Hazelnuts, figs, cashews, dates. That's pretty much what's in this caramel beauty. It's decadent, smooth, creamy, only sweetened with fruits, goes very well with fresh figs, and has a flavor reminiscent of caramel.
Hard to believe, but this cake was designed for a person incredibly limited in ingredient choices and in need of a little wedding cake!
A blog reader named Keren contacted me recently for ideas for a cake for her sister's wedding. Only the food "off limits" list is so restrictive that she's been hard pressed even coming up with ideas for a treat. She said, both hopeful and a touch resigned,
"I would be thrilled if you can help us out, it would be beyond cool to be able to make some kind of cake or cup cake for her big day! Whether you manage to or not you’re still my hero and I keep coming back for your recipes to make sure my daughter gets her full of yummie cakes even though she, too, is allergic to tons of stuff (not as bad as my sister but tough enough) and I personally prefer your creations to anything you can buy in any shop or café!!!"
Ok, where's the blushing emoji?! Eeek such a lovely compliment!
Now about the "ingredients permitted" list -- was it tall order? Maybe... But hey, I figured it was just cake -- I'd have fun and just see what happens. What happened is as you see pictured...
The actual "permitted" list was very strict -- nothing outside of the following:
chick pea + aquafaba, potatoes, carrots, green peas, yellow peas, spinach, raw peppers, lettuce heads, zucchini, sundried tomatoes (just the tomato, no oils or additived)...
(at this point I was beginning to envision a possible beautiful wedding... salad? :P)
...rice (all kinds), rice flour + rice puffs, quinoa +flour, oregano, rosemary, thyme, chili, salt, pepper, apples, avocados, kiwi, fennel, basil, plums...
(ok, now we're getting into dessert-ish territory...)
...nuts (including peanuts) & nut butters, almonds, almond butter, dates, date syrup, figs.
(bingo! nuts + dates + figs, all I needed!).
When you look at a list this big it can seem really overwhelming. But with nuts and dates I feel safe -- I always feel like you can go for miles with those two; infinite dessert possibilities. So I got to work, tried out a few cakes, sent them out to friends for reviews, and this one was the clear winner.
I adhered to the specific ingredients list, but added *optional vanilla* (for those not on this diet specifically) because you can never go wrong with some. I also felt that a bit of orange extract or a bit of orange zest would have been nice in this too, so adding it in as a thought.
Note: I used date syrup for sweetening the cake. You could use something like maple syrup instead, though the date syrup gives it a nice caramel-like flavor. Also, the hazelnuts can be swapped for another nut, like pistachio or almonds.
Last but not least, as per usual, this recipe is for a tiny 5″ cake. See downloadable cake size guide below if you need help with sizing this cake up or down. Also, if you need any tips to get comfortable with raw cake making, you may find Unconventional Treats handy for that.
Oh, and one more final note: because this cake is designed to be very lush and creamy, it’ll also get quite melty if not kept frozen. So be sure to serve it frozen, or thaw out for just 5-10 minutes prior to serving.Print
Fig Hazelnut Caramel Cake
This fig hazelnut caramel cake (vegan, paleo, gluten-free) is decadent, smooth, creamy, sweetened with fruits, and has a flavor reminiscent of caramel.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 5" cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: Vegan Dessert
- ¾ cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 soft medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp date syrup
- ¾ cup cashew butter
- ⅓ cup date syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 2 large fresh figs (stem removed)
- ½ tsp salt
- optional: ¼ teaspoon raw ground vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; a hint of orange extract could be nice too (note: I did not use these in this cake as per notes above)
- chopped and whole hazelnuts, fresh figs, decorative flowers of choice, date syrup for drizzling on individual slices if desired
- Process all crust ingredients into a fine sticky crumble in a food processor. Transfer to a 5" springform pan and press down into an even crust. Freeze while working on next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients into a smooth consistency in a power blender. Pour over prepared crust. Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight.
- Decorate with desired toppings and serve. Enjoy! (Note: keep cake frozen until serving; store leftovers in the freezer).
Keywords: Fig Hazelnut Caramel Cake (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free)
Eunice Ndungu says
So beautiful! What kind of plants/flowers did you use to top this cake?
Thank you, Eunice. The flowers I used here are not edible (to my knowledge) so I used them just decoratively. It's a mix of blue thistle as well as the leaves and flower buds of a eucalyptus tree. I love those thistles, they are so ethereal somehow, aren't they? :)
Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.
Hi Ashok, thanks for the great feedback. I'm glad you and your family enjoyed it! :)
Dana Lehmer says
Delicious!!!!! Making it again 2 weeks later.
Oh that's great -- thanks for the feedback, Dana! So glad you're enjoying this cake.
Hi ... its so different and tempting then other cakes and healthy too... just feel to have it...
In our city we do not get cashew butter then what would be substitue for that.
Hi Pinky, you can try another nut or seed butter that you like -- the flavor will be different, but it should still come out nicely :)
Tried making this, but unfortunately I didn't realize there are massive variations in Cashew butters. I didn't even look on the back of the jar I bought, and once I tasted it, I knew- I messed up! The Cashew butter I bought was made with Sunflower oil..so it just tastes like a blob of Reese's Peanut butter cup filling- not your fault, but for the dorks like me you might make some sort of a note of the importance of using that particular brand of Cashew butter.. :( Lesson learned...
Hi Penny, thanks for sharing. Sorry it didn't work out for you. I didn't really think of that as usually here the cashew butter I buy is just cashews. Reese's Peanut Butter cup filling doesn't sound so bad though -- could be worse ;)
Would it be ok to use soaked cashews rather than the nut butter?
