Holidays are all about warm spices, cozy flavors, and intense scents. This almost zero-carb frosting hits the spot perfectly. Moderately sweet and slightly tangy, it crowns your holiday keto cakes and cupcakes with a beautiful, rosy color and soft, rich — yet airy — consistency. Read more about my seasoning experiments and pick your favorite one — or prepare the mellow 4-ingredient basic version to please the kids’ and adults’ palates alike.
Tips for preparing the Keto Cranberry Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
This frosting is quickly made and ready to use immediately. You can naturally store it in the fridge after preparing. When ready to use, let it soften until room temperature at least for a half an hour — maybe even longer. Fill the piping bag and pipe on!
I suggest to make the frosting not that sweet. You can start with 1/3 cup (80 ml) and add more in the end if you need to. This frosting just tastes better with enough tang from cranberry – don’t try to mask it with too much sweetener.
But without further ado, let’s take a look at how to prepare the basic version of this keto-friendly frosting. (For a spicier version, please check the video in this post):
Have the ingredients ready.
Place the butter preferably into a deep and narrow bowl. This kind of bowl speeds up the preparation and shortens the needed beating time. I actually often use this measuring cup.
Add the powdered erythritol…
…and the vanilla stevia.
Beat with an electric mixer…
…until very fluffy, about 10 minutes.
Add the cranberry juice.
…until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Transfer into a piping bag with a star tip (or your preferred tip)…
…and pipe onto your keto cakes and cupcakes. These cupcakes are made with this recipe, except I left out the blueberry jam.
My Keto Cranberry Vanilla Buttercream Frosting experiments
This recipe is actually based on my very old Finnish keto buttercream frosting recipe with 100% blueberry juice. I realized that I haven’t posted the recipe anywhere, so now it’s about time – but a slightly different version with cranberry juice. Anyway, wild blueberries are abundant in Finland. My parents pick them every fall, and we freeze tons of them for the winter to be enjoyed in breakfasts or to be used in baking — or to be munched as such, frozen, like my son loves to do. Stores sell abundantly different types of blueberry products. I sometimes buy cold-pressed 100% blueberry juice and use it to season desserts — or add a splash to my water to spice it up.
I love rich, buttery frostings. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. Nothing tasted better than a chocolaty cake roll filled with coffee-flavored buttercream filling that my mom had concocted. My mom stored the goodies in a large cold room – big enough to fit weeks’ worth food — and I often sneaked in to snatch a bite of the delicacies. Naturally, these treats were not only rich in fat but also rich in sugar. And that’s one reason why I was an obese and sick kid. Anyway, long story short, nowadays I’m happily healthy and can also serve a tad healthier treats for my son so that he can stay healthy and at normal weight range.
But my love for buttery frostings rose to another level when I found the keto lifestyle. Now, I could enjoy liberally those rich, buttery frostings — that didn’t need any added sugar. I’ve created many keto buttercream frostings. The Finnish version with blueberry juice I developed about five years ago. Since then, I’ve wanted to make a cranberry buttercream frosting for the holiday season.
So, it was time to conduct my first cranberry buttercream frosting experiments. As usual, I needed unsalted butter for the base of the frosting (8 oz = 230 g sounded a good start) and powdered erythritol to sweeten it. I didn’t want the frosting to become too sweet, therefore I went easy on the sweetener and took 1/3 cup (80 ml) of it (later, I had to increase the amount because this just wasn’t enough). In fact, erythritol tends to tickle in the throat if you use too much of it. And that’s naturally nothing desirable! Moreover, I want people to get rid of overly sweet flavors — therefore using a little less sweetener is better to wean you off of intensely sweet flavors.
I wanted to have a hint of vanilla in my cranberry buttercream frosting — just like I had in the blueberry version. Vanilla stevia would hit two birds with one stone (ouch! I’ve always wondered the origin of that idiom…): it would lend an elegant vanilla flavor and provide more sweetness so that I could reduce the erythritol further and avoid that throat-tickling sensation.
