This recipe is a paid collaboration with Natures Charm, all views are my own.
The combination of chocolate and hazelnut comes second to none, that's why this vegan Ferrero rocher cake needed to exist.
A light and fluffy vegan hazelnut vanilla sponge cake with layers of chocolate ganache frosting and an easy chocolate glaze. The cake is then topped off with homemade vegan Ferrero rocher truffles to make a show-stopper vegan dessert fit for any special occasion.
Here’s what’s to love about this recipe:
- Light and fluffy hazelnut vanilla sponge
- A shiny chocolate glaze that sets without cracking when cut
- Perfect for special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, Valentine's Day, etc.
- Roasted hazelnuts: Hazelnuts are toasted and finely ground to give an intense hazelnut flavor to this vegan Ferrero rocher cake.
- Soft brown sugar: You can use either soft brown sugar or light muscovado sugar for this recipe, but not dark muscovado!
- Soy milk: This is mixed together with apple cider vinegar which creates vegan buttermilk, helping to tenderize the cake.
- Plain flour
- Cornflour: Or cornstarch if you're based in the US. I first tested this recipe a few times without cornflour and I kept getting a slightly gummy texture. My friend Anthea from Rainbow Nourishments recommended trying a binding agent and that's where cornflour comes in. Luckily it did the trick and resulted in a fluffy consistency.
- Sunflower oil: I use sunflower oil but you can also go for rapeseed or a mild-flavored light olive oil.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These are the leavening agents for this vegan cake.
- Vanilla extract: A good bit of vanilla extract is added to the batter which gives a wonderful hazelnut and vanilla flavor to the cake.
- Sea salt
- Coconut whipping cream: Nature's charm coconut whipping cream forms the base of the chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache glaze.
- Vegan chocolate fudge sauce: This is added to the chocolate glaze, it gives a slight shine and helps to prevent the glaze from cracking when you cut into it.
- Dark chocolate: I use 70% dark chocolate for this recipe.
- Vegan butter: There are many brands of vegan-friendly butter available these days, it’s important to note that this recipe calls for stick butter, not the spreadable kind from a tub, I use flora unsalted plant butter.
- Powdered sugar: is used to sweeten the chocolate frosting.
How to make this recipe (with step-by-step images)
(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)
How to make vegan hazelnut cake
This vegan hazelnut vanilla cake is pretty quick and easy to put together. You’ll start by mixing the other wet ingredients with the vegan buttermilk (that's sunflower oil and vanilla).
Now blitz the roasted hazelnuts until finely ground in your food processor. Add the ground hazelnuts to a separate large bowl, and whisk them together with the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cornflour, soft brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
Next, add the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk to form a batter.
Distribute the cake batter between 3x 6-inch cake tins and bake!
The frosting for this vegan hazelnut cake is essentially a chocolate ganache buttercream. First, heated coconut whipping cream is poured on top of finely chopped chocolate. That's left to sit for a couple of minutes while the chocolate melts.
Once the chocolate has melted through. Then use an electric whisk to whip the chocolate ganache for a couple of minutes. it's important the chocolate ganache isn't warm for the next step, so allow it to come to room temperature or pop it in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.
Once the chocolate ganache has cooled, whip it for another 2 minutes before adding in the vegan butter. Add the butter in one tablespoon increments to get a nice even mixture.
Lastly, whisk in the sugar to sweeten the frosting. You can add more or less powdered sugar, depending on your taste.
Assembling the cake
To assemble your three-tier vegan chocolate hazelnut cake add a little bit of chocolate frosting to a plate to secure the cake. Hold aside around ⅔ of the frosting as you'll need this to coat the sides and top of the cake!
Then simply layer up the cake with hazelnut sponge cake and chocolate frosting followed by some chopped roasted hazelnuts. Use the remaining chocolate frosting to coat around the sides on top of the cake and smooth everything out with a cake scraper.
How to make chocolate ganache glaze
Usually, recipes for chocolate glaze will require gelatin (which is not vegan), or another form of setting agent such as agar-agar. But... for this glaze recipe, we're basing it on a simple vegan chocolate ganache. During testing, I found that adding some Natures Charm vegan chocolate fudge sauce helps to give the glaze a slight sheen.
The process for making the vegan chocolate glaze is similar to how the chocolate frosting was made. You'll start by adding warmed coconut whipping cream to chocolate and allowing it to melt. Once melted, add in the chocolate fudge sauce, stir and allow the chocolate glaze to come to room temperature.
Prop the cake on top of an upside-down cake tin and place it in a large bowl - this will catch any glaze that drips over the edges!
Then simply pour the glaze over the top and edges of the cake and allow it to set slightly before decorating.
