This time of year, my favorite frosting is a fluffy, rich Vegan Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting. This frosting is perfect on vegan cupcakes or layer cakes. It has a sweet flavor, but is definitely not too sweet. I have never been a fan of ‘too sweet’ frostings and this one really keeps a sturdy cream cheese flavor with an accent of vanilla.
This frosting is delicious on carrot cake, pumpkin cupcakes or even cinnamon rolls! Plus, I share a few vegan frosting tips!…
A few vegan frosting tips + ramblings:
1. Tools. Make sure you have a good mixer. I don’t own a stand mixer, so I always use my hand mixer. You can find the one I use in my shop. You also want to have a good ‘frosting bow.’ I use a medium, narrow-ish and high-rimmed bowl. I find it helps keep things really airy and fluffy. You don’t want your bowl to be too large based on how much frosting you are making. I use this rule for coconut whip too. A slightly smaller bowl always helps me with the ‘fluff-factor.’
2. Room Temp Ingredients. The must-know tip! This term always confused me when I first started baking, because “room temp” is usually around seventy degrees or so. Well, you don’t actually want to warm your butter to that temp, you just want it sitting at room temp long enough for it to soften and not be rock hard. Rock hard butter can cause a lot of problems in a vegan frosting. So always always allow your butter to naturally soften a bit before using it. I usually do 20 minutes at room temp, depending on how cold or warm my kitchen it. A quick press of my finger into the butter will tell me if it has softened up a bit. The butter should press easily, not crack and also not melt.
Vegan cream cheese for use in frosting should also be ‘soft’ but not melty. For me, five minutes is usually enough time for softening my vegan cream cheese at room temp.
3. Sugar? A lot of people – especially healthy type eaters – get frustrated with all the sugar that goes into a frosting. And is the sugar even vegan? Well, I mention this a lot, but as long as you buy organic sugar, it will be vegan. Because the ‘bone char’ ingredient cannot be certified vegan. And I have found that frosting can really be tweaked a bit with the amount of sugar you add. I usually start with two cups and if I want something sweeter and a firmer, I add more sugar. But this rarely happens for me.
4. When to Frost? You always want to make sure that your cake or cupcakes are fully cooled before frosting! Cool or even slightly chilled. I usually frost my cakes when they are slightly chilled so the frosting sticks better. I like to frost my cupcakes right before serving them for maximum fluffiness. Layer cakes can be frosted ahead of time and placed in the fridge to chill and firm up a bit. Cinnamon rolls are easy to frost as soon as they have very slightly cooled. But warm, gooey rolls with melty frosting are pretty perfect too.
5. Does Vegan Butter Change Frosting? Vegan butter is not exact to dairy butter. From my research, it seems to have a slightly higher water content than dairy butter. There are a few things you can watch for. 1) Don’t add too much ‘added liquid’ to your vegan frosting. Even is a traditional recipe calls for it, be careful how much you add. You might not even need added liquid. 2) Use a high-fat side ingredient. Chilled coconut cream makes a delicious side base for frostings! And I really love vegan cream cheese too. It has a dense yet creamy texture that does really well as a sort of binder in a vegan frosting. So YES, vegan butter is different, but you already knew that. Vegan butter is really delicious in flavor and texture and makes a beautiful, rich, lovely frosting base. TIP: For some reason, the vegan butter in the tubs tend to be ‘lighter’ and fluffier than the sticks of butter. If you are having trouble using sticks in your frosting, try buying a vegan butter tub instead.
Get the recipe for my Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!
Other vegan frosting recipes here on the blog:
* Fluffy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
* Coconut whip – technically not a frosting, but can be used as one!
* Peanut Butter Frosting
* Coconut Milk Cream Cheese Frosting
* Pink Cashew Cream Frosting
Vegan Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese
- 9 tablespoon vegan butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar, organic – sifting optional
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- Make sure your vegan butter is room temp. My rule is to leave it out on the counter for about twenty minutes before I use it in my frosting. Vegan cream cheese brands will vary, but I don't usually need to warm them too much. Just make sure your vegan cream cheese isn't rock hard for some reason. A good rule of thumb – literally – is to press your finger into the butter or cream cheese. It should smush down easily without cracking or breaking. Now when your ingredients are ready: Add the vegan cream cheese, vanilla extract, salt and vegan butter to a medium mixing bowl. A bowl with high rims and a narrow center works well for fluffing up the frosting. Whip until smooth and fluffy — but do not over-whip to melt the butter. Once your mixture is combined and mostly smooth, stop beating. Tool: A stand or hand mixer will work. I used a hand mixer.
- Add in the two cups of powdered sugar. Tip: For the most lump-free frosting, sift your sugar, but this step is not necessary. Whip until smooth and fluffy. You should start to get a very fluffy mixture with buttery-creamy peaks of white frosting.
- You can use your frosting right away on fully chilled cakes or cupcakes, or place in the fridge until ready to use.
nutrition estimate | per serving
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