No-Bake Hazelnut Cake

Have I ever mentioned I'm in love with hazelnut butter? Oh, yes, I did. But never mind... I'm taking my love for this nutty goodness to the next level here with this no-bake vegan hazelnut cake. It combines some of my favorite things: the rich nutty flavor of hazelnuts, espresso, and a "brownie" chocolate crust. And topped with all kinds of crunchy chocolatey goodness and even some whole espresso beans for good measure... Deeelicious.

This cake is really smooth, creamy, and has a very deep flavor thanks to the hazelnut butter + the hint of espresso that gives it a little something extra (and you can always add more to taste, of course). I love a good chocolate hazelnut cake, but in this case I was really into that pure hazelnut filling -- a beautiful flavor that stands its own ground (though if you are on the lookout for a chocolate hazelnut cake, you might like this one as an alternative).

And all that is pretty darn impressive for a cake that's dairy-free, grain-free, oil-free, and refined sugar-free. And of course also cashew-free, which I know is always a point of interest for many following this blog. I got you covered ;) + no baking involved. It's a win-win-win-win-win... type of cake!

The trick to getting a good flavor and texture here is to use a very creamy hazelnut butter. When you open the jar, make sure to stir, stir, stir until all the separated oil is incorporated back into the butter, so that it's smooth and runny.
One of the things that I love most about this cake is that it can be made entirely in the food processor -- no fancy blender required. I know, again, that for some of you, it's sometimes hard to get a really creamy texture going without a power blender, so this cake is a perfect alternative. The nut butter (as opposed to grinding whole nuts) makes the texture here super smooth.
Last, but not least, I used espresso powder to get the espresso flavor. From previous recipes the question of whether regular coffee or ground coffee beans can be used instead always comes up. So... the short answer is: I recommend sticking with espresso powder. It's ground super fine and packs a ton of deep, rich flavor.

Using brewed coffee is not great. You can use ¼ cup of coffee in place of the water recommended in the recipe, but the flavor will still not be as strong + it's hard to control how it would affect the taste of the cake (once it's in, it's in, and you can't add any more because too much water will change the consistency of the cake. The powder however can be gradually adjusted). That said, if you're game for it, give it a try and let me know how you liked it in the comments.

Ground coffee beans -- they're a reasonable alternative. I find you'll get little pieces of coffee in your bite and the flavor won't be incorporated as seamlessly as it would with the espresso powder. But again, if you're game for giving it a try, you're the boss of the cake so do as you please :)

No-Bake Vegan Hazelnut Cake (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

No-Bake Vegan Hazelnut Cake

  • Author: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 5" cake
  • Category: cake
  • Method: no-bake
  • Cuisine: dessert


This no-bake vegan hazelnut cake has a deep flavor thanks to the rich flavor of hazelnuts, hint of espresso, and the delicious chocolate "brownie" crust. It's gf and oil-free too.





  • cacao nibs, coated amaranth balls, whole espresso beans, mini chocolate chips


1. Process all crust ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is combined and starts to form into a ball. Transfer into a 5" springform pan and press down into a flat crust along the base. Freeze while working on the next step.

2. Clean out the food processor. Then place all filling ingredients in it and process into a smooth and uniform mixture. Transfer the filling into the pan over the prepared crust. Tap the pan down on the counter a few times, and then smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.

3. Decorate with desired toppings. Then freeze to set overnight (or for at least 6-7 hours). Thaw out very lightly, remove from pan, then thaw out a further 10 mins for it to soften a little. Slice and enjoy! (see storage notes***)


*Can use another type of nut flour if you prefer.

**The runnier the butter, the better. If you get a new jar, I recommend stirring it really well to ensure it's smooth and runny and all the separated oil is absorbed back into the butter. The cake should still work with a thicker butter, but it'll change the texture and flavor some.

***Treat this cake like you would ice cream -- it needs to be kept frozen until serving time. Lightly thaw it out for about 10 mins, then enjoy. Store leftovers in the freezer. Note: unlike many of my raw cakes, because this cake doesn't contain any added oils (like coconut) it'll likely thaw out faster than other cakes. You'll notice that in the photo above the recipe where the slice is missing out of the cake the edges are beginning to get a little melty (turn darker) -- this is after taking photos of it for about 35 mins at room temp. If you want it to keep frozen in a more uniform way, add 1-2 tablespoon neutral-tasting coconut oil to the filling mixture.

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