Updated: Sep 23, 2018
The absolute hero in this recipe is the dairy free frosting. As a child, I always admired the elaborate cakes my mother would make for my birthday parties and then as a mother myself, I wanted to recreate this magic for my children. However, trying to make dairy free frosting for our dairy free children was not as simple as I had hoped.
I have experimented using dairy free margarine instead of butter but this was too soft. My children ended up with a castle cake with turrets falling down the side of the castle and a house cake with lopsided windows. I was adamant not to give up and found using shortening a great alternative to butter.
I now actually prefer using shortening as you can get a pure white icing rather than the tinge of yellow when using butter. In this recipe I have used Kremelta which is made from coconut fat. Kremelta does contain soy, so if you are soy free you can use Chefade, which does work equally as well.
Be sure to whisk the shortening on its own first. It needs to be soft, but not melted. Use it at room temperature but if its a cold day you may need to soften it by cutting it into small pieces, putting them into a bowl and pouring some hot water around the outside of the bowl. If lumps form while whisking it is not soft enough.
In this recipe I have used beetroot juice as the colouring as I wanted to see if this still worked for those of you dealing with intolerances to food colourings. It worked perfectly. Other colours can be derived from other strong coloured vegetable juices also.
I managed to perfect this frosting just before our 2 year olds birthday so hopefully this year I can deliver a birthday cake to remember (for the right reasons).
1 1/2 cups plain flour* (for gluten free use 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg* (for egg free use 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1Tbsp white vinegar)
1/2 cup margarine*, softened (for dairy free use dairy free margarine)
3/4 cup milk* (for dairy free use dairy free milk)
1 tsp vanilla essence
240g (1/2 tub) Kremelta* (for soy free use Chefade)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1-2 cups icing sugar (depending on stiffness required)
1-2 drops pink food colouring (or 1/2 tsp beetroot juice)
Beat margarine and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs (or if egg free add baking soda and white vinegar and let bubble).
Add the sifted flour, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Place paper baking cases in a cupcake tin, spoon in mixture until they are about 2/3 full (don't overfill or they will form peaks).
Bake for 20 minutes until golden or until they spring back when lightly pressed.
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Cream shortening with a high speed mixer using whisk attachment until light and fluffy, approximately 10-12 minutes.
Add vanilla and colouring. Gradually add icing sugar in ¼ cup amounts until to desired stiffness. Scrape down bowl every now and again.
Store unused frosting in refrigerator for 1 week or freezer for 1 month. Allow to reach room temperature before using.
Decorate your beautiful cupcakes and enjoy.