When Britni sent me the carrot cake recipe I was eager to make it right away, but what was I going to frost it with? An internet search for dairy-free cream cheese frosting turned up dozens of recipes using soy-based cream cheese alternatives, but there was nothing out there that I could use. So I turned to my trusty copy of Go Dairy Free, which has a recipe for a cashew-based cream cheese spread. Using that as a starting point, I came up with this recipe, which I must say I am quite proud of. It is creamy, tangy, and rich and it complements the cake beautifully. It would also be an excellent accompaniment to cinnamon rolls.
Dairy-Free, Soy-Free "Cream Cheese" Frosting
1 cup raw cashew pieces
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup regular coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar
In food processor, process cashew pieces until finely powdered and beginning to clump. Add coconut oil, lemon juice, hot water, and salt; process until smooth. Transfer mixture to blender and add coconut milk. Blend until as smooth as possible, about 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of blender with spatula. Pour into container, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.
Place the cashew mixture in bowl of standing mixer. Using the whisk attachment, add vanilla and beat at medium speed while gradually adding the powdered sugar. Five cups of sugar will yield a softer frosting perfect for cinnamon rolls; the full 6 cups will give a stiffer frosting that will hold its shape on top of a cake. When all sugar is incorporated, beat at high speed 1 minute.