Dairy Free Frosting

Amy from Peachtree Corners asks:
Dairy free frosting? I’ve found loads of ideas online of how to make various types but I thought I’d ping my favorite chef just in case you have a favorite recipe.

Easy answer? Cool Whip
Of course that isn’t the healthiest answer, but it is mostly air anyway. 🙂

For a basic recipe, you want to use some sort of solid fat, a thickener, a sweetener, and a liquid.  Optional flavorings can be added.
1/2 cup solid fat (butter, shortening, margarine, coconut fat)
2 cups 10x sugar
2 oz. milk or other liquid
1 tsp. vanilla or other flavoring
Pinch of salt

Just about every grocery store cake is going to have a dairy free frosting based on hydrogenated vegetable oil (nee: Crisco)  Butter flavored Crisco is made for that sort of frosting.  It can be done well and is especially good if flavorings such as almond, hazelnut, butterscotch, rum, lemon, or peppermint are added to it.  Of course then you are eating sweetened shortening which is fairly gross if you think about it, but some people actually prefer this sort of frosting.  It is pretty bullet proof and will hold up well in warm temps.

Using a  product such as a margarine made from non-hydrogenated fats like Earth Balance for the fat component works pretty well.   The frosting tends to be softer and I find it salty due to the salt in the Earth Balance, but still tasty.  If you can find a salt-free or low sodium dairy free margarine that would work well.
Coconut cream can be used as the base for a frosting, and combining it with a diary-free margarine gives it more body, flavor and stability.  Coconut manna or ground fresh young coconut can also be used.

You will want something to bind the fat, powdered sugar is typical but if you are avoiding corn, arrowroot powder is a popular thickener for non-dairy sauces.  It should be cooked into the recipe and cooled, then whipped before use.

I tend to go with a glaze or a reduction these days and skip frosting altogether.
I made a wonderful Muscadine Port reduction that goes really well over a nut-flour based cake, or any other kind of cake for that matter.
Pecan Almond Cake with Muscadine Port Syrup
Pecan Almond Cake with Muscadine Port Syrup

Amy writes back that her final choice was coconut cream, coconut oil, almond extract and powdered sugar in the Vitamix.  She says it was delicious!

Whatever your preferences, creating a non-dairy frosting is easier than you might think.

1 thought on “Dairy Free Frosting”

  1. My King Arthur gluten-free pancake mix says to let the batter sit for ten minutes to thicken. Exactly what’s going on in my batter to make it thicken?

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