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Home-Style Vanilla Bean Icing (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

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This icing is creamy, melt in your mouth good.  It does not firm up hard  so this recipe is perfect for those desserts that you want to dress up right before serving.  With that said, I did frost some Buttery Walnut Carrot Cake Bars and the icing held up perfectly in the fridge.  It didn’t change color which some raw icing tends to do and it held the same form as when it was poured on the bar.

This icing is sweet but not cloyingly sweet so it compliments any dessert without stealing the show.  The kiss of the vanilla beans is just what I was aiming for. Vanilla beans have a wonderfully subtle and complex flavor.

For this recipe I recommending use the real thing… the seeds from vanilla beans, not the extract.   When vanilla is the star of the show and isn’t surrounded by other complex flavors, you want the richness that comes from the vanilla bean seeds. But in cakes, cookies and other dishes that have multiple layers of flavor and a much longer ingredient list, the complexity of the vanilla bean is  harder to detect, therefore vanilla extract is good to use.

Out of curiosity I looked up the ingredients used in a commercially made frosting… (big, deep breath)…Sugar, Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils, Mono- and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60), Water, Corn Syrup. Contains 2% Or Less Of: Corn Starch, Salt, Colored with (Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5, Red 40), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Rum, Caramel Color, Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate…. (exhales)

If you aren’t able to eat cashews, you can try using almonds that have been soaked and skinned before adding them into the frosting base.   Other nuts may work and taste great but when I developed this recipe, I wanted a neutral flavor.    Cashews offer that and give the best creaminess to a recipe.   To make this recipe vegan, you can use any other sweetener.  I chose raw honey because it has a nice deep flavor that isn’t overpowering in sweetness.   That is all I have to say about the subject at hand, other than to wish you a blessed and happy day!

I fibbed… I just remembered that I wanted to share with you as to what you can do with your vanilla bean pods, the ones that are empty inside.  I like to just plop mine right into my containers of raw agave or any other liquid sweetener that I have on hand.  It gives it a wonderful hint of vanilla.  In some recipes you can just blend them right up in the batter.  Or you can dehydrate and blitz them to a powder in a spice / coffee grinder.  OK, that’s it. I promise. :)


yields 2 cup

  • 1  cups cashews, soaked 2+ hours
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean seeds only, split and scraped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted


  1. After soaking the cashews, discard the soak water and rinse the cashews.
  2. In a high-powered blender combine the cashews, honey, water, vanilla bean seeds (only) and blend until creamy.  Stop occasionally to test the batter but rubbing some between your finger and thumb.
    • If you feel any grit, keep blending.  Depending on your machine this can take 1-3 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut oil and blend till incorporated.
  4. Store extra in an air-tight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.


One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage.  Daily I get questions regarding substitutions.  Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe.    I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family.  I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item.  Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient.   Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself.   So have fun, don’t be afraid,  and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.

OMGosh!  Could it be…. Is the heavens raining down this pure liquid gold….


*looks to the heavens and shouts thanks*


Dratz… it is just me!  Darn hand got in my photo. :)


Lets count the vanilla bean seeds…1….2….3….


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7 thoughts on “Home-Style Vanilla Bean Icing (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

  1. Idapie says:


  2. Erin King says:

    Could you replace the coconut oil with coconut cream? I don’t eat oil. Thanks.

    • amie-sue says:

      That ought to be ok Erin. I haven’t done it myself but for the role of the coconut oil in the recipe, the coconut butter should do just fine. amie sue

  3. Lorri says:

    Coconut allergies – What can we use as a replacement?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good question Lorri. Coconut oil is used for the creaminess and but it mainly helps in giving the frosting some structure so it doesn’t drip off the cake (since it firms up around 70 degrees). You can try adding a little cacao butter but that will give it a chocolate flavor. That’s tough. There are other frosting that you can make that are date based but again that gets us away from a vanilla frosting. If I think of anything else, I will let you know. amie sue

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