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Coconut Cream Frosting

coconut cream frosting

Frosting is one of my favorite foods; in fact, I consider it an actual food group. After all, what is a cupcake without frosting? It’s nothing!

Lately I have been stymied when it comes to the frosting creation process. Yes, I have my delicious Vegan Chocolate Frosting recipe, however, I have been lacking in the white frosting department. For me this has presented hardship because chocolate frosting just doesn’t work with Carrot Cake and lemon cake. Besides, who wants to use just one frosting recipe on top of all of their baked delicacies?!

Yes, I do admit, making frosting without butter and sugar is quite a challenge. Though for me challenge is the name of the game. So lately, I have been on a conquest for white frosting.

Sixteen batches later, I have a delicious coconut frosting that my many taste testers approve of. Unfortunately, my most important taster is traveling this week, so I confess, I don’t have the ultimate seal of approval. However, I think it is still good enough to share with all of you.

Coconut Cream Frosting


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, agave and salt, simmer for 10 minutes
  2. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste
  3. Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan
  4. Whisk vigorously to combine, then bring to a boil, briefly, until shiny
  5. Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil with a hand blender
  6. Allow pot to cool for 10 minutes
  7. Place pot in refrigerator for 45-120 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns white
  8. Remove from refrigerator and blend again with a hand blender, until fluffy
  9. Spread over cake or cupcakes

This frosting will be great on the carrot cake which I am in the process of creating for ~M, one of my favorite readers. She finished school this month and I will post the recipe in honor of her graduation.

On another note, you may have noticed that I recently added a feature to the side bar of this site. It is a survey which polls readers as to which recipe they would like me to whip up next. Check it out and post your vote –for Chocolate Cupcakes, Mango Chicken or Candy Bars.

posted on May 16, 2008, 159 comments

  1. Coconut has to be one of my favorite foods. I recently read an article about how healthy it is for us. That cupcake looks terrific!

  2. ~M

    Awww, thanks, looks great. I want to take my index finger, schmear the screen, and lick :P It would probably be good with minced candied ginger too, if you could do sugar!

  3. George

    Oh I so agree about the frosting, it makes or breaks a cupcake for me and that frosting looks so scrumptious, I want to reach into the screen and start eating.

  4. kristina @ cpbgallery.com

    I’ve been trying to eat less dairy lately but have also been craving cupcakes. I thought this was a dilemma until I found this recipe! Thanks!!

  5. Freedom

    I’d be curious to see a cream cheese frosting made from the tofutti cream cheese. Have you ever tried tofutti? I’m wondering if its pretty close to real cream cheese.

  6. Oh I can’t wait to try this! I have long pondered a sugar-free, dairy-free frosting – thank you Elana! You are amazing!

  7. Great vegan white frosting has been my holy grail as well. This sounds perfect for me, but my son isn’t a coconut fan. Maybe this will win him over.

    Some people rave about Tofutti’s cream cheese but I think it has a plastic taste and it too heavily processed.

  8. Moi

    I have ALL of these ingredients on hand. Hmm… And I’m also crazy for frosting so this is right up my alley.

    One CUP of agave nectar seems a bit much though. What do you think of half a cup? Hope to hear from you soon.

  9. Chef Erik -Thanks, you always leave the nicest comments!
    ~M -Hope you had a great week (I think this was graduation wasn’t it?). Love the candied ginger idea, let me know how it turns out if you try it; I made the frosting with orange zest+juice last night and I’m afraid that after I spread it on a cupcake, I licked the test bowl clean.
    George -Thanks :-)
    Kristina -Glad to help with your dilemma!
    Freedom -Thanks for stopping by; if you check out my faq’s, you will see that I don’t do soy; if you do make a good frosting with the tofutti, please stop by and let us know all about it.
    Kelly -Thanks, so are you!
    Maggie -Let me know if it wins him over.
    Moi -I must confess, I made another 5 batches of this in the 24 hours before I posted it to get the texture just right, not sure how it would be affected by less agave, though if you try it with the 1/2 cup, let us know how it turns out.

  10. Moi

    I love your website. i think you are so much like me. I love how very detailed and educated you are about everything you eat.

  11. Mmm this sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing all of your healthy and innovative recipes.

  12. Moi -Thanks for the compliment, I really appreciate it. BTW, my emails to you are getting bounced back each time I try :-(
    Amy -Thanks, you are very welcome!

  13. This looks so delicious. I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been wanting to try a coconut frosting but couldn’t quite figure out how to thicken it. Arrowroot is a great idea !

  14. Thanks Becky! It took me a while to figure this one out –the holy grail of frosting, making one without sugar and butter..I hope you like it when you make it :-)

  15. tessa

    Hi, my name is Tessa and iam new to this. I have a thyroid problem and can’t have wheat,dairy,sugar,or anything with gluten. Your recipes are going to be the only thing that saves me. I was ready to just give up. I love cooking and eating with my husband and kids. I can tell you have put alot of time into this website. I was wondering if you had a biscuit recipe I really miss haveing biscuts. thank you so much for your time.

  16. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet @ thenourishinggourmet.com

    This is great. I had been making coconut cream whipped cream, and it was working great until the weather became hotter. It hasn’t been working anymore. This looks like it would work with any weather. By the way, have you made coconut whipped cream before, and if so, do you have any tips?

  17. Tessa -Welcome! I am so glad to be of help and really appreciate your feedback. I love recipe requests and will add yours to the list :-)

    Kimi Thanks for stopping by; I haven’t made coconut whip cream before though I bet my children would LOVE it!

