Everything-Free Chocolate “Buttercream” Frosting (Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Grain-free, Egg-free, Soy-free, Corn-free)

[Whipped “buttercream” variation. Go ahead. . . lick the beaters.]

When we were kids, my sisters and I used to crowd round my mother every time she baked something (coffee cake, chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, or her legendary chiffon cake) just so we could vie for who’d get to lick the beaters, or bowl, or spoon (this was before the days of, “eggs carry salmonella” and “never share a spoon with your sister” and “kids aren’t allowed near the electric beaters,” of course).

At those times when she also frosted the cake–if she were making a layer cake for guests, say, or a custom cake for one of our birthdays–the competition turned a little more fierce.  Frosting-laden beaters or icing from the bowl were the real prizes.  And when it was finally my birthday and I got to choose whichever piece of cake I wanted, I always selected the corner slice, since it contained the largest percentage of icing roses (because, really, that was the real reason I was eating the cake in the first place).

Around the time we began to bake our own cakes (when I was about seven or eight), the CFO and I quickly figured out that it wasn’t necessary to mix up a batter, bake it, cool it and frost it just so that we could get our icing fix; we started mixing up icing on its own,  in soup bowls (my mother, who was at work and never got home before dinnertime, had no idea about our little habit, of course).

[Fudgy variation, piped onto grain free chocolate cupcakes.]

Even throughout my twenties and thirties when I had my own apartment in the city, I continued to feed my habit and would get my frosting fix on a regular basis. Ironically, at that time, I appeared outwardly healthy and slim, yet unknowingly feeding the latent spores in my system (doesn’t that sound incredibly sci-fi? Ooooh, creepy!).  How could I have known that I was actually nurturing candida through my addiction?

When I first made today’s recipe, I was at first reminded of the frosting of my youth.  True, feasting on frosting may not compare with shooting heroin, or snorting cocaine, or gambling compulsively, but it is an addiction nonetheless.  I had completely forgotten about the old habit, burning it from my memory the way Bette Davis burns off her fingerprints so she can impersonate her twin sister in Dead Ringer .  Around a dozen years ago, I had stopped cold turkey (cold ganache?) when the candida made itself known through a cluster of severe, chronic symptoms that all appeared within a few weeks of each other.

[As a filling in whoopie pies.]

Totally unlike the icing of my youth, however, today’s recipe (a) has no refined sugar; (b) is low on the glycemic index; (c) contains a vegetable, for goodness’ sake!; and (d) is anti-candida friendly (if you’re in the later stages of the diet, as I am now).  And guess what?  Even though I assumed I’d want to eat it all, I discovered–miraculously–that this frosting doesn’t trigger the desire to consume the entire bowlful, even if I indulge my inner child and lick the beaters.  It’s so full of nutrient density that I wasn’t able to eat more than a couple spoonfuls (no, seriously).

I spread some of this “buttercream” on the grain-free mini cupcakes from Kelly’s Divine Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe (have you entered the giveaway yet to win her book??) and later used it as the filling in my own Chocolate Whoopie Pies–my very first whoopee pie, ever!  The HH sampled a whoopee pie and declared, “These taste just like regular baked goods.”  Whoo hoo!

It feels great to know that I’ve kicked the frosting habit–well, even though I may have started a new frosting habit.  This time, it’s a habit I’m happy to share.

[Freshly mixed, in its fudgy incarnation.]

Looking for MORE sweet ways with sweet potato? Here you go: 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

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  1. I’ll take a bowl of this please. xo

  2. This looks delicious! Could I make it vanilla by omitting the carob powder and chocolate? I don’t know what to use instead… ?

    • I think it you omitted both the carob AND the chocolate, you’d have a bowl of sweet potato mush. 😉 In this recipe, you don’t taste the sweet potato because the chocolate is strong enough to dominate the flavors. You could try adding some coconut butter and/or oil, or maybe using a little lucuma powder instead of the carob. . . it would require a bit of experimentation, but I think you could create something palatable! Let me know how it turns out if you do play around with it!

  3. Mmmm…yum….

  4. kitchenspoon says

    Ricki !! I’ve been so excited for this recipe. You are superwoman! Brilliant!

  5. Oh wow, this looks amazing! Making “buttercream” from a sweet potato base is such a good idea. I’ll definitely be trying this sometime. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I come from a family that almost never iced/frosted our creations – brownies, cakes, cupcakes, it didn’t matter, they generally stayed unadorned and we found them sweet enough, albeit perhaps not as aesthetically amazing as other people’s goodies!

