Vegan Chocolate Espresso Truffle Frosting

Vegan Chocolate Espresso Truffle Frosting

One of my very favorite desserts to eat has always been cupcakes. I love cookies and brownies, but cupcakes has always been at the top. I love the combo of soft cake with a sweet frosting. The only thing that ever tops a cupcake, is my #1 dessert of all time, Tiramisu. But that's a whole other story. The only issue with cupcake frosting, is that they are always full of butter or coconut oil. Since I don't use either of those, I wanted a frosting that I could use on cupcakes that was still really sweet, but that would hold it's shape and be pipe-able and not have a ton of ingredients in it. You know, really simple.

This is it folks and it's only 5 ingredients! It is basically the texture of a soft ganache truffle. It's much more firm than a traditional buttercream, but that can simply be adjusted by adding more milk. It is liquid when you mix all the ingredients, but then firms up soft, just like a truffle. It is still soft, yet firm. So, it's not quite as soft as a buttercream frosting, but truly like eating a truffle...as frosting.

It's super simple, you are basically creating a simple ganache with chocolate and milk, just like I did here in my Cranberry Dark Chocolate Truffles, except I used regular chocolate chips, so it would be sweet enough. Then I added some coconut milk and some pumpkin, espresso, vanilla extract and some salt. Melt it all, mix it up and let cool a bit so it is firm enough to pipe. You could use it right away and just drizzle it on as a glaze and let it firm up that way, but like I said, I wanted a frosting.

But, what to use instead of butter to give it some softness and body? Pumpkin.

Best Vegan Chocolate Frosting for Cakes, Brownies and Cupcakes

I recently made my Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes and decorated them with this truffle frosting. I got the idea to add pumpkin based off of that cake. It gives it a little more stability and light texture.

I'm providing 3 different exciting ways to use this Vegan Chocolate Espresso Truffle Frosting...all based on different chill times.

For the top effect, which is swirled and firm (but not whipped), you are just chilling it for less time and then just pipe it out and let it firm. For the middle whipped effect, you are chilling it the longest. For the 3rd effect, it is only chilled a short time, so that when you pipe it out, it creates a more flat effect.

I mean, just look at how that looks just like a buttercream frosting when whipped! The taste is nothing short of DIVINE. As it cools a bit, it will firm up more like the center of a soft ganache truffle.

You can use this on cakes, cupcakes, brownies, donuts or even cookies. There is no dairy and no added oil,  yet it's so rich and amazing. I really hope you love this Vegan Chocolate Espresso Truffle Frosting. Be sure to leave me feedback below, as always after you make it!

Vegan Chocolate Espresso Truffle Frosting

Vegan Chocolate Espresso Truffle Frosting. JUST 5 ingredients is all you need for this amazing rich chocolate espresso truffle frosting for all your cupcakes, cakes, brownies, donuts or cookie NEEDS! Dairy-free and no added oil!

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups (406 g) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life )
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons canned “lite” coconut milk , room temperature (shake can well before measuring, I'm sure cashew or soy milk would work too. Creamy is necessary or it will make your frosting more runny)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or use 1/4 teaspoon for a peppermint flavor)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon instant ground espresso powder (I used 1 teaspoon, the more you add, the stronger the flavor and darker of a chocolate flavor it will give)
  • 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree, use the less watery part
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Note: You can make these as actual truffles too if you want! Just decrease the milk to only 1/2 cup and chill probably at least an hour or so, until the mixture is firm enough to scoop out into balls and not too soft. Roll them into cocoa powder, sugar or crushed nuts.
  • Note: To make this for a double layer cake, this is enough frosting, but you will need to add more milk and I'd recommend some sugar as well, as this icing is too firm to frost a cake with. You'll need probably an extra 1/4-1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 cup sugar or more for sweetness for a double layer cake. This frosting is a more dark chocolate flavor, so for parties, I recommend adding the extra sugar. I use white. After chilling and whipping the icing, add more milk or sugar as needed for desired texture.

