27 March 2011

Things That Are Dairy-Free: Frosting

I have a dairy-free chocolate cake recipe that I've used for years, but had begun to despair of ever finding a dairy-free frosting recipe that didn't suck. While I've never been a buttercream fan - too much sweet and not enough substance for my taste, I could eat cream cheese frosting or and ganache every day of my life and never tire of either. (Except for the whole giant ass thing that would happen. I wouldn't enjoy that much.)

I like healthy food, but I'm not especially keen on health food, if you know what I mean. I don't want carob anything. Dessert is a treat, it should be decadent. I like an unapologetic frosting: thick, gooey, not too sweet. A frosting of substance. And my temporary solution of melted chocolate thinned with soy milk drizzled over cake and cupcakes just wasn't meeting my cake filling needs.

And then I found a Fudge Frosting recipe in the tired old Betty Crocker cookbook in the back of my cupboard, which I adapted to make Imp-friendly by substituting dairy-free margarine for butter, and soymilk for regular milk. I slightly decreased the sugar, and of course I increased the chocolate, because adding more chocolate to everything is pretty much my entire reason for living.

The Imp helped with the measuring and the stirring - and the spoon licking, which is pretty much his entire reason for living. It was a big hit at a family birthday party - no one even noticed its lack of milk ingredients. Win!

The Imp demonstrates his whisking prowess

So here's what we did:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup soymilk
4 Tbsp dairy-free margarine (I use Fleischmann's)
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
Dash of salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix granulated sugar and cocoa in a saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients except icing sugar and vanilla, and heat over medium/medium-high heat until it boils, stirring often. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and leave it to cool for a half hour or so.

Whisk in icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. For a smooth frosting use less icing sugar, for a stiffer frosting, use more.

This makes enough to fill and frost an 8-inch two-layer cake. I like to make a three layer cake, myself, and fill it with sliced strawberries or raspberry jam, then frost the cake with yummy chocolatey goodness. Because adding fresh fruit to cake makes it health food, you know.

I'd love to hear about any other dairy-free frosting recipes if you've got 'em!

But no carob, please. It's an abomination.


  1. Amen to the no carob. I don't understand it's existence. I have yet to run into one person who enjoys it.

    I'm bookmarking this for the next cake I make for my husband. He's a major chocolate fan and giving up chocolate icing has made him sad.

  2. alexis, my mother-in-law found this cake and frosting for my nephew's birthday - he has heaps of allergies. it was good, and i LOVE the icing. how can anything with coconut milk taste bad??? let me know what you think!


  3. I'm kind of a cream, butter-a-holic but I found out that I have high cholesterol (not surpringly given my love of all fats big and small), so it's good to have these things in one's back pocket. And I trust your judgement!

  4. I actually love carob.

    Which is one of the occupational hazards of being raised by hippies. I didn't get to taste real chocolate until I was 4 or 5, so I'm not sure I can be blamed.