Hazelnut Chocolate Cake {Raw/Vegan}


Saturday night we had a special dinner with family friends. For one weekend all 8 of us were around before starting vacations and school again; one of is even spending a year studying at Oxford(no, it’s not me; yes, I’m jealous). That called for cake. I had been wanting to make this recipe for a while and wanted to wait until just the right celebration. Everyone loved it, although when I told them the frosting involved avocado you would have thought I told them my own hair was in it. They started eating it again 2 seconds later when they remembered how good it was and decided you couldn’t taste the avocado.


I actually made this cake for Father’s Day last year and featured it as a guest post on Gena’s blog. Since then I’d completely forgotten about it and had to go look it up to remember how to make it. Now that I remembered, I kind of wish I could forget again. The ones that we didn’t give away didn’t last long in this house. It’s hard to say no to a piece of cake, and even harder when you can tell yourself it’s “healthy” because it has fruits and nuts in it.

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake {Raw/Vegan}

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(makes 5 2×3-inch frosted cakes):

  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, divided
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • 1 medium avocado
  • Crushed hazelnuts for garnish



  1. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground into a flour
  2. Add in the dates, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, and 1/4 cup maple syrup and process until it forms into a thick dough that sticks together.
  3. Lay the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to about 3/4-inch thickness.
  4. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into either 8 or 10 equal sized rectangles. If there’s excess dough you can form it into a ball, roll it out, and cut again.
  5. Make the frosting by blending together the remaining maple syrup, cocoa powder, and the meat from the avocado until it’s uniform in color and texture. Taste it and adjust the sweetness if need be.
  6. Spread about 2 tablespoons of frosting over half of the cakes. Layer with another slice and spread an equal amount of frosting on top of that piece.
  7. Garnish with crushed hazelnuts.


These took from start to finish about 20 minutes to make, maybe a little more than that because I was distracted. Even so these are much quicker to make than traditional cake and certainly have all the show-stopping qualities.

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101 Responses to Hazelnut Chocolate Cake {Raw/Vegan}
  1. A Tablespoon of Liz
    August 15, 2011 | 9:05 am

    This looks so good! It looks so fudgey and chocolatey and delicious. I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe to make later!

  2. Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg
    August 15, 2011 | 9:08 am

    That cake looks seriously dangerous.

  3. VeggieGirl
    August 15, 2011 | 9:14 am

    Evan, you’re amazing.

  4. Amy
    August 15, 2011 | 9:36 am

    This cake looks wonderful! I love that you have made it vegan and combined hazelnuts, dates and chocolate! It is beautiful and sounds like it would be decadently delicious! Enjoy the remainder of your time off before the school year starts :)!

  5. Alayna @ Thyme Bombe
    August 15, 2011 | 10:34 am

    Wow, filing that one away for the next time I need a fancy dessert!

  6. the delicate place
    August 15, 2011 | 10:50 am

    um bookmarked. that looks absolutely divine!

  7. brandi@BranAppetit
    August 15, 2011 | 11:07 am

    holy moly – that looks so good!

  8. Krystina (Organically Me)
    August 15, 2011 | 2:17 pm

    Yum!!!! I wish I had all the ingredients for this on hand.

  9. Hannah
    August 15, 2011 | 4:05 pm

    Evan! This is my first time officially reading your blog. And I’m glad it began with this post! This looks amazing.

    So you go to Brown? That’s awesome. Three friends from high school are there now and my mom is a professor at Providence College so that city is a familiar place for me.

  10. Karla
    August 15, 2011 | 4:15 pm

    Delicious looking and healthy! Win-win!

    Please come make this for me now. I would love you forever!

  11. Sukee
    August 15, 2011 | 4:56 pm

    Yumm. These look seriously delicious. Did you use raw hazelnuts or roasted? If roasted, did you take the skins off first?

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 15, 2011 | 4:57 pm

      They were raw, skin on

      • Sukee
        August 15, 2011 | 5:02 pm

        Awesome! I was hoping you’d say they were raw!!

