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.
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.
For the chocolate-zucchini cake:
- 1 pound (453g) zucchini (about 4 small), trimmed
- 2 1/2 cups (360g) white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup (48g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (312g) sugar
- 1 cup (245g) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (112g) grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (180g) semisweet chocolate chips
For the sweet potato frosting:
- 1 (15-ounce; 425-g) can pure sweet potato puree
- 10 ounces (283 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1⅔ cups)
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!