So as y’all may know, I make cakes … a lot of cakes, and I get a lot of requests to meet various dietary restrictions. And truth be told, I’ve been more than happy with the vegan and sugar-free “butter”cream alternatives I’ve been able to create with products such as Earth Balance buttery sticks, but sometimes you want something light and fluffy, and not too sweet. Like whipped cream!

And some cakes beg for a whipped cream frosting, like Black Forest Cake! But the real dairy-free whipped cream alternatives are limited, and sadly, don’t always carry their weight and become sadly droopy looking when you try and pipe them out.

And then I remembered Ermine Icing! A frosting borne of necessity in days of yore – it was the original crowning glory on Red Velvet Cake.  The real deal Ermine frosting however, is wheat and milk based, where the gluten and casein help create a network that emulsifies the fat from butter beautifully.

It took a bit of tinkering about with a couple of flour bases, and a couple of different non-dairy alternatives, but I think this one is just as good as the original version (and its a pretty great standin for whipped cream if I do say!)

This frosting is something best made in a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment.  In order to achieve an ethereally smooth yet light texture, the Earth Balance needs to cream together with the sugar for a good 5 minutes, and then beat with the “roux” another 5 minutes.  You can achieve these results with a hand mixer, but you’ll be standing there a while.

Ermine frosting - finished texture

Ermine frosting – finished texture

Gluten-free Ermine frosting … the next best thing to whipped cream!
Recipe type: frosting
Cuisine: Gluten-free
Serves: enough to frost an 8" layer cake
  • 250 ml coconut milk (full fat will give you the best texture)
  • 60 grams sweet rice flour (I like Mochiko brand)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks Earth balance buttery sticks shortening
  • 200 grams (I cup) granulated sugar
  1. Whisk the coconut milk and sweet rice flour together in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking continuously. The mixture will thicken as it comes to the boil. Cook until the mixture is thickened enough that you see whisk tracks.
  3. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent the top forming a skin, and let cool to room temperature.
  4. While the "roux" is cooling, beat the Earth Balance sticks with the granulated sugar at least 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add the cooled roux into the creamed butter and sugar and let it mix another 5 minutes. It should have the texture of thick whipped cream.



Summer Fruit Galette with buckwheat crust
Lentil blini
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Janice Mansfield is a personal chef who specializes in creating customized catering and baking for people with food sensitivities. A recipe developer and baker by day, by night, she enjoys delving into the history of classic cocktails and created a line of cocktail bitters for no other reason than she wanted chocolate bitters in her Manhattans! In her spare time, she documents the antics and unbearable cuteness her two Shiba Inus over at Life in the Shiba Shack.

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