  12. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    August 15, 2011 | 6:43 pm

    Evan this looks amazing.

    Both the recipe and the photography!

    hope you submitted and you get some yes’es!! 🙂

  13. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit
    August 15, 2011 | 7:32 pm

    *drool* my gosh

  14. Lindsay @ Lindsay's List
    August 15, 2011 | 9:15 pm

    You had me at hazelnut! Great photography too!

  15. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    August 15, 2011 | 9:36 pm

    This looks amazing! I’m craving that frosting right now.

  16. Lauren
    August 15, 2011 | 9:37 pm

    I always read your blog through twitter but finally decided to follow you through email too 🙂 Yes, I am stalking you… just to be clear! This cake looks amazing and I might have to make it tomorrow…. or another one of your gf recipes.

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 15, 2011 | 9:42 pm

      Thank you! I hope you do make it and tell me what you think.

  17. Hannah
    August 16, 2011 | 7:07 am

    Teehee, yes, whenever I make my raw brownies (almost identical to this, but using walnuts instead of hazelnuts) I’m never quite sure whether to ‘fess up to the avocado before or after everyone’s eating 😛

  18. sam @ samasana
    August 16, 2011 | 10:19 am

    ummm this is nutella in cake form. you’re brilliant.

  19. The Happening
    August 16, 2011 | 1:23 pm

    Yum! These look amazing, and they are gluten-free which makes a treat all the more guilt-free! Thanks for this, am going to try them tomorrow 🙂


  20. Junia @ Mis Pensamientos
    August 16, 2011 | 10:53 pm

    this looks fantastic! i’ve been meaning to attempt a raw cake one of these day! hazelnut just sounds so good! btw, i am hosting a cakelove bloghop on my blog! if you link up, others will be able to see your lovely post! have a great day!

  21. Stephanie
    August 17, 2011 | 2:38 am

    Omg. TO DIE FOR. I bet these would be amazing with some mint extract. Le drool. #incoherentincompletesentences #whateverijustwanttheseinmymouth 😀

  22. The Chocolate Priestess
    August 17, 2011 | 8:30 am

    That is very cute, thank you for sharing.

  23. Kate@Diethood
    August 18, 2011 | 1:16 pm

    Avocado in a cake?! Ah-mazing!!

  24. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)
    August 18, 2011 | 3:46 pm

    Ummmmm, that cake looks like the best looking cake I have ever seen! Wowzers!!!

  25. scott
    August 18, 2011 | 5:20 pm

    More raw and vegan recipes please?!

  26. Sara
    August 18, 2011 | 6:29 pm

    This looks great but maple syrup isn’t a raw food!

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 18, 2011 | 6:40 pm

      You can substitute agave to make it 100% raw. I just have an excess of maple syrup to use since I have relatives in the sapping business.

  27. hazel-bites « om of the day
    August 20, 2011 | 6:15 pm

    […] saw this recipe and knew immediately that I needed to make it.  So here it is, with my […]

  28. drew
    August 21, 2011 | 11:40 am

    Fabulous looking recipe! I will definitely post this on our site! Thank you WannaBe!

  29. Renata
    August 21, 2011 | 4:14 pm

    Um, this is friggin’ delish…I made it yesterday with a few non-raw additions and I can proudly say, it is gone…I even tried to hide a few pieces in the freezer, but alas, those have been eaten with delight as well!

    Thank you 🙂

  30. Kim
    August 22, 2011 | 2:05 pm

    Evan – can you tell us about how much cake this results in? Just thinking servings. Thanks!

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 22, 2011 | 2:10 pm

      The recipe makes 5 cakes that are 2×3 inches long. One cake is a good sized dessert or two people could split one as more of a tasting.