    All this to introduce the following:

    All my frosting abstemiousness went out the window with your first photo. I intend to make this soon and eat it straight outta the bowl 😉

  7. My dear, you are a GENIUS!!

  8. Oh, that sounds perfectly fantastic, Ricki! You are the queen when it comes to combining textures and flavors to create just the right result, and a healthy, but amazing one. I’m waiting for my reorder of coconut sugar to arrive right now. I’m thinking that the mini-cupcakes with this frosting would be perfect for our group’s tea later this month. 🙂


  9. Oh Ricki – that looks so amazing! I never had the frosting addiction, because I never really loved cake all that much. But I could see this as a sandwich cookie filling. Oh yeah, baby.

  10. This is so impressive! The fact that I can actually eat all the ingredients listed is the most amazing thing to me. Thank you for sharing your creativity and gifts with food!

  11. Sweet potatoes! You know I’m in on this one. Usually Don gets to lick the bowl; not this time 🙂

  12. Marvelous use of sweet potato mash!

  13. Oh my goodness! Yes, please. I was totally a corner cake piece girl, so I’m thrilled you shared this recipe. Hopefully I’ll be well enough by my birthday to enjoy it. It looks heavenly! <3

  14. Oh my heavenly goodness, you’ve hit upon one of my weaknesses! Yep, cookies, apple crisp, and frosting … those are really the only desserts I need … okay, a small vessel to transport the large gobs of frosting helps 🙂

  15. Yikes. My mother rarely baked anything beyond a cake for each of our birthdays, and it was always the same cake with the same bittersweet frosting, and the frosting wasn’t spread on thick. That was the only frosting I ever ate — all others got removed because they were too sweet and rich for me. Go figure. Even now I won’t eat “buttercream.” But sweet potatoes? Now that sounds like it just might be the missing “frosting link” in my frosting-lacking life. 😀

    • Consider yourself lucky that you never developed a taste for it–seriously! But I suppose if you think of this as sweet potatoes disguised as frosting, well, then. . . !! 😉

  16. I recently taught my husband how to use the mix master. He’d never licked a beater before! How sad is that?

  17. Wow! This looks amazing. I always wonder how one makes icing that isn’t laden with so much sugar and you’ve provided an answer!

  18. JessBubbles says

    What exactly is coconut sugar? I live in a small town and no one sells it here. I have noticed that you’ve got it in a number of your recipes. Is there something I can replace it with that would work across the board? Or would a replacement depend on the recipe?

    • Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm. It looks light brown sugar, but isn’t quite as dry or as heavy, and has a caramelly flavor. The greatest appeal for most people is that it’s fairly low glycemic (doesn’t make blood sugar spike), which is why I use it. But if you’re okay with regular sugar, you could always sub that (I’d do half white, half brown to approximate the same sweetness and flavor). 🙂

      • JessBubbles says

        Oh I am on the ACD as well, so sugar is a no-go! I’ll have to look out for coconut sugar next time I am in the city.

  19. Wow, this is fantastic! I’m always looking for ideas to create a healthier frosting. I just can’t bring myself to use icing sugar and shortening anymore. I can’t wait to try this!

  20. Wow… I’ve never even had frosting, but your pictures and descriptions made me drool a little!

    • Never had frosting? You don’t know what you’re missing. Let me know what you think if you give this a try! 🙂

      • I know! Not sure whether it’s because French cooking doesn’t care much for frosting, or because I simply never had the chance… but I just made your recipe and I’m eating it right out of the blender. The boyfriend loved it, as well… we agreed to keep some in its fudgy state, and refrigerate the rest so we can taste the buttercream effect!
        And now I’ll stop rambling. 😉 Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe!

  21. A girl after my own heart! I can’t wait to make this, it is the first “healthy” frosting I’ve seen in awhile!

  22. that is so ungodly wrong! I am so hungry and am ready to munch on the screen!

  23. You are so creative Ricki. I am always amazed at the variations you come up with. I fear, that if I was in the same position, I wouldn’t find any inspiration.

    • It must be my inner kindergardener coming out again. 😉 And believe me, you’d find the same inspiration. . . I mean, who can live without chocolate? 😉

  24. This is incredible Ricki. You need to submit this to some sort of contest! So darn original. I am trying this simply because I am so darned curious, and like everyone else, I just might eat it out of the bowl. xo

    • If you see the contest in question, let me know. 😉 And personally, I see no reason to waste it on cake or cookies. 😉

      • Hey – Haven’t found the contest yet. Darn it! But I am making this right now. I am tempted to stop at the melt the chocolate stage. It’s so good, even without the melted chocolate. I didn’t use stevia (maple syrup) and I used raw cacao. So far soooo good. Will come back when all is said and done (and perhaps eaten, or licked).