  18. Carrie

    LOVE the site! We eat dairy-free, and I decided I wanted to make carrot cake cupcakes for my son’s first birthday, and a cheesecake for our holiday open house. In both cases, I subbed the Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (trans-fat free version, natch) for the regular stuff, and NOBODY could tell. A tofu-hater had THIRDS of the cheesecake. You just can’t taste the soy once it’s been cooked into a recipe. And I used Smart Balance organic in place of butter in both recipes as well–so much like the dairy versions, you couldn’t tell at all.

  19. Bex

    I am making gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, sugar free cupcakes for my son’s birthday, and this was the perfect frosting. I made a trial of it yesterday, and was worried about it melting. I put some in a pastry bag and squeezed it out onto a plate and left it at room temperature for four hours, and while it gets very soft and slippery, it seems that it will work, as long as the cupcakes are super cool when I frost them.
    I used a little bit of stevia powder to sweeten it up a little more, and used 1 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup of butter. Both my son and one of his friends have dairy allergies, but they are allergic to the casein so they can have butter (which is great since it’s such a good anti-inflammatory), so the frosting still has a buttery taste too it. I was afraid to use too much butter to where the frosting would melt, but I may be able to get away with more. I will have to try it in the future!
    I think this frosting would be great with added carob powder too.
    Thank you so much!

  20. Bex -Thanks so much for the report. I think it’s just the best when people tinker with my recipes and really appreciate your posting the results!


  21. Bex

    As a final result, I made the cupcakes and frosted them the night before and then stored them in the refrigerator. (They were beautiful, and I will find my camera soon and get the pictures loaded in and posted). The party was at 3:30 pm, in the boiling heat (okay, not boiling, but 87 degrees), and I pulled them out of the fridge around 11 so they would soften up. Everything was great until they had to take the sunlight in the car, and then some melting happened, but they still held pretty well for about an hour in that heat (once we got them in the shade), and then the frosting broke and began to trickle to the bottom, but we just turned the cupcakes over and ate them upside down and things were good.

    So…this frosting is kick-ass and stands up to the house party, and I do believe that if cupcakes were served inside (as they really should be) that this stuff is absolutely fantastic. If they were served outside, as in a backyard easy type thing, it would probably be good too. Not so good for a picnic in the summer heat (as yes, I probably already should have known, but this was the best option I had, and even melting, it tasted great!).

  22. Bex -I’m glad you liked them. And yes, because coconut oil turns to liquid at a lower temp than butter, this frosting does get a bit dicey a higher temps. Thanks so much for your report!


    • Laura Gregory @ elanaspantry.com

      Hey I tried making the icing and when I put it in the freezer it never turned back to a solid I am not for sure what I did wrong. I followed the recipe to the tee. What kind of coconut oil do you use. my coconut oil looked more like lard.
      Please help my grandson can’t eat much of anything and this would work if I could figure it out. Thank you Laura

  23. Bex,

    Oh my goodness! These look amazing!


  24. Bex

    They were amazing. The cupcakes were a little heavy, and your frosting totally saved them!
    I have made it twice now, and I noticed that it gets even creamier and easier to put through a pastry bag if I put it in my KitchenAid processor, rather than using a hand blender. Have you tried that? It’s almost magical. It fluffs it up and everyone that was at the house when I made it (including my backwoods hunter brother in law) swore that it was better than buttercream. I used 1/2 honey 1/2 agave and then 1/2 butter and 1/2 coconut oil in that batch.

  25. Bex,
    With a little help I loaded your pics into the comments section so that everyone could see them without having to click over.

    I don’t have a KitchenAid –I do my best to keep my purchases of kitchen tools to a bare minimum, though I do have a Vitamix, Cuisinart food processor and a Braun hand blender, so that is already a lot.

    I love seeing what you do with my recipes; your permutation above sounds amazing!

  26. kari morgan

    Ok, I made the icing last weekend…mine ended up runny- though I followed everything to the letter…wondering whether I didn’t let it boil long enough..has anyone else had that problem? It still tasted yummy, but was the consistency of a glaze…thoughts?

  27. kari,

    I’ve heard from others who had this problem and solved it by leaving the frosting in the freezer until it was a tad harder in consistency. The other potential trouble spot could be when you mix in the arrowroot. Make sure to bring the mixture all the way to a boil (as specified) this activates the thickening property of the arrowroot. Hope this helps and let me know how it goes if you make it again.


  28. I tried this on Saturday. I live in Arizona so I was worried about the heat. I made a double layer chocolate cake. I frosted it quickly and put it in the fridge to save for dessert. Wow, I am so impressed. It was so unbelievably good. I didn’t even miss the butter or whipped cream. Thanks so much for the recipe. It will definintely be my go to icing.

  29. Kim,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad you like this frosting, it’s one of my favorites.


  30. I made this and added peppermint drops to make a mint frosting, put that between two layers of chocolate cake (if you can do chickpeas/garbanzo beans I have a good chocolate cake recipe for you) then I made tour chocolate frosting, let it cool a bit and poured and spread over the cake, into the fridge until the chocolate stiffened and After Eight cake was enjoyed by all.
    But you do have to taste test a bit because of different strength of peppermint drops/extract/essence.

  31. Kitty,

    That sounds delightful!

    Thanks so much for sharing your amazing After Eight cake with all of us. Yum.


  32. The addition of arrowroot is so intriguing. I’m going to try it with vegan mayo; I haven’t had much luck creating a soy-free egg-free mayo.

    Beautiful cupcakes- and frosting, Elana!

