Coffee & Hazelnut Loaf w/ Caramel Frosting

Recently I’ve reverted back to my old ways, baking at every given moment. Half an hour before I need to go out? That’ll give me enough time to make cookies, surely?! This time it called for something a little more fancy than some cookies to dip into your tea because Dillon had scored a new job at Earth (a new vegan burger joint in Petersfield) and also moved out… it’s been busy. So in my spare hour and a half, I knocked up something fancy for my honey.
Dillon loves cake. Dillon loves coffee. Logical response: Coffee cake. This is The Hungry Herbivores though, I’m not going to leave it at that. Of course Mum has to have a slice, so it has to be gluten-free as well as vegan. Of course it has to have some texture in the sponge, so hazelnuts it is. Of course it has to have a frosting, so lets knock up a quick, healthy date caramel. Simple!

Gluten free and vegan cakes can sometimes be a bit, you know, meh. But this is a trialled and tested gf, vegan and unrefined sugar success. I have many bad failures with vegan and gluten-free baking, it can be a little heart breaking at time, like when your batter just manages to bake into a crisp, few centimetre tall crisp. This kind of experimenting isn’t for the faint hearted or sensitive. Leave it to the almost pro-ish bloggers to do all that trialling and crying for you, save yourself the hassle.

For me, it’s the sweet date caramel onto that does it for me. Whoever doesn’t feel good dolloping that into a fat ass cake, I just don’t understand you. Our frosting is made simply with soaked pitted dates, a dash of coconut oil and a little nut butter (hazelnut butter if you have it!)

One of those who likes to mix it up a bit? You can even put this batter into muffin pans instead and sprinkle a load of hazelnuts on top. That’s a go-to option for those who despise cutting cake into equal slices (me).

I assume by now you’re all getting your spatulas and loaf tins out of the cupboards, but first a word of warning, DON’T EAT THE BATTER! Because we use the lovely fluffy chickpea/besan/gram flour, your uncooked batter will taste absolutely vile. Just don’t do it.

Coffee & Hazelnut Loaf w/ Caramel Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rich coffee cake embedded with crunchy hazelnuts, topped off with a simple date caramel frosting. Vegan & gluten-free goodness.
Recipe type: Baking, Sweet, Cake
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-free, Unrefined Sugar
Serves: 1 loaf cake
  • 1 cup besan/gram flour
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • ⅓ cup cornflour/starch
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. ground coffee powder*
  • 1½ cups water**
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
Caramel Frosting
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. nut butter (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  1. Pre heat your oven at 325F/160C/Gas Mark 3 and spray/rub your loaf tin with a little oil. (or line a 12 hole muffin pan)
  2. Place your dates into a bowl of hot water, set aside. Alternatively, soak overnight.
For the Cake
  1. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, coffee powder, water and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (except hazelnuts), make a well in the centre and pour the wet ingredients. Stir until smooth.
  3. Fold hazelnuts into the batter.
  4. Pour into your tin, about two-thirds full and bake for 55-60 mins, or until a inserted cocktail stick comes out with a few crumbs on. If you have any left over batter, use for muffins. See below.
  5. IF YOU ARE MAKING MUFFINS, pour into the muffin tins two thirds full and bake for 25-30 mins.
  6. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the Caramel Frosting
  1. Once the cake is cooled and ready for the frosting. Drain your dates completely and add to a food processor along with the other ingredients.
  2. Blend until completely smooth. You can also use a hand blender if necessary.
  3. Put all the frosting on top of the cake and smooth out evenly.
* I had coffee granules and simple ground them in a pestle and mortar. If you have espresso powder, use 3 tsp instead.
** Recommended: If you want a stronger coffee taste, use 1½ cups of brewed coffee at room temp.


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5 comments on “Coffee & Hazelnut Loaf w/ Caramel Frosting

  1. This looks amazing! I’m currently obsessed with quick breads so I’m going to put this one on the menu next.

    • Thanks Aimee! Hope it goes well. Let us know!

  2. I am in awe that this loaf cake is gluten free and vegan! The crumb on the cake looks so moist and absolutely perfect. I so cannot wait to bake this!

    • I know right?! It’s just a great mix of flours that does it. The GF plain flour mixes usually don’t work too well for me. Tell us how it goes Laurel!

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