than drugs. I kid you not.

    Try substituting nut milk for the eggs like I said, and if that makes it too moist, try replacing one or more of the eggs with “flax eggs”. You may need to give it a few goes to see what works best (goodness knows I do that all the time…).


  4. Pingback: Mini After Eight Cake {two ways} | The Vegan Cookie Fairy

  5. Pingback: Limoncello Drizzle Cake {GF and sugar-free} Celebrating 2 years. | The Vegan Cookie Fairy

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