Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel & Coconut Cream

Vegan chocolate hazelnut torte is naturally gluten-free. This showstopping dessert is so decadent. No one will believe that it’s dairy-free!

Vegan and gluten-free chocolate hazelnut torte.

I used to subscribe to a lot of weekly emails from life coaches, wellness gurus, motivational speakers and the like. I found some of the tidbits they offered lightly inspirational on a good day, but on a bad one…ooof. the pitches that involved a $1500+ investment disgusted me when I thought of all the decent people just trying to take control of the inevitably volatile parts of life.

I turned 29 yesterday and it’s true that the layers of our human existence become more defined as time rolls on. Bits of the past inform us in the here and now, and we grow or lie still in the ways we push or allow ourselves to. Our minds and postures shift as we learn and do more. The spots where we stall, deliberately or by accident, help us to be here now in a more defined way too I think.

I used guilt myself over not getting frequent haircuts, my nails done etc. There’s a whole aura around grooming that speaks to having your life together, right? I’d get a couple days off and and just when I had psyched myself up enough to call a salon, I’d see a little patch of redness on my hand from a burn or any number of calluses, or my messy top knot. I enjoy working hard and eventually realized that reminders of that, in whatever form, were more important to me. Having the privilege to plug away at something that is meaningful is every indication that I have my life together.

Growth and birthdays are celebrated with cake around here, or a chocolate hazelnut tortw. Pretty sure I’m taking liberties with the designation of “torte” on tis one. Chocolate and hazelnut together is heaven in almost anything, but especially in this chocolate hazelnut torte. So I started with a dense brownie base and layered it up from there with a hazelnut cream and coconut whip. The date caramel has a tiny pinch of tang from some fresh lemon and I find it really makes all the flavours work together instead of the whole thing just being this overly rich and sweet experience.

If you love chocolate and hazelnut, I’d also recommend checking out this chocolate hazelnut espresso shake, this latte, and these chocolate hazelnut grahams.

Vegan and gluten-free chocolate hazelnut torte.

Vegan and gluten-free chocolate hazelnut torte.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel & Coconut Cream

Vegan chocolate hazelnut torte is naturally gluten-free. This showstopping dessert is so decadent. No one will believe that it’s dairy-free!

PREP TIME45 minsCOOK TIME45 minsResting Time12 hrsTOTAL TIME13 hrs 30 mins

Course DessertDiet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 1 nine inch torte/cake

Author: Laura Wright

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

CHOCOLATE TORTE BASE

  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground chia seeds
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup almond meal/flour
  • ¾ cup hazelnut meal (or more almond meal)
  • ¾ cup oat flour (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar (or cane sugar)
  • ¼ cup coconut or almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips

HAZELNUT MOUSSE

  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 13.5 oz 400 ml can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 scant cup cashew butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil (at room temperature)

SALTY DATE CARAMEL

  • 7-8 soft pitted Medjool dates
  • Boiling water (to cover the dates)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

TO SERVE

  • coconut whipped cream (see note)
  • toasted and chopped hazelnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with coconut oil and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and water. Stir and set aside so that it can gel together and thicken.
  • In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, hazelnut meal, oat flour, arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and to that add the coconut palm sugar, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Add the chia gel to the bowl as well. Give it a little stir.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Melt the two while you stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate. Once it’s all melted and smooth, add it to the torte ingredients in the large bowl. Stir it all together until you have a stiff and unified batter.
  • Press the chocolate torte batter evenly into the prepared springform pan. Place the pan on top of a cookie sheet and slide it into the oven. Bake for 30-33 minutes or until the top is firm. Remove and allow to cool completely. At this point I wrap the cake tightly in cling film and place it in the fridge to totally set overnight.
  • Make the hazelnut mousse. In an upright high speed blender, combine the hazelnuts, coconut milk, cashew butter, maple syrup, salt, lemon juice, and coconut oil. Blend on high until completely smooth. Scrape the runny mixture into a bowl and cover it with cling film, pressing the film onto the surface of the mousse/liquid. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until the mousse has firmed up considerably, preferably overnight.
  • Make the date caramel: soak the dates in the hot water for about 15 minutes, and then drain them (reserving the soaking water). Place the softened dates into your blender/food processor. Add the lemon juice, salt, vanilla, and coconut milk. Blend this up a bit just to break everything up. Add reserved date soaking water as needed and blend the mixture again until you have a runny, smooth, caramel-like consistency. Scrape into a jar and seal with a lid until you’re ready to use it.
  • Assemble the torte: place the chocolate torte base on your serving plate. Whisk the hazelnut mousse up a bit and scoop it onto the cake base, smoothing it out evenly. Top the torte with coconut whipped cream, date caramel, toasted chopped hazelnuts etc and serve immediately. Leftover torte can be covered and kept in the fridge for a couple days.

