With just 5 ingredients, you can easily make the most creamy and lush vegan cream cheese frosting that will elevate your cakes and cupcakes. This recipe is so easy and makes the most delicious frosting, I dare you not to eat it out of the bowl with a spoon.
While my go to when frosting cakes and cupcakes is always buttercream because it’s easy, stable, and delicious, sometimes cakes just need the creamy, tanginess of a cream cheese frosting.
Over the years I’ve tried to find alternatives to the traditional cream cheese frosting but there really isn’t anything else that comes close.
This version is the best dairy free cream cheese frosting recipe that I’ve ever made and it’s the one that I keep coming back to time and again. It’s using store bought vegan cream cheese which is essential to the flavour and provides such a fantastic alternative to the original that I doubt anyone would really be able to tell the difference!
I love this frosting so much that I can’t help myself, I’m eating it straight out of the bowl. It’s so delicious and creamy, it’s really my favourite frosting flavour wise. It can however be a little bit trickier to work with than buttercream, but just follow my tips below and be sure to leave any questions in the comments.
This recipe only has 5 ingredients, so it’s essential for the best results we’re using good quality ingredients as it’s going to impact the overall taste and texture of our finished frosting.
- Vegan cream cheese – I only trust one brand of vegan cream cheese and that’s Sheese which I can get at my local grocery store (see picture above for the Sheese brand I buy). Not all vegan cream cheeses are made equal so it’s so important we use a vegan cream cheese that tastes good and is a really creamy (not grainy) consistency.
- Dairy free butter – again quality is important here otherwise the taste and texture will be compromised. I always use Nuttelex Buttery for the best taste and texture.
- Icing sugar – The most common form of icing sugar used in Australian baking is icing sugar mixture which is finely powdered sugar with a small percentage of cornflour added. This is always what I use as pure icing sugar is prone to going rock hard in the pantry and leaving lumps in your frosting.
- Vanilla – for the best flavour, make sure you’re using vanilla extract not imitation or essence.
- Salt – added to taste, this cuts through some of the sweetness of the sugar to give the frosting a balanced flavour.
Honestly, this frosting is really easy to make. Even more so if you have a stand mixer as it takes so much of the work out of the process, but you can of course use a hand held electric mixer as well if that’s all you have.
Start by beating together the vegan butter and vegan cream cheese with the vanilla. You want them close to room temperature – not warm, not cold. If the cream cheese is really cold, it’s more likely going to give you a lumpy, grainy texture as it wont incorporate into the icing sugar fully.
Next, start adding in the icing sugar. You want to do this a little at a time, making sure to beat it well between each addition. You can also use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go to make sure all the icing sugar is combined.
I find 5 cups the best amount for both flavour and consistency. The important thing to remember is that there is actually a fine line when making the frosting as the more you beat the vegan cream cheese, the thinner it will get.
So if you find that your frosting isn’t as thick as you’d like, then place it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes before using.
Vegan cream cheese frosting should be smooth, silky and extra creamy. It’s the perfect frosting for slathering over cakes and cupcakes, but not the best for piping intricate designs. If that’s what you’re looking for, then I’d suggest trying my vegan vanilla buttercream instead.
Tips for frosting cakes
Vegan cream cheese frosting is not as stable as buttercream so when using it to frost multi layer cakes, you want to follow the below tips;
- Make sure the cakes are completely cold – any residual heat and the cream cheese will just melt.
- Add the first layer of frosting and then place your cake in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before placing the top layer on. This will help stabilise the frosting and help ensure that your top layer doesn’t just slide off (yes, speaking from experience).
- If you’re struggling to get clean, smooth lines when frosting, place the cake into the freezer for a little bit. The frosting will be much easier to work with when really cold.
- Store the finished cake in the fridge, not at room temperature.
Recipes to pair with cream cheese frosting:
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 250 grams vegan cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 60 grams (¼ cup) dairy free butter
- 5 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt to taste
- Using a hand held mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat the dairy-free butter, vegan cream cheese and vanilla for 1-2 minutes until creamy.
- Add in 2 cups of the icing sugar and beat on low until combined. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar, 1 cup at a time and continue slowly mixing until the frosting is thick and spreadable. If after 4 cups it’s still too thin, you can add a little more if needed.
- Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the sugar is incorporated and add the salt to taste and mix through.
- This cream cheese frosting isn’t as stable as buttercream, so if it’s still feeling a bit too runny, place the bowl in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Mix well with a spatula before frosting your cake or cupcakes.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.