There's no topping that pairs better with a spicy carrot cake, a rich red velvet cupcake, or a slab of moist coconut cake than cream cheese frosting. Some vegans might place the frosting up high on a list with bacon and milk chocolate as foods they miss the most, but there's no need to abandon pursuit of a suitable imitation if you've given up dairy.
Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
The primary obstacle to making your own vegan cream cheese frosting is finding a cream cheese substitute that tastes just as good as the original. You don't want your frosting to be grainy, bland, or have a prominent "health" taste, so it can be a challenge to convert existing non-vegan recipes to suit your needs. Instead, try starting from scratch with a recipe that was created for vegans.
The below recipe makes about 2 cups of frosting, which is enough to frost 12 cupcakes or the sides and top of an 8-inch round, two-layer cake.
- 1/2 c. vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 c. vegan butter substitute, such as Earth Balance, at room temperature
- 2 c. confectioners' sugar
- 2 T. flour
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Soy creamer (optional)
- Fit an electric mixer with beaters, and put the vegan cream cheese and vegan butter substitute in a large bowl.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter substitute together until the mixture is light, fluffy, and creamy. Depending on the strength of your mixer, you may need to beat for one to five minutes.
- Sift half of the confectioners' sugar and 1 T. flour into the bowl, and beat the mixture again for 30 seconds to one minute or until it is light and fluffy.
- Repeat with the remaining confectioners' sugar and flour.
- Beat the vanilla extract into the frosting. If it still seems thick, add soy creamer 1/2 T. at a time until the frosting is the consistency you desire.
- Refrigerate the frosting for at least 30 minutes before using it. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to several days if you store it in an airtight container or in a bowl, tightly covered with plastic wrap.
Vegan Cream Cheeses
Some vegan recipes for cream cheese frosting use raw ingredients instead of processed products. For example, VeganBaking.net suggests getting a creamy base with raw cashews rather than a packaged cream cheese imitator. For that frosting, soak raw cashews and then blend them thoroughly with a food processor or blender before combining with sugar. You may also want to try sweetened, pureed silken tofu.
Vegan cream cheese can be hard to find at typical supermarkets, so you may have to look at health food stores, co-ops, or specialty supermarkets to get it. Your options include:
- Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese, which uses a high percentage of organic ingredients and is sweetened with agave nectar. The product features soybean oil, soybeans and soy protein.
- Tofutti, the manufacturer of several vegan treats, has a vegan cream cheese spread that comes in several flavors and contains no hydrogenated oils.
Frosting You'll Use Again and Again
Once you whip up a batch of vegan cream cheese frosting, use it to top cupcakes, cake, or even bagels and pancakes! It may take some experimentation to find which type of cream cheese substitute creates a flavor you like, so try a few different recipes and combinations until you hit on a frosting that you'll use again and again.