  33. Karina,

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Wow, egg free mayo sounds like a challenge; hope it goes well!


    • emily

      I’ve discovered something a bit like vegan mayo. I made salad dressing with lime juice and olive oil, and saved the leftovers in the fridge. The olive oil partially hardened in the cold. I shook the jar very hard to get it to all mix together, and got something that looked like mayo plus some extra liquid in the bottom of the jar. It would obviously not hold its consistency if it warmed up more, since the olive oil would liquefy. But maybe using part olive oil and part hard fat, like coconut oil, would work. Also, ground dried mustard seed is supposed to help emulsify fats, so I’d add a pinch of that too.

  34. Kim

    Quick question concerning coconut milk: I’ve read that you can make coconut milk at home. Is this what you do or do you have a favorite store-bought coconut milk? Also, I’ve had trouble finding unsweetened coconut in the stores (no healthfood store nearby) – any recommendations?

    Thanks for this site; it’s so inspiring and informative!

  35. Kim,

    I used to use this product from Wilderness Family Naturals, though it’s been out of stock for more than a year. In the meantime, I’ve unfortunately been using this canned organic product, which you can order online.


  36. Yael

    Do you know if this recipe can be made in advance or do I need to make it right when I’m going to use it? I was thinking of making it today, putting it in the fridge and using it tomorrow, but I wasn’t sure if it would get too stiff.

    I can’t wait to try this out. It sounds delicious. I’m going to be using it on a carrot cake for my daughter’s birthday.

  37. Yael,

    I often make this recipe in advance, store it in a mason jar and use it a day or two later.

    Happy Birthday to your daughter!


  38. Ruth

    Coconut Whipped Cream??
    Is there a recipe somewhere I”m missing?

  39. Kristy

    Hi Elena,

    I have a question about this frosting.. how long would you say the frosting can stay out without refrigerating?

    Thank you!

  40. Elana

    I found your website through a search for “cupcakes” at the Supernatural Recipe search engine. Boy was I surprised when my name popped up in the first entry! As you must know, there aren’t a lot of Elanas around.
    Anyway, from one healthy food loving Elana to another, thanks for posting all of these great-sounding recipes! Looking forward to trying some out!
    Elana K

  41. Steven

    I botched the icing somehow…. I made a beautiful carrot cake last night and go the icing ready today. However, after removing the icing from the freezer and starting to blend we found lots of gummy pieces all throughout. It was rubbery and hard, just mixed in. I’m not exactly sure what I did wrong… did I get something too hot or mix at the wrong time? I’m not a seasoned baker so any insight from the group would be awesome. In the time crunch I went for cream cheese frosting instead, not on my Paleo plan, but I’ll cheat for today.

    BTW, love the recipes and the site!

  42. Rayelle

    This frosting looks so good! I tried it last night but it didn’t turn out right. I used Bex’s version with the honey and butter added. My frosting didn’t get fluffy and wonderful, though I was going at it for 3-4 minutes with the hand blender. Perhaps it needed to be blended longer?
    It sat in the freezer for an hour before I started blending. The blender itself was getting warm as I worked though, and I’m sure that affected the temp of the frosting. Any ideas? I really want to give it another try.
    Also, my can of coconut milk was separated (as I expected). The top half was totally solid, and then the water was in the bottom. I just kind of broke it up the best I could before measuring. Should I have blended the whole can first…meaning, do you think the ratio of solids to liquid in the coconut milk is a serious factor here?

    So many questions, sorry about that. I just found your blog and I love it, and want everything to turn out as well as it does for you!

  43. Making of a Montessori Mum @ montessorimum.blogspot.com

    thank you thank you! M girl turns 2 next week and I wanted to find a frosting just like this. She and her 3 little party friends are going to put the frosting on themselves. I will do a practice run making it this week. Thanks so much!!!

  44. Cheryl

    I was hoping someone could tell me if this icing has a strong coconut flavor. I am making a birthday cake for my niece and not sure she really likes coconut. I did try your cream cheese icing and it was wonderful. Would you say this icing tastes more like white icing or truly coconut flavor? I truly appreciate your recipes and contacted Barnes and Noble to get your cookbook so I could make the cake on the front cover of your book but the party is Saturday and it will take 3 days to order in. I will be purchasing it anyway. Thanks so much!

  45. Kelley

    Does anyone know approximately how many cups this recipe yields? I’m going to do a ‘dry run’ later today for my daughter’s first birthday (which is on Friday) but thought I’d see if I could get a quick answer before starting! Thanks!

  46. Kelley

    Elana – Thank you so much for this recipe!!! I’ve never made a ‘sugar-free’ dessert before so I was REALLY skeptical of how it would taste. I NEVER imagined it would be so yummy!

    Just a little note for anyone who makes this recipe… just as Elana says, make sure you let the mixture come to a boil after adding the arrowroot. If you don’t, you’ll be very unhappy with the gloppy mess that results – it will separate in the freezer and it’s impossible to get it to come back together! Also, I found that I could use 12-14 oz. of coconut milk and just 2/3 cup of agave and it was PLENTY sweet! Finally, I got the best results by letting the mixture cool almost completely (at room temp.) before adding the grapeseed oil (which you HAVE to do VERY gradually).

    I am SUPER happy with the results!

    Thanks again!!

  47. Michael


    Thanks for your recipe. I can’t wait to try. Do you think it’s possible to substitute coconut milk and coconut oil with soymilk/rice milk with other type of oil, like grapeseed oil? Thanks!

  48. Phred

    I’m wondering… does it have to be coconut oil and milk?

