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Feb 2, 2010 07:17 AM

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 ( or seven minute frosting ( 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:

            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