Notes

  • I give the mousse + brownie/cake base a full 24 hour wrap-and-chill time. I figured the longer the setting time, the less possibility of heartbreak from a runny mousse or too-warm-in-the-middle cake.
  • Also I know that certain brands of coconut milk tend to be better than others for forming solid layers of cream at the top–this one has been consistently good for me.
  • For coconut whipped cream use 1/2 of this recipe, or a store-bought version.

Show Hide 72 comments

  • Stefanie

    Oh my goodness. This looks INCREDIBLE! Happy birthday!Reply

  • cristina

    oh i do hope your birthday was nice. and this cake, is marvelousReply

  • Harriet

    Happy Birthday Laura! Cheers to being present, and eating cake, and all of the wonderful things that a birthday brings!Reply

  • Danielle Wynne

    Wow that looks amazing! I love your idea of date caramel, I have been trying to think of a way to make a vegan/healthier dulche de leche and I think this may be the recipe. How long does it last in a sealed jar?Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Danielle, I’m honestly not sure on the lifespan of the caramel because I always eat it up so fast. 3-5 days in the refrigerator I would guess.
      -LReply

  • Jessica’s Dinner Party

    Happy Birthday!!! I turn 27 in a couple months and can totally relate to what you’re talking about. The refinement that comes with age is not always the prim, make-up perfect person everyone thinks that word reflects.

    The torte is absolutely beautiful!Reply

  • Melissa

    Oh wow this looks absolutely fantastic. Can you send me a piece please 🙂Reply

  • autumn

    Happy Birthday, Laura! What a stunning treat.Reply

  • Caitlin

    happy 29th birthday to you! i completely understand what you mean about the false dichotomy between grooming and having your shit together. i go through periods of that, too, but i come back to the same conclusion as you. similar with never taking the time to cover the dark circles under my eyes. i’m kind of proud of them. i know that’s weird.

    beautiful cake/torte and i’m excited to learn more about your experiences and feelings in the upcoming year 😉Reply

  • Anon

    Happy Birthday dear Laura!!!! That cake looks staggeringly good!!

    Have you ever come across J Krishnamurti? He is none of those sorts of people you mentioned above, you might find him refreshing!Reply

  • Lisa @ Simple Pairings

    Wow. Your photographs are absolutely breathtaking! This torte looks like it is to die for! The hazelnut mousse looks incredible, too. What a fabulously indulgent cake! 🙂

    LisaReply

  • Emma Galloway

    Crap this looks SO good!!!!!! This is exactly how I’d like to celebrate my next birthday! Enjoy your last year in the 20’s 🙂Reply

  • Katie @ 24 Carrot Life

    Not only are these pictures beautiful (as usual) but I NEED this cake. It looks so good and it won’t make my stomach hurt from lots of dairy and sugar. Happy birthday!Reply

  • Lindsey

    Wow, yeah, totally understand your disgust w/ hustle-hungry gurus; there seem to be quite a few people who prey on people’s weaknesses. Anywho, I totally thought my 20s were my trial, that I’d have figured shit out by 30. It turns out (in my case) that even at 30, life is still a continual assessment of shit-togetherness! 29 was a rad ride for me, and I hope this (and every year) brings you clarity, questions and good times! HB, Laura!Reply

  • thelittleloaf

    This looks all kinds of amazing. I could eat the hazelnut mousse stuff by the spoon. Is there a reason you use cashew butter rather than hazelnut? Hazlenut overkill perhaps? Happy belated birthday too by the way!Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Kate, you nailed it! Sometimes toasty hazelnut has a bitter edge, so I thought I’d just temper it with some fatty cashew butter to help carry + enhance the hazelnut flavour and not overwhelm the whole thing with nuttiness. Thanks for your kindness too 🙂
      -LReply

  • lynsey

    the perfect treat for celebrating life, birthdays, and having your shit together. xoReply

  • cynthia

    Happy birthday!!!! I’m so in love with this cake (so many flavors that I love, all in one!) and your phenomenal photos — beautiful.Reply

  • Ashley

    Happy Birthday! Love your photos and way with words, as always. They always make me think. Plus, I’m positively drooling over this cake and am seriously debating how soon I can get some arrowroot powder to make this….then NOT tell my husband it’s not from a box (his fave).Reply

  • molly yeh

    gahh this is GORGEOUS! and i hope you had a very very happy birthday!!!!!Reply

  • Mandy

    This sounds AMAZING!

