Every New Years Eve, we get together with my husband’s best friends from high school (who are now hands-down some of my best friends) and do a ton of our own little traditions. This year, we’d missed literally every holiday you can think of together, so we decided to celebrate them all. We had an apple pie for July 4th, Irish whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day (huge in Chicago, whether you’re Irish or not), decorations for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween, you name it. We also had birthday cake for all of our birthdays. Rob and Cat made it dairy-free with our boys in mind and it. was. fabulous. The cake was dark and moist. The dairy-free chocolate buttercream frosting was creamy and rich like normal butter-filled deliciousness, but it had NO dairy at all! She sent me the recipe and asked me to let her know if I messed with it to improve it at all. Honestly, I changed very, very little to it!
The dairy-free chocolate buttercream frosting doesn’t taste dairy-free at all. It’s fluffy and sweet and absolutely everything that a frosting ought to be. Chocolate and sea salt are a natural pairing. The sweetness from the sugar and the bitterness from the cocoa with a sprinkling of sea salt mixed in makes for a beautifully-FLAVORED frosting, rather than just a sweet topping for a cake. I use Nutiva shortening in my buttercream recipes because it doesn’t taste coconut-y or greasy. It’s a mix of coconut and palm oils that doesn’t have any particular flavor and works wonderfully in baked goods. Nutiva is cheapest on Amazon so use that Prime pantry account— it lets you order everyday foods for cheaper with super-fast delivery!
This dairy-free chocolate buttercream frosting keeps really well in the fridge, so make a batch (or try this classic buttercream version) and use it over the course of a month on these single-serving chocolate cupcakes or, if you don’t want chocolate overload (is there such a thing?) try the single-serving vanilla bean cupcakes instead!
Dairy-Free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
4 egg whites
1 small pinch salt
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 15 ounce container of Nutiva shortening
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t sea salt
- In a stand mixer (trust me, don’t do this by hand), use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites and salt. Start it on low and slowly increase it to medium-high to prevent splashing and get the best peaks.
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar, making sure to scrape the sides as you go.
- Once you have soft peaks, reduce the speed to medium-low and add in the shortening a spoonful at a time.
- When the entire container is thoroughly whisked in, add the vanilla.
- Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the cocoa powder and sea salt.
- If it’s too wet for your taste, use more cocoa powder to adjust, not powdered sugar, to avoid it getting too cloyingly sweet.