Monday 15 June 2020

Lego Dairy-Free Chocolate Drip Cake

My friend requested for a dairy-free chocolate cake that is Lego themed for her son. All her children have dairy allergy to some degree so she is thrilled to have a birthday bake that the kids can actually eat with no worries. Presenting my first anti-gravity chocolatey bake!

Chocolate drip cake made up of chocolate chiffon sponge, and layered with custard and chocolate ganache. Lego bricks made out of macarons and the container made out of white chocolate. 

I used the Swiss meringue method to create the "Lego bricks". You may refer to this post for the recipe, and this post for the video tutorial of piping rectangular shells.

Piped shells! 

Freshly baked shells! Don't look too closely and they may look like the real thing

Can you make a dairy-free dark chocolate ganache? Answer is yes! I used to think that ganaches must be made with dairy cream. It turns out this isn't true. Although a lower liquid to chocolate ratio is needed, it is still possible. The result is usually a more intense ganache.

Dairy-free dark chocolate ganache for macaron filling
90g dark chocolate couverture
10g vegetable shortening
25g soy milk (or other plant based milk)*
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
1/8 tsp salt

* you may use a little more liquid, up to 35g for a softer ganache. I live in Singapore which is perennially hot.

1. Place all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 20 seconds at medium low heat. Mix well. Repeat until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you may use the double-boiling method.

2. Set aside to firm up to toothpaste consistency. If you prefer a lighter texture like I do, you may chill it for a few minutes in the fridge and whip it up to buttercream consistency.

Dairy-Free dark chocolate ganache 

3. Transfer to piping bag and fill the macaron shells. Let the filling and shells mature for a few days in the fridge before consuming. Always let macarons sit at room temperature for 15-20min before consuming.

Filling the shells

I decided to experiment with the way I made the sponge for my ultimate chocolate cake. My chocolate cake always received rave reviews so I don't really have the incentive to change anything. But then I looked at the recipe again and thought since the eggs used are already separated, I might as well make a meringue out of the egg whites. The chemical leavening can be reduced as a result too so why not give it a shot. You may refer to this post for my old default ultimate chocolate cake recipe which consists of a dairy-free German chocolate cake sponge by Rose Levy Beranbaum, a chocolate custard and dark chocolate ganache. I also reduced the amount of sugar further.

German chocolate cake sponge, chiffon method
Ingredients (Makes two 7.5x1.5 inch rounds) :
Egg yolk batter
40g alkalized cocoa powder
72g boiling water
65g canola oil
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (may replace with vanilla if unavailable)
45g cake flour
45g plain flour
25g caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

4 egg whites
135g caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

1. Line the pans with parchment paper, set oven rack to middle position. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional). Preheat oven to 150°C.

2. In a latge mixing bowl, mix boiling water and cocoa powder to form a thick, smooth paste. Cover with cling wrap and leave to cool.

3. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 25g of caster sugar. Sift into another bowl and set aside.

4. Add egg yolks, oil, vanilla and coffee liqueur into the chocolate paste. Whisk or use an electric mixer to mix until well combined. Add the flour in a few batches and whisk until well combined.

5. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, use elecreic mixer to beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form or juat reach stiff peaks, gradually adding sugar once the egg whites are foamy .

6. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in 3 batches. Divide the batter into the 2 pans. Bake for 35min or until skewer comes out clean. Note: the egg yolk batter is really thick so the first addition of the meringue into the egg yolk batter is better done using a hand whisk. You need not be too gentle with this one. It is to lighten up the texture of the batter so that the next 2 additions of the meringue is easier to incorporate.

7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 min. Carefully unmould the cake using a spatula to run along the sides of the pan. Cool completely on cooling rack before slicing each cake into half horizontally.

Freshly baked cakes! I love the flat tops and taller sponges! Perfect for layering cakes

Dairy-free chocolate diplomat cream

Note: my friend requested for less intense chocolate so feel free to increase cocoa powder to 15g and couverture up to 60g

200g + 30g soy milk (or any other plant based milk)
2 egg yolks
25g sugar (increase up to 35g if prefer sweeter. I used a sweetened soy milk so I reduced the amount of sugar )
20g cornflour
9g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (may replace with vanilla if unavailable)
1/8 tsp salt
15g unsalted butter/ dairy-free butter
40g dark chocolate couverture
60-80g whip topping (dairy-free whipping cream)

Steps :
1. Heat 200g milk, vanilla and coffee liqueur in a saucepan until steaming (not boiling).

