Rich buttercream, lightly sweetened and with hints of vanilla is the perfect frosting for many cupcake and cakes. This version is significantly less sweetened than the typical recipe and is still delicious and sweet!
It seems you are either in one of two camps – either you scrape the frosting off of your cake, or you eat cake so that you can enjoy frosting. Me? It depends. The typical store-bought cake with dyed, (gross) frosting was always discarded by me in the past. But, if the cake was homemade and contained real food ingredients? Bring it on!
One of the culinary issues I have with typical buttercreams is that they use so much sweetener. Maybe I just have lost my taste for such overly sweet foods, but even in my childhood I found most frosting cloying sweet. I now wonder if there was so much sweetener used to mask the taste of low-quality ingredients?
Regardless, we have been quite happy with my still sweet, but not-so-cloying sweet frostings. All of which are made with real food ingredients too!
So far I have shared the following frosting recipes:
- Chocolate Buttercream (using unrefined sweeteners)
- Chocolate Fudge Ganache (honey sweetened, dairy-free)
- Honey Vanilla Frosting (or 7 Minute Frosting):
The 7 minute frosting is an old favorite of mine. It tastes a little bit like marshmallows and is so forgiving when using it to frost a cake. (Unfortunately, it contains eggs that half of us don’t tolerate well.) The Chocolate Buttercream is a lovely example of how sweet and delicious a frosting can be without so much sugar (it’s a favorite frosting!), while the Chocolate Ganache is honey sweetened and even dairy-free! Other options for a simple frosting it using naturally sweetened whipped cream (frost right before you serve).
Whipped Cream Recipes
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For my daughter’s Gluten-free “Frozen” birthday party (where we also served “snowball cookies,” i.e. Mexican Wedding Cookies), we made snowmen cupcakes that needed a frosting that looked like snow. Vanilla frosting was the obvious choice. In the past, I have used coconut sugar, honey, and even maple syrup to sweeten my frosting. Here’s a breakdown of vanilla frosting with these sweeteners:
Coconut sugar: You can use the same amount as the powdered sugar, but it will have a very caramel-like flavor (delicious, but not typical for vanilla frosting), and will also not be a very white, or creamy colored frosting.
Honey or Maple Syrup: These are also delicious, with the maple syrup changing the color more. However, since you are adding liquid to the frosting, you will need to know that it will not be a pipe-able frosting, OR you will need to add a little coconut flour to the frosting (start with 2 tablespoons, and use up to 4 tablespoons) to firm it up. (This was a trick I learned from the cookbook: Paleo Indulgences )
Today, I am sharing the recipe we used for our snowmen cupcakes that uses organic powdered sugar (This brand I’ve linked to is corn-free, and made this way, “Our powdered sugar is made by simply grinding our Fairtrade Organic Sugar to a fine, fluffy powder (12x) and adding 3% organic tapioca to prevent clumping.”) This is a very crowd friendly frosting since it resembles more typical buttercreams, yet it uses so much less sweetener than the typical frosting recipe. I used a one-to-one ratio of sweetener to butter, instead of the more typical 1 part butter to 3 or 4 parts sweetener. It also is pipe-able, which is so much fun!
- ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature (I prefer organic and/or pastured)
- 1 cup of powdered organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten-free, if needed)
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream of full fat coconut milk, as needed (I've also used almond milk with success)
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixture, or use a hand mixture to combine the butter and sugar in a bowl, on low speed, until combined. Then increase speed to medium and mix for about three minutes, or until the frosting is smooth and airy.
- Add in vanilla, and cream/milk of choice, until you get the right consistency (mixing for about one more minute).
- Frost right away. If it is a really hot day, or you have a hot house and find that the frosting is too soft, simply refrigerate until it gets the right consistency.