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This Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting combines the sweetness of powdered sugar with soft notes of vanilla and lemon zest. The texture is thick and fluffy which makes it perfect for piping, too!
I LOVE sweets, and I'm pretty good at enjoying them sparingly. However, Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting is a HUGE weakness for me and I can't get enough of the fluffy goodness coupled with sweet & tangy flavors. It's heaven!
So, if you're making a cake for a special event, you may want to give this frosting a try. It's sweet, but it's not sickening sweet like many frosting recipes using powdered sugar. Some require 4-5 cups and that just gives me a headache thinking about it.
This recipe has just 2 cups of powdered sugar and it's still thick and fluffy. You can use more though if you want to make it sweeter or thicker. I used Cream of Tartar to slightly thicken and stabilize it, but it's not required.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
(full ingredient amounts in recipe card below)
Beat the butter and cream cheese in a Stand Mixer on med/high until fluffy for about 30-60 seconds(or use a Medium/Large Stainless Steel Bowl with a Hand Mixer). Now mix in the vanilla and lemon zest on medium for 30 seconds to incorporate.
Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time over med/low speed until it's fully incorporated. I added cream of tartar to help stabilize the frosting, but this is optional. Scrape down sides and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Don't overbeat or the frosting might turn runny. Taste and add more sugar if needed
The stand mixer that is pictured above is this KitchenAid Classic. It's unbelievably sturdy, powerful and really well made! I've had it for four years and it still works beautifully.
HOW MUCH VEGAN FROSTING DOES THIS RECIPE MAKE?
This recipe makes enough for 12 cupcakes or (1) 9-inch cake if you apply generously. If you want to make a double-layer cake, I suggest doubling the recipe. It's better to have more frosting than not enough.
CAN I PIPE THIS FROSTING?
Absolutely! Just fill a piping bag and place it in the fridge for 1 hour (or freeze for 15-20 minutes). It will stiffen and be easier to work with. The frosting will soften if left out at room temperature too long though, so pipe right before serving or decorate and place baked goods in the fridge. Remove 30 minutes before serving.
WHAT BRAND OF VEGAN CREAM CHEESE SHOULD I USE?
I've made this frosting with Daiya, Tofutti, Kite Hill, and Miyoko's brand and here are my thoughts:
- Daiya has a slightly softer texture, but still firm enough to pipe. I really loved the tangy flavor and it complemented the zing of the lemon zest perfectly.
- Tofutti created a nice firm texture, but I felt it left an aftertaste. If you love Tofutti, this may not be a problem for you.
- Miyoko's and Kite Hill were both similar and yielded great taste and firm texture. I didn't use lemon zest with Miyoko's because it was tangy enough already. The only issue I have with these brands is the price is a little expensive for frosting and they aren't readily available in all stores.
HOW TO AVOID RUNNY VEGAN CREAM CHEESE FROSTING?
Yes, this can happen. Here are some tips to avoid this:
- Make sure the vegan butter isn't too soft or melty. Just soften enough to work with.
- Keep the vegan cream cheese chilled because it's fairly soft already.
- If the cream cheese has moisture in the container, this may result in a runny frosting. Drain out excess moisture before adding to the bowl.
- Don't overbeat the frosting or beat on high speed. I've done this and it made the frosting to thin and I couldn't salvage it even with more powdered sugar.
- If you want to color your frosting, make sure to use gel coloring as the liquid can cause it to get runny
Looking for more sweet treats? Here are some of my faves:
I’d love to hear from you
If you make this Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest , finely grated
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar (see note)
- Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a Stand Mixer (or use a Hand Mixer). Beat on med/high until fluffy for 30-60 seconds.
- Add the vanilla and *optional lemon zest - mix on medium for 30 seconds to incorporate.
- Now add the *optional cream of tartar and powdered sugar ½ cup at a time over med/low speed until it's fully incorporated. Scrape down sides as needed. Now turn up to medium-high speed and mix until smooth and fluffy about 1-2 minutes. Don't overbeat or the frosting might turn runny. Taste and add more sugar if needed. *See notes for frosting instructions.
- PIPING: fill your piping bag and place in the fridge for 1 hour (or freezer for 15-20 minutes). This will make the frosting stiffer and easier to work with.
- If you have lactic acid, you can use that in replace of the lemon zest. It adds a similar tangy flavor that cultured cheese has. I usually add ½ teaspoon.