Whether you're eating dairy-free, egg-free, or vegan, you too can now enjoy the blissful experience of homemade Swiss buttercream frosting. Even without dairy butter, the texture is equal parts silky and fluffy. Thanks to Dawn Konofaos, vegan baker and artist, for sharing the inspiration for this recipe with us.
To prepare the aquafaba: Strain and reserve the liquid from a can of chickpeas, removing any solids.
Heat 1 cup (227g) of the strained chickpea liquid (aquafaba) in a saucepan over medium heat until it's reduced by half, to about 1/2 cup. Allow it to cool completely before using; it can be prepared a few days in advance and refrigerated, if desired.
To make the frosting: In a large heatproof mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together (briefly) the reduced aquafaba and sugar.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (you should just barely see some lazy bubbles coming up), and whisk constantly until the mixture measures 175°F on a digital thermometer.
Remove the bowl from the heat, and beat the mixture at high speed with your mixer's whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes; the mixture should have cooled to room temperature.
With the mixer running, add the vegan butter a few tablespoons at a time. Make sure each portion of butter is completely incorporated before adding the next.
Once half the butter is in, stop and scrape any sticky residue from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Whisk to combine, then finish adding the butter.
Beat in the flavoring of your choice; see "tips," below, for options.
Chill the frosting in the bowl for 20 minutes, then re-whip it for several minutes on high speed until it's fluffy and has a pipeable consistency.
Storage information: Store frosting, covered, for up to one week in the refrigerator, or six months in the freezer.
Tips from our Bakers
Aquafaba is the liquid found in a can of chickpeas and is an excellent natural vegan egg replacer. It whips up well, works great as a binder, and creates quite a nice sheen; for specifics on the technique read our blog post, A guide to aquafaba.
For best results, use Miyokos vegan butter in this recipe. Our test kitchen found that it had a fluffier texture and also held up better during piping than other brands.
The classic flavor for this frosting is vanilla: add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste, to taste. Or try these flavors:
- For coconut buttercream: Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring and 1/2 cup coconut milk powder.
- For chocolate buttercream: Reserve 12 tablespoons (170g) of the butter from the recipe. Melt 1 cup (170g) chopped bittersweet chocolate and cool to room temperature. Stir together the melted chocolate and butter, then add to the frosting.
- For raspberry buttercream: Add 2 tablespoons raspberry purée, or simply mix a half pint of fresh raspberries into the finished frosting.
- For lemon buttercream: Add 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind (zest) and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Or substitute 1 tablespoon (9g) lemon juice powder for the zest and juice, adding it to the aquafaba before beating.