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Sep 3, 2009 12:50 PM

lactose free cake anyone?

I am requested to make a cake, a baby shower cake, a lactose free baby shower cake sans cream, butter, mascarpone and everything i love. I suppose i'm in luck because i can at least use eggs..

i'm thinking of a white vanilla cake, meringue scented with coconut/caramel or more vanilla, crushed almond brittle in the middle with some meringue, topped with fruit. Does this sound okay?

now, does anyone have a tried a true white cake recipe that uses oil? i know i can use rice milk but i'm scared of margarine.

feel free to chime in your thoughts. never did non-dairy..

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  1. A white chiffon cake should do nicely. There are many recipes online, and a nice Meyer lemon variety in the Baker's Dozen Cookbook. And yes, you should be scared of margarine.

    In general for baking I would choose coconut milk in lieu of rice milk, You don't need it if you are baking a chiffon, but in other applications it has fat, bodies, and sugars that the rice milk won't have. Yes, it will lend a coconut flavor which some may not find desirable, but it will also give you fuller flavor and texture.


      250 g (9 oz) margarine
      200 g ( 7 oz) sugar
      2 tsp vanilla sugar
      1 pinch salt
      5 egg yolks
      250 g (9 oz) plain flour
      2 tsp baking powder
      For the batter
      Use the whisk attachment on a hand mixer at high speed or food processor to cream the margarine and then gradually add the sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks as you beat (one just under every 30 seconds). Sift together the flour and the baking powder. Add this to the creamed fat a little at a time, beating continuously at medium speed.
      Have four greased 28 cm (11 inch) springform tins ready

      5 egg whites
      1 tbsp sugar For the topping
      Whisk the egg whites until stiff and then stir in the sugar. To make four bases, spread 2 tablespoons of the cake mixture on each of the four greased springform tin bases. Ensure that the mixture is not too thin at the edges, otherwise it may burn slightly. Spoon a quarter of the whisked egg white on to each base.

      40 g (1½ oz) sugar
      pinch ground cinnamon
      100 g (3½ oz) blanched chopped almonds Mix the sugar with the ground cinnamon and then sprinkle a quarter on each base. Similarly, sprinkle a quarter of the blanched, chopped almonds on each base. Without using the springform ring, bake each base until light brown.
      Oven Temperatures
      Conventional oven
      Fan-assisted oven
      Gas oven
      Baking time

      about 170 - 200 deg C / 350 - 400 deg F (preheated)
      about 160 - 170 deg C / 325 deg F (not preheated)
      mark 3-4 (preheated)
      15 - 20 minutes

      Remove the cake bases and springform base from the oven when baked and place on a cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before adding the filling.
      500 g (1 lb 2 oz) redcurrants
      125 g (4½ oz) sifted icing sugar
      500 ml (18 fl oz) double cream

      For the filling
      Wash and drain the redcurrants. Wipe them dry and sprinkle with sifted icing sugar. Whip the cream for 30 seconds. Add the cream stiffener, whip the cream until stiff and then fold in the redcurrants. Spread the filling over the bases and then place one on top of one another. The top layer should be a base.

      Variation You can use raspberries for the filling if you prefer, in which case only add 50 g (2 oz) icing sugar.

      NOTE: just look at any kosher cookbook for PARVE cake recipes, they have no milk product

      1. Here are three types of cake you can make to satisfy the lactose-free constraint:

        1. Butter cakes with the butter replaced by a vegan substitute (e.g., margarine or oil)
        2. Genoise cakes that use oil instead of butter
        3. Dacquoise, which is essentially meringue with nuts

        Maxie's recipe looks like it has the proportions of butter cake.

        Genoise cakes may also be a possibility. Here's one from Nick Malgieri that doesn't contain butter:

        Genoise does need a little bit of soaking syrup and an icing. The soaking syrup can just be simple syrup with a hint of liqueur (e.g., Grand Marnier, Kahlua) or extracts (vanilla, rosewater), .

        Epicurious has some dacquoise recipes you can pick from.

        Dacquoise cakes can be filled with a light whipped ganache. Buttercream works too.

        Yikes, I can't be of help in the dairy-free frosting or filling category because I am partial to buttercream and ganache frostings myself. There are vegan recipes out there for buttercream that does direct substitution of vegan butter for the real stuff. Here's one:

        Hope this helps.

        2 Replies
        1. re: amy_wong

          in case you go with a butter cake, Earth Balance is a great vegan substitute!

          1. re: Emme

            As a baker and a vegan, I find the flavor of Earth Balance less than desirable. I prefer coconut oil.

        2. Here's the ugly truth: My Mom used margerine for every cake we ever made together. They were fabulous. Pound cakes, chocolate cakes, coconut cakes, yellow cakes, all very good. Now, I never bake with anything other than butter, and maybe my cakes are a tiny bit better than hers now because of it...but it's a tiny bit.

          So you could just pick a cake that uses butter, hold your nose and make the substitution, and I think the coconut milk suggestion below sounds smart.

          1. in my world, brittle and caramel are made with butter...

            is it a cake that will be on display, like a centerpiece kind of cake? you could also do tiered angel food cakes.

            i make crazy cake alot, it' very versatile and vegan. you can slice it into layers, make several different sizes for a tiered cake. i like berry jam in the middle, but meringue would work and you could add color to make the meringue a pretty pastel color.

            preheat oven to 350

            3 cups flour
            2 cups sugar
            2 t. baking soda
            1 t. salt
            1/2 cup cocoa
            3/4 cup oil
            1 t. vanilla
            2 T. vinegar
            2 cups water

            mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ones, and mix just until smooth.

            prepare pan(s) by greasing and flouring lightly. two 9-inch pans, or one 9X11-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (9-inch) or 50 minutes (9X11). Test with a toothpick to make sure it is done all the way through. Cool.