2. In the mean time, sift cocoa powder and cornflour together into a heavy mixing bowl or glass jug. Add egg yolks and 30g soy milk and whisk until well combined.

3. Slowly pour heated milk in a thin stream into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Pour everything back unto saucepan.

4. Heat sauce pan over low heat while whisking the custard mix continuously. Once it thickens, remove from heat and whisk until it smoothens out. Return to heat and continue cooking until desired consistency.

5. Remove from heat and add butter and chocolate couverture. Whisk until chocolate and butter are melted and everything is well combined. Press cling film on the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate for 1h or overnight if you wish.

6. Whip whip topping until stiff peaks. Take the chocolate pastry cream out of the fridge and whip it briefly to loosen it.

Smooth and rich dairy-free pastry cream! 

7. Fold in whip topping and there you have a dairy free diplomat cream. The name "diplomat cream" is just a fancy name for pastry cream lightened with whipped cream.

Dairy-free ganache for frosting cake
200g dark chocolate couverture (I used 100g 73.5% and 100g 54% cocoa)
30g water
30g soy milk (may replace with water)
20g vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt
40g whip topping
30g chocolate diplomat cream

1. Place all ingredients except whip topping and diplomat cream into a heatproof bowl. Melt the contents over a double boiler or microwave oven. Stir until melted and smooth.

2. Leave the ganache to sit on counter top until it firms up to toothpaste consistency. You may whip it up for lighter texture.

3. Whip the whip topping till stiff. Gradually fold the chocolate diplomat cream and whip topping into the whipped ganache.

Water ganache for dark chocolate drip
100g dark chocolate couverture (I used 50g 73.5% and 50g 54%)
55g water
10g light corn syrup (omit if unavailable)

1. Place all ingredients in a heatproof bowl and melt and stir over double boiler. Be gentle when mixing to prevent introducing air bubbles and stir in one direction.

2. Let the mixture cool a bit until the consistenct is right for creating the drip. To test, take a small amount of ganache and drip it down the sides of the mixing bowl. If it flows down slowly (not too runny), it is ready.

Dark chocolate ganache for drip

Cake assembly
Cake assembly is pretty much the same as my full dairy version, except that I brush the sponge with diluted maple syrup as the sponge may be a bit drier with the chiffon method as compared to the original.

For each cake layer, I brush the sponge with syrup before layering on diplomat cream. I frost the tops and sides of the cake with dark chocolate ganache that has a bit of diplomat cream and whip topping in it. Finally, I top off the cake with the dark chocolate drip.

Layering with chocolate diplomat cream and frosting the whole cake with whipped chocolate ganache

I carefully inserted a straw and used some modelling chocolate to secure the white chocolate container to the straw, as well as to create part of the chocolate flow that "pours" out from it. I placed the Lego macarons on the cake to complete the creation.

If you can be patient, do wait for 2 to 3 days of storage before consuming. The chocolate cake tastes best after a while when the sponge and filling have had time to meld together. The flavours are deeper and richer too!

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. This is really amazing .. Well i barely see dairy free chocolate cake anywhere but the way you have explained the recipe its awesome :) Thank you

  2. Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Phay Shing, do u accept orders currently? Can I order a mini version of this cake for coming Sunday morning or noon’s collection? - Lesley @90300730

    1. Hi Lesley, sorry I missed your comment earlier as I am super busy these few weeks. Usually I need advance notice of preferably 2 months. Even then it is subject to availability.

  4. Hi! Do you have the template for the Lego macarons available? My 3 year old would like a Lego themed birthday and I love what you did!!

    1. Actually the template is just rectangles or squares 😊. You could trace the lego pieces on the back of a parchment paper and use that as a template too if you aren't able to it using a software. Alternatively, try doing a google search for lego templates.