At first, I thought to make just a plain cranberry and vanilla version, but since there was still room for one more ingredient, I decided to conduct some seasoning experiments. I went through my pantry, searching for warm spices that would be perfect for the holiday season. I prepared one batch of the basic cranberry and vanilla buttercream frosting, scooped teaspoons of it to small cups, and mixed these small batches with different seasonings. Below are the ratings, following the familiar scale * = inedible; ***** = incredible:
- Ceylon cinnamon *** (I expected a better taste, but was rather disappointed. For some reason, cinnamon just didn’t suit – which I really wonder!)
- Apple pie spice *** (A really delish combination, but the overall flavor wasn’t that good to my taste, I sort of liked it anyway but wasn’t too impressed in the end – sounds complicated!)
- Ginger powder ***½ (It was surprisingly good; ginger lent a nice, warm kick that lingered long in my mouth – maybe a little too long, and it turned out too bitter in the end)
- Gingerbread spice **½ (I used Finnish gingerbread spice with bitter orange, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, but it wasn’t that brilliant seasoning in this frosting)
- Pumpkin pie spice ***** (it was just heavenly! Or maybe I’m biased since pumpkin pie spice is my all-time favorite seasoning that I use whenever I can, wherever I can!)
- Cardamom **** (This was super-delicious, too! It gave me a profoundly warm holiday feeling)
- Cloves *** (This had a Christmassy note, but it was a tad too strange combination in the end)
- 100% orange essential oil ** (It just tasted weird; I’ve always considered cranberry and orange a very tasty combo, however, for this variation the combo just didn’t work)
- Bitter orange *** (Okay, so at first I thought it’s close to perfection, but it had a really bitter aftertaste; anyway, otherwise it was better than my experiment with the orange essential oil)
- Allspice ***½ (Surprisingly nice, peppery kick, but was lacking something tastewise)
So, after all these experiments I chose to post just the basic version here — it’s tasty and beautiful as such – and you can check the video for a more piquant version with pumpkin pie spice:
|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if 12 servings in total|
|Protein||2.8 g||0.2 g|
|Fat||187.4 g||15.6 g|
|Net carbs||4.6 g||0.4 g|
|kcal||1701 kcal||142 kcal|
Tips for variations
So, you’ve seen my seasoning experiments — feel free to conduct yours. Or, then you can just trust your gut feeling and pick one seasoning from the list — depending on what you have in your pantry. My all-time favorite seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, was a winner here, too, so I thought it’s worth making a video where I make a version of this frosting using that marvelous seasoning. Just notice that if you add any brownish seasoning, the color of your frosting might turn slightly brownish as well. One way to get the flavor of the seasoning but not the color is to add the seasoning to the cupcake batter. So, when you make the muffins, add the seasoning (for example 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice) to the muffin batter, bake into muffins and prepare the basic cranberry vanilla frosting and pipe it onto your pumpkin pie spice seasoned muffins.
So, I’m back from my unforgettable trip to Athens. I got several thousands of words written: first of all, I was writing my upcoming book, but also two magazine articles. People in Athens were super-nice. Or what do you say about this cheerful text to brighten up my Monday morning in a cup of double espresso I picked each morning from the nearest Starbucks:
Oh yes, one reason why I got the idea to try out bitter orange in my cranberry and vanilla buttercream frosting: in Athens, bitter oranges grew abundantly in the middle of the city — in the middle of winter!
And naturally, there were plenty of olive trees, too:
I was writing my book in a very lovely tea shop called “To Tsai“. They played beautiful, calm music and there was a great atmosphere and a wide, tasty selection of teas as well:
The flight there and back was enjoyable, but the food was, hmm, a bit questionable to a ketoer. I think the butter was the only edible thing on this tray – or what do you think?
Finally, a special thanks to Stavros, a web developer who was super-helpful and made my stay in Athens a real pleasure. And you can thank him too, for making my always-so-slow site really fast!
During my trip, I got lots of ideas for Greek-style recipes. Stay tuned!