Nondairy version? Reasonable or Forget it?

If I were making this for anyone else, or myself, I would never try this w/o the butter. However, my granddaughter has galactosemia, not to be confused with lactose intolerance, but lacks the enzyme required to digest any dairy (plus a few other quirky foods). The result is brain damage and early death. Since galactase is produced endogenously, regardless of how careful one is, the brain damage is accumulative, sadly, kinda like watching "Flowers For Algernon" in slow motion. I digress in order to stress the seriousness of this question. What would you recommend as a butter substitute, or simply not use this recipe? She adores dark chocolate even though she is only 5 years old.
Thanks, Susan

  • Posted by: duncans
  • October 23, 2021
World’s Best Chocolate Cake
Recipe question for: World’s Best Chocolate Cake


AntoniaJames October 24, 2021
The vegan butter substitutes these days are excellent, if you can get them (Miyoko's cultured vegan butter is my go-to for non-dairy baking of any kind), but I would take the road recommended by Nancy - use a recipe tested and perfected without any dairy products. Nigella's olive oil cake is a frequently requested family favorite here - and happens to be gluten free as well as absolutely dairy free. it calls for cocoa powder so you need not be concerned about any dairy in whatever chocolate bar you'd use. It holds well for a day or two. It's definitely a squidgy cake, however, so don't expect its crumb to look like a traditional cake. The flavor, however, is out of this world.
drbabs October 24, 2021
Duncans, you can probably use a vegan butter substitute like Earth Balance in place of the butter in this recipe. As an alternative, this is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes on this site. It does call for soured milk, but you could use a non-dairy milk like almond milk or oat milk and add a teaspoon of vinegar to sour it. All the best to your family.
Nancy October 24, 2021
Duncans - what a terrible condition! So sorry for your family.
You have several options on chocolate cakes.
1) make this one and adapt it by using oil instead of butter (about 80%, as that's home much fat is in butter), with some water or other liquid to make up for the water that was in the butter. But adaptations don't always work the first time, so you may need to tinker with it.
2) search online for non-dairy chocolate cakes already baked, tested and found to be good. For a list of vegetarian sites, see
Also kosher sites for what is called a parve chocolate cake - in kosher context, parve means neutral, not dairy or meat. Some good authors and sites to look for - Jamie Geller, Tori Avey, Susie Fishbein, Leah Koenig.
3) Search and use well-tested and proven (non-dairy) chocolate cake recipes by reliable cooks. For example, a Martha Stewart chocolate cake recently recommended in another thread by Antonia James
or a chocolate olive oil cake by Nigella Lawson
Good luck with your baking for your granddaughter!
Nancy October 24, 2021
Susan - should read "that's how much fat is in the butter"
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