dairy free frosting

I am hosting a birthday get-together for a friend who is allergic to dairy. I went with an oil based chocolate cake that is dairy free. But I'd like a butter free frosting that is as delicious as possible. Does anyone have any favorites? I'm thinking I might browse around for something that uses coconut oil, maybe a ganache on top and raspberry jam in between the two layers? I'd really prefer a fluffy frosting that doesn't require any unnatural ingredients.

  • Posted by: ATG117
  • February 6, 2013


beyondcelery February 7, 2013
Here's my recipe for Blackberry Cashew Cream frosting. It's super delicious and fluffy enough for anyone who's used to buttercream. I used it on cupcakes for a friend's wedding and they were a total hit. You can sub any berry for the blackberries, or leave them out altogether if you want a plain vanilla frosting. I haven't tried adding chocolate, but I imagine some cocoa powder would work well.

Blackberry Cashew Cream Frosting
Makes about 3 cups

2 cups raw unsalted cashews
½ cup high-fat coconut milk
½ cup vanilla sugar
24 blackberries
¼ cup maple syrup

Arrange cashews in a deep bowl and fill the bowl with water till about 2 inches above the surface of the cashews. Soak 3 hours or more.

Drain water from cashews and put them in a food processor or blender. Pulse 5-6 times to break up the cashews, then push all the pieces back down towards the blades. Stir together coconut milk, vanilla sugar, and maple syrup. While blending on medium speed, pour this mixture in a steady stream into the cashews. Stop once midway through to push cashew pieces back down towards the blades. When all the liquid is gone, add the blackberries while the food processor continues to run. Keep blending, stopping every now and then to push larger pieces back down, about 5-10 minutes. You want the cream to be silky smooth without any bits of nuts detectable in the texture.

Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pushing it onto the surface of the frosting. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before using.
Aightball February 7, 2013
I prefer margarine to oil for taste purposes. And it's cheaper (coconut oil can get EXPENSIVE!!!) and taste better to me. But I don't use a lot of oils except in a frying pan to prevent sticking/add a little flavor. But for baking, margarine works so much better than oil.

People allergic to dairy are allergic to more than just whey, lactose, and casein. Trust me, it's a laundry list. But the short version would be the obvious stuff like milk, cream, butter, etc. Then the less obvious stuff: lactic acid, lactose, casein, caseinate, whey, other dairy proteins and then the byproducts as well. I've been dealing with this for 8 years, and reading ingredient lists takes forever. We're faster now and labels are easier to read, but we still have to be super careful. A dairy allergy is very complex, trust me. And not a lot of fun, either.
healthierkitchen February 7, 2013
Now I'm wondering why margarine would be a better butter sub than coconut oil
healthierkitchen February 7, 2013
that makes sense. In the recipe above, aightball specifies butter and then adds Fleischman's sticks parenthetically. I assumed those sticks are butter and hence my confusion.
Author Comment
Yes, butter can be irritating to someone with a dairy allergy! There are three main things in dairy that someone can be allergic or "sensitive" to: whey, lactose, and casein. If you are cooking for someone with a dairy allergy, unless they specify to you that they may have or not have a certain type of dairy, you should assume that they can not have ANY form of dairy, including butter.

The "butter" that Aightball is referring to is not butter at all, but a butter-like spread or margarine..I believe.
healthierkitchen February 7, 2013
Aightball - I don't know anything about dairy allergies - I'm just curious - is butter not irritating to those with dairy allergy? Is it the solid form that is OK? Thanks!
Aightball February 7, 2013
Healthierkitchen: the problem with butter is usually either milk or whey. SO the form doesn't matter...it's the ingredients. I've found the best for baking to be Fleishman's Unsalted Sticks because they don't contain any dairy but they hold up well to melting, mixing, etc.

A dairy allergy is more than just milk, cream, etc. It's proteins like whey, sugars like lactose, etc. Google The Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network and look at the laundry list of things we need to look for on a food label.
sdebrango February 7, 2013
You might want to consider a 7 minute frosting, no butter involved and it's fluffy and delicious and IMHO great on a chocolate cake. http://www.marthastewart.com/353563/seven-minute-frosting
ATG117 February 7, 2013
Great idea. In thinking non-dairy, I automatically went to coconut oil instead of think 7 minute
Aightball February 7, 2013
I guess to me, frosting is no good unless it's sweet. At job #1, we offer two kinds of icing: more sweet and less sweet. People always ask my recommendation: more sweet. What's the point of cake if the icing isn't super sweet?
Author Comment
I haven't made this as a frosting (yet) but I have made it as a truffle and it is out of this world; rave reviews from everyone, including someone who "hates coconut." I am sharing it because two days ago when I made truffles from it I declared, "this would be an amazing frosting!"

