What makes this frosting special?

Whipping the butter until light and airy before incorporating any of the other ingredients makes this vanilla cream cheese frosting irresistibly smooth and delicate while still being suitable for piping.

This recipe calls for less sugar than a lot of other cream cheese frosting recipes you'll find and that's because well, personally I don't like overly sweet buttercream and I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone on that. I also find the additional sugar unnecessary, once the butter is whipped up correctly it creates an emulsion that is soft and airy yet perfect for piping straight from the bowl.

The result is a deliciously tangy cream cheese icing that perfectly complements so many vegan cake recipes like vanilla chai cake and cupcakes such as these pumpkin cupcakes.

close up of dairy free cream cheese frosting.Pin

Ingredients for dairy-free cream cheese frosting

Vegan butter: I usually use flora unsalted plant butter, which works perfectly for any vegan buttercream recipes I've tried.

Vegan cream cheese: I use violife, but you can use any vegan-friendly cream cheese that’s available to you

Icing sugar: Regular icing sugar does the job here, make sure you sift it to remove any lumps before adding it to the frosting.

Vanilla: I highly recommend using a real vanilla pod to get the best results for this particular vanilla cream cheese frosting. You can however use a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste in its place if you have it to hand. Vanilla extract is also an option, but it won't give you those gorgeous vanilla specs!

ingredients for vegan cream cheese frosting.Pin

Step-by-step instructions (with images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post)

  1. Add the room temperature vegan butter to a bowl and whisk it for five minutes, yes five full minutes! You want it to become whipped, airy, and light.
  2. Pop in the vegan cream cheese and whisk this into the butter for another two minutes until fully incorporated.
  3. Now slowly start adding in the icing sugar, I recommend a tablespoon at a time whisking in between one.
  4. Lastly, add in the vanilla and mix that through.

How to prep ahead

  • Get your ingredients to room temperature before getting started on this vegan frosting recipe. If your butter or cream cheese is cold they can cause the frosting to curdle or get chunky (lovely!). There's a fantastic article on kitchen.com about mistakes to avoid when making buttercream.
  • Sift the icing sugar before adding it to the whipped buttercream cheese mixture. This is because, at the point of adding the sugar, you'll have already done most of the whipping so you don't want to add lumpy sugar to the mix!

Storage instructions

  • Keep this dairy-free cream cheese frosting in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • If you want to pipe it on cupcakes or muffins, you can do so straight after it's whipped up as it will firm up once chilled.
  • Be sure to take your cake or cupcakes out of the fridge for a few hours before serving to allow time for the frosting to soften. I've had no issues with keeping this cream cheese frosting out at room temperature for a full day, however, this may vary depending on climate.

Variations

  • Pumpkin spice: Add one teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the frosting when adding the vanilla for a fall-inspired buttercream.
  • Chai spice: This can also be added (one teaspoon) with the vanilla during the last step of the recipe.
  • Cinnamon: For cinnamon cream cheese frosting, add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon with the vanilla.
  • Lemon: Add half to one teaspoon of lemon extract depending on your taste to create a lemon cream cheese frosting.

How to use this vanilla cream cheese frosting

  • Cupcakes: Think pumpkin cupcakes, carrot cake cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, black forest cupcakes, etc. This fluffy buttercream frosting makes the perfect complement to so many cupcake recipes without adding too much sweetness.
  • Sheet cake: This cream cheese frosting spreads like a dream over sheet cakes like this vanilla chai cake.
  • Layer cake: if you're looking to frost vegan carrot cake or chai cake this frosting would be the perfect compliment.
  • Muffins: That tangy cream cheese flavor would work wonderfully with some double chocolate marshmallow muffins.
easy vegan cream cheese frosting in a bowl.Pin

More Vegan Frosting Recipes

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!

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Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

4.72 from 21 votes
PREP TIME: 15 mins
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
Servings: 20
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Description

Creamy, light and airy vegan vanilla cream cheese frosting that's not overly sweet. Flavoured with real vanilla bean and whipped for almost mousse-y consistency that's perfect piped on top of cupcakes, spread on sheet cakes or used to frost layer cakes.

Ingredients

  • 10.6 oz (300.51 g) vegan block butter , room temperature
  • 10.6 oz (300.51 g) vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups (240 g) icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla pod

Instructions

  • First make sure your butter and cream cheese are taken out of the fridge 2-3 hours before making the frosting to allow them to come to room temperature. Cut the butter into small chunks and place in a large bowl. Use an electric whisk or stand mixer to whisk the butter for 5 minutes. It will become light and airy.
  • Add the room temperature cream cheese and whisk for another 2 minutes until combined.
  • Slowly add the icing sugar in 1-2 tablespoon increments, whisking for a few seconds between each one to incorporate the sugar into the mixture.
  • Lastly scrape the inside of the vanilla pod out with a sharp knife and add to the bowl. Whisk for another minute or so to combine.
  • If using to frost a cake, cupcakes or muffins, place the frosting into a piping bag or simply use a pallet knife to spread it on, and use immediately. Alternatively you can keep this frosting in an airtight container in the fridge and allow it to come to soften slightly at room temperature before using.

Storage

  • If you want to pipe it on cupcakes or muffins, you can do so straight after it's whipped up as it will firm up once chilled.
    Otherwise, keep in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. Allow it to come to room temperature before frosting cakes or cupcakes.

Notes

  • This recipe will yield approximately 3.5 cups of frosting which is enough to frost about 20+ cupcakes or a large cake. You can half the recipe if needed.
  • Get your ingredients to room temperature before getting started on this vegan frosting recipe. If your butter or cream cheese are cold they can cause the frosting to curdle or get chunky (lovely!). 
  • Sift the icing sugar before adding it to the whipped butter cream cheese mixture. 
  • Pumpkin spice, chai spice, or cinnamon: Add one teaspoon of spice to the frosting when adding the vanilla for a fall inspired buttercream.
  • Lemon: Add half to one teaspoon of lemon extract depending on your taste to create a lemon cream cheese frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 4mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
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