      • Kim
        August 22, 2011 | 2:12 pm

        Ummm…super fast reply – you’re the best! Thank you :o)

  31. sejal
    August 23, 2011 | 9:12 am

    I dont find hazel nut or avocado in my area in india. Can you pls suggest alternatives.. i wanna make this one!

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 23, 2011 | 9:59 am

      You can substitute any sort of nut for hazelnut. Walnuts would have a good flavor, or almonds.
      The avocado is a little harder to replace. Banana would work if it’s ripe, but just as a warning the frosting will taste like banana in that case so it’s not a good substitution for people who don’t like bananas.

  32. fruitbatmonster
    August 23, 2011 | 1:00 pm

    I just made these for the first time, and they are SO AMAZING!!

    Where have you been all my life?!?!?!

    can’t get enough of them… so easy and yummy.. mm

    thank you so much!

  33. Zeke Krahlin
    August 28, 2011 | 4:42 am

    I presume they are meant to be ingested shortly after their creation. Considering how quickly mushed avocado meat goes rancid! I imagine these “brownies” would be emitting a rather vomitous odor within a day or two.

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 28, 2011 | 9:09 am

      The frosting lasts about 1-2 weeks when kept in an air-tight refrigerator in the refrigerator. That’d be how they’re best stored.

  34. Carrie
    August 29, 2011 | 10:50 pm

    Don’t have a food processor…suggestions?
    Would hold up okay in a fridge if I take it in our camper for my husbands birthday?

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 29, 2011 | 10:59 pm

      A blended would work but only a very high-powered one. And you might have to scrape down the sides continually to make sure all the pieces get blended.
      This keeps well in a refrigerator in a closed container.

  35. Susan Kleinstub
    August 31, 2011 | 4:49 pm

    That looks really yummy. Anything chocolate for me!

  36. Joscelyne
    September 16, 2011 | 11:59 am

    Hi, I just made these. I used a very ripe avocado, but still ended up with little bits of avocado in the frosting. How can I avoid this? Thanks

    • Wannabe Chef
      September 16, 2011 | 1:55 pm

      Your best bet is to just keep blending, even going up to a minute after it looks like it’s done. If after all that time it still has bits in it, you can sift through it with a fork and get the obvious pieces out.

  37. Isobelle
    September 19, 2011 | 9:03 pm

    aaah! I’m drooling!

  38. pachy
    October 9, 2011 | 7:54 am

    Una receta estupenda. Qué buena idea incluir el aguacate.
    Una pizca de sal para balancear el sabor del dátil+el agave estaría bien?
    Saludos desde España.

  39. […] (Click here )  for original recipe that I started with. […]

    • Lorrieb
      October 21, 2011 | 10:01 am

      Man o man this recipe a good one!!

  40. C&C Cakery
    October 24, 2011 | 12:02 am

    Totally saved this recipe. Raw? Yes! Vegan? Yes! Chocolately? Oh hells yes! It’s like you read my mind and develop a recipe to suit my dietary needs/tastes. You are my hero, sir.

  41. Vanessa
    October 27, 2011 | 5:45 pm

    How have I not known about your site? After seeing only two of your posts I can tell that you cook my kind of food. Really glad I happened upon your page. =)

    • Wannabe Chef
      October 27, 2011 | 7:37 pm

      I could say the same thing to you! I’ve clicked over to your site a few times this week from foodgawker/tastespotting. The vegan cookie dough truffles you made look right up my alley.

  42. Angie
    October 29, 2011 | 11:47 am

    I made these last night for my dads birthday. He lives in the Cayman Islands, so I finding this last minute and with so few ingredients (its so expensive here!) was amazing, and we both LOVED it! It was so easy and really delicious, and also aesthetically pleasant, so it looked special on the plate. It was my first time working with avocado in a dessert and we were both not dissappointed! Thanks for posting, it made for a great dessert and a very happy dad:).

  43. Vanessa
    November 4, 2011 | 10:00 pm

    have i mentioned that i’m drooling? 😉

  44. Meki
    December 1, 2011 | 6:24 am

    I love this idea!

