Vegan vanilla frosting with that wonderfully creamy thick texture, but without refined sugar, butter, or oil. This unconventionally delicious icing is made with just 4 healthy ingredients and perfect for topping cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more!
I can’t even tell you how long I have wanted to type out that title. A low-fat vegan VANILLA frosting is something that has alluded me for some time now. Chocolate? Easy peasy. You can use dates or sweet potato or protein powder or any number of things as the base, the cacao color and flavor covers them all. But vanilla. Preserving the beautiful creamy color and delicate flavor of vanilla is much trickier when using unconventional frosting ingredients.
Vanilla sweet potato frosting looks like a pumpkin. Vanilla date frosting is caramel frosting. Vanilla protein powder frosting looks more like cement than a cupcake-topping. Finding a buttercream-colored base without butter, cream, or refined sugar is tricky business.
But after making this purple pipe-able frosting fun, I had an idea: Japanese sweet potato!
It’s thick and creamy. It’s light in color. And (most importantly) it’s delicious! It would be a lie to say the teaspoon of vanilla bean powder in this recipe completely masks all sweet potato flavor and it tastes identical to buttercream frosting. It doesn’t. But the natural sweetness and flavor of Japanese sweet potato compliments the vanilla wonderfully, and means you don’t have to use very much maple syrup to get it frosting-sweet.
You want to be sure to bake your Japanese sweet potato for this recipe as opposed to steaming or boiling. The added moisture of those cooking methods will make the frosting not as thick in the end. You can bake it in the microwave or oven, depending on how much time you have, and then remove the peel and mash it before measuring. Mashing it really well first helps it blend up creamier.
Vanilla bean powder is an essential ingredient of course. You can use vanilla extract instead, but I really love the stronger flavor of the powder in a recipe like this where vanilla is the main flavor. Anywhere from 1/2 to 1 tsp, depending on how much you like. And a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup is plenty of sweetness in my opinion, but you can add more to your tastes. Then just add nondairy milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it smooths out just enough to get rid of all those chunks. Letting it run in the food processor for a while helps with that too, I recommend at least a couple of minutes.
Pipe it on cupcakes into tall swirly-sweet peaks. Spread it between two layers of freshly baked chocolate cake. Dollop on a mug cake and dive in spoon first. Sandwich it between a couple of cookies. Or even decorate a gingerbread man. So many frosting-ibilities! Yes that is a word, just go with it.
Or wait until tomorrow when I’ll be sharing the recipe for that delicious loaf bread up above…!
Low-Fat Vegan Vanilla Frosting (made with Japanese sweet potato!)
- 1 cup baked and mashed Japanese sweet potato*
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
- 4-5 tbsps nondairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
Combine all the ingredients except for the nondairy milk in a food processor.
Process, adding nondairy milk one tablespoon at a time until it is creamy and smooth. It may take a while to get rid of all the lumps (up to 2 or 3 minutes of processing time).
Pipe or spread onto your cake/bread/cookie and enjoy. It is best used immediately after making as it will become much more firm and difficult to spread in the fridge.
As there seems to be some confusion, by Japanese sweet potato I am referring to the kind with the white flesh and purple skin. Like this.