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No milk, no butter, no eggs needed, only simple cupboard ingredients. This traditional Italian water cake has been around for decades. It’s soft and crumbly, with a delicious hint of vanilla and chocolate, and made with just 6 simple pantry ingredients. This water cake is absolutely magic and perfect for breakfast or tea time!

Difficult times call for creative measures, and among many things, this includes reinventing the way we cook and bake. Especially when you’re stuck at home.

Local supermarkets have been experiencing a shortage of dairy and eggs lately, this means working on ways to make simple sweet treats using pantry staples, and as fewer ingredients as possible. 


1 cup + 1/2 cup + 1.5 tbsp (or 1.6 cups) water

1/3 cup + 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract or paste

3 cups + 4 tsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup + 3 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)


To make this magic water cake gluten-free, simply use gluten-free flour and adjust the water quantity to 400 ml. 

Special thanks to Intolerant Gourmand to test the gluten-free water cake.


  1. Start by mixing the olive oil, water and vanilla in a small bowl, then set it aside until needed.
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour together with the baking powder, and mix well. Add in the sugar and cocoa powder (if using).
  3. Slowly pour the oil and water mix into the dry ingredients, and gently mix with a whisker until combined and lump-free.
  4. Spray with baking oil a springform cake pan, pour in the cake batter and even the top using a spatula.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, then check with a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake if it’s done. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready and you can safely remove it from the oven.
  6. Allow cooling completely before removing it from the pan.
  7. Dust with confectioner sugar if you like and serve with your favourite cup of tea!

How to store

This easy vegan cake would keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Wrap in a cling film or store in an airtight container. This will prevent the cake from drying out, and from catching the smell of other foods in the fridge.


Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 67.4g | Protein: 5.3g | Fat: 0.9g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fibre: 2.1g | Sugar: 30.2g | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg

Recipe source The Petite Cook