  25. yes I want to lick the beaters – we used to battle for them as well – but we always had round cakes – something I thought was normal until you said you wanted corner pieces – maybe my mum was stopping any competition there!

    these days I just don’t fancy frosting the way I used to – in fact I often take it off my cake and put it to the side if there is too much – it is just empty calories but this is magnificent – in fact I want to try it out and maybe use it at sylvia’s birthday – though nuts for kids is always so risky!

    • Glad to know that we weren’t the only ones with beater-fights! I’m not sure where the rectangular cakes came from–I think that they can serve more people so my aunt used to make them as a way to use up less cake. 😉 Re: nuts, you can try the tahini version if Sylvia is okay with it. I’ve made both and couldn’t really tell the difference. 🙂

  26. Excellent! I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only kid with an icing ‘habit’! 😉 This looks fantastic though, and has me itching for an exccuse to make something requiring icing (other than a spoon! :D)

    • Ha ha–“other than a spoon”! Love it! 😀

    • Me Too! Sorry that I never stopped eating bowls of icing before I realised it was feeding the candida. I always worry that if I make any kind of icing again I will have my addiction back, but I’ll have to give this one a go. Glad you found that you didn’t want to eat the whole bowl Ricki.

      • Hope it works out for you, Bob. I find that this one is so nutrient dense, it just feels like “too much” if I try to eat it all. 🙂

  27. Michaela Karlsson says

    Oh dear, I think this site will save my life!

    I am 18 years old and have just started the Candida Diet. It was hard to cope with the fact that I might never eat sweets again, until I found Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

    Now my biggest problem is how I will manage to get a copy of “Sweet Freedom” without it costing me a fortune! You see, I live in Sweden and none of the Swedish websites that sells books seems to have it, and definitely not the bookshops!

    Any ideas of how I could solve this little problem?

    //The Chocolate Lover from Sweden

    • Michaela, you can buy the ebook from this very site 😀 There are buttons up at the top left of the page. If you’re on the ACD, I’d suggest starting with the ebooks in any case, as Sweet Freedom is really for people in the maintenance stages (it contains lots of recipes with spelt and other natural sweeteners that aren’t allowed on the anti-candida diet). 🙂

  28. Ricky where do I begin. I can’t believe how amazingly good this was. I had my son taste it and he loved it!!! You are amazing! I used cocoa powder and added a few tablespoons of powdered sugar because I didn’t have any stevia. It’s so wonderful to have a frosting that isn’t loaded with margarine and loads of sugar.

  29. All the recipes on this blog seem incredible. I just wish someone would send me a sample of carob powder so I knew what it tastes like though. I feel left out…

  30. Sweet potato puree in frosting? Pure brilliance.

  31. I really, really look forward to making this. Too bad I have nothing in mind to put it on just yet – but I think a spoon will do quite well!

  32. I tried this recipe and I used white chocolate and flavored it with vanilla . AWESOME RECIPE 😀 😀 Thanks a lot!!!!!

  33. This looks so good! Just wondering, how much does this make, ie if you wanted to ice (but not fill or the other way round) a standard-sized cake, would you want half these quantities do you think?

    • Glad you like the sound of it! The recipe yield says one cup (240 ml), enough for one layer or 12 mini cupcakes. For me, it was enough to frost just the top and sides of an 8″ (20 cm) cake. If you like your frosting thick, I’d do 1.5 times the recipe, or double it (you can freeze any leftovers–just defrost in the fridge overnight). I found myself “taste testing” quite a bit, so I never had any leftovers. 😉

  34. This sounds sooooo good, but I don’t see stevia in the ingredients list, yet you add it in the recipe, so how much do I need – I’ve never used stevia before! Or can I use sugar??

  35. This stuff is amazing! I put it on a chocolate cake for Easter and everyone loved it. I left it in it’s initial state and it was so rich and dark.

    • Thanks so much, Anne! I love it, too. I’d say my preference is for the whipped “buttercream” style, but thick and rich on its own is pretty good, too. 🙂

  36. This stuff is amazing! I made a triple batch and frosted an 8″, 2-layer cake. I had a ton leftover, so I froze it. Defrosted it in the fridge and whipped it in the Vitamix (easier to clean than food processor!) Then I piped it on 48 mini cupcakes, and there’s still enough leftover for a few graham crackers. It freezes beautifully!

