Ah, the elusive creamy chocolate frosting! At least it’s been elusive for me for the past few years. When I wanted creamy chocolate frosting I’d use my mother’s whipped buttercream frosting recipe, it never failed! But a few years ago I stopped using real butter in baking because of Svara’s allergies. I tried using the same recipe a few times, but it never turned out right. Usually it turned out runny instead of fluffy since the non dairy margarine I can get here (it’s from New Zealand I believe) is softer than butter, so melts faster. It was always a disappointment. So when I wanted frosting I’d have to go with a tofu/chocolate chip version (yummy, but it takes a lot of chocolate chips!), or some type of ganache. Both are fine, but I missed the standby fluffy buttercream now and then!
For Svara’s birthday this year she asked for strawberry frosting. So, I tried again with a buttercream whipped type frosting. It worked except that I didn’t beat it long enough so there were sugar granules in it, not the best when you are eating cake! But I was closer, at least it didn’t turn into a liquidy frosting!
So today is father’s day and I wanted to make a yummy cake for Naren as a treat. But what to do for frosting… I didn’t even have enough chocolate around to make a ganache, but I did have a pretty full tub of the non dairy margarine. So, it was time to risk buttercream again.
Just to make it clear, the type of buttercream I’m talking about here is the whipped, not as sweet, type. The type where you make a roux with milk/butter/flour, let it cool, and then beat it with butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and smooth. I’m not talking about the kind where you beat together butter and powdered sugar. That style always seems too sweet for me, it uses a LOT more sugar than the other type!
After perusing some recipes online and doing some of my own thinking, I decided to do a few things to solve some problems:
Problem #1 – runny frosting
- don’t use as much milk for the roux part of the frosting
- don’t add any of the margarine to the roux part of the frosting
- add the margarine the very last in the frosting
- let roux cool fully before using
Problem #2 – granules of sugar in finished frosting
- beat the sugar and roux together first for several minutes to start the dissolving of the sugar before adding the margarine
So with those goals in mind, I altered my recipe to this:
Creamy Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used almond)
3T cocoa powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar (I used raw organic)
1 cup non dairy margarine
First you need to make a roux. Whisk together the nondairy milk, cocoa powder, and flour and heat over medium, whisking constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and let cool completely. It will be quite thick and gloppy once cooled.
Once the roux is cool, beat together the roux, sugar, and vanilla. It will quickly turn quite liquidy, this is fine. Beat with an electric mixer for several minutes until the sugar crystals are almost or all the way dissolved (taste a little bit and see if you can feel any granules on your tongue). Add the margarine (I add it directly from the fridge since it’s tub margarine and not that hard) and continue beating for several minutes until it is light and fluffy. Taste (being careful not to eat the whole bowl full) to make sure all sugar granules are dissolved fully. If not, beat until they are. Spread on cooled cake right away and store in fridge. When in fridge the frosting will get hard. I like it this way. If you don’t, just let the cake sit out for a few minutes before serving.
- This makes a light chocolate frosting as you can see. Feel free to double the amount of cocoa powder if you wish, though you may then want to halve the amount of flour since the cocoa powder makes the roux thicker. You could just add the cocoa powder as you are beating the roux and sugar together, but I find that cooking the cocoa powder gives a deeper chocolate flavor.
- This base works well for other flavors as well. If you just want vanilla, eliminate the cocoa powder and use 3T of flour instead. Add a bit more vanilla extract perhaps, or any other extracts you’d like!
- To make a fruity frosting, use pureed fruits instead of all or part of the non dairy milk. Strawberries and raspberries are especially yummy!