Lifestyles of the Rich and Sugar-Laden: Chocolate “Buttercream” Frosting
[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.]
Sugar Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free Soy Free Chocolate “Buttercream” Frosting (ACD Stage 3 and beyond)
Diet, Dessert and Dogs
This frosting can be used as soon as it’s mixed at room temperature as a dark, fudgy chocolate frosting that can be piped and will hold its shape. For a lighter frosting, refrigerate until firm and then whip into a “buttercream”. Either way, no one will believe what is–and isn’t–in this!
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (150 ml) sweet potato purée (I always use homemade for this, so can’t vouch for the canned variety. I bake rather than boil my potatoes to bring out the natural sweetness as much as possible, then cool, peel and purée).
3 Tbsp (45 ml) coconut sugar
15-25 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste (I use NuNaturals)
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) carob powder**
2.5 ounces (65 g) good quality unsweetened chocolate (I use Cocoa Camino)
1/4 cup (60 ml) smooth natural cashew butter or sesame tahini (for nut-free)***
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin coconut oil, preferably organic
Place sweet potato, coconut sugar, stevia, vanilla and salt in food processor and process to blend. Add the carob powder and process until combined. Set aside.
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, place the chocolate, cashew butter and coconut oil over low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate melts; remove from heat. Turn the mixture into the food processor and blend everything until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as necessary.
Note: if the coconut oil begins to separate (the mixture will appear oily and a bit curdled), OR if you find that the mixture is too thick, add one tablespoon more of the sweet potato purée at a time and blend again; it should come together in a silky, spreadable frosting.
May be used immediately as a fudgy frosting; or else refrigerate until firm, then beat with electric beaters until fluffy and lighter in color for a “buttercream” frosting.
Makes about one cup (240 ml), enough for one layer or 12 mini cupcakes. Avoid the urge to eat most of it straight from the spoon. May be frozen; defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature and beat with electric beaters before using. Great in these Whoopee Pies!
**I use carob powder because it adds a bit of sweetness that allows me to use less stevia. However, if you can use sweeteners, feel free to substitute cocoa instead of carob and add a bit more coconut sugar or some agave nectar to taste.
*** I’ve made this both with cashew butter and tahini (and one batch with cashini–a mix of the two) and I don’t taste the sesame in the finished product. Chocolate is great that way!
Last Year at this Time: Faux Pepperoni
Two Years Ago: Spiked Sweet Potato Truffles or Truffle Cups (not GF; ACD maintenance only; variation for Sweet Potato Frosting)
Three Years Ago: My Mother’s Potato-Corn Chowder