Raw cashews have a very different flavor than the nut butter, as well as texture. Nuts in nut-butter aren't usually soaked (and are typically roasted) so the flavor is more concentrated, and often sweeter (as compared to the more diluted flavor of soaked cashews). The consistency will be a bit different too in the process of making cashew butter the cashews release their oils so the butter will act a bit differently than soaked blended cashews.
That said I have tons of raw cakes made with soaked raw cashews -- this is the only one made with cashew butter :) So if you're looking for a raw cake made with soaked cashews check out the recipes page (link in menu up top) and select the "cakes" tab, and have fun :)
Grace Duling says
audrey, can we substitute maple syrup and use dried figs? Also, to make this large enough for a 6inch round, what do you suggest?
Hi Grace, you can definitely make this with maple syrup instead of with date syrup. You'll want to re-hydrate the figs in some water first (just cover with water and let sit for about an hour, then discard the water and use the moistened figs in the recipe), but that would be totally fine too.
As for converting to a 6" cake -- definitely doable. There's a downloadable "raw cake multiplication helper" guide at the bottom of the post (below the recipe) to help you with that. Let me know if you have any questions about it.
Because I can never make up my mind, I usually keep two or three recipes in mind while working from another. So for the filling, I added ½ cup dark cocoa powder, and to decorate, I used small black figs drizzled with ginger syrup, dotted with vegan butter, and baked at 350 degrees for 20 mins. Cut into halves, they were placed at the bottom edge of the cake as well as on top with flowers and nuts (yours was hands down the winner in the aesthetics department but it was still pretty). Everyone at our dinner party wanted the recipe! I doubled the recipe which filled a 6" springform pan about ½" shy of the top. It was incredibly easy to make. Iʻm already fantasizing about when I can justify making it again. Thanks very much.
That sounds amazing, Sarah! Now I'm dreaming of ginger syrup over here ? Thank you so much for sharing what you did, and I'm so happy it went over well at the party!
This is my first time on your site, and I have yet to try any of your recipes, but I am so impressed with your ingenuity and sense of aesthetics. All your recipes look truly professional and sound like they are truly delicious.
Haven't seen a more beautiful raw fig cake in my life! Look at the caramel layer and the fig topping! I love that you made this recipe dedicated to a reader's requests. Cheers!
Thanks so much, Cassie :)
CakenGifts.in Dehradun says
I love this recipe, this is very short and simple to understand. And it gives awesome cake which makes our party colourful!!! Everyone must try........
Thank you so much for the lovely feedback -- I'm so happy you enjoyed it! :)
This cake looks divine! I'm sure my grandmother would accept vegan food more if I whipped up this recipe for her - she loves these flavours (and of course, so do I!!)!
Your creations are just amazing Audrey - every cake of yours is drool-worthy! Your blog is definitely my go-to for any vegan cakes, for sure!
Thank you so much, Olivia -- you're too sweet :)
I hope your grandmother gets to try a slice sometime ?
Karla Jacoby says
Can you please provide the nutritional information on the Fig hazelnut Cramer cake?
Thanks in advance.
Hi Karla, sorry, I haven't looked up the nutritional info. You can look it up for yourself though via many different kinds of recipe calculators online -- they're free and you can enter in exactly what you'll be using, how many portions, etc. and it'll give you a good idea of recipe breakdowns.
This looks insane Audrey! absolutely beautiful, perfect for a wedding for sure!
Thank you so much, Cara! :)
Sniff, sniff. This post was beautiful. How lovely to have superpowers and use them for good in this way. Good job! -Hanne
Thank you, Hanne :) If only cake making counted as a super power ?
Audrey!!! ?? You rock big time, lady!!! ?I can't wait to try making this and to see the smile on my sisters face when she realizes that THIS IS FOR HER! Not just to look at but something she can eat. I'm so happy! There is no emoji to show the size of the grin on my face right now! Can't wait to try this perfect creation! Thank you from the bottom of, not only my heart but also from my whole family. This is truly and utterly amazing, Audrey!!! ??????
Hehe. Thanks so much, Keren! :) It was a fun one to play around with ??
Thank you very much for making this recipe, it's really nice. I have still not tried to make it myself, but it was a wonderful surprise on our wedding! (Yes, I am the sister?) And one day I will try to make it for me and my family? Thank you once again?
Thanks so much, Nadja. I'm so happy this worked out for the wedding and that there was cake to be had in some form! I'm glad your sister asked -- it was a really fun little project :)
Hi there Audrey!
So by now you're quite the hero here and one of the giant supermarkets here has asked to post your recipe on their Facebook page, with credits of course! Would that be ok with you?
Happy autumn to you!
Thanks very much for your lovely comment :)
About the recipes, I don't wish for them to be re-posted elsewhere outside my blog, however if the supermarket wanted to share a link to the recipe instead of posting the actual recipe on their page that would be totally fine and greatly appreciated.
Supermarket in question: https://m.facebook.com/hypermat.se/?locale2=sv_SE
Izzy | pinch of delight says
This looks amazing!
Your photography is stunning. x
Thank you :)
Such a cute and lovely recipe, Audrey! And so beautifully decorated!
Thank you, Natalia :) I tried to dress it up a little.
Oh my! This is one of the most beautiful cakes I've seen in a long time, really! It's so lovely, looks utterly delicious and that decoration...pure magic! <3
Thank you, Gemma :)
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
If the list had stopped after that first little snippet...oh man!!! Actually I wound't put it past you to pull off something amazing and totally wedding-approved even with just that first list, but it would've been veryyyyy tricky :D Turns out this very specific list actually led to a cake made of many of my favorite things! Cashew butter, dates, and the always elegant figs. Love how you styled this too with all the little natural bits. It's like ingredient puzzle magic you do over there!
Isn't it funny -- in the end, it wasn't such a big challenge after all. Definitely would have been tough with the first snippet only though ?