A cake that tastes like Nutella but has no Nutella and is completely healthy? This Hazelnut Cacao Cake is the one and it only has 6 ingredients. Incredibly easy, mix-and-bake, one-bowl, gluten-free cake recipe that you will want to bake every week!

Hazelnut Cacao Cake - Cook Republic #glutenfree #vegetarian

A recipe I created for my workshops back in 2015, it was a staunch favourite with everyone who tasted it at morning tea during the workshops. This rustic but moist Hazelnut Cacao Cake was gluten-free, low in sugar (unrefined), extremely fuss-free one-bowl in nature and tasted like Nutella batter. No wonder everyone wanted the recipe! For the better part of the past two years, I have been sending people pictures of my handwritten recipe as I never got around to posting it on the blog despite making it at least once a month. And now here it is, at long last.

Hazelnut Cacao Cake - Cook Republic #glutenfree #vegetarian

This is my favourite type of cake. Easy to scale up and down, easier still to adapt with substitutions for slight flavour variations or to accommodate intolerances. You could use a store-bought/homemade hazelnut meal. I often make hazelnut milk and use the cud or meal left over from making the milk for this recipe (same quantity as in the recipe). The hazelnut and chocolate combination is so much like Nutella, just healthier.

Cocoa butter (derived from the cocoa bean) is an excellent vegan substitute for regular butter. Coconut butter is another excellent vegan substitute and healthier than coconut oil in the sense it has fibre and iron too as it is basically coconut meat. It makes the cake richer and more decadent. I have even tried baking cake this with olive oil for a lighter version (approximately 150ml). It is ripe for experimentation, extremely forgiving and one of the quickest things you will put together on an especially quiet afternoon. Plus a thin slice really goes a long way.

Unadorned and simple, so delicious that it doesn't need prettying or covering up with icing and flowers. Plus, there is a definite goth vibe going on here with the dark of the cacao and the theatre of the crochet tablecloth. Which would make it the perfect Halloween offering! Hope you make this and if it becomes a regular in your kitchen, I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments/ratings below. Happy Halloween! Enjoy. xx

Hazelnut Cacao Cake - Cook Republic #glutenfree #vegetarian
Hazelnut Cacao Cake - Cook Republic #glutenfree #vegetarian
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Hazelnut Cacao Cake - Cook Republic #glutenfree #vegetarian


5 from 6 votes
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Author: Sneh
Course // Baking
Cuisine // Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 180 g hazelnut meal
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 60 g desiccated coconut
  • 170 g rapadura sugar, or golden caster sugar
  • 3 small eggs, lightly whisked
  • 200 g melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • pinch of salt
  • extra cacao powder or icing sugar for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 180C (convention)/160C (fan-forced/convection). Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm springform pan.
  • Place all ingredients for the cake (except the cacao powder/icing powder for dusting) in a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour batter in the prepared tin. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 40-45 minutes until cake is cooked and starts coming away from the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes before gently removing it. Dust with extra cacao powder/icing sugar and serve warm.


Cocoa butter (from cocoa beans) and coconut butter (from coconut meat) are excellent vegan substitutes for regular butter. Coconut butter is healthier than coconut oil as it also has fibre and iron. Olive oil (use about 150-160ml for this recipe) is the most nutritionally dense and light substitution.
I always use unrefined rapadura sugar in my baking which is the best sugar you will use. It is not very sweet and releases energy slowly, thereby regulating your blood sugar levels. It also has potassium, calcium, magnesium and loads of vitamins. You could substitute it with powdered dates.
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