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Effectiveness of Dairy-free Buttermilk Substitute in Cakes

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Scouting out recipes for my 2-year-old's birthday cake next week, I have come across several possibilities calling for buttermilk. Due to my husband's dairy allergy I have used a soured soy or nut milk* in several applications, though not thus far in a yellow or white velvet cake. Would the resulting crumb be as moist and tender as with buttermilk? Should I instead consider a soured soy or coconut milk-based coffee creamer (for their thicker consistency)?

Thank you! :)

*1 c. soy or almond milk + 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar

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  1. I don't know a lot about dairy allergies, but can he drink goat milk? You could sour that or use goat yogurt. I've also seen soy yogurts, which might work.

    3 Replies
    1. re: emily

      He can consume very little actual dairy -- it's more than a lactose intolerance. I've never considered goat milk, but I do know we're not at all fans of goat cheese. ;)

      I use a plain coconut milk yogurt to replace sour cream in some cooking. I suppose I could thin it with water and sour it with lemon juice, to resemble the consistency of buttermilk.

      1. re: unpoedic

        in my own experience with my dairy allergy, my reaction to goats milk is similar to cows milk.

        I believe I've purchased a soy buttermilk substitute for a recipe... but I can't recall for certain. I must be mistaken, I don't see anything on the Silk website.

        ETA: on the special diets board someone was looking for dairy free baking recipes - it was recommended that they check out kosher recipes... you might find something dairy free that fits your birthday cake needs. :)

      2. re: emily

        From what I've read now, you should be able to use soy yogurt and thin it a bit with soy milk.

      3. My impression from reading about baking is that it is the acidity of buttermilk that makes the distinctive crumb, not its thickness. But I haven't focused on the issue. Also I pay more attention to biscuit than to sweet cake recipes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          buttermilk's place in a recipe is because of the acidity, yes.

          is it a casein issue then?

          i'm confused why the op can't use actual coconut milk instead of "coffee creamer" which is full of junk industrial oils?

        2. You should ask this on the vegan/vegetarian board.