Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked August 6th 2018

Dairy free chocolate cake for carving

Hello Paul, David, MIWL and everyone,
My friend has asked me to make her a chocolate cake carved into a dog. I watched Paul's live tutorial on Wednesday, and it was brilliant. Thanks. One 'problem' is that my friend is now allowed animal fats or salt for health reasons. I believe I can substitute Elmlee for cream in chocolate ganache, but can I substitute Vitalite or another dairy-free butter substitute for the cake itself, please? Also, could I substitute almond milk and add some lemon juice for the buttermilk? I know you're not doctors, etc., and this cake isn't for sale, but I don't want to make her ill, of course. It will be my first attempt at carving a cake and although I've made vegan sponge before, I don't think it's suitable for carving. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.


Hi again - sorry, did you spot the typo? I meant to say that my friend is not allowed animal fats or salt (of course). Sorry!
Can I also say how superb the tutorials are, and the help from MIWL and others is invaluable. Many thanks to you all.


Hi BerneseGirl

Instead of vitalight you could use Stork margarine for pastry. It is the block margarine and not the one in the tub. Stork block is dairy free and will make a more dense sponge. Use the other ingredients which you have listed above with the Stork. If you go on the Stork website, there are other recipes.

I don't have a dairy free chocolate cake recipe but take a peek at Lindy Smith's recipe which I think will be good for carving. It uses all dairy free ingredients: https://lindyscakes.co.uk/2011/04/13/yummy-vegan-chocolate-cake-recipe/

Once you have filled the cake, pop it in the freezer and let it become firm. It will be easier to handle and carve the shape you want. Keep placing it the freezer in between each layer of crumb coating and final coating of ganache. The crumbcoat will encapsulate the cake and give it a stronger structure for enrobing with icing.

The cake should be at a cool room temperature before icing .

You can find dairy free/vegan dark chocolate in most supermarkets.

Please let me know if the above suggestions help. 🙂


Hello MIWL,
Thanks so much for your help and for replying so quickly. I’ll certainly look at Lindy Smith’s site. I’ve read so many of your posts - they all contain so much info and help and it’s wonderful that you’re so willing to share your knowledge and expertise. You’re a star! I’ll let you know how I get on. Many thanks x


You're welcome BerneseGirl. Hope recipes works out for you. X 🙂

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