    Question- Do you HAVE to use a springform pan? Or would it turn out okay in any other sort of pan?Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Mandy, You don’t have to use a springform pan at all, I would just recommend greasing your pan up real proper and maybe using some parchment so that the cake de-pans cleanly once it’s totally cooled.
      -LReply

  • Stacy

    Such smart thoughts on life, getting older and being okay with the reflections of that. I know exactly what you mean about being tempted to question yourself (and the scars and lines, etc.) and then realizing that these are good reflections of life well lived, things to be proud of. And: what a cake! I hope it was the happiest of birthdays! You deserve only the best, and I hope this new year is a beautiful one for you.Reply

  • Grace

    Happy birthday! This torte looks and sounds incredible. I’m hoping someone close to me has a reason to celebrate soon so I can bust out this decadent dessert. After college I went through the same thought thinking if I regularly got my nails done, got “real professional lady” haircuts and the right clothes I’d feel like a real adult. Some years later now I rush to work after sweaty yoga with no time for makeup and feel more put together than ever. It’s good to find the things that drive us and give us the irreplaceable sense of self-worth and ultimately make us happier than any superficial sense of self ever could. Cheers to you!!Reply

  • sandra

    this cake looks delectable. so rich and creamy AND vegan. Love it.Reply

  • Alanna

    Oh wow. This is an amazing work of art, and just look at that beautiful ingredient list. A dream come true. Thank you for sharing, and happy happy birthday. 🙂Reply

  • Chelsea//TheNakedFig

    Whoa, girl. You just took it to a new level! This looks INCREDIBLE. Sending birthday wishes your way. So grateful that your birthday means me getting my hands on this recipe. So generous of you!Reply

  • sarah

    Happy Birthday Laura! And, thanks for this post. I have so many days of feeling like the worlds biggest mom-slob, glancing around at well-groomed souls that seem to hold perfection in their grasp. But I feel the same – I like my scars and unpolished nails, laughter wrinkles and long un-fancy hair. It’s how I’m most comfortable, anyway. But sometimes I forget. xoReply

  • Emma

    Holy cow!! This looks incredible! That hazelnut mousse looks so pillowy I want to dive into it.
    Happy happy birthday. I love your attitude.Reply

  • Katie @ Produce on Parade

    Oh my dear lord. This is incredible. Period. Hazelnut and chocolate are the best together!Reply

  • cheri

    Happy Birthday to you. Beautiful cake. Love your pics.Reply

  • jade

    Happiest of birthdays to you Laura!
    Can I just say, you have absolutely floored me with this one. I have a very good (vegan) friend’s birthday coming up, and as usual I am chief birthday cake maker. I had already planned exactly what I was making – UNTIL I SAW THIS! Whoa!
    And your photographs! Jeepers!
    Gold stars everywhere.
    Thanks for the amazingness.
    Jade. XReply

  • hannah

    Happy Happy Birthday Laura!

    I hope this year brings you as much joy as your recipes bring me 🙂Reply

  • Lisa | Je suis alimentageuse

    Happy Birthday! I love hazelnut and chocolate together, and that coconut whipped cream on top? Jackpot.

