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!
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.
This will make enough to decorate 12 cupcakes or one single layer cake.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Vegan 8
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Hi! I'm Brandi, a wife and mom behind this blog who healed her husband's gout and my digestion issues through a plant-based diet. I'm not complicated, I keep things simple. All my recipes are 8 ingredients or less, not including salt, pepper and water. They are allergy-friendly, as they are all vegan, oil-free and nearly all are gluten-free. You'll find lots of baked goods here, as I've been a baker all my life, it's my passion!