Ways to decorate Ferrero rocher cake
Store this vegan Ferrero rocher cake in an airtight container or cover with cling film and refrigerate it until a couple of hours before serving. Remove it from the fridge for about 2 hours before serving to allow the frosting to come to room temperature.
More vegan cakes
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Hazelnut sponge cake
- 100 g (⅘ cup) roasted hazelnuts (skinless), *see recipe notes
- 355 ml (1 ½ cups) soy milk
- 20 ml (1 ½ tablespoons) apple cider vinegar
- 75 g (⅓ cup) sunflower oil, or rapeseed oil/olive oil
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
- 220 g (1 cup) soft brown sugar
- 320 g (2 ½ cup) plain flour, sifted
- 16 g (2 tablespoons) cornflour (cornstarch), sifted
- 2 ½ teaspoons (2 ½ teaspoons) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) sea salt
- 200 g (7 oz) chilled coconut whipping cream, I use Nature's Charm *see recipe notes
- 200 g (7 oz) vegan dark chocolate , finely chopped
- 200 g (7 oz) vegan block butter, softened
- 70 g (⅗ cup) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 40 g (4 tablespoons) roasted hazelnuts (skinless), finely chopped
Chocolate ganache glaze
- Make the vegan Ferrero rocher ahead of time if you plan on using them to decorate the cake.
Hazelnut sponge cake
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F). Line the base of three 6" cake tins with a circle of parchment paper and spray the sides with oil spray.
- Add the hazelnuts to your food processor and blitz until finely ground. Alternatively, you can use a knife to chop them finely.
- To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a jug, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Add the sunflower oil and vanilla extract to the buttermilk mixture and whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl mix together the finely ground hazelnuts, flour, cornflour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold everything together until you have a smooth batter.
- Divide the batter into the lined cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check they are ready by inserting a skewer, it should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes and then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool further. Refrigerate the cakes in an airtight container until ready to use. Chilling the cakes for a few hours (or overnight) makes them easier to work with and decorate.
- Finely chop the chocolate and set it aside in a heat-resistant bowl. Add the coconut milk to a saucepan and place it on medium heat until gently simmering.
- Pour the heated coconut milk over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes uncovered, before stirring with a spatula until smooth. Whisk with an electric whisk for 2 minutes then chill for 15-20 minutes. Once chilled, place the mixture in a large bowl or stand mixer and whip for another 2 minutes.
- Add the vegan butter, one tablespoon at a time while whisking to incorporate it into the mixture until soft and fluffy. Lastly, add in the icing sugar and whisk until combined.
- Cut the domes from the tops of the hazelnut sponge cakes if there are any to get them as even as possible.
- To assemble the cake, set aside about ⅔ of the frosting for the top and sides of the cake. Add a little chocolate frosting onto your turntable to secure the cake. Place the first layer of cake and follow with a layer of chocolate frosting. Smooth out the frosting using a spatula then scatter about 2 tablespoons of the chopped roasted hazelnuts on top of the frosting. Continue this process for the second layer and top with the third hazelnut sponge.
- Use a spatula to spread the remaining frosting on top and on the sides of the cake. Use a cake scraper to smooth out the surface. Place the cake in the fridge while you prepare the chocolate glaze.
Chocolate ganache glaze
- Finely chop the chocolate and set it aside in a heat-resistant bowl. Add the coconut milk to a saucepan and place it on medium heat until gently simmering. Pour the heated coconut milk over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes uncovered, before stirring with a spatula until smooth. Stir in the chocolate fudge sauce and allow the mixture to come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes.
- To glaze the cake, first of all carefully place the cake on top of an upside-down cake tin and place it into a large bowl (this is to catch the chocolate glaze that flows over). Pour the room temperature glaze over the top of the cake and allow it to run down the sides to completely cover the cake. Use a knife to carefully mark a line around the base of the cake so that you can easily remove it from the cake tin once dry.
- Allow the glaze to set slightly for about 5 minutes so that it is no longer running down the sides of the cake. Decorate the bottom sides and top of the cake with the remaining chopped hazelnuts (and some gold leaf sheets if using). Very carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate and top with vegan ferrero rocher.
- Store the cake in an airtight container or cover with cling film and refrigerate it until a couple of hours before serving. Remove it from the fridge for about 2 hours before serving to allow the frosting to come to room temperature.
- Nutritional information is based on the cake without vegan Ferrero rocher truffles.
- Chilled coconut whipping cream: Refrigerate overnight, then use only the thick cream from the top of the can.
- You can toast and remove the hazelnut skins by roasting them in the oven and then covering them in a clean tea towel to steam for 5 minutes. Then rub them with the towel to remove the skins. You'll find full instructions on how to toast and skin hazelnuts over on Epicurious.
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