    I’m going to try with almond milk and walnut oil.

  49. Lisa


    I want to make this frosting for vanilla and carrot cakes. I was wondering if the frosting is a coconut tasting frosting or does it taste more like white frosting?

    Thank you!

  50. Phred

    I just recently made it and it’s quite good. It has a coconuty taste to it no doubt but you could probably counter that by spiking it with extra vanilla and almond extract.

    Also don’t use as much arrowroot as it will render a frosting that acts like string ribbon!

  51. Sonya

    I had the gummy lumpy problem as well when I tried this recipe for the first time last week. When I added the arrowroot, lumps formed in the mixture that remained even though I boiled it as instructed. However, I was able to remove the gummy bits by straining the mixture through a sieve before freezing it, and it turned out wonderful. I ended up frosting my birthday carrot cake with it.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Elana! I’ve been hoping to find a soy-free vegan frosting that’s delicious, and now I have. I know I’ll be using this recipe over and over again!

  52. someone out in computer land

    hey! one day i woke up and had a huge hankering for frosting…but i don’t eat dairy so i was sad :( then i found your recipe… loved it…so i decided i should make it… turned out interesting but… its like some sort of crack-sauce… amazing… i had my doubts when the coconut oil was separating in the freezer but i just mixed it up and blended it when it came out… it has little chunks of coconut oil in it… again amazing… and it has little gummy things…again amazing… and great overall texture… it works and is super tasty!!!

    So now i am :) because i got my frosting


  53. fern feto spring @ wisestars.net

    I just made this using 1/2 grapeseed oil and 1/2 coconut. I had to freeze it for about an hour, but turned out great. I added about a tbl. of vanilla to disguise the coconut taste as my husband is not a fan-but he gave it the thumbs up with the vanilla addition. Can’t wait to frost a carrot cake with it tomorrow!
    thanks for a great recipe!

  54. Phred

    This frosting won’t go completely solid. If you want to do that, I think adding some lecithin would help as it helps to maintain surface tension.

  55. Can any one tell me what I did wrong with this icing? It wouldn’t get solid. I used the arrowroot and follow it to the tee I thought. What kind of coconut oil did you use?
    Thank you

  56. Hey everyone,

    This is the most difficult recipe on my entire website. Thanks for all your comments and feedback.

    It seems that there are two main issues with this frosting:

    1) Won’t solidify
    2) It’s lumpy

    It may take a couple of hours for the frosting to solidify depending on your refrigerator settings. Wait until it’s completely solid, i.e., hard and opaque. Have faith, patience and wait :-)

    Once you pull the mixture from the fridge to blend you may have to blend a lot, much longer than you would imagine, even up to 5 minutes to remove all the lumps.

    This recipe is a total pain but the spectacular vegan results are totally worth it!

    • Nancy

      When I started mixing mine, after it was in the frig for 2 hours, the batter climbed up the beaters. Seemed kind of like glue?? What did I do wrong?

      • Julie

        I just made this frosting and was really bummed. It has the consistancy of glue and climbed up to the tops of the beaters also. I am wondering if it might be better with less or no arrowroot?

      • Julie

        I just made this frosting and was really bummed. It has the consistancy of glue and climbed up to the tops of the beaters also. I am wondering if it might be better with less or no arrowroot? Tastes good!

      • Julie

        I just made this frosting and was really bummed. It has the consistancy of glue and climbed up to the tops of the beaters also. I am wondering if it might be better with less or no arrowroot? Tastes good but texture is funny.

  57. Has anyone tried freezing this frosting for a few days and using it later?

  58. Yep, made this last night and this morning it’s solidified perfectly. This was a much easier process than the posts above led me to believe. Sorry if some people had some bad luck, but mine is just perfect. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

  59. minnehaha

    I tried this recipe (used the one from the book, so 2 T of arrowroot instead of 5 tsp) but the results are gluey and I can’t picture myself feeding tomorrow’s guests a cake frosted with them. Not sure what I did wrong – thought I followed the recipe pretty much exactly.

  60. I’ve had such fabulous results with this recipe. It’s a shame that other people’s didn’t always work out. I served it yesterday and the day before on 2 different recipes at 2 different parties and everyone LOVED it. This is going to be my go-to icing from now on.

  61. Cynthia Smyth @ na

    What could I use instead of arrowroot? My son is on SCD, so no grains are allowed.

    I was hoping you’d have a frosting recipe. I’ve already made your chocolate frosting which was a big success and a hit. But now, I’m making Christmas cookies with your black and white cookie recipe, and need a frosting too.

  62. christiane

    I just made this frosting substituting brown rice syrup for the agave

    (I just read that agave is as bad or worse than high fructose corn syrup and my biliruben levels have returned to normal after cutting it out of my diet)

    and Tapioca flour for the arrowroot. After I added the tapioca flour/ water mixture while stirring constantly I boiled the mixture for one minute. The brown rice syrup is a little strong flavored so next time I may try to go half honey with it.

    I froze it for 30 minutes after cooling for 10 minutes and it came out fantastic. It turned white and fluffy right away in less than a minute.

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I am very happy to have a white frosting recipe since I am allergic to cane sugar. I love your chocolate frosting recipe and have used it many times. I like to substitute browned butter for the grapeseed oil. I used the white frosting to make text on a birthday cake frosted with your chocolate recipe. The warmth of my hand on the tube started to soften it a little, but I finished it quick and got it in the fridge right away.



