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Babycakes NYC cookbook -vanilla frosting

I've seen a lot of reviewers of the Babycakes cookbook say that the frosting didn't work for them. I tried, and with a few modifications, made it work. I still have a couple of questions though.
A. Is the frosting supposed to be so shiny? I've never been to the bakery, but none of the pictures look shiny like mine.
B. Did anyone else end up with dark cream colored frosting? Wouldn't necessarily want to use it as is. I tried adding pureed blueberries, but in the end just added food coloring. Kind of defeats the purpose of a natural/healthier cupcake.
C. Has anyone tried using rice milk and rice milk powder (does that even exist?) I have a friend with a baby with soy allergies as well as dairy, wheat and eggs. Would love to make the cupcakes and frosting for his 1st birthday.

My modifications were: 1 cup soy milk (made from the soy milk powder and water), 3/4 cup agave (will try just 1/2 cup agave next time, but it wasn't sickening sweet with 3/4 cup.) A little less coconut oil because I ran out.

My frosting was too thick to be a sauce, even before chilling.

What have your experiences been?

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  1. I made the gingerbread and vanilla frosting last night-- I agree the frosting is like no frosting I have ever made before! I definitely appreciate the ease of being able to whip it up in a blender-- but the texture is very glossy and a bit like gelatin? Mine was a cream hue as well! It tastes pretty good-- but nowhere near as sweet as a typical frosting.

    Also-- I am not sure if it is because I have an electric oven (boo I know!)-- I seem to need to bake everything I try from the cookbook a lot longer than what the recipe states-- maybe I just need to invest in an oven thermometer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: geeda

      geeda- i used to work as a pastry chef and i prefer an electric oven. i find the heat much more gentle and even. my suggestion would definitely be to get a thermometer. i have the kind that hangs from the rack and i am constantly having to adjust my oven temperature to the actual temperature.

    2. Hi There!

      I hope we can help with your questions!

      A - The frosting does tend to have a bit of a shine from the coconut oil.
      B - It also tends to be an off-white color, especially since soy milk is typically more of a creamy color. On page 140, you will find a recommendation for a natural dye supplier.
      C - You are able to use rice substitutes in equal measure. There is also a potato-based milk powder on the market that can stand in for the soy milk powder, hopefully that will work out for your friend's baby!

      If you have any other questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch! We are happy to help. You can e-mail info@babycakesnyc.com.

      We hope this helps!

      BabyCakes NYC

      2 Replies
      1. re: BabyCakes NYC

        How kind of Baby Cakes to go out of its way to respond to this post. I wish more restaurants and chefs would help us amateur chefs improve on our hobby.

      2. Although I haven't tried this recipe I started using rice milk a few months ago- I've subbed it in for soy milk and dairy milk in many recipes including frostings and cakes with much success.
        You can make a simple glaze out of rice milk, confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract. Add as much milk as you need, slowly, to make a thick glaze for your cupcakes. It will be sort of pearl-colored. It's not a fluffy frosting but I think it'll make a baby happy.

        1. I am having trouble finding soy milk powder. Does anyone know where to buy it in Toronto, Thornhill or Richmond Hill? Also, in the Babycakes NYC cookbook, does anyone know if you can subsitute Almond milk for soy milk?

          2 Replies
          1. re: dianadana

            You can find a non-GMO soy milk powder at iherb.com. They also sell the neutral flavor Jarrow brand of coconut oil that BabyCakes references above.

            1. re: dianadana

              You can find soy milk powder and coconut flour at Tutti Frutti at Kensington market. Essence of Life should also have all the ingredients. I found the icing too strong. The recipes are great though!