    It’s true, even people who look well-groomed don’t necessarily have their shit together. Screw looking refined, just continue being awesome =PReply

  • Sonja

    All I can say is WOW.Reply

  • Kasey

    Happy birthday, beautiful lady! Those marks are worth being proud of, I agree. 29 is a big year!! Bring on the cake! xoReply

  • Kathryn

    I really think the last couple of years of your twenties/beginning of your thirties are the best years filled with moments when you realise that you know who you are better than you ever have before. Happy belated birthday lady, this cake looks like the best (and only) way to celebrate.Reply

  • Michelle

    I have GOT to share this with my GF friends, this looks incredible. Oh he!! I’ll share it with all my friends!Reply

  • Irina @ wandercrush

    Stunning textures, as per usual. Happy belated 29th and thank God for rough spots, deep wrinkles, and date caramel.Reply

  • Hannah

    Oh my, this looks insanely good!!!!!!!!
    Just a question before I rush out to make it — is there anything that can be used instead of the oat flour? I know oats can be gf but they contain a similar substance that a good percentage of coeliacs react to, my boyfriend included.
    Can you think of any replacements??
    Thankyou!!!!!
    🙂Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Hannah, you could certainly use brown or white rice flour instead of the oat. I’ve made the brownie base before using both and it was great. Also, I think any GF all purpose flour mix would be suitable in this too. Hope this helps!
      -LReply

  • Harvest and Honey

    My goodness. This looks wonderful. So happy to have found your site, btw. The flavor combo of Hazelnuts and Chocolate makes me sort of crazy, like in a good way. Always looking for fun new ways to put them together, and I’m itching to try this one! Thanks for this 🙂Reply

  • Heather

    Happy Happy Birthday Laura! This cake is a real stunner. I love how you have captured the beauty in these photos – the colors and stunning light. Fancy-face personal grooming is so overrated. Once in a while, my sisters or friends will convince me to get my nails done, and the next day bits of nail polish begins to chip away, possibly in my dinner. Who knows? Three weeks ago I had the worst haircut ever, so that was a real waste of time. And whenever I put on a bit of mascara for fancy occasions, it seems to stay put for weeks even with a diligent scrubbing. It all seems a bit unnecessary. This cake is absolutely necessary though, and a perfect way to celebrate a birthday. Cheers to you!Reply

  • Jacqui

    Hey, happy belated birthday Laura!! This torte looks incredible! I’m starting my list of b-day dessert ideas early for my 30th this year and this one’s made the list for sure!Reply

  • Sarah

    This is seriously the most delicious looking thing I have ever seen! I dont own a springform pan though… Can I use a pie dish??Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Sarah, you could use and 8 or 9 inch cake pan if you want. Just make sure you grease it real good and allow the cake to cool totally completely before de-panning it.
      -LReply

  • dervla (the curator)

    happy birthday, Laura! I’m on a new non dairy quest, so this cake looks perfect :))Reply

  • ATasteOfMadness

    Holy moly, this is gorgeous!! I have a whole bunch of hazelnuts ready to me used, and I would love to use them on something this beautiful 😉Reply

  • Tamara

    Ohhh, I am so making this for my birthday on Monday! Was opting for a classic orange-chocolate raw cake until I saw this gorgeousness. Thank you for sharing. And belated happy birthday from almost-springlike Slovenia! 🙂

    TamaraReply

  • Tamara

    Oh, another thing. Can I use honey or agave (not my favourite) instead of maple syrup? I usually replace it, but you never know… and I want this “torta” to be just right. Thanks.Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Tamara, any liquid sweetener (except for stevia drops) you like would be fine! So brown rice syrup, agave, honey etc. are all fair game.
      -LReply

  • Kathryne

    Laura, your posts kill me. In the best way possible. Love your reflections on growing older. I doubt that you have calluses on your fingers from your camera shutter button or keyboard, but it’s abundantly evident that you work your ass off in this space, too. This dessert looks stellar. I’m on a homemade brownie high right now but my brownies aren’t so redeeming. Here come the jitters.Reply

  • phi

    some time ago after some convincing from others, i went in for a “real” haircut that came out looking like the worst shoulder pads since the 80’s. since then, i’ve been growing my mane to the floor just for fucks – i’m going to be that old woman on the porch one day and if i get grumpy, i am going to cut it all off and use it as a weapon. don’t let them take away your weapon!

    happy birthday dear.Reply

  • Sophia

    This torte looks and sounds so so so wonderful. Love the flavours you combined here and the texture looks out of this world!Reply

  • Tamara

    Ok so I made this for my birthday yesterday and was simply the best cake ever. Honestly. I ate it for breakfast today without feeling un-healthy (as a nursing mom), even gave my thumb dipped in the caramel to my wide-eyed five month-old, and even my family who are humungus sceptics when it comes to health foods… adored it. Thank you, will be on a cake priority list from now on. 😉Reply