    • christiane

      One more note: I transferred the warm mixture into a heavy glass mixing bowl before putting it into the freezer. I think this may be helpful. While whipping the mixture the portion from the center that isn’t all that cold chills upon contact with the very cold bowl. When I started whipping the frosting, only about half an inch of it had turned white around the edge of the bowl, the rest was still golden and liquid.

      I am going to try to make this chocolate with cocoa powder next time around. The grain sweetened chips that I use for the chocolate recipe lend a certain flavor that seems a bit heavy at times. Perhaps this will become more like fluffy chocolate butter cream.

    • christiane

      add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut for a fantastic frosting.

      I frosted an orange flavored cupcake with it. To make that just substitute orange juice for the liquid in your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe. Keep the vanilla in what ever quantity your recipe lists and add some shredded orange peel too it.

  63. christiane

    I’ve made some additions to this recipe that turned out so good I want to share with you.

    New addition. Mocha frosting. To this recipe using brown rice syrup instead of agave (or not), add 1/4 cup of cocoa to boil with the syrup mixture and to the arrowroot or tapioca flour and water mixture add 4 teaspoons of instant coffee and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon be sure to whisk thoroughly while adding and boil for one minute whisking all the while. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and for non-vegans add 1/2 cup of butter and 3/4 cup of coconut oil. for vegans use 1 1/4 cups of coconut oil. Then stir it up and follow the rest of the recipe as written.

    Use it to frost a cinnamon chocolate cupcake. Just add 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves to your favorite chocolate cake recipe.

    Totally amazing. This frosting works well left at room temperature, but might need refrigerated in the summer since coconut oil turns liquid above 75 degrees.

  64. Hi Elana,
    I am making a coconut frosting for my little girl’s first b-day party that is on Sunday the 6th. I am a last minute kinda woman :) Anyway….I am on a candida diet and wondering if you have tried using xylitol to make this frosting. Would you suggest that I add another form of liquid – like Coconut Milk that comes in the carton (soy delicious)?

  65. Jennifer


    I have a question about the recipe in regards to the coconut milk. Is this the coconut milk in the can, or the one found in the dairy free refrigerator section (So Delicious Coconut Milk).

    I have recently found that I am gluten/dairy intolerant. Your website/cookbook were one of the first things I found, and I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed both immensely! Thank you so much for all your hard work and the countless attempts at getting the recipe’s perfect. I know I would never know where to begin, or yet have the patience.

    I wanted to share this with you… your Southwestern Salmon Burgers are absolutely delicious. My friend thought they came from a restaurant!

    Thanks again

  66. Can I use sugar instead of Agave? I don’t have any here at home…I know it won’t be as healthy that way. Stick to 1 cup measurement for the sugar?

  67. Christy

    Didn’t work out for me :(

  68. becky

    I made the coconut frosting but when I took it out of frig. the coconut oil had solidified and risen to the top. I can’t mix it as it is still cold and solid even after being out of the frig for an hour. The mixture aside from the solid oil is brown and not close to fluffy. The very vanilla cupcakes are to die for without a need for frosting, but the amount of coconut oil and honey I used to make the frosting is so expensive to waste… is there a way to salvage this? What did I do wrong? Thanks!

    • I have had similar problems on occasion. Try reheating it very gently, stirring slowly all the time until everything has melted. Whisk thoroughly for a minute or two. Place it in the fridge again but every stir it every 10 minutes a bit until it starts solidifying. Then let it solidify and then whisk with a mixer or handblender until fluffy.

  69. becky

    Thank you for your suggestion Kitty. Though it does not look like the picture, it thickened up and is spreadable… like a nice rich glaze. Appreciate the quick help!

  70. Omg this was SO DELICIOUS — think you just changed my frosting life.
    Made coconut lemon cupcakes and topped with this- divine!
    For those whose consistency was a bit weird, mine was too, but I then used a hand mixer to whip together to uniform consistency then put back in freezer and it turned into…. frosting! Amazing. Merci beaucoup! And just discovered your website – fabulous, and I love that you don’t use complex ingredients (I live in Paris, France where I can rarely find some things and your recipes look feasible…and delicious, can’t wait to try them!) Bravo and à bientôt! Rebecca

  71. Irene

    This recipe looks delicious. About how many cupcakes would I be able to frost? I might make this frosting for 4 dozen cupcakes this weekend. Thanks!

  72. Sarah

    Hi Elana – I tried making this frosting and the coconut oil just didn’t seem to want to blend with the rest of the ingredients. It sat on top and when it went into the fridge, it solidified separately as well and would not blend after.

    What did i do wrong?


  73. erin

    Tried making this frosting for the first time and it was a complete disaster. When I added the arrowroot mixture it instantly turned into a goopy ball that would not blend with the frosting no matter how much wisking I did. any tips?

  74. Carrie Watson @ Inprocess

    In the Coconut frosting, in step 8, you write “blend again”, do you suggest doing this step with a whisk, or hand mixer at this point? In your 16 attempts, did you try using Coconut crystals vs Agave or granulated sugar? I’m trying my hand at no sugar as well. My kiddo has a chemical reaction for three days after eating sugar. I’m just curious if you’d had any luck. I look forward to trying this one!!

  75. Kelly

    Help!!! I made your carrot cake yesterday for my son’s birthday. It did not rise, but looks and tastes great. This morning I made the frosting. I just took it out of the fridge and it looked great on top until I stirred…the coconut oil solidified on top and the remaining ingredients were liquid below. I tried to use a hand mixer to incorporate but not luck. Any suggestions??? Party in a few hours :(

  76. this is such an amazing icing! I followed the direction exactly except I used half Earth balance soy-free butter, and half coconut oil.
    I used it to ice a carrot cake on easter. Make sure your cake is cold or at least room temperature cause the icing melts pretty easily.

