Since my mother and I have decided to make the cake for my wedding, we’ve launched into full-on veganization-of-sweets mode. With this vegan vanilla hazelnut frosting recipe, I’ve tried to make a low-sugar spread that’s just as creamy and rich as any traditional wedding cake frosting.
I also wanted to avoid using petroleum-based artificial food coloring, so I’ve used beet juice to make my frosting pink. If anything, this experimentation taught me that a little bit of beet juice goes a long way! In the future, I’ll probably try the recipe with even less for a lighter pink. (Of course, strawberries would work, too, if you don’t mind your frosting having a strawberry flavor.)
Alternatively, if you’d like a chocolate frosting (chocolate and hazelnuts are a great combination), substitute one tablespoon of powdered cacao or cocoa for beet juice. Adjust almond milk proportions as necessary.
Since I didn’t have a cake handy, I applied the frosting to these delicious vegan double chocolate cookies from the farmer’s market. The sweetness of the vanilla hazelnut frosting combines well with the richness of the chocolate.
I used erythritol as my sweetener for the recipe. Erythritol is a low-glycemic sugar alcohol with zero calories. It doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste of stevia. Unlike stevia, whose potency is far stronger than sugar’s, erythritol is a milder sweetener, meaning that you can use roughly the same amount of it as you would sugar.
Having lived in the Northwest, I have a special place in my heart for hazelnuts. There is a sort of no-nonsense sophistication about them, if one can say such a thing about a nut. In this recipe, they help balance the sweetness of the frosting and provide its creamy texture. Raw cashews would also work beautifully here—and I may try them in my next experiment!
Finally, guar gum firms up the frosting just enough. Be careful not to use a heavy hand with the guar gum since too much can give the frosting a mealy texture (I learned this the hard way in my first attempt!).
Pink Vegan Vanilla Hazelnut Frosting
(Makes about two cups)
1 ¼ cup powdered erythritol
3 tbs. unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 tbs. unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh beet juice (or less, for a lighter pink)
½ cup raw hazelnuts
1 tsp. guar gum
At a low heat, warm almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and beet juice in a small skillet. Be careful not to let the mixture boil. Warming the liquid will help the erythritol completely dissolve.
Add erythritol to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour warmed liquid mixture or erythritol and stir until well blended.
Combine frosting, gaur gum, and hazelnuts in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until creamy. Refrigerate before applying to cake or cupcakes and serving. Cooling the mixture will make it a bit stiffer, allowing for more control when spreading.
What’s your go-to recipe for vegan frosting?
Also see: Banana Bread Brownies
Photos: Mary Hood