It is very simple, and actually very healthy! This is the recipe I posted here for the truffles: http://wholefoodsmarketcooking.com/recipes/14015_satsuma_orange_matcha_chocolate_truffles

Just leave out the orange and green tea but follow the same directions...heat coconut cream, pour it over the chocolate, wait one minute, stir, add in honey (agave or other liquid sweetener would work too), vanilla and then let cool. For frosting I would let it cool on the counter until it starts to turn a little thicker, probably around 30 minutes and then pour it over and spread it around the cake.

It only has a hint of coconut flavor; not really even detectable if you don't know that is what it is. It is so smooth and decadent. I hope this helps!

FutureChef February 6, 2013
Generally, I hate icing because they're cloyingly sweet... that was until babycakes! Best icing ever! The only one I eat! They even sell 'shots' of icing and have a happy hour!

(They have two cookbooks but) the basic premise is agave, a touch of lemon juice, vanilla extract, and finally emulsify with room temperature coconut oil. (Emulsification is important for final consistency). Then refrigerate until it solidifies. Spread on cake.

For chocolate, it's the same process; you're basically going for vegan chocolate ganache. Coconut oil, agave, and (raw--because of all the wonderful nutrients of theobroama cacao--just kidding regular will work too) cacao powder.

Now I'm hungry!
Aightball February 6, 2013
I cannot get behind coconut oil as a dairy replacement. It's not necessary. Rice milk or other milk subs are fine. I prefer butter cream frosting because I want sweetness on my cakes. Also, agave is not readily available everywhere...and around here, it's EXPENSIVE =(. The butter cream I posted works really well and the ingredients aren't strange or expensive.
FutureChef February 7, 2013
They sell agave at Walmart... It's pretty mainstream and you use tablespoons so the (rounding up) 50 cents should be manageable. Also, I have a conspiracy theory... buying Domino sugar (their plant is in 'Bawlmer') helps the ravens win... So it jut makes it immoral in my family! Jk. GO STEELERS! Like I said, I prefer an icing that's not as sweet. It's a personal preference. The level of agave is certainly up to the cook though so there's freedom. The coconut oil really isn't meant to be a 'milk substitute'; it's simply the base of the recipe. It's an oil, so it acts as a fat. Coconut milk is a good milk substitute but not the stuff you get canned at the store which is essentially a diluted coconut meat purée. You just want to rehydrate desiccated and unsweetened coconut (~3:1), which is the byproduct of coconut oil...all the meat with no fat. So it's sort of coconut oil's inverse, ifyouwill. One thing I did forget to mention is that the icing needs to be kept cool because otherwise the coconut oil will liquefy so if you live in warm weather, it's not ideal for sitting out on display as a show cake. I would still vote icing shots though! Lol.
ATG117 February 6, 2013
Do you have measurements on either of these?
ATG117 February 6, 2013
Futurechef, I meant to direct this to you: Do you have measurements on either of these?
FutureChef February 7, 2013
It's been a little bit and I'm going by memory because I don't have it, but I remember it as: 1/4 c agave ~2 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp vanilla 1 c coconut oil Ideal in a blender for streaming. ***I put this in other message but in case you didn't read, my original response forgot to mention that it is not ideal for sitting out in warm temperatures for a long period of time because the coconut oil will reliquefy. For chocolate: 1/3 c agave 1.5 tbsp cacao/cocoa 1 tsp vanilla 1 c coconut oil
Aightball February 6, 2013
I am also allergic to dairy, and this the best frosting I've found so far! I'll give you the doubled recipe because you won't have enough otherwise.

2 c. butter (Fleishman's unsalted sticks are best)
3 t. vanilla
salt (optional)
10 c. powdered sugar
4-6 T. rice milk (water won't work with this)

Cream butter, vanilla, and salt. Add sugar 1 c. at a time, beating on medium speed. Add milk 1 T at a time and beat on high until blended.

I recommend using as little milk as possible. Start with 1 and work up to 4. You shouldn't need more than 5 T, but it all depends on the day. I also recommend, once everything is blended, crank your mixer up (I use a stand mixer) and let it whip for a couple of minutes. Makes a huge difference. You can also add cocoa for chocolate frosting or add food coloring for colors.

What cake recipe did you use? Just curious as I'm still looking for a non-dry chocolate cake =).
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