Since Megan became a vegan six months ago for health reasons (adopting a low GI, dairy free, lower gluten and refined sugar free plant based diet) I have been looking more and more deeply into the benefits of eating a healthier diet. It is working wonders for my daughter already, and the more I research into it, the more I have come to realise that although we are vegetarian, we rely too much on some animal products, and use too many processed and refined foods. So I have been consciously making the change to wholegrain flours and using some of the gluten free alternatives such as buckwheat flour. I'm also cutting back on the use of sugar, substituting maple syrup and other natural sweeteners where possible. Dairy milk is being replaced with almond milk in my cooking and I completely avoid cow's milk personally. Jars and packet foods, and anything that contains artificial additives are slowly being eliminated in favour of a more natural diet, with more food cooked completely from scratch. It is really liberating to experiment and rediscover ingredients.
However I am a big cake fan and refuse to let indulgent treats disappear from my repertoire completely. I've found several excellent cake recipes, which are dairy free or completely vegan, but the search for a good, creamy frosting has eluded me. Ganaches are good, made using soya cream, but are not the same as a creamy, light filling. I want to avoid the use of highly refined icing sugar so a dairy free buttercream was not the solution. After trawling through some American vegan sites I found several recipes (like this one) that used canned coconut milk which had to be chilled and separated into the 'curds and whey', a process which didn't work with all brands. It all sounded a bit complicated, slightly hit or miss and required cooking followed by extra chilling and was prone to separating if left for too long. Not the simple, easy and instant recipe I was after, but it inspired me to experiment with coconut as a base for the perfect frosting.
My eureka moment came when I found 200g pouches of thick coconut milk in Morrison's. It is more like a very thick cream instead of the liquid and solid contents of the cans, so needed no preparation. I stored it in the fridge after shopping to keep it chilled so it didn't melt and liquefy in the heat of my kitchen. I was ready to give it a go and it worked an absolute treat!
Vegan Chocolate Frosting Ingredients
200g pouch of chilled Morrison's Coconut Milk
200g Morrison's Saver's Dark Chocolate (which is dairy free unlike some of the more expensive options)
Melt the chocolate in a microwave on medium heat.
Allow to cool slightly.
Add the pouch of coconut milk.
Whisk together until light and creamy.
Use to fill and top a cake.
The frosting does not taste strongly of coconut. Instead it is light, thick, smooth, fudgy and creamy with a lovely rich chocolatey taste. It isn't overly sweet or heavy, and it remained very stable at room temperature. It was a really simple one step recipe that made a frosting that was ready to use straight away. It is the exact frosting I have wanted to make since I started experimenting with vegan cake recipes and one I will make again and again.