  45. Steph11
    December 19, 2011 | 4:49 pm

    This recipe looks awesome! I want to make it for a friend who is breastfeeding a baby with a soy and dairy allergy, is this completely soy and dairy free?

    • Wannabe Chef
      December 19, 2011 | 5:14 pm

      Yep! Just make sure the hazelnuts you use haven’t been roasted in vegetable oil. Just to be on the safe side it’s best to use hazelnuts labeled raw.

  46. Jess82
    December 28, 2011 | 5:15 pm

    I just made this today for my birthday, and it will be gone by tonight! What made it even better is that I got my husband to eat avocado, which he hates! But he LOVED this cake. 😉

  47. […] Raw Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Cakes blew up on stumbleupon. With almost 40,000 views and a couple hundred likes, it’s been a huge hit […]

  48. Zipaquira
    January 17, 2012 | 9:06 am

    MMm, this looks delicious. I am making it this weekend:)

  49. Lauren
    January 20, 2012 | 9:27 pm

    These are so incredibly good – thank you!!

  50. Valentinstag? « mueckeblog
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  51. Grandma Kat @ Easy Recipes Land
    March 23, 2012 | 1:54 pm

    This looks beyond yummy! I have to make this for my family because I have a couple of them who are vegan and they will love that this is even one step better at RAW VEGAN!

    So, thank you many times over! 🙂

    Grandma Kat

  52. Chocolate & Hazelnut Slice
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  53. Linda Hatton
    April 28, 2012 | 10:35 pm

    WOW! Yum! These look amazing. I’m making these as soon as I get all the ingredients together. Thank you!

  54. […] of my favourite raw food discoveries has been a raw, vegan chocolate cake by The Wannabe Chef. It has such simple ingredients, is easy to make and has avocado frosting! I have made this cake […]

  55. Sarah @ RunningChickago
    May 16, 2012 | 4:04 pm

    Oh my gosh. These look sooo good.

  56. Kim
    May 22, 2012 | 9:50 am

    Made these this past Sunday. I am just learning to prepare raw foods and honestly was a but skeptical. Let me tell you, these are delicious! I did have to sub some good organic honey for the maple syrup, but I don’t think that made too much difference. Thanks for posting this!

  57. Malin
    June 10, 2012 | 3:29 am

    This looks amaaazing! I´ve never made any raw-cakes, but this is definitely gonna be one of the first to try! love anything chocolate+hazelnut! (And yeah – best not to tell people what they´re eating, before it´s too late! 😉

  58. Chocolate Brownies « happygut.ca
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  60. Erin @ Texanerin Baking
    August 4, 2012 | 4:33 pm

    I came back to explore and saw this. Oh my. I’m making this first thing in the morning! I don’t understand how I’m just now discovering you. Your recipes are amazing!

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 4, 2012 | 7:14 pm

      Hope you like it; and thanks!

  61. Erin @ Texanerin Baking
    August 5, 2012 | 4:22 am

    These are amazing! So quick and easy and delicious. They’d also be great without the frosting in ball shape, maybe kept in the freezer, as a quick snack. This made a fantastic breakfast! Thank you for the awesome recipe. 🙂

  62. Rebecca
    August 10, 2012 | 1:37 am

    Any suggestions for a sweetener besides maple syrup? (I live in Zimbabwe, so agave and other ‘exotic’ sweeteners are not available. Avocados on the other hand…) Or how one could substitute raw sugar?

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 10, 2012 | 10:59 am

      If there’s any sort of liquid sweetener available, I would use that. If not I’d try putting 1 1/2 tablespoon of raw sugar and 1 tablespoon of water for every tablespoon of sweetener into the blender.

  63. godless
    August 18, 2012 | 11:09 am

    this is messed up, I hate the idea of raw food. they say the whole reason we evolved is because we learned to cook food.

    but the fact that it’s vegan is great. the only way I eat hazelnut is if it’s mixed with chocolate. I hate hazelnut without it. But I’ve never been a super-huge fan of sickly sweet things. more of a salt person really, or savoury.

