Dairy Free Me

Living without dairy and eggs


The Icing on the Cake

Baking without dairy, eggs and gluten seems like an impossible task. Thanks to some fantastic recipe books I have learnt that it is in fact possible. However the biggest problem I have found is the icing on the cake. My recipe books all have recipes for icing, or frosting but I have struggled to get the consistency right. This is often down to not being able to get the right ingredients, since most of my books are from the USA.

My experiments with soya cream, powdered soya milk and tofu have often ended up too sloppy, causing the top half of the cake to slide right off the bottom half. Dairy-free margarine can work great in the cake itself but can separate when made into icing. Here are my go-to options that are simple, tasty and predictable.

Dairy-free Buttercream

Dairy-free buttercream

The secret to dairy-free buttercream is to use a dairy-free margarine that is hard like butter. I normally use Stork for this - it is the one that comes in the foil wrapper rather than in a tub. I believe the one in the tub contains dairy, but the block is 100% vegetable fat. The following quantity should be enough to fill the middle of a standard size cake. If you want to cover the cake as well you will probably need to make about 4 times as much.

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 20g dairy-free 'block' margarine

Mix together with a fork, or use a hand-held beater. You can add vanilla, melted chocolate, food colouring.

An alternative to margarine is vegetable shortening such as Trex. This can be used in buttercream and since it is white in colour it will take on food colouring nicely.

Chocolate Fudge Topping

Chocolate fudge icing

This also uses Stork margarine and golden syrup. It makes a glossy topping which sets nicely on the top of a cake. Check the ingredients when buying the dark choclate as it can contain milk. This recipe is enough to cover the top of a standard size cake.

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50g dairy-free 'block' margarine
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup

Melt the chocolate and the margarine together. I melt it using the microwave, it takes about 1 minute. Take care not to overdo it as the chocolate will burn. Then add in the golden syrup.

Dried Fruit Powder

Raspberry icing

Another favourite ingredient I have recently discovered is dried fruit powder, raspberry works particularly well. You can get it from amazon. It can be added to buttercream or simply combined with some icing sugar and water to make a tasty glaze.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Swiss meringue buttercream

Since discovering aquafaba, I learnt about a type of icing called swiss meringue buttercream. It can be quite fiddly to make but the texture is amazing - silky smooth and perfect for piping.

I found the recipe at Gretchen's Bakery