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does anyone know of a product that.........

I can use in place of butter for cake frostings that is 1) unsalted; 2) has no transfats (the no transfats per serving info on some tub spreads is a little bogus, I think) and 3) is dairy free? I like the taste of Fleishman's unsalted stick margarine but will not use it because of the transfats, love EB butttery spread for almost all my baking/cooking that calls for butter but is too salty for my cake frostings, and everything else I've seen that is vegan (Smart Balance Organic spread, for one) contains sodium. I thought maybe organic shosrtening, but then, there's not much flavor. Butter just won't work as we keep kosher (we enjoy our meat meals) and everyone likes cake for dessert, and not just topped with powdered sugar or plain. If you know of some product that meets my stringent criteria, please share. Thanks!

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  1. I'm not very well versed in butter alternatives, but how about royal icing (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...) or seven minute frosting (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...) neither of which has any dairy?

    1. they're not bogus claims - they either use oil or coconut-oil bases or use trans-fat-free shortening which is made by using FULLY hydrogenated oils mixed in with regular oils to produce the solidity while avoiding trans fats (fully hydrogenated fats are fully saturated, so by definition can't be trans fats). There is trans-fat-free crisco, also. It's the one in the green can.

      There are plenty of low or no-trans fat margarines - they use such low amounts of partially hydrogenated oils that it doesn't matter. The problem with these is they might not be so stable at room temperature.

      I would recommend lard, as that's a natural fat that doesn't have trans fats, but that's not kosher (and most lards you buy at the store have been hydrogenated somewhat). Maybe try some suet? You may need to render it first, but it should work like shortening. It sounds gross, but it is mild enough to be used in desserts; mincemeat pies and christmas puddings are made with it.

      Maybe try topping your cakes with icing instead - that is, a liquid sugar mixture that dries on. Or how about streusel topping, like with coffee cake? That's pretty good too.

      broader suggestion - if you're eating cake, ignore the trans fat thing, since you're eating cake anyway. Having it every once in a while won't kill you, at least not more so than having cake every once in a while.

      1. How about coconut oil? It is transfat, salt and dairy free, is stable at room temp (solid like butter) and the coconut flavor is very mild.

        1 Reply
        1. re: just_M

          +1 to this. Coconut oil in its unrefined state (i.e. virgin, not LouAna or similar kinds available in regular grocery stores) is also one of the healthiest oils you can consume, and it's great for the skin as well. I get mine from Tropical Traditions. It's a GREAT butter substitute in pretty much every baked good.

          1. re: pitterpatter

            Do you mean Earth Balance? I've never heard of Earth Blend. Where could I find this product? Is it unsalted, transfat and dairy free? Thanks!

            1. re: addicted2cake

              Sorry, you are right: Earth Balance. It is available whipped or in sticks, certified organic, and in different varieties. The one I have here is salted -- I don't know if some are unsalted. It is non-dairy, with no trans-fats or hydrogenated oils, and claims to be an excellent source of ALA Omega-3. I cook for a residential home for young people with schizophrenia, and cannot use any dairy. This is how I discovered this product, and find it to be an exceptional substitute. I never would have thought that I could promote any type of "margarine" product.

          2. Now, this is a possibility that you could try. The traditional recipe for icing for Red Velvet Cake is made with half the fat (butter or whatever) that you would use for the same amount of a full-on buttercream. That's because it uses a cooked white sauce for half the volume.
            Being able to use half of your choice of EB or SB might diminish the salty taste and cut the sodium to an acceptable level.
            Some dairy-free cooks on CH have reported success using non-dairy beverages such as soymilk, rice milk, almond milk, or whatever to make bechamel, so that might work for the cooked white sauce. It just has to be thick.

            The ingredients for this wonderful icing are:
            2 tablespoons cornstarch or 4 tablespoons flour
            1 cup whole milk
            1 cup butter
            1 cup sugar
            1 teaspoon vanilla
            The entire recipe is at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/388523

            My recipe specifies that the icing should be beaten for 10 minutes. I find that it needs that to achieve the full volume and fluffiness, and also to completely dissolve all the sugar.
            This might bomb totally. But then it might work for what you want. The best my thinking cap could do. Good luck

            1. I would recommend using half the Earth Balance that you like and half Spectrum Organic No Trans-Fat Shortening. This latter is made from palm oil and has little flavor, but it has a good texture for icing. Since nothing can take the place of a real buttery flavor I would further recommend that you seek out other flavorings for your icing or it won't have much taste besides a sugary one.

              So I would try making a standard buttercream recipe using the 1/2 and 1/2 fat above and maybe almond or soy milk for the liquid; then you could experiment with adding some of the following flavorings:

              --cocoa powder
              --lemon juice and rind
              --mint extract or finely chopped mint leaves
              --ground nuts and/or nut extract
              --coconut (though I dislike it and therefore can't comment in how well coconut oil would work)

              My final suggestion is serve the cake at a non-meat meal, if you ever do dairy meals. It really will taste better with butter! Make pies for your meat meals, the Spectrum shortening works well for pie crusts, as does lard.

              1. Forgot to add: you could also try using a meringue and bake it like a baked Alaska, or a stiffer meringue, like an Italian one.

                4 Replies
                1. re: visciole

                  Wow. That jogged my brain. What about a Seven-Minute Icing?
                  No fat. Basically an Italian meringue as visciole suggested. Egg whites, sugar. Only problem could be that most recipes use corn syrup. Is that a kosher no-no?

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Is 7-minute icing difficult to prepare? I know a friend had some kind of disaster making it once, and I've been terrified to try it!

                    Corn syrup is definitely kosher... and parve.

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      It's easier in winter than summer. Humidity can be a problem. And if it takes longer than 7 minutes, then it just does (my sister has quit before it's completely done but the 7 minutes has elapsed, and then was disappointed in the results).

                      1. re: weezycom

                        do you have a recipe that's worked for you? sounds like something i would try

                2. If you can use eggs, try Dorie Greenspan's white out chocolate cake frosting. It tastes like marshmallow frosting.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    Thanks, everyone, for your great suggestions and for taking the time to help. I just bought some extra virgin coconut oil and will give this a try next time. Also like the 7 minute frosting and royal icing ideas. I never knew about making a white sauce for vanilla buttercream frosting, but this sounds intriguing and may work, especially if I can use an EB spread/organic shortening combo. Will have to experiment with flavors. Suet? Hmmm. Never tasted it, so I don't know. It would put the cake in the "meat" category, too, so if DH or DS wanted a piece with ice cream as a snack, that wouldn't work. I'd rather keep my fats neutral (pareve). Thanks again to all for your feedback. Looks like there is more than one way to have my frosted cake and eat it too. :)

                    1. re: addicted2cake

                      FWIW, royal frosting is like cement. I only use it to hold gingerbread houses together. I wouldn't use it on a cake.

                    1. Would a cooked 7 minute frosting work? (egg whites, sugar, not much else)