            2. I don't have the recipe, but if you live near Indian groceries you can find coconut milk powder for those looking for a soy powder alterntive

              1. I tried the vanilla frosting recipe 2 Xs tonight and they both failed. I used vanilla soymilk and her recipe calls for plain. Is thisthe reason? The mixture never really thickened and was curtled like. Taste was good but I was so excited to have a healthy frosting recipe. To thinik I wasted 3 cups of coconut oil.!!!!!!
                Any one able to help before I try again? I need to do something different.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LLfiles

                  I think a lot of you are going to love me for this....I found an organic rice milk powder!! With good ingredients and it's yummy and perfect and not soy or full of all the nasty stuff that the most common soy milk powder is full of. I ordered it from growingnaturals.com and I swear I don't work for them and they aren't paying me to say this! I'm writing it because I spent forever looking for a rice milk powder and was so happy to find one, let alone one that's organic and healthy!!! ENJOY!

                2. I have tried to make the vanilla frosting a few times and every time it refuses to thicken! I let it sit in the fridge overnight and it still keeps its sauce like consistency, which doesn't make sense since coconut oil solidifies in cold temperatures. I am very precise with my measurements, but i use all natural maple syrup instead of agave (because i don't like agave). I don't see how that could be causing this problem. Does anyone else have an explanation?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ckkrbm

                    Could be the amount of water in the maple sryup is more than what would have been in the agave.

                  2. I have made this 3 times in the last 2 weeks.

                    The first time I followed the recipe except I used half veg shortening (Spectrum) and half coconut oil. This is because I wanted to stabilize it more as it was really warm that day. I also used maple syrup because I happened to only have Raw dark agave at hand and was not sure if I wanted that flavor in the frosting. It came out like an runny milkshake. And surprise, after 6 hours it did thicken! It still was not the consistency I'm used to seeing such as with regular buttercream. However, leaving it in the fridge after a couple of days made it even thicker! It's almost like you can't spread or pipe it but as with coconut oil, its melting point is pretty low so it does soften up pretty quickly after taking out from the fridge. It is important to really follow the slow oil drizzle and alternating it with lemon juice. It's almost like making mayonnaise, if you don't follow the technique it will not whip up to a thick consistency.

                    The second time I made it (a week later), I confused the 1-1/2 C soy milk and 3/4 C soy milk powder and ended up putting 1-1/2 C soy milk powder so I decided I'll just make two recipes. I think I cut back on the coconut oil thinking less liquid will make it thicker. I also substituted part of the coconut oil w/ vegan butter because I did not want it to taste too much like coconut. It came out runnier than the first time I made it, I wonder why! I was in a bit of a hurry to make it work because I needed it the same day so I decided I will add powdered sugar to it to thicken it more.

                    And it went downhill from there. Do not try at home. Erase that last paragraph from your memory! Anyway I think I learned to not skimp on the coconut oil that time because this is one of the main ingredients that gives it structure.

                    An hour later (this would be my third try) I just did it the same as the first one except I did use Light Agave. It was a bit soft after only 4-5 hours but I needed to use it that afternoon for the 4th of July festivities. I was thinking this will not work. I am used to making cupcakes w/ piped or spatula'd buttercream (made w/ earth balance) or tofu ganache frosting that's at least 1.5" high. Good amount. Which is why I am interested in this recipe in the first place, that it does not have 1 pound of sugar...Anyway, because it was a warm afternoon and I was afraid it will just melt, I ended up doing a simple swirled frosting on top of the cupcake w/ a star tip, half the diameter of the cupcake top and probably an inch high max. It actually made the cupcake look dainty and pretty. the edges of the swirl rounded out a bit even before I left the house and it smoothed out even more when I got to the park. But from then on the frosting held up pretty well even if it was outside on the cupcake stand. Thankfully it did not melt and run on the sides like I feared. It was a hit.

                    Oh and I used it over carrot cupcakes and red beet velvet cake (the tanginess of the lemon was a great combination w/ either cakes, similar to cream cheese frosting).

                    Sorry this turned out to be quite the novel. I think next time I will try using 3/4 C soy milk per the Martha Stewart post instead of 1-1/2 C as published in the Babycakes cookbook. I am also curious what the flavor differences are between the rice and soy milk versions.

                    Cheers and good luck to you happy bakers!