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help with vegan chocolate frosting

My vegan recipe for chocolate frosting just doesn't make it for me, mainly, because I don't like the taste of vegan "butters". They're a tad too salty for me in cake frostings. Also, every time I make chocolate frosting, the finished product looks whipped as opposed to creamy. Perhaps I'm beating it too long (5-7 minutes with my KA mixer, paddle attachment). I have tried Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening in place of EB, but find the texture is a bit too soft. I'm beginning to think my recipe is just not that good. This is the one I use:
4 oz. EB in the tub (the sticks are a little waxy)
1/2 c. cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners sugar
3 tbs. almond milk
1 ts. vanilla.

I sift sugar and coco powder together and add to already beaten EB. Add remaining ingredients and beat for 5-7 minutes.

If any one has a better recipe (family doesn't like it too chocolate-y, that's why I use cocoa powder), please share. Wish I could find a vegan butter sub that doesn't have salt, but haven't been successful. Coconut oil has too strong a flavor, unless some one could suggest a brand that is very very mild. I know I could use Fleishman's unsalted sticks, but don't want the transfats. Butter and lard are just not options. Tall order, here, I know. Thanks for any help with the recipe or products.

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  1. Addicted, did you know there is a new board for vegans and vegetarians? Click up above on View all Boards and you'll find it. You might get faster answers there. Maybe the mods can switch your post for you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nemo

      Thank you, nemo. Didn't know about the vegan/veg board as I always come here. I'll check it out.

    2. Sadly, your problem has nothing to do with the recipe. Butter fat has unique properties that cannot be duplicated from vegetable oils that are hydrogenated. If you use vegan butter substitutes, the problems you mention are par for the course.
      The only solution I can think of is to avoid frosting completely. Using nouvelle-cuisine techniques, figure out how to serve wonderful cake desserts w/o frosting.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jerry i h

        I love frosting and I've actually had some good non-dairy ones, but since they were commercially prepared, my guess is that there was a healthy dose of transfats to go along with the good texture and taste. I wish I could forgo frosting, but when I make layer cakes, I so crave a really good icing. Thanks for your reply, jerry.

      2. I have made icing for my dairy allergic nephew with a bit of success. If you live in Canada I know of 3 options for the fat, if you live in the US then maybe 2. EB I assume is Earth Balance, that is one of the options, though I've never tried it. The two I have tried are becel vegan margarine, and presidents choice vegan margarine. I have made chocolate icing with just the margarine, icing sugar and cocoa powder and it was ok, to make it 'cream cheese icing' I added tofutti which simulates cream cheese, and worked very well in the icing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: TeRReT

          Just today, I found a blog that mentioned Becel margarine, but they don't sell it in the States nor do they ship. Haven't heard of President's Choice. I'll google it. Thanks!

        2. I like cooked vegan frostings using coconut oil. nutiva is pretty neutral tasting. But my favorite also has coconut milk, Everyone ( not just vegans) rave about it. http://grist.org/food/my-vegan-valent...

          1 Reply
          1. re: magiesmom

            Thanks, magiesmom. I'll check out the link.

          2. I had some fantastic desserts made with cashew cream at a vegan restaurant recently -- it's similar to a rich whipped cream, and I bet could make a good frosting. It wouldn't work in that recipe -- it's way too wet, but a quick google is turning up lots of recipes.

            In general, recipes like the one you've been using are dependent on butter's butter taste to drive a bunch of the flavor -- as well as textural issues. I'm not surprised it's not turning out well. Look for recipes designed around whatever fat you're using, and you may be better off with a ganache-style recipe rather than a buttercream style.

            1 Reply
            1. re: antimony

              What you say makes sense. I'll check out some recipes that use different fats. I know I can always make ganache or a glaze, but I really prefer a thicker, more substantial frosting for my layer cakes. Thanks for the feedback!