    Wonderful recipe! I’m using this for all of my icing needs!

  77. Robin at Stone Soup Homeschool Network @ stonesouphomeschool.com/ss-blog

    Definitely a FOOD GROUP! …and the perfect accompaniment to your lemon poppyseed bunny cookies… (They will look so “fluffy!” :D

  78. Rachel

    Thank you for this recipe, it is a much healthier and way more delicious alternative to df spread mixed with confectioners sugar. Do you have any natural ways to make it pink? Pink frosting is very important to one little girl turning four.

  79. Rachel

    Actually I think mixing some raspberries in would work for color and flavor, just wondering if I am not foreseeing a possible texture issue?

  80. Healthy Food Lady @ healthyfoodsforlife.com

    Just came across your blog, think its great! You go girl! While I am not a cupcake or cake fan (i know blasphemy) i am in search of a frosting recipe that won’t kill me for my sons grad cake! Plus how can the healthy food lady serve something with sugar, I would never hear the end of it. Can’t wait to play around with it this weekend for a test to see how it goes, it looks amazing, thanks!

  81. Joan Weed

    I love your cookbook, I have made many of the recipes and two of my friends also have the book and have made many and we each have our favourites. Today I tried the chocolate cake recipe with the marshmallow icing. The icing bombed, it is liquid. Have you any ideas what I might have done wrong. So disappointed.


  82. Michelle

    The frosting never turned white for me. Not sure what happened however it tasted great and I still used it on the cake.

  83. Hi,

    This looks so amazing and I can’t wait to make it! On the coconut milk you say 1 cup can. I am going to make this but want to be clear, is it one cup or one can? One can hold more than one cup and I want to make sure not to do it wrong.


  84. E.

    Elana, I gave the coconut cream frosting a try; however, the frosting was thin and gooey after chilling in the fridge for 2 hours (it appeared thick in the fridge container, but was NOT a thick, creamy, or fluffy consistency after using an electric mixer). The frosting ran down the sides of my cake, like the texture of agave. Any ideas as to what went wrong or what I may do differently?
    Thanks so much!

  85. Janis

    Great recipe, I just had one question. What kind of agave nectar did you use? My frosting did not come out this white but I was just using regular (brown) agave nectar. I was a little skeptical that it would come out white in the end. Then I figured there must be a more clear type of agave nectar. I was still able to color the frosting and use it to decorate a cake, but the whiter version would have definitely colored better! Still yummy in the end, though!

  86. Michi


    i know this is a really old post and perhaps my question has been already answered…but did you use coconut milk from a can (like the kind used in making thai curry) or from a tetra pack? would it make a difference?

    • Michi

      Elana, I figured out the coconut milk thing however, this recipe did not workout for me. i followed everything to a T and what i got was a frosting that has the consistency of separated whipped cream. no matter what i try the mixture is separated so the texture is wrong. the flavor is great and it’s not all liquid like it turned out for some others.

      is there a chance i over mixed it after taking it out of the fridge? anyone else have this?

  87. Cheryl Parrish

    I found your site the first time tonight. I am a diabetic that has found myself allergic to white potatoes in addition to peanut butter. I am heartened by your site as many GF uses potato starch, peanut butter or oil. I could not help but notice the awkwardness of the icing recipe. I have used this recipe with about 1/3 cup stevia for the sugar. If coconut oil was Jed in this, it would not have to set up in the refrigerator and them be refluffed with the mixer as your recipe. In it’s original state, this is not a rich, greasy icing. I’m not well enough familiar to know which alternative flour would substitute for the cooked flour. This was the original icing before the cream cheese version. It stores well in the refrigerator. I thought you might be interested in the method.
    5 tbsp. flour
    1 c. milk
    1 c. butter
    1 c. sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    Cook flour and milk until smooth and thick, stirring constantly. Cool thoroughly. Beat sugar and butter well with electric beater. Add vanilla, mix well. Add to cooled flour and milk mixture. Beat until right consistency to spread. Becomes fluffy like whipped cream.

  88. Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com @ healthymamainfo.com

    This is the healthiest recipe of a frosting the humanity ever came up with! Thank you!

  89. Lisa

    I’m new to using coconut oil (and baking in general) and was wondering if you melt the coconut oil first and then measure or if you measure it as a solid at room temp? If you measure as a solid at room temp, do you melt the oil before adding it to the pot? Thanks for the great recipes!

  90. I’ve been trying to look for vegan alternatives for frosting. I found this one, and looking at some of the comments, I had some suggestions to potentially solve some of the issues people are having – though I haven’t tried them yet.

    Instead of using the whole can of coconut milk you could put it in the fridge and skim off the “cream” that accumulates on the top. Also, since the coconut oil tends to melt, you could substitute organic palm shortening for part of it. I personally wouldn’t use agave, but perhaps powdered rapadura?

    Hope this helps!

  91. Alexis

    I added 1 tsp vanilla (I halved the recipe…so add 2 tsp for full recipe) to lessen the flavor of coconut and it turned out great!

  92. Shaina

    I’m wondering if this would make a good recipe for Christmas cookies??

  93. Heather

    Just wondering if you have tried making a regular dairy free buttercream with coconut using spectrum shortening, coconut oil and/or dairy free butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla and coconut milk. This is what I was thinking of trying, adding coconut flakes as well. My grandmother always made a sour cream coconut cake which was amazing. I made your recipe plus added 2 cups of coconut flakes. It tastes great but doesn’t look so good, there are some globs I think from the arrowroot pwdr. throughout. Also, think I might try adding some vanilla next tme.
    Thanks for sharing!

