Vegan ‘Buttercream’ Icing

The best vegan buttercream icing recipe ever! (in my opinion anyway) it tastes just like buttercream and it’s just as easy to make as so versatile with different flavours. You really need to try it.

Gluten free
Dairy free
Vegan

Cupcakes with vegan buttercream

This vegan buttercream icing recipe is so versatile and adaptable for dairy free and gluten free dietary requirements but it’s also great with an option for normal diets too.

DF: Dairy Free

GF: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Buttercream base

  • 200 g Margarine (must be a hard margarine block that’s not in a tub)
  • 400 g Icing sugar

Lemon version

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Few drops of yellow food colouring

Strawberry version

  • 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry flavouring
  • Few drops of pink food colouring
  • 1-2 tablespoon Dairy free milk or water

Vanilla version

  • 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoon Dairy free milk or water
Strawberry cupcake with vegan buttercream icing

Recipe Tips

Dairy, Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

How much vegan buttercream icing do I need?

  • This is enough for 12 cupcakes
  • A 9 inch sandwich cake filled and topped (2 layers)
  • Fill and cover a 6 inch cake (4 layers)

Times the ingredients by 1.5 to fill and cover a 9 inch cake with 4 layers.

Lemon and elderflower sponge recipe with vegan buttercream icing

What better way to make a cake look pretty than by using buttercream. My vegan ‘buttercream’ recipe is so easy and honestly I think it tastes just the same as the original but I’ll let you judge that for yourself.


Using margarine instead of butter in buttercream icing can offer several advantages. Margarine, being a plant-based alternative, is suitable for those following a vegan or dairy-free diet. Additionally, margarine tends to have a softer consistency compared to butter, making it easier to cream with sugar and create a smoother icing texture. Margarine also often contains less saturated fat than butter, which can result in a lighter and less rich flavour profile, suitable for those looking for a lighter option. However, it’s important to note that the flavour of margarine can differ from butter, so adjustments may be needed to achieve the desired taste. Overall, using margarine in buttercream icing provides a versatile and dairy-free option for frosting cakes and cupcakes.

Lemon cupcake with buttercream

The Technique for my Vegan Buttercream Icing

My vegan ‘buttercream’ recipe is based on American buttercream. American buttercream is based on creaming a fat with powdered sugar, unlike meringue buttercream, it doesn’t include any eggs. This type of buttercream is straightforward and perfect for both novice and experienced bakers alike. Begin by creaming room temperature vegan butter or margarine in a mixing bowl until it’s light and fluffy, typically for about 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar to the butter, beating on low speed to avoid a sugary explosion, then increase the speed to medium-high once the sugar is incorporated.

At this point to enhance the creaminess and flavour, add any flavourings you’re using. If the consistency seems too thick, incorporate a tablespoon of plant-based milk or water at a time until you reach your desired texture. Now, your American buttercream is ready to adorn cakes, cupcakes, or cookies. Offering a luscious and decadent finishing touch to your baked creations.


Making American buttercream with margarine can result in a less grainy texture compared to using butter due to the higher water content in margarine. Margarine typically contains more water than butter, which can help to hydrate the sugar particles more effectively during the mixing process. When creaming margarine with powdered sugar, the additional water content allows for better dissolution of the sugar granules, resulting in a smoother and creamier consistency. In contrast, butter has a lower water content, which may not be as effective at fully hydrating the sugar, potentially leading to a slightly grainy texture in the finished buttercream. Therefore, using margarine in American buttercream can often yield a smoother and more consistent texture, making it a preferred choice for some bakers, especially those aiming for a flawlessly smooth finish in their baked goods.

Slice of lemon and elderflower sponge - gluten and dairy free

Try The Recipe

Buttercream is also so versatile and you can flavour it with almost anything you want. Here I give you my lemon, strawberry and vanilla versions. You can also use this base recipe for chocolate ‘buttercream’ (by adding cocoa powder to the vanilla version), raspberry or even rum flavoured icing…The world is yours to experiment!

It’s so handy to have a ‘go to’ icing recipe for any baker, this is mine and I hope it can become yours too.

Tried this recipe? Please leave a star rating

Rating: 1 out of 5.
Cupcakes with vegan buttercream

Vegan ‘Buttercream’ Recipe (Vanilla, Lemon & Strawerry)

The best vegan 'buttercream' recipe ever! (in my opinion anyway) it tastes just like buttercream and it's just as easy to make as so versatile with different flavours. You really need to try it. Enough for 12 cupcakes, a 9 inch sandwich cake filled and topped, or fill and cover 6 inch cake with 4 layers. Times the ingredients by 1.5 to fill and cover a 9 inch cake with 4 layers.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Cupcakes
Calories 250 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g Margarine Must be a hard margarine block that's not in a tub
  • 350 g Icing sugar

For the Vanilla Version

  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dairy free milk or water

For the Lemon Version

  • 1 1/2 tsp Lemon juice
  • Drop Yellow food colouring Optional

For the Strawberry Version

  • 3-4 Strawberries Blended
  • Drop Strawberry flavouring Optional
  • Drop Pink food colouring Optional

Instructions
 

  • Soften the margarine but not to the point where it begins turning to liquid
  • Sift the icing sugar and add to the margarine
  • Whisk with an electric mixer for 5 minutes until it is completely combined, light and fluffy
  • Add the flavourings and whisk for a further 2 minutes on high. If the icing is too loose and a touch more icing sugar and if it is too stiff add more liquid.
  • Enough for 12 cupcakes, a 9 inch sandwich cake filled and topped, or fill and cover 6 inch cake with 4 layers.Times the ingredients by 1.5 to fill and cover a 9 inch cake with 4 layers.

Notes

Nutritional information is an estimate and exact values may vary.
Keyword buttercream icing, vegan baking recipe, vegan buttercream icing

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Gluten and dairy free cupcakes with vegan buttercream icing