Instructions

  1. This will make enough to decorate 12 cupcakes or one single layer cake.
  2. Add just the chocolate chips to a large, preferably tall bowl (for whipping later). Add them to a microwave and heat at 30 second intervals 3 times, stirring well after each 30 seconds. This helps to prevent the top burning. After the 3rd heating, add the milk (make sure it’s not cold) and heat for just 30 more seconds. At this point, stir all of the chocolate and milk together well until completely melted and smooth and no more bits left. I found this exact time heating session to be perfect to get it all smooth, melted and not overheated, but if yours is not melting after stirring a minute or so with the milk, heat it only at 10 second intervals until nearly all melted. You want to be careful not to burn the chocolate or it will ruin it.
  3. Now add the remaining ingredients and puree with a hand immersion blender. You can use a food processor if you don’t have one. You just want to make sure the chocolate is completely smooth.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. You have a few options now depending on the type of frosting you want. If you chill it for about 15-20 minutes only, it should be firm enough to pipe through a bag and leave a smooth, flat, decorative glaze on the cupcakes. If you chill it 30 minutes, it will be firmer to pipe out and leave a more stacked, icing style swirl texture. Chill for 45 minutes and then it should be firm enough to whip with an electric hand beater to resemble a whipped buttercream frosting look. If it’s too firm, let it sit at room temp for just a few minutes. If it’s too liquidy and not whipping up to a thick frosting texture, chill it just a few more minutes. I would suggest the 3rd option to serve to guests because it’s visually appealing. Just whip it for about a minute and it should be fluffy, it doesn’t take long. I used a piping tip, but you can cut a small corner off of a plastic baggie if you want to as well. Or, just use a knife to spread the frosting on after it’s whipped, which would work best for a full cake. Each one will firm up nicely like a soft truffle as it sits a bit at room temperature.

Notes

Nutrition of frosting per serving of decorated cupcake (based on 12): Calories: 189.1 Fat: 11.9 g Carbohydrates: 20.7 g Sugar: 15.8 g Sodium: 19.2 mg Fiber: 2.3 g Protein: 2.2 g