  • Catherine McCord

    Be still my heart! This looks unbelievable. I can’t believe it’s gluten free and vegan. Must try! I wonder how it would be with almonds?!Reply

  • Margaret Burnett

    Could I use flax seed instead of chia seed? I live in India and haven’t seen chia seed locally. We don’t have hazelnuts either, but a friend just brought me back some from Australia.Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Margaret, I believe flax seeds would sub in just fine for the chia. They might make for a nuttier taste as well, which would be great here.
      -LReply

  • Penny

    Wow I made this for my husbands birthday party in the weekend and everyone went crazy for it! Everyone thought it was the best cake they had ever tried and they demolished it! Thanks so much, your awesome!Reply

  • Borough 22 Brownies

    You had me at Chocolate Hazelnut. Really keen to try the base, ,love the idea of using chia seeds. The hazelnut mousse is so simple its genius!Reply

  • Lily

    Looks so good! Was just wondering how you made the coconut whipped cream as i dont see it in your recipe. Thanks!Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Lily,
      If you scroll down the ingredients list to the segment that says “to serve,” right beside the specification of coconut cream there’s a link to my recipe where it says “1/2 of this recipe” in parentheses.
      -LReply

  • Anna

    Hey Laura – this torte looks incred. Want to make it for a big dinner party but there will be a big hazelnut hater there – do you think pecans or another nut would work? Obviously pecans aren’t so easy to skin so I don’t know if that would be a problem…

    Thank you!!Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hey Anna, I don’t know if the pecans will whip into the mousse part all creamy like the hazelnuts, but it’s certainly worth a try. You might have to add more coconut milk when you’re blending it all up. I wouldn’t bother skinning the pecans if you use them either! Also, I know people have made this recipe with almonds or macadamia nuts in place of the hazelnuts, and had success.
      -LReply

  • Olivia

    Would it be possible to use all almonds? Also, in your notes section when you mentioned allowing the full 24-hour wrap and chill time was that for the assembled torte or for all the separate ingredients. If it is for the separate ingredients, how many days do you think they could hold up in the refrigerator separately before assembling? Trying to plan for Christmas :). Thanks!Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Olivia, I’m sorry for the delay in this reply! You could certainly use all almond flour in place of the hazelnut flour. The oat flour… I’m not sure if this can be replaced with more almond flour. The batter might bake up too wet. Maybe try subbing the oat flour with about 1/2 the amount of coconut flour? (the amount is reduced because coconut flour tends to be quite drying). Brown rice flour should fill in for the oat flour nicely if that’s a viable option. And I keep the ingredients separate for the wrap and chill time. I think you could hold them for a solid 24-48 hours–just as long as both are wrapped really tight! I hope this helps and again, my apologies on the delay.
      -LauraReply

  • Kaya

    Is it possible to make this (and other recipes) without cashews? I am, sadly, allergic :(.Reply

    • Laura

      Hi Kaya!
      You can definitely substitute the cashews with raw and soaked sunflower seeds. I’ve been doing this a lot lately myself and can vouch for the success 🙂
      -LReply

  • Liz

    Holy crap. This might be the best cake I’ve ever had, vegan/GF or otherwise! I wanted to make a decadent cake for my GF mother for her 50th birthday, and this definitely fit the bill. She absolutely loved it, as did the rest of my family. The long process is totally worth it on this one! The cake is quite rich, so we each had a small slice and saved the rest for breakfast the next day, haha. It did well being refrigerated overnight, tasted just as good if not even better in the morning. Thank you for this amazing recipe, Laura! And thank you for reminding us to stay true to ourselves and wear our life experience proudly. I cannot wait until your cookbook comes out! 🙂Reply

  • Melissa

    This looks great! I’d like to make raspberry mousse instead of hazelnut – could I substitute out the hazelnuts for raspberries in the mousse?Reply

    • Laura

      Hi Melissa,
      I don’t think you can directly substitute raspberries for hazelnuts here without adjusting a few other flavours and ingredients. Might be best to look for a vegan raspberry mousse recipe on another website and then use that particular preparation in this dessert.
      -LReply

  • Jen

    5 stars
    Fantastic! I made this for a dinner party with friends and it was the star of the show. Super decadent and indulgent. Loved all the flavors. The only part that didn’t work out great for me was the date caramel, it never really got to a drippy consistency and started to taste a little watery, so I’ll need to mess with that a bit. But the rest of the components are simply magical.Reply

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