This dairy & egg free chocolate overload cake is a chocolate lover’s dream, and proof that kids with dairy & egg allergies don’t need to miss out on a fun cake! I’ve got good news for any novice cake decorators – this one is much easier than it looks. Read on for my step by step how-to guide.
My children, like many with dairy allergies, are allergic to soy as well. So all the icing & toppings I suggest here are dairy, egg & soy free. Luckily there are now loads of dairy and soy free chocolates to choose from!
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Which dairy & egg free chocolate cake works best as a base?
The toppings are undoubtedly the star of the chocolate overload show, but you won’t get far without a good cake to decorate! I have two go-to dairy and egg free cake recipes that I use on repeat:
- For a single layer cake, I use Nigella’s vegan chocolate cake. It is straightforward to make and tastes delicious.
- For a two layer cake my recipe of choice is by Kate’s Veggie Desserts. She describes it as ‘the best vegan chocolate cake’, and I’m inclined to agree!
All of these cakes are included in my round up of the best birthday cake recipes for kids with dairy & egg allergies. Check it out if you want to see some other options. You may even want to use a vanilla sponge to balance out all the chocolate (although my kids would never let me get away with that 😂).
If you are reluctant baker, another option is to use a Betty Crocker cake mix for your base. To find out how, check out my post about the easy hack to make a cake mix without eggs and dairy!
The best dairy free icing for a chocolate overload cake
I use a dairy free chocolate buttercream when making a chocolate overload cake. The texture is perfect for holding the chocolatey toppings in place. Plus, you can get away without having to be very neat about it! The recipe I use can be found in the ‘how-to’ guide below. Feel free to increase or decrease the icing sugar depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have…
If you end up with any buttercream left over, you can freeze it. Simply seal it up in a freezer bag or airtight container.
If you want a very quick option, then I recommend using the Betty Crocker ready made icing*, which is handily dairy, egg & soy free. I use this often – it makes life much easier and is delicious!
Chocolate overload cake topping ideas
This is the part where you can really get creative! To get the best effect you want a good variety of different treats to top the cake. For the cake pictured I raided the cupboards and used up the odds and ends of various half eaten packets to get most of the toppings!
To get you started, here are a few suggestions:
- Bourbon biscuits (I use Sainsbury’s own brand – always check ingredients as some brands are not dairy free)
- Moo free baking drops or choccy rocks*
- Moo Free chocolate buttons*
- Creative nature gnawbles
- Nomo chocolate lolly
- Nomo Caramel bar* or caramel drops*
- Rhythm 108 coconut bars
- Milky way dairy free popping candy bar
Please note that these products don’t have dairy, egg or soy listed as an ingredient but, like many products, some have ‘may contain’ warnings. If you’re not sure if you or your child can eat products labelled as ‘may contain’ then talk to your medical professional.
How-To Guide: Dairy & egg free chocolate overload cake
- One 8 inch (20cm) dairy & egg free chocolate cake, prepared (or two cakes if you are making a layer cake). (See notes below for suggested recipes)
400g tub ready made Betty Crocker chocolate icing OR homemade chocolate buttercream:
- 75 g dairy free margarine (I use Stork)
- 75 g vegetable fat (I use Trex)
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence
- 350 g icing sugar (you can increase or decrease amounts depending on how sweet you like it)
- 100 g pure cacao powder
- 40 to 60 ml plant based milk
Suggested chocolate overload toppings (all dairy & soya free)
- Bourbon biscuits (I use Sainsbury's own brand – always check ingredients as some brands are not dairy free)
- Moo Free baking drops or choccy rocks
- Moo free chocolate buttons
- Milky way dairy free popping candy bar
- Nomo caramel bar or caramel drops
- Nomo chocolate lollies
- Creative Nature gnawbles
- Rhythm 108 coconut bars
Dairy free chocolate buttercream
- Using an electric whisk, whip together the margarine, vegetable fat and vanilla essence until creamy.
- Add half of the icing sugar and 20ml plant based milk and continue mixing until combined.
- Add the rest of the icing sugar, cacao powder, and 10ml more plant based milk. Mix for about a minute until you have a thick & smooth consistency.
- Mix in a bit more plant based milk little by little until you get the consistency you want. If it accidentally gets a bit too runny, mix in some more icing sugar!
Assembling the cake!
- Place your cake on whatever you will be serving it on – once you get decorating it will be difficult to move! I tend to use a plain white dinner plate, which can be moved into the fridge/onto a cake stand as needed.
- If you’re making a two layer sandwich cake then start by liberally spreading some buttercream on the bottom layer, and placing the second cake layer on top.
- Crumb coat the top and sides of the cake using a spatula. (A crumb coat is an initial thin layer of icing which seals the cake and stops crumbs getting on the final icing layer.)
- Then do a second layer of icing, spreading around the sides and thickly on top. The great thing about this cake is that the icing doesn’t have to be neat, so you can leave a bit of texture.
- As you ice the sides, allow the icing to spread around the base of the cake on to the plate, to give a border of around 2cm. I suggest using a clean finger to neaten this up and push the icing into any gaps between the cake and the plate.
- Now it’s time to get decorating. You want a variation of heights, shapes and textures on the cake. Start with the bigger toppings first e.g. some bourbon biscuits and halved chocolate bars. Stagger these so you can see them all.
- Next add the smaller elements such as chocolate buttons, drops and gnawbles. Sprinkle over the top, and add some to the icing around the base of the cake. Also stick some to the sides – a cascading effect can work well.
- If you have a chocolate lolly on a stick, now is the time to find a spot for that! Push it well into the cake so that it doesn’t topple over.
- Finally, break up a couple of bourbon biscuits into a mixture of crumbs and chunks, and sprinkle these over the cake, including around the base.
- Put the cake into the fridge for a couple of hours. This helps the icing set and keeps all the toppings secure.
- Nigella’s dark and sumptuous vegan chocolate cake (single layer)
- Kate’s veggie desserts best vegan chocolate cake (double layer)
A multi-coloured variation!
Do you like the effect of a chocolate overload cake but want something brighter? This can be made into a multi-coloured extravaganza! You can use a dairy free vanilla buttercream with a drop of pink food colouring to get a lovely pink frosting. Then top with rainbow sprinkles, jelly babies, skittles, chupa chups lollies…. and get ready for the sugar rush 😂.
Allergy friendly birthday cake inspiration gallery
For lots more allergy friendly cake decoration ideas, check out this inspiration gallery full of cakes submitted by other allergy parents! You won’t find any professional level decoration here, just fun and tasty ideas from parents that their little ones enjoyed. Plus all the info you need to copy them! All the cakes are free from dairy and egg as well as lots of soy, nut, wheat and gluten free bakes – and many that are free from all of the above.
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