  94. sarah jane

    hi there!!

    this is delicious…but i could not for the life of me get it to thicken no matter how much i churned it up…i used in electric mixer but it remained liquid and eventually it separated completely…..whats the secret????…

    help i want it to work!!!…

    sarah jane xx

  95. Michelle

    Bummer! I was so excited to use this w/ your carrot cake recipe but just couldn’t get it to ‘fluff’. Other than being a brown color and looking more like caramel, everything worked fine and seemed to be going ok until I took it out of the fridge. The frosting was just a big brown ball of gummy stuff. I just kept beating it and it then started to separate a bit. It’s back in the frige but I can’t figure out what to do now. I looks so lovely and yummy in your book and on your website but just can’t get it. So bummed! Good thing the carrot cake was so delish and moist, we enjoyed it without the frosting! ;)

  96. Patricey

    Made this frosting last night and then put it in the fridge and whipped it up this afternoon. I didn’t have any arrowroot but as someone else suggested, used tapioca powder instead, which I just powdered from tapioca pearls hoping it would work!
    I also used about half and half butter and coconut oil, and when I combined this with the rest of the mixture it didn’t seem to combine at all. I blended it (with a hand blender and in an actual blender) for a while but there seemed to be a goopy tapioca-y mixture just sitting below the oil. Left it in the fridge until the oils hardened, and then threw it into the food processor. It came together beautifully! I prepared myself for the worst after reading these reviews and especially after seeing how the mixture would not combine. It is a lovely, soft, almost caramel-y frosting (I added a bit of vanilla as well). Thank you!!

  97. Potratonta

    I have no idea how I failed so miserably at this… mine’s brown, way too sweet and has a weird texture. Oops.

  98. Sharyn

    Oh my gosh, thank you!!! I have been looking everywhere for a dairy free, sugar free frosting recipe for my daughter’s first birthday cake. This frosting is perfect, and she LOVES it! We love it too! And it’s totally fluffy and perfect for a cake smash! Thank you so, so much!

  99. Kari Breed

    THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING FROSTING I HAVE EVER TASTED!!!! We substituted 1/4 honey simply bc we ran out of agave. I also dyed it with raspberry juice on the last step to make it pink when I put it into a food processor to whip it. We used arrowroot “flour” rather than powder but from a little research I think it is is the same thing, please correct me if I am wrong.

    Word to the wise:
    FYI ours did clump up and look terrible in the process of making it. We thought we had failed BUT it worked fine after we let this sit in the refrigerator overnight. It helped the frosting harden and whiten up nicely. Another FYI – this is a very difficult first recipe if you have not used arrowroot before. Definitely make a test run of icing before your big day so you are not in a bind if it doesn’t work out…. Hahaha- like we thought we were!

    Thank you Elana! We got a million compliments at my daughter’s princess party. I made a two tiered round banana cake (the one featured on your site) and iced it with pink coconut icing. We refrigerated the cake until leaving time and the icing held up nicely indoors through the entire party. SUCESS!

  100. I love your “new” (?) comment button, Elana! It’s straight to the point (and a bit cheeky!). ;)

    I tried this frosting with some cashews blended it and loved it! Goes lovely as a filling for yellow cake. Linked to it in the my latest post. I’m always impressed by your recipes, Elana.

  101. I made this recipe with amber agave nectar not realizing it would make my icing brown….and sort of carmelized in taste. very good. next time i will use the clear agave nectar.

  102. siobhan

    Looking forward to making this for my little boy’s birthday cake this week, am going to pair it with the chocolate cake and decorate with pirates! – I wonder how long the icing would keep for in advance or does it need to be made on or before the day of use? Would anybody know? Thanks!

  103. Daphne Medina @ na

    HI Elana,

    I wanted to ask about this recipe…I made it tonight and I didnt have arrowroot so I used tapioca starch. Otherwise I followed the directions. It separated into two layers while in the fridge–the coconut oil white layer and my caramel colored agave/starch layer.

    I never really turned white….my agave is raw and a little dark; could this be why? I was able to get a great whipped buttercream texture, and the flavor is good–just not the lovely white color. Can you advise?

    Thank you and I love the site!


  104. Kerstyn

    Hmmm didn’t work out for me didn’t turn white and just looked like a bowl of runny toffee

  105. Jamie

    How many cupcakes does this size batch cover?

  106. I made this frosting for my Son’s first birthday cake.. It was a hit. I changed the recipe a little though. I used Xylitol instead of agave nectar. As Xylitol is a natural 5 carbon sugar, so there is no insulin spike, so diabetics can have it. I live in Australia, and it is summer here right now. I had to be really quick with this frosting so it didn’t melt.. but it was perfect. I will keep this recipe. thank you

  107. Jenn

    Could I use maple syrup in place of the agave nectar? I’m using this for a carrot cake recipe also.

  108. ItalianCypress

    Per previous comments I made sure I boiled the arrowroot well. It became very sticky so I figured it was done. I got a thick syrup as a result. I stuck it in the freezer for a while and it lightened and thickened. I ran it through a blender and it did thicken more but not enough. I have it back in the freezer again. What was left on the whisk has dried in place so I am crossing my fingers that it is going to turn into frosting. ^_^

  109. Patricia

    Hi Elana, I have a question regarding the Coconut oil. Do you melt the oil before measuring it? Or do you just measure it as is?

