Baking: Low sugar ideas for icing cakes
Looking to lower refined sugars in your baking? These icing and decorative ideas do just that, and increase the nutrient content too...
Megan May’s cashew cream cheese frosting
Megan May’s decadent cashew frosting will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing the goodness of cashews and almond milk. It can be used with any cake that calls for a cream cheese-style icing - perfect with carrot or banana cake. To make a vanilla frosting to use with chocolate cake, omit the lemon juice and miso and add an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Megan’s Little Bird Unbakeries make theirs with fresh coconut but the version here is easier for home cooks. It makes 1½ cups (enough to top one standard cake). If you want to make alternate frosting layers, as in the photo, you will need to double the recipe. Miso adds a beautiful cheesy element to the recipe and it’s wonderful for you, but it’s not essential.
- Rinse ¾ cup soaked cashews. Place in a high-powered blender along with ¼ cup raw almond milk, 3 Tbsp coconut nectar or raw agave, 4 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp white miso (optional), 1 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
- Blend until smooth.
- Gradually pour in ¾ cup melted, raw (neutral tasting) coconut oil until completely emulsified. Megan recommends the organic Kokonati brand.
- Refrigerate frosting for 2-4 hours to firm up before spreading — if you want to speed up the setting process, place in the freezer.
For more, go to Little Bird Organics' website.
Eleanor Ozich’s chocolate frosting
The Petite Kitchen blogger and owner of Mondays cafe tops her special-occasion chocolate torte with this vegan, dairy- and gluten-free icing.
- In a small bowl whisk together 1 cup coconut cream, ¼ cup coconut sugar and ⅓ cup cocoa or cacao powder.
- Whisk until smooth and creamy. If a little too thick, add more coconut cream. This can also be done in a high-powered blender.
- Top cake with icing and sprinkle over ¼ cup cacao nibs, and edible flowers, if using.
For Eleanor’s vegan dark chocolate torte recipe, see Petite Kitchen's website.
Healthy and beautiful too… decorate the top of your cake or sweet tart with thin slices of mango placed in overlapping rows to form an open flower - the largest slices around the edge of the cake, the smallest in the centre. You’ll need firm but ripe mangoes for this. To see how it’s done, check out Ilovecoconut cream.com
Cake & Co’s coconut cream and lemon curd frosting
Cake & Co use this delicious combo to fill and frost their low-sugar lemon coconut cake. It’s easily made at home but it’s up to you if you want to take things further, as they have done, with freeze-dried fruit, macarons and edible flowers.
- Chill a tin of coconut cream in the fridge overnight.
- Next day, tip out the water and add the coconut cream to your mixer with 1 tsp of agave or honey and a few drops of vanilla extract. Beat until thick but don’t let it split.
- Fold in 3 Tbsp low-sugar lemon curd and spoon frosting into a piping bag to decorate.
- The frosted cake will keep in an airtight container (if it lasts that long) for up to three days. Jackie King of Cake & Co says whipped coconut cream is also good topped with toasted coconut for coconut cakes and is delicious with strawberry jam stirred through it, too.
For more, go to Cake & Co's website.
Need a cake?
Try these toppings on Ray McVinnie’s simple sponge - you can watch him make it here.