This recipe for dairy-free spiced buttercream frosting was created by Sarah for the Frosted Pumpkin Bars that she and her daughter Katherine created for our Kids Can Cook section. It was tested numerous times to get just the right spice and creamy ratios. But even in the end, Sarah waffled on the salt amount. So frosting lover that I am, I decided to give it just one more outsider taste test for her. And I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of this dreamy topper while I was at it.
Alisa’s Testing Notes: Spiced Buttercream Frosting
This dairy-free, vegan and allergy-friendly spiced buttercream frosting may seem a little stiff at first. But keep mixing. A minute in and it begins to whip up like a dream.
As for the salt levels in this spiced buttercream frosting, I found that Sarah was right with both amounts! See my note in her recipe below for guidance on how much to use.
When Sarah’s young son first ate one of their pumpkin bars, he said the frosting is what makes it *really* good. I have to agree with him the flavor is AMAZING! The spice notes are ever-present (I used Simply Organic Spices – see more great dairy-free recipes here), but they mellow and meld as the mixture is allowed to rest. It’s fantastic for cakes, cupcakes, bars or even cookies. The latter is how I enjoyed it as shown in the recipe picture below.
Special Diet Notes: Spiced Buttercream Frosting
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- ¾ cup dairy-free buttery spread or sticks (such as Earth Balance or Smart Balance)
- ¼ cup palm shortening (such as Nutiva or Spectrum)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (see note below)
- Add the buttery spread and shortening to a mixing bowl, and mix them together with a stand mixer or with hand mixer.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy.
- Add the vanilla, milk beverage, spices and salt, and mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. It will set up when chilled. Just let it come to room temperature for a few minutes, then whip it again with a hand mixer.
I tested this spiced buttercream frosting recipe with Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Sticks, Nutiva Shortening, So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage, and Simply Organic Spices.
Sarah waffled on whether the salt should be ⅛ teaspoon or ¼ teaspoon since her son liked the greater amount. If serving immediately, I would definitely do just ⅛ teaspoon. If you are making this frosting ahead, and you like a little more flavor contrast and depth, you can up the salt to a scant ¼ teaspoon. The salt will have more time to meld and enhance the spices in this case.
I absolutely enjoyed this recipe. I used it in a Vegan Gluten free Pumpkin whoopie pie recipe. Delish.
Thank you so much
That sounds delicious! Thank you for the feedback Maddie!
It’s a really good recipe without the spices as well for plain buttercream frosting!!
That’s fabulous! Thank you for sharing this Lauren.
Hii, I know this was so long ago, but what temperature did you cream the butter at please 🙂
Never fear, recipes don’t get dated 🙂 I don’t usually let the buttery sticks soften first, but that’s typically because I forget.
When using the Earth Balance buttery sticks in frosting, can the frosted cupcakes then sit in a container at room temp for 24 hours before being served? Or should it be refrigerated?
Hi Kolyssa, like most frosting (dairy or dairy-free), it is best to keep it refrigerated and frost on the same day. If you were making a frosting without added moisture (like organic palm shortening-based with no liquid added) it would keep without refrigeration.
Thank you. I made some frosting with the EB buttery stick, coconut oil and powdered sugar. I understand it would be better to serve it fresh, but if we ate them after 24 hours of room temperature, would it be a higher risk of food poisoning? I’m not sure how the EB sticks work since I usually work with butter.
Hi Kolyssa, I’m really not an expert on food poisoning and couldn’t speak on behalf of Earth Balance. Maybe they have that info on their website? EB isn’t shelf-stable, so as far as I know, it should be refrigerated.
Can I use something other than palm shortening ? I have never seen it in stores in my area .
You can use another shortening Linda. Palm shortening includes brands like Spectrum and Nutiva. They’re sold in both natural food stores and conventional grocers, but are sometimes on the higher shelves in conventional grocers.
I’m not a huge frosting fan, but I am a sucker for all things spiced, and this one looks so perfectly cremay I may just have to give it a try
Mmm, I love your tip about how much salt to add and why. That totally makes sense!! And great to know that Simply Organic is a trusted brand!
This frosting is beautiful! I love having a dairy free option. Aren’t cakes and cookies just the vehicle to get the frosting to our mouths? A bit classier than eating it with a spoon!
They soooo are Amanda! I use graham crackers sometimes as the delivery system 🙂
I’m not a huge frosting person but this looks good!!
This is really great to have! My daughter is dairy-free and this would be perfect for her next birthday cake!
Where are you finding the butter sticks? Nobody in our area carries them.
I find them at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and our local coop. At the mainstream grocers, I mainly see the buttery spreads. Those should work, but will be softer at room temperature.
This frosting looks so creamy and delicious, I can’t believe it’s dairy free! You never cease to amaze me!
Oh my word. I must put this on everything – scones, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls. Yum!
Agreed, frosting definitely isn’t just for cake!
I love the idea of using both the DF buttery sticks and the palm shortening. I always use just one of the other. I bet it gives it a better flavor and consistency. Thanks for the recipe.
It definitely does help with the structure and I think the flavor does benefit, too!
I spy some great uses for this one! Who doesn’t love some good homemade frosting?
Seriously! It’s really versatile, and I’m a frosting addict – no need for cake!
Can you substitute something for the shortening? I don’t think I’ll find that at my grocery store
You can use all buttery spread Nicole, but it will be softer and not have quite the same structure. The flavor will also be a little more pronounced, so I would use the lesser amount of salt and make sure you use a dairy-free “butter” that you really like. I recommend the buttery sticks, particularly if you aren’t using shortening, as they’re firmer than the buttery spreads.
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This frosting looks very good. I will definitely try …
So glad you liked it! 🙂
What’s not to like?!
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