  110. Jen

    Okay, we did everything you said to do and what we got was akin to rubber cement with the slime they sell for kids to play with. It was so elastic, that whipping it was not going to happen. And it tasted like shortening with honey mixed in. I wonder what went wrong…

  111. Baking cupcakes has also become an integral part of many weekend parties where people get together, share recipes, have
    fun baking and decorating, and (the best part) sampling different
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  112. Anne

    Looks awesome… I’m taking my first crack at Paleo baking (GF no sweat but Paleo is new to me) for Easter by doing a carrot cake. I can’t wait to try this recipe out & see what flexibility I may have with my cake decorating skills! :) (Oh how I miss butter cream!!)

  113. Rachel

    This recipe is great! I made it tonight for the first time and am now wishing I had found it years ago.

    I made it with tapioca flour/starch, as it’s what I had on hand (same 5 t. amount in place of arrowroot).

    I would suggest that people add 1 T. vanilla and 1 or 1 1/2 t. lemon juice to the saucepan mixture (before cooling process) in order to give it a “true” cream cheese flavor.

    How absolutely fantastic! I’m just delighted. Thank you!

  114. Bailee

    Hi Elana,

    I don’t usually comment, but felt that I should. I would like to thank you so much for sharing your talent with everyone. My son has celiac disease, and for the longest time we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. He ended up in the hospital at 4 months old with strep and staph infection from his severe eczema. We didn’t know if he would make it. We stayed in the hospital for 15 days, but the doctors still could not figure out what was wrong with him. Through a lot of research and prayers, we found out on our own that he has celiac disease. I am still nursing him and as soon as I stopped eating gluten he got better. I am so excited that I don’t have to rub persctiption steroid cream all over his body twice a day anymore, as I know that it isn’t healthy and can lead to worse problems in the future.

    Since then, I have struggled with cooking. This is all new and very foreign to me. I did not even know what gluten was before my son was born, and I do not cook this way. I have been shopping at Wal-Mart in the Gluten-free section, and everything is so processed and doesn’t taste good! But, it is the only thing I knew. I had never heard of almond flour untill my herbalist told me about it. I ordered it, but only had one recipee. I made almond flour muffins so many times that everyone got sick of it!! So I stopped buying it. The other day, I googled ‘almond flour recipees’, and your site came up first, so I clicked on it! I know that you are an answer to our prayers, and I am absolutely AMAZED at all of your recipees!! My favorite thing about them is that I can understand the ingredients :), and I can find them! I can make these recipees, and they taste good. My older kids even like them (which is unheard of!)I love how you link to Amazon to show us where you buy your ingredients, that is sooo helpful.

    I will be buying all of your books, the ones you have already written and any more that you write in the future. I am so excited for the new book to come out!! I just wanted to comment and let you know that you have changed and blessed our lives. Keep the recipees coming, and thank you so so much!

  115. Melissa @ dawnlandmama.com

    I am so going to use this for my son’s first birthday! would you mind if i reposted this on my blog, with a link to you of course!

  116. Jennifer

    my frosting is brown…caramel like and delicious…didn’t have enough agave nectar and used honey…has to be the reason right? is it that obvious?

  117. Dawn

    Mine didn’t solidify – what did I do wrong ? :)

  118. Caroline


    I need to stick the frosting in the refrigerator until I need it tomorrow.

    Should I wait to whip it with a hand blender until I’m going to use it, or should I whip it now and put it in the fridge until tomorrow?


  119. if I’d only thought to look for sugar free frosting before I tried my version, but I did have huge success using reduced carrot juice for a beautiful, golden orange colour to the icing (a nice touch for a squash cupcake for Halloween). Check out the results: http://yumvee.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/colour-free/

  120. Kati

    This frosting tastes great, except for the rubbery pieces throughout. I used it on cut-out cookies and then mixed 2 tbsp cocoa into the rest for chocolate frosting/chocolate cake! Does this frosting need to be refrigerated???

  121. Gaby

    Hi I was just wondering if this icing will melt if out for a picnic party?
    Thank you!

  122. Sara

    Hi! I am wondering, in paleo recipes, how do you know if they are calling for canned coconut milk or coconut milk that you drink? Thank you for all our work creating delish recipes! Our family is very grateful!!!! :)

  123. Amie

    I made the carrot cake which smells divine for a function I’m going to tonight, but my frosting has not turned out at all. It’s a gobbled mess. I followed the instructions and it was as thin as water. What did I do wrong?

  124. great recipe for frosting. it came out great… but obviously very coconutty. the recipe is a bit scary tho lol. I melted my oil into a liquid because i wasn’t sure how it’d turn out (every time I bake with coconut oil in the recipe I have to melt it so I felt better doing that) and i didn’t want to use a blender. i just whisked it like crazy and it was fine. oh one thing I did also was when i added the boiled milk (I used the canned milk since it’s thicker) mix to the oil i whisked and kept whisking it for several minutes until it was somewhat cool (er). then I let it sit 10 min, put in the fridge for an hour. it came out great. whisked it some more and added it to my cake.

  125. Stephanie

    Do you think it would work with coconut cream instead of coconut milk? It’s what I’ve got in my pantry…

  126. Theodora

    Please can you suggest something more conventional to replace arrowroot for? There’s no way I can find it where I live! Looking forward to a quick reply, thank you!

  127. Amy

    Thank you for this, Elena. I need a dairy-free white frosting for my daughter’s birthday cake. I’m going to try coloring it with homemade beet dye…hoping it works. When little girls turn three they ought to have pink frosting. :-)

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top