The Kid-Approved Nondairy Chocolate Frosting I'll Be Making for Years to Come

February  2, 2018

Who doesn’t love a beautifully frosted cake? Those swoops! Those swirls! It’s a surefire way to elicit gasps and heart eyes all around.

With my daughter’s birthday looming, I knew I wanted to serve up an old-fashioned sheet cake for her school celebration. It’s a personal favorite that brings me straight back to my own youth (and it’s also a 2018 trend predicted by baking goddess Yossy Arefi on her dreamy Instagram not long ago). But when my daughter’s teacher alerted me to a student with a raw-dairy allergy, I had to rethink my frosting strategy, since I had planned for a classic chocolate buttercream, which included both butter and milk.

Then I came upon this beauty:

Before I even read the recipe, I knew I had found the one. Just look at it! And sweet potato with chocolate? Well, that intrigued me to no end. Turns out this luscious-looking frosting could hold its ground on taste as well, which was paramount. I ended up piling it on a traditional yellow cake (much like the cake in this recipe), with plenty of confetti sprinkle assistance from the birthday girl.

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Top Comment:
“I scrape the frosting off, and even then, feel uncomfortably buzzed.) This sounds like a great solution. ;o)”
— AntoniaJames

Don't be like me: Bring a pan cover if you won't be eating it right away to preserve its glorious sheen.

The result? Really, really good chocolate frosting that wasn't cloying in any way (I used equal parts semisweet and bittersweet chocolates, by the way). Had I not already known, I never would have suspected the sweet potatoes' presence. The best part, of course, was that all of her little friends ate their cake without protest (which, as anyone who hangs out with small children knows, is a feat in itself), so I’d consider that a huge success.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few other popular nondairy frostings to keep up your sleeve.

Have a favorite nondairy frosting recipe? Please share it with us below!

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  • Holly
  • EatingSkinny
  • pat
  • Heidi Maxwell
    Heidi Maxwell
  • AntoniaJames
Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.


Holly February 7, 2019
Has anyone tried substituting the eggs? Apple sauce, perhaps? Would love to vegan-ize this recipe. Please & thanks
EatingSkinny February 5, 2018
I figured it ou too. thx
EatingSkinny February 5, 2018
where is the frosting recipe? I can't find it.
Jessica February 5, 2018
Same. Finally figured out to click on the PICTURE!
Hana A. February 5, 2018
Sorry for any confusion, EatingSkinny and Jessica! I've updated the post to include a clearer path to the recipe. Good luck!
pat February 4, 2018
i wonder if i could use pumpkin puree instead of sweet potato...
Hana A. February 4, 2018
Hi Pat! This question was asked on the original recipe: - I'm pasting the author's response below as well:

Genevieve Ko
Hi Ann! I tried this recipe with canned pumpkin and it's too pasty and earthy-tasting for a really luscious frosting. My local store keeps the canned sweet potato pretty well hidden, but the cans should be more readily available with Thanksgiving coming. Just be sure to buy the kind with no sugar added. This is the one I like:
You can do this with pureed sweet potato baby food too. I know that sounds weird, but it works! Baby food tends to be thinner than the canned stuff, so the frosting will take longer to set up and not be quite as thick. Hope that helps!
Hana A. February 4, 2018
The brand recommended by the author (and me, too!) here:
Heidi M. February 2, 2018
The lead picture shows a very smooth shiny frosting, but the reader submitted photo looks dull and grainy. which result should be expected?
Hana A. February 2, 2018
Hi Heidi! You will indeed get a smooth frosting. If the cake sits out uncovered (which was my fault :)), it will lose some of its sheen. If you won't be eating right away, please bring a cover! Definitely don't let my picture discourage you; it really tastes great!
AntoniaJames February 2, 2018
That's such a good idea. I am not a big fan of cakes, especially not frosted ones, because I just can't handle the sugar overload. (I scrape the frosting off, and even then, feel uncomfortably buzzed.) This sounds like a great solution. ;o)
Hana A. February 2, 2018
Hi AntoniaJames! How are you? Hope you'll give it a whirl. The frosting texture is really great (especially when enjoyed right away) and is (pretty much) only as sweet as the chocolate you use. Have a great weekend. :)