Thursday, December 6, 2012

Paleo Vanilla Frosting and Doctor Who

So far I've tried about four different paleo white frosting recipes. Chocolate frosting is a sinch. In it's worst incarnation it might resemble chocolate ganache, but it's pretty straightforward. Vanilla frosting on the other hand doesn't have a whole lot to distract from the inherent flavors of the shortenening/oil and sweetener. Invariably the results taste like whatever is used to sweeten them, and since coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and palm shortening are the standard paleo oils, they result in frosting that looks good for all of a second before it slides off the cupcake, or hardens into a chunky mess in the fridge. I'm always impressed by the pictures authors manage to pull together before their creations fall apart.

This recipe suffers from the standard shortcomings. It tastes lightly of maple syrup, and it does harden right up in the fridge, but it's the best I've found so far. It tastes a bit like marshmallows (probably because of the arrowroot starch and coconut flour), and before fridging it holds it's shape pretty well. Eating it quickly (within two days if left out and within a week if fridged) is advised because otherwise it will start to separate, but it is by far the most pleasing frosting I've made so far.

However! Unless you're determined to make vanilla frosting (as I was), it honestly makes more sense to use glazes/frostings that don't need to mimic an impossibility. Vanilla meringue frosting (basically eggs whites whipped with maple syrup or agave nectar) is delicious, as is maple cream (which I can't find in the supermakets, but is available at some specialty food places, farmers markets, and craft fairs), and fruit juice sweetened chocolate fudge (see donut recipe).

To my shame, I neglected to take a picture of the frosting before consuming it all... So I've attached a screen capture of  the picture from the book that I hope tempts you into trying it out!.

Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup palm shortening
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
2 teaspoons coconut flour, sifted
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Place all the ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a medium bowl, and use a hand mixer to blend until fully combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the coconut oil, blending until completely smooth.

Frosting can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week. Let it soften a bit at room temperature and fluff it up with a hand mixer before using.

Notes: Makes 1 1/4 cups

Source: "Paleo Indulgences" by Tammy Credicott (this is a fabulous book! The recipes are different, the  ingredients are practical and accessible, and everything I've made so far has been delicious)

In completely unrelated news, I am an avid Doctor Who fan, and am making my sisters hand painted TARDIS t-shirts for Christmas. One of them was kind enough to model it for me. :) I'm currently trying to decide what to add to the back... most likely there will be a swarm of invading daleks attacking the ship  :)


  1. Would it be possible to sub more coconut oil for palm shortening? Or what else would you suggest?

    Appreciate your postings, very helpful.

    London :)

  2. In my experience, coconut oil is tricky in frosting because it turns into a hardened mass when cold and a gloopy mess when warm. The flour might be enough to counteract that though. It seems like it might work, as long as you're not cutting out the palm oil entirely. There are also frosting recipes that use only coconut oil (try elana's pantry) if you'd prefer not to use palm shortening at all. I wish I could be more helpful! I'm glad you've found the blog to be helpful so far though! If you try the substitution, could you let me know how it goes?

  3. I used coconut oil in place of the palm shortening as I didn't have the latter on hand. For that matter I had to sub tapioca starch for the arrowroot as I didn't have that either. It passed muster with my wife. The texture is a little more gloopy than a standard frosting, but I'm sure with a little cooling it will be ok. The taste is very good - not too maple-y. I think I'll keep this one and try again another time with the recommended ingredients.

  4. I have no plans to make this in the near future (everyone in my family but me hates frosting), but I couldn't resist asking: how could tasting like maple and/or marshmallows ever be a bad thing? :)

  5. Valid point :) It's not a bad thing persay, it just isn't what you would expect frosting to taste like. You're right though, it's very tasty :)

  6. Hello,
    Thanks for the recipe. I'm wondering if sifting the coconut flour will eliminate the grainy consistency? I skipped that step because I didn't have one and it's a bit weird.