This chocolate cream cheese frosting is dairy-free, vegan and so creamy and rich that you won’t miss the dairy one bit! It has dark chocolate flavor and just a few ingredients. The frosting the perfect consistency for piping onto cupcakes.
Vegan cream cheese – Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative (almond base) and Violife Just Like Cream Cheese (coconut oil base) are both good options. They have good flavor and texture for this recipe but are little softer than dairy cream cheese when not refrigerated. The cocoa powder in the recipe firms it up nicely. I do not recommend Miyoko’s vegan cream cheese.
Vegan butter– I used unsalted Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks. The unsalted version is not easy to find, so if you use a salted butter sub, expect your frosting to have a hint more salty flavor. This is not necessarily a bad thing! Salt with sweet chocolate is a fantastic flavor combo.
At room temperature, the butter was still too stiff to beat with the cream cheese and the mixture was very lumpy. You’ll gently heat the butter and get it just melted so that it will smoothly combine with the cream cheese. Heat it in the microwave in short bursts of 5-10 seconds, stirring after each burst. The goal is to get it melted but not HOT. So if there are some small un-melted chunks, stir, and the residual heat should melt them,
Cocoa Powder – Ghirardelli used to be my go-to, but their products now contain a wheat warning. Hershey’s cocoa powder is gluten-free and easy to find at your local market. I personally prefer an organic cacao powder but I encourage you to use whichever unsweetened cocoa powder you have!
Vanilla extract in chocolate frosting? Yes! It is a great flavor enhancer and is perfect with chocolate.
Cupcakes and Cakes
So yes, this frosting is vegan but I slather it on non-vegan, gluten-free cakes and cupcakes. Why? I am mostly dairy-free (but not vegan) and try to avoid dairy whenever possible, but I do eat eggs. Removing eggs from gluten-free cakes and cupcakes is a tall order. Eggs provide lightness, moisture and help keep gluten-free baked goods from crumbling. So, most of my cakes and cupcakes are gluten-free and dairy-free but contain eggs.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (Vegan)
- 1/2 c vegan cream cheese* room temp
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter
- 2 c powdered sugar, sifted
- 2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place the vegan butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for 10 seconds. Stir. If the residual heat doesn’t melt it, heat another 7 seconds and stir. The goal is to get it melted but not hot. It will better combine with the cream cheese without forming lumps.
- Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Beat until creamy and combined.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and half of the cocoa powder. Mix on low speed for about 10 seconds to get the powders mostly incorporated.
- Add the remaining sugar and cocoa. Mix on low speed for 10-15 seconds. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Stop when it looks creamy or you’ll beat in too much air.
- This frosting should go no more than 8 hours without refrigeration.