By now, you probably know that I’m all about the buttery frostings. That’s why I’ve posted so many recipes for them (like this butter frosting with an orangey variation, a marshmallow fluff frosting, this one with toasted pecans; and many more).
But sometimes I want to top my low-carb cakes and cupcakes with a frosting that’s slightly less buttery, but still rich and delicious. So I developed this super-velvety vanilla-flavored sugar-free frosting. It’s a tad lighter than regular buttercream frosting but still outstandingly rich. And it’s perfect for piping; just wait till you see these photos (and I’m not even a professional confectioner, I swear!)
Tips for making The Very Best Sugar-Free Vanilla Frosting
Although it only calls for a few ingredients, you’ll need a little bit more time to prepare this frosting. In many of my previous frosting recipes, you just mix all the ingredients together and that’s it. This recipe takes a little more effort, but believe me, it’s more than worth it!
So, the key to this frosting is a vanilla custard that works as a velvety base. The custard is really easy to make: You just mix all the custard ingredients together and heat over a low heat until thick. Easy as pie — or should I say custard?
Beating the softened butter (softened = at room temperature) until fluffy and pale before you add the custard is another key to ensuring that this frosting is really light.
Then you just add the custard and the rest of the ingredients and beat again until fluffy. Done!
Actually, it doesn’t matter if you add the vanilla extract and the salt to the butter before beating it or after — you might notice that I’ve mixed up things a little in the video and don’t add the ingredients in the same order than in the recipe. It doesn’t matter; the result is the same.
When you make the custard, it’s important to use a low enough temperature and to mix constantly, scraping the bottom of the saucepan all the time, so that the mixture doesn’t get lumpy.
One more tip, though: let the custard cool down to room temperature and no colder. When you add it to the butter, the mixture will form nasty lumps if the custard is too cold! You can place the custard in the fridge for half an hour or so for faster cooling, but don’t leave it there for any longer.
Other than that, this fantastic frosting is surprisingly easy to make. Here’s how:
First, make the custard. Place the cream…
…and the egg yolks into a small saucepan.
Heat over a low heat, constantly mixing…
…until the mixture thickens. Don’t let it boil!
Let the custard cool down to room temperature.
When the custard is cool, beat the butter…
…until fluffy and pale, about five minutes.
Add the vanilla extract…
…the salt (if using)…
…and the custard.
Beat until fluffy…
…about one to two minutes.
Use immediately as filling or frosting. Yum!
My sugar-free frosting experiments
I’ve done plenty of sugar-free frosting experiments over the years, but I did the most recent ones a couple of months ago. I actually wasn’t aiming at anything specific; I just wanted to try out different types of frostings, mainly for frosting low-carb cakes. You know, my long-time dream has been to start a blog featuring more sophisticated recipes—something outstanding, like healthy party recipes. I’ve done lots of awesome recipes along these lines and would really like to publish them!
However, I’ve been low on just one essential ingredient: time. That’s because I’ve had a ton of other projects on my plate (like studying nutrition therapy, meeting clients, writing books, doing language technology projects, and simply taking care of my family). I’ve also become a specialist on the vegan keto diet; in fact, I was just interviewed for a podcast a couple of days ago. That also included a 7-day meal plan (in Finnish) which I’m going to translate into English as soon as I can.
Of course, I still want to make you happy by posting easy 5-ingredient recipes on this blog, just like I’ve done for over six years now. I just love developing recipes in general, and if you like them, too, I’m even happier!
So, like I said, a couple of months ago, I got stuck into lots of different types of sugar-free frosting and icing experiments, from stiff and buttery to lighter, more delicate varieties. And I came up with a really sticky one which worked well as an icing for donuts. (My son loved to spread it on top of his crackers, too!)
I was especially delighted with a slightly lighter version of the traditional buttercream frosting. Although I love butter, for a change I do like a frosting that’s a little on the lighter side but still pleasantly buttery. When I got the idea to use vanilla custard as a base before adding the butter, things improved dramatically and the frosting turned out to be just what I’d been looking for.
And I actually used this frosting as filling in my bébé pastries, because it reminded me so much of the filling in those childhood-favorite pastries. I’m pretty sure they’re a traditional Finnish thing; the shortcrust pastries are filled with a light, fluffy, buttery filling, and are usually glazed with a sugary pink glaze (though different versions – like mocha with a brown glaze – do exist). However, nowadays the regular version is full of sugars, syrups, hydrogenated vegetable fats, colorings, food additives, and other ugly stuff, so developing a healthier sugar-free version of them has been on my to-do list for ages. And this spring, I finally succeeded! What do you think? Aren’t they adorable?
I was happy with the frosting recipe, but it was too sweet for me. I had used 1/2 cup (120 ml) powdered erythritol, and that was clearly too much. In this final recipe, I’ve used only 1/3 cup (80 ml), and that gives it just the right amount of sweetness (according to my taste buds, at least!). Anyway, in my opinion, for optimal health the ultimate goal is to reduce the use of all sweeteners (even the natural ones) to a minimum, so that’s why even my dessert recipes aren’t that sweet (I think).
So, this frosting can do double duty as a perfect filling. But I really loved frosting this low-carb lemon cake with it (photo below)!
But by now you must be dying for the recipe. As always, first, here’s the video:
And here is the recipe. Enjoy!
|Nutrition information:||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||13.7 g||209.4 g||6.3 g||1935 kcal|
|Per serving if 14 servings in total (1 serving is 2 tablespoons):||1.0 g||15.0 g||0.4 g||138 kcal|
Tips for variation
After making this frosting you’ll have three egg whites left over. You can use them to make low-carb meringue, or use one egg white in this tasty granola. This recipe calls for three egg whites, so in case you’re as into frostings as I am, you can whip up this delicious sugar-free marshmallow fluff frosting!
Next, I’m going to add some lemon juice (and maybe some freshly grated lemon zest) to make a lemon frosting. I bet it’ll be perfect for our midsummer party cake!