7.5
1863

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58 Comments

  1. Oh my. I could gobble up a couple dozen of these all by Myself ♥
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, very tempting, thank you Angela!
  2. This looks so delicious and elegant! Perfect to put on any cupcakes. This is definitely a chocolate lover recipe for all those cravings. It looks so inviting and rich on top of those beautiful cupcakes. Fantastic recipe as always. Thanks for sharing this with us, Brandi!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Florian!
  3. Wow, these look decadent:) Who would have thought about putting pumpkin in the frosting? Not me! Well done
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Christine! I decided to add the pumpkin based off of using pumpkin in my Chocolate Peppermint Cake recipe and it helped give it more body too instead of using butter! It is so rich and delicious!
  4. I love all sweets (duh!) but cupcakes are my top pick always too! Especially ones with generous amounts of frosting...okay lets be real, I just love creamy rich frosting :D So I am just awestruck over here, wanting to dip a spoon right into that bowl. I have to admit ever since you posted that pic on FB a couple of days ago I have not been able to get this frosting out of my head haha! Frosting is such a tricky thing to make "healthy", but going the ganache direction is really smart! No powdered sugar or butter required. Now I'm still on team cupcake, all the way, but I wonder if you could scoop and chill this in little balls and make actual truffles too?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Natalie! Omg, yes, I forgot to note that...doing it now. You just decrease the milk slightly to make them as actual truffles, so they hold their ball shape :) I must admit, I was eating the frosting (after whipped) with a spoon....bad girl! So dangerously good.
  5. Chocolate heaven right here, oh, my! Cupcakes are my favorite, too and for the very reason you explained. But truffle frosting? That's perfection!! I've been working on a frosting recipe for Willow's birthday, but now I'm tempted to just throw my idea at the window and use this! Looks amazing...just give me a spoon!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww thanks so much Mandy! It's really so unbelievably delicious and spoon-worthy, haha!
  6. Oh my goodness girl you almost gave me a heart attack with this one a healthy frosting recipe? Is there anything better in life? I don't think so, really I don't. This looks ridiculous. And by ridiculous I mean utterly delicious and more amazing then words can describe. Wow I think those are seriously the most beautiful and delicious looking cupcakes I have ever seen. Question, would it work to melt the chocolate over the stove? I seriously have to get into the whole baking thing but time is so limited for me with two jobs and also I have like no baking supplies but every time I see you post a baking thing I am always like I have to go buy baking pans. But then my crazy schedule continues and I forget. But I will get to it I swear cause I need some of your baked goods in my life. I probably haven't had a cupcake since I was a kid. Yeah no lie. I need one or maybe 20 of these. Hahahaha
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Awww that is such a sweet compliment Christina! Thank you! I wouldn't call these healthy though, lol! They are still full of sugar :) But they certainly don't make me feel sick like traditional buttercream does and yet, they are insanely rich and delish! OH yes, definitely, I know you sound busy, but just a muffin pan, cookie sheet pan and loaf pan will get you most things! Wow, no cupcake since you were a kid? Wow, that's a long time! Yes, would definitely work melting it over the stove, just don't melt it directly in a pan, put it in a heat-safe glass bowl and place that over a pan of water and bring the water to a boil and melt the chocolate that way. I'm just too lazy to do that and use the microwave because it's faster, but you can totally avoid the microwave too :)
  7. This is such an awesome recipe, Brandi! I made a frosting that has a similar texture with avocado, but I love the idea of using pumpkin. I'm definitely going to try this.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you Linda! This is easily the yummiest frosting I've ever made! Yes, I've seen those avocado frostings around and they look yummy!
  8. After the week I've had I'd like to take a frosting bath in this right about now! I love chocolate frosting, especially the healthy kind. I'd top pretty much anything with this so watch out! I used that same whipped effect in my carrot cake frosting by whipping it after chilling and it works so well! I love the whipped version best I think too....I can taste it melting in my mouth right now! YUM!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much lady!! It was so good, spoon-worthy!!! Dangerous honestly, lol!
  9. Probably could eat this frosting by the spoonful, it looks so rich and delicious.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I may have had a couple myself, thank you Thalia!
  10. Brandi, this frosting looks absolutely divine!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So sweet, thank you so much Gena!
  11. Wow this frosting looks incredible Brandi! So decadent and delicious. The photos are absolutely stunning. I can already picture myself eating all of this frosting in one go with a spoon!!!! You know how much I love chocolate! Yummmm!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww thank you so much Harriet, you are so sweet!!
  12. This frosting looks incredible! As a new vegan, I'm looking for yummy recipes to add to my cooking/baking list. THIS is what I'm making for a Mother's Day cake! Don't worry.... I'll be sharing with my family. :) It looks like I may double the batch to make a 2-layer cake. Thank you so much, Brandi!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Awesome Kristy, I can't wait to hear what you think of it, be sure to come back and let me know!!
  13. Brandi! I wish I could give this recipe 10 stars! Or 100 stars! I made black bean brownies for the first time and wanted to frost them (just in case I didn't like the brownies!) As it turns out, the brownies were delicious on their own but this frosting took them to be-still-my-heart-I-think-I've-died-and-gone-to-chocolate-heaven!!! As always, your directions were as clear as a bell and this recipe could not have been easier. I chilled the frosting for about a half hour and just whipped it with a fork since it was for brownies not cupcakes and didn't need to be super fluffy. I may or may not have eaten half of it with a spoon! Thank you for continuing to come up with fabulous recipes!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so very much Diana for the amazing review and pic you shared on Instagram!! I appreciate it so much!! That whole brownie looked like sheer chocolate heaven!!
  14. Oh yeah baby! This looks SO damn good
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, thanks Aimee!