    I may make this one day if I crave for ridiculously high simple sugar food.

    have to admit they look good though.

  64. Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie
    August 21, 2012 | 11:51 am

    I’m making this over the weekend. I wonder if I could substitute bananas for the avocado…?

    • Wannabe Chef
      August 21, 2012 | 11:12 pm

      The texture will be similar but the flavor won’t be as rich. You probably won’t have to use nearly as much sweetener if you’re using banana instead of avocado because of the natural sugars. I’d just recommend making that last minute because mashed banana tends to overripen very quickly.

  65. Molly
    August 28, 2012 | 10:48 pm

    Thankyou ! Thankyou ! Thankyou ! These are AMAZING !!!

    Just gone Gluten Free Vegan – you may just make me raw too, at this rate 😀

    Mind you, I blitzed in a bar of Lindt 70% as well, so not completely raw 😀 And its too rich (never thought I’d be saying that !) Next time will get some of the good raw cacao and use that instead.

    This is the sort of recipe that shows people how abundant and delicious vegan food can be. So often people think that Vegan food is dry, grittily wholesome and unappetising. These are moist and delicious – the best propaganda for living well as well as ethically !!

    Thankyou again !!

    Cheers !

  66. […] of my most popular recipes is the raw/vegan chocolate cake I made last Summer, and every time someone new comments on the post or makes it for themselves and […]

  67. Liane Blanco
    October 31, 2012 | 8:37 am

    I finally made this cake after weeks of reading about it, and it was incredibly rich and delicious!

    I do have one suggestion, which I will use myself when I make it again: put a tiny sprinkle of salt in the avocado frosting – it really brings out the chocolate flavor.

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  71. mr. choco
    January 29, 2013 | 9:49 pm

    i happened to run across this recipe when looking for something to make with chocolate and hazel nuts. it took about 10 minutes from start to finish and my daughters thought it was AMAZING! my wife is going to lose it when she gets home! thanks for posting this.

  72. Jennifer
    February 2, 2013 | 1:03 am

    We’re watching Chocolat tonight and wanted a chocolatey dessert to go with the film. I came across this recipe and had to try. I didn’t have any hazelnuts on hand so I used walnuts in their stead. The result? Amazing. I love this decadent, nut-ricious cake! Oh, and Chocolat.

  73. […] Til dessert ble det en raw hasselnøtt-brownie med bjørnebær, jordbær og physalis til pynt. Denne ble fantastisk god, og var relativt enkel å lage. Se oppskriften her. […]

  74. Alexandra
    August 23, 2013 | 11:04 am

    Hey, thank you for the recepe, i just made it and its in the fridge. Its delicious! I made it with some walnuts and almonds though, but still very very good. I guess i can make it again with hazelnuts also :)) and the frosting is excellent, yet so simple to make.

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  77. allina
    February 7, 2014 | 12:06 pm

    i tried this; yum!!, nice recipe, thanks a lot! it doesnt take much time to make, which is a plus for me. I wonder how you get the cream so smooth? mine was still chunky after processing it pretty long, maybe my avocado wasnt ripe enough or you have a better processor? 🙂

  78. phil
    June 19, 2014 | 3:52 am

    why is it raw? I like this cake. it is cool. but its not a cake innit lad.

  79. Trey Guntert
    August 19, 2015 | 2:34 am

    I’m drooling! This looks incredible.

  80. Shaunte Ing
    August 19, 2015 | 2:40 am

    sounds like the perfect cake 🙂 and it looks just as good…

  81. Eva Knepper
    August 19, 2015 | 2:45 am

    A great classic, always so tasty, ans so much better homemade, nice one 🙂

  82. Weston Kapanke
    August 19, 2015 | 2:46 am

    This cake looks divine! I love your photos, especially the first one. Evrything is so beautiful.