Benjamina Ebuehi’s recipe for vegan hazelnut and olive oil cake

When butter isn’t an option, olive oil is my favourite alternative, bringing fruity, peppery notes and a perfectly moist crumb. I like the boldness of extra-virgin oil, which holds its own against the hazelnuts and dark chocolate, but if you’re not keen on a stronger olive taste, feel free to go for something lighter. Let the cake cool completely before slicing, because it can be quite crumbly when warm.

Vegan hazelnut and olive oil cake with chocolate ganache
Prep 25 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 9

80ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
120ml dairy-free milk
70g dairy-free yoghurt
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
185g plain flour
65g ground roasted hazelnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch salt

For the ganache
170g dark chocolate (suitable for vegans), finely chopped
40g caster sugar
1 handful roasted hazelnuts, chopped

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4, and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Mix the milk and yoghurt in a jug, then stir in the vinegar, vanilla and oil and set aside.

In a second bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk mixture and stir gently and quickly, until there are no streaks of flour left. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35-38 minutes, or until the cake is deep golden and firm to the touch. Leave it to cool completely before topping with ganache.

To make the ganache, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the sugar and 75ml water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour the sugar syrup over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. (If there are still a few lumps, put the bowl over a pan of simmering water until completely melted.)

Spread the ganache over the cake, decorate with the chopped hazelnuts, slice and serve.