I’m not a vegan, but, like most of us, I know people who are, including my sister. I thought it would be fun to formulate a dairy free frosting in anticipation of the holidays, when I’ll be cooking more for others. With two college aged daughters home on break I never know who’ll be hanging around the kitchen or sitting at my dining room table. Of course for right now I’ll just be eating my frosting with a spoon, because I don’t have a reliable vegan cake recipe. I think making a delicious cake without dairy products or eggs is one of the great baking challenges, and I have yet to figure it out. If any of you have, please let me know in the comments!
Luckily some foods are a breeze to convert to vegan. This one is based on my go-to chocolate buttercream, and all I did was swap out the butter and milk for coconut cream. I used coconut cream, not coconut milk, because it’s a little richer and has a little more body. You could use full fat coconut milk as well, (but don’t use cream of coconut, that’s a different product altogether, it’s sweetened, and used for cocktails, etc.) Yes, this frosting will have e a background coconut flavor, but it’s a nice change, I think. I have a couple of secrets to balance out that coconut and keep it from becoming too dominant, keep reading…
I like chocolate frosting made with real chocolate instead of cocoa powder, it just tastes richer and has a better chocolate flavor. It also works in this frosting because, as opposed to cocoa powder, the melted chocolate is liquid, so less coconut milk is required. The large amount of vanilla and the espresso powder really help to tame the coconut flavor as well. You won’t taste the coffee, but it will enhance and deepen the chocolate. It’s a lovely frosting that even non-vegans will love.
- 3 squares (3 oz) unsweetened chocolate (I used Baker's)
- approximately 1 cup (about 1/2 of a 14oz can) of coconut cream (you may need more)
- 1 tsp espresso powder (instant espresso)
- 5 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1 Tbsp vanilla paste, or vanilla extract
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put in a microwave safe bowl, preferably a bowl big enough to make the frosting in. Add the coconut milk and the espresso powder.
- Microwave for 1 minute, then give the mixture a stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds and stir again. Keep microwaving in short bursts, if necessary, until the chocolate is melted..Let the heat of the mixture melt the last remaining chunks.
- Start beating in the sugar, adding more as you go to get a nice spreadable consistency. Make sure you beat the frosting until it is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add more coconut milk if your frosting is too thick, and add more sifted sugar if it seems too thin.
- Use right away.
If you need to keep the frosting for later, spoon it into a large zip lock baggie, remove any excess air, and store in the refrigerator. Then when you are ready to frost, snip the tip off one corner and pipe it out.