    • Anne, SO glad to hear that it worked out so well for you! I freeze this all the time and then re-whip it, but I’ve never thought to put it in the VitaMix–what a brilliant idea! Thanks so much for the feedback! 😀

  37. Celiac disease has reared its ugly head! Have two daughters who are both gluten-free and chocolate-allergic and one of them is also dairy-free (eggs and nuts are no problem). How can I substitute all carob powder for the chocolate in the icing recipe? Also,what brand of carob chips are dairy-free and gluten-free, and where can I obtain them? THANK-YOU!

    • Hi CSfrank,

      I’m not sure the recipe would work will all carob, since the unsweetened chocolate adds fat content as well. You COULD try using all carob (about 3 Tbsp per ounce of chocolate) with an extra 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil per ounce of chocolate. So: Use 10 Tbsp (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp) carob powder, and add an extra 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) coconut oil to the recipe. I can’t guarantee that this will work, but it is my best guess. If you do try it this way, please come back and let me know how it turns out! 🙂 Oh, and I buy my carob chips from a place called Grain Process Enterprises here in Toronto. The ingredients are just carob and palm kernel oil.

  38. Hello Ricki,

    We follow Dr. Mcdougall’s plant based no oil way of eating. Do you think this would work without the oil or would it lose it richness?


    • Hi Katie,
      I’m pretty sure the texture would be quite different without the oil. However, if you’re okay with nut butters, tahini and avocado, you could try substituting those for the coconut oil and see how it goes. . . I haven’t tried it, so please let me know if you do try it!

  39. How creative. Want to make some cakes and use this frosting and take into work. I like surprising people with how healthy ‘unhealthy looking’ food can be!

    • Ricki Heller says

      Thanks Sandra! Glad to hear it looks unhealthy–er, wait a sec–maybe “conventional”? 😉 In any case, I hope your coworkers love it! Let me know what they all (and you) think! 🙂

  40. Your recipe showed up on my Pinterest today. It looks great, but I have a question: why use two sweeteners (coconut sugar and stevia)?

    • Cassie, the purpose is to keep the glycemic index (GI) as low as possible without losing the textural and flavor qualities of the coconut sugar. I would need a lot more coconut sugar without the stevia–so the stevia adds sweetness, but I still get the lovely flavor and texture from the coconut sugar. Hope that helps! 🙂

  41. Looks good, but you can’t say it’s nut free if it has coconut, my husband is allergic to nuts, including coconut so he couldn’t have this.

    • Thanks for your comment, K, and sorry your husband can’t have coconut. However, whether coconut is considered a “nut” really depends on whom you ask. Many people with tree nut allergies are fine with coconut since it is technically a fruit, not a nut. See this article by Dr. Scott Sicherer in Allergic Living Magazine for more info. Hope that helps (but he still can’t have this recipe, I guess). 🙁

  42. This sounds so perfect and creamy!!! Divine!

  43. I’m sorry, but how is this sugar free? Coconut sugar is still sugar, albeit containing some extra nutrients

    • The term “sugar-free” has traditionally (and is commonly) used to refer to foods that contain no refined sugar, which is called “sugar.” I see that JJ Virgin doesn’t use it this way, so I guess we differ in that I’m going with the long-standing accepted use of the term. In general, refined sugar-free sweeteners like maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, honey and yes, coconut sugar, are not considered “sugar.” “Sugar” is the white stuff that comes from refining the juice of sugar cane plants or sugar beets. If you’re using the nutritional definition of the word, “sugar,” then there is pretty much almost no food that is truly “sugar-free,” and you’d have to eliminate all sweeteners from your diet, along with all fruits, all vegetables, all carbohydrates, and most other foods such as, for instance, eggs (which still contain sugars). But whatever definition you use, the bottom line is: if you don’t like this frosting, then please, don’t make or eat it!

  44. can I substitute something else for the sweet potatoes? I’m on a low fodmaps/low carb. Can I sub acorn squash? Also, could I make this without the coconut sugar & all stevia instead? Thanks!

    • Hi Andrea,
      I don’t know how squash would work, but you could certainly try it. It’s more watery (and less sweet) than sweet potatoes, so you’d likely have to adjust the other ingredients to balance it. You could try it with all stevia, but again, it won’t be quite as fluffy since the coconut sugar does impart some texture as well. But I’ve had it that way and it’s still satisfying. 🙂

  45. felicity thomas says

    Hi there, this looks great….just wondering can I use sweetened chocolate instead of unsweetened (I have some dark lindt buttons in the pantry)…will it just be sweeter or will there be some other result?

    • Yes, you can use semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. If you like your frosting super-sweet, just leave everything else as-is. Or, you can cut the coconut sugar by a wee bit (no more than 2 Tbsp/30 ml, or else it will likely change the texture). 🙂

  46. This was delicious! Thank you!


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