Portuguese Vegan Cake
This vegan Portuguese cake is fluffy, zesty and delicious


This vegan Portuguese honey, almond and orange cake is zesty, delicious and bursting with flavour. The recipe is based on a Portuguese classic that has been popular for generations and with good reason. Using no refined sugars this cake instead uses agave nectar and fresh oranges for sweetness giving it a sharp, authentic taste. The result is a truly sublime vegan twist on an amazingly traditional Portuguese cake.

As with most of our recipes this Portuguese vegan cake was inspired by our travels. In Portugal we were constantly surrounded by delicious looking food but realised that Portugal is a land filled with avid fish, meat and dairy eaters. Fed up of missing out on regional specialities and traditional dishes we thought something had to change. So, we put our culinary caps on and came up with this deliciously moreish Portuguese vegan cake!


Portuguese Vegan Honey, Almond and Orange Cake
One of the happiest fruit and veg sellers we’ve ever met – Lisbon, Portugal


Some Portuguese vegan cake history
(because it’s always nice to know about what you’re eating!)

During the 15th century monks and nuns paved the way for confectionery throughout Portugal. Surprisingly these holy folk were commonly paid by the poor with chickens and eggs. To starch their laundry they would use egg whites which meant a lot of leftover egg yolks. With a bit of creativity and a lot of time on their hands they conjured up an array of recipes to use up all the eggy leftovers. These recipes have grown world renown and have been enjoyed for centuries but unfortunately not by us vegans.

The authors of Fabrico Próprio: The Design of Portuguese Semi-Industrial Confectionery, described “These places of faith and seclusion were often true laboratories of creation, where the religious dedicated themselves to rescuing old recipes, or to testing new ingredients from all over the world.”

Looking for a vegan guide to Lisbon?


Girl reading in Lisbon
Whilst in Lisbon finding vegan sweet treats wasn’t easy


With so many convents in Portugal, the variety of sweet treats was abundant and enjoyed across the country. Traditionally the main ingredients would be egg yolks and sugar with flour, nuts, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut and other spices that Portugal enjoyed because of trade and colonial ties.

When the Portuguese first brought sweet oranges over from India and China they were very expensive and only a luxury enjoyed by the rich. As time went on and sweet oranges became more widely available they were combined with original religious recipes creating the honey, almond and orange cake we know today.

Portuguese Vegan Cake
I challenge you not to have a taste whilst whisking up this bad boy

Portuguese Vegan Honey, Almond and Orange Cake


Now as interesting as this may be it’s not much use to us vegans. To be blunt, Portuguese food is not “vegan friendly”, nor has it ever been and this recipe traditionally contains eggs. Never ones to miss out on a tasty treat here at Veggie Vagabonds HQ we’ve devised a super scrummy Portuguese vegan cake that is zesty, gooey and scrumptious.

This cake uses no refined sugar and instead uses agave nectar and orange for sweetness. I think it’s that much better using naturally sweet ingredients rather than processed sugar. This is also the first recipe on the blog that uses ground flax seed as an egg replacement. I’ve always been put off by the price tag but decided to try something new as it’s very good for you. The end result was a success – I am a convert and look forward to many more recipes with flax eggs.

So give this classic Portuguese vegan cake a go and let us know what you think in the comments and #veggievagabonds on social media.


Portuguese Vegan Cake
Just can’t wait to cut in to that perfectly round sweet treat


Portuguese Vegan Honey, Almond and Orange Cake Recipe

  • Serves: 8 – 10 slices
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes 
  • Baking time: 1 hour

250g plain flour

100g ground almonds
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
10 tablespoons of water
1 cup agave nectar
The rind and juice of 3 oranges
Icing sugar to dust


1. Grease a baking tin, roughly 20cm, and preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
2. Make the flax eggs by mixing the ground flax seeds with the water and leave to set for about 10 minutes.
3. Blend the four, ground almonds, baking powder and salt until evenly combined.
4. Once the flax eggs have set whisk with the agave nectar, then add the orange zest and juice.
5. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until fully combined.
6. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for one hour or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Portuguese Vegan Cake
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Want more sweet treats or articles on Portugal then you might wanna check out

Vegan Tarte Tatin 

A Visitor’s Guide to Sintra, Portugal 



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This post made me hungry! Loved learning about the roots and flavors of Portuguese cooking. I’m not a great cook myself, but really like the simplicity of this recipe. May have to try it!

Mmm now I really want something sweet to eat! I love learning about the history behind cultural foods. Thanks!

Wow! This looks so good! I love baking and have never tried a recipe like this so I definitely want to give it a try. I need to find some ground almonds.

HOney cake with no honey, huh? It looks delicious!

It’s so easy to forget about the history of food, but it’s so interesting. I wish more food writers talked about this stuff. I love honey so will try to make a gluten-free version of this cake:)

I love orange almond cake so I’m sure I’d enjoy this alternative cake. Plus, I like that it uses natural sugars as I’m trying to cut out sugar from my diet. I’ll have to try this recipe!

Rather worryingly, I have all the ingredients in the house, so that could actually be appearing for dinner tonight! I’m sure I can substitute a gluten free flour blend, and it will be delicious. I’m really loving flax eggs in recipes at the moment; they seem to give everything a rather good nuttiness.

Yum! I love orange-flavored cakes. Honey and almonds are also wonderful additions. I didn’t know Portuguese cuisine was eggy but, since I love eggs, I suppose I’ll fall in love with it.


I still never quite understand how cakes turn out without eggs? ARe they light or do they become quite a dense cake? Interesting about the history of the food in this area. Having spent time in Portugal I completely understand how much they live on meat and seafood.

This honey, almond and orange cake recipe looks and sounds yummy that it is making my mouth water just thinking about it now. It is interesting to know that no refined sugars are used but instead nectar and fresh oranges for sweetness and no eggs. I will have to try this out for my husband


Although this recipe was tasty, there are a few improvements I’d suggest! There was a bit too much baking powder (I could taste it in the cake!)- I think one or two teaspoons would have done just as well. I think an extra fat source would also have been good. The texture was really light and fluffy though and it was nice to have the almonds in the cake! Thanks for the recipe.

Adva Price

I just made this cake. I used a cup of honey, and not agave. It’s tasty, but a little too gooey for me.

I’m new to veganism and this cake looks so tempting that I might try to make this. Also I really loved Nata the Portuguese custard tart – is there any way you could replicate them?