  15. It looks so decadent!! Love that it's healthy. I would just eat it by the spoonful!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I may have eaten some spoonfuls!
  16. these look gorgeous..esp the frosting!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you!!
  17. I'm with you on loving cupcakes. I love the size of them. They're totally personally sized desserts and dang, that frosting!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Kelly! I've been eating SO many cupcakes lately as I was perfecting a new recipe for vanilla ones and I'm definitely getting my share of them, haha!
  18. Uma
    Looks awesome ! Pictures are very tempting, and lovely ingredients:) got to try this.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Uma!
  19. That is the most delicious and decadent looking chocolate frosting I have seen!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Awww thanks so much, that is so sweet of you to say!
  20. OMG!!! This looks just insanely good Brandi, I am actually drooling! Amazing photos as always
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much sweet Hedi!! :)
  21. Wow! These look like my absolute dream! Perfect for my chocolate and coffee obsessed self. Pinning so I remember to make these next time cupcakes are calling my name.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Vanessa, chocolate and coffee are my absolute favorite all-time combo!
  22. Oh my goodness, these look absolutely amazing!! I was already craving chocolate before happening on these, and now I will definitely have to head to the kitchen and satisfy that craving!!
  23. These look amazing. Chocolate cupcakes are my favorite. I imagine adding espresso makes them even better.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      It definitely takes them up a notch, thank you so much!
  24. I don't like coffee but these look amazing, Brandi!! :-) Love the pictures!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Sina, so sweet, so glad you love the pictures!
  25. Have you ever made this without the coffee? While it sounds great to me, it is for a four year old birthday party so I'm not sure they will be as excited about the added flavor. Also, do you have a vanilla frosting recipie? All the dairy/egg/nut free ones I fine use margarine of some sort, which I'm not big on giving my kids. I used your strawberry frosting for my daughter's first birthday and loved it, so I'm back here for another flavor!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Mary! You can just leave out the espresso, it will still be delicious, it's just a small amount to make the chocolate taste richer, you don't actually taste espresso hardly. But you can simply leave it out. I actually don't have a specific vanilla buttercream type of frosting, but I am actually working on one. I do have a similar one though that you could try, it is delicious. Here it is: http://thevegan8.com/2015/03/26/raw-vanilla-pecan-dream-bars/ I also have this one. http://thevegan8.com/2012/09/27/maple-cashew-frosting/ They are both frostings, but not specifically like a vanilla buttercream but I'm working on that. But maybe one of these will work for you!
      • I tried the chocolate frosting without the espresso. It was the best one I have found yet. This, like the other vegan ones I have tried, was a little to bitter for my taste. Almost a dark chocolate flavor, even though I used Enjoy Life semisweet chips. Do you think adding powdered sugar or something would help or is that just how vegan chocolate is? Thanks again for your help.
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          Hi Mary! So happy to hear this is the best one you've tried! Yes, this is supposed to be a rich chocolate flavor, not as sweet as typical buttercream. You can definitely add some powdered sugar to make it sweeter and maybe a tad more milk, maybe just a tbsp of milk to compensate. I think 3-4 tbsp of sugar should be enough, but just add to taste.
  26. Oh My Word!!! I used Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips with your recipe (I didn't have espresso) and the icing is so phenomenal that I could just eat the entire bowl right now! I made it last night using your optional suggestion of cashew milk (homemade using your method, of course:) and this morning I could roll it into truffles, add a small dollop to my coffee, and warm it for a few secs in the microwave to spread it on your choc. chip cupcakes!! Versatile AND fabulously delectable! Now that's a recipe! 10 stars on this one, Brandi!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay Colleen, so happy you loved this so much! It is my favorite chocolate frosting ever! I love turning it into truffles as well, nothing like a double-duty recipe, huh, haha?! Thank you so much for the feedback!
  27. I'm slowing make my way back through all my "go to" recipes of yours and making sure my star ratings showed up... I just HAD to re-rate this one on the PC - it's too fabulous not to! I made it again as truffles for a friends and of course, they asked for the recipe. :0) SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!
  28. Re: Cake in a Crate. $38 for a small, single layer cake whose ingedients cost less than 1/4 of that price is a HUGE CHEAT!!! OMG! What next?!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Jane, I do not price the cakes, Cake In A Crate who is responsible for the kits and shipment, sets the prices. I am just the creator of the cake. Also, the price is not based on what it would cost if you were to make it yourself, it is based on the concept of total convenience. These kits come filled with all of the ingredients already pre-measured, it saves a ton of time of store trips for ingredients, as well as you don't even need to get out measuring tools. You literally throw the ingredients in a bowl, mix and bake. Same with the ganache. Many people have loved this kit and used it for special occasions where they'd rather not deal with the headache of buying ingredients they typically wouldn't use often. Just like with any special order of a cake at a store, you will pay more than if you make it yourself. HOWEVER, even with all of that, since I have always showed my readers how much I care, I also have the recipe available on my blog for those who'd would in fact RATHER make it themselves. I did that simply to prove that I'm thinking of them. So, there is no "cheating". A person can make the choice whether or not they want to order one. If you want to make it, the recipe is here: http://thevegan8.com/2016/06/29/vegan-gluten-free-vanilla-chocolate-chip-cake/
  29. Jo
    Has anyone tried adding peanut butter to this recipe? If do what amounts? I've tried recipe as is and it's really good. Love the texture!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So glad to hear you enjoyed it Jo! I think you could definitely add some peanut butter, I've never tried, but I think it should work fine. You may need to adjust the milk so it doesn't get too stiff/thick from the peanut butter.

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