Don’t go running away at the title – this icing is anything but gross. It’s a sweet, rich, and workable icing that you can use for cakes, cookies, or anything else you might be decorating.
There are only three critical components for any kind of buttercream-like icing. You need a fat, a protein, and sugar.
Typically, butter is the fat. This is what makes the icing soooo rich and delicious. So for a vegan version, we will simply use a vegan butter. Typically this stuff is rather pricey (but so is real butter, damn), but I find that this icing whips up just fine using Becel’s vegan margarine. It’s widely accessible and a pretty good all-purpose vegan spread.
Why do we need a protein? I learned about this from another blog (long forgotten, sorry). The protein is going to provide structure for the whipped icing. If you only used butter + sugar, you’d end up with something smooth, not fluffy.
Typically dairy has enough protein to get the job done, so a splash of milk is added along with the butter. We can use a plant-based milk in it’s place! But, note, you specifically have to use soy milk. This is because it has a lot of protein in it, whereas other milks (like almond) do not. You can use a plain unsweetened soy milk, which is what I choose, or one with vanilla flavour if you want to modify the amount of vanilla extract you use.
I don’t actually think I need to give any explanation for sugar. You know what that does!
- 2 tbsp vegan butter or margarine
- 1 tbsp soy milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup icing sugar (+ more as needed)
Soften the butter until it is room temperature and workable.
In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and milk. Mix them lightly to combine, and start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Use electric beaters to make the job easier. Continue adding sugar as it dissolves into the butter.
If after 1 cup you haven't reached the desired consistency, continue adding more sugar a tablespoon at a time. It should get fluffy and strong enough to stand up to being piped into rosettes.
Once fully whipped up, add the vanilla extract and blend in thoroughly. You could also add some food colouring at this stage, if you wanted.
An additional note: You can increase the amount of icing you make by increasing the butter and milk (keeping the ratio more or less the same). I find it much easier to add the sugar gradually and judge based on texture rather than prescribe a very specific measurement, but these ratios should work out for a small batch of icing.