- Hide menu

Lemon Vanilla Frosting (raw, GF, vegan)

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites


This is a wonderful frosting that isn’t loaded with refined sugars or artificial food dyes. If you wish for this frosting to be more on the yellow side to reflex the lemon flavor, you can add small pinches of Turmeric until the color you desire is reached.  Below I am sharing/teaching you why I used particular ingredients when creating raw frosting.  Enjoy!

Soaked Cashews

Soaking the cashews is key (!) and this step should never be skipped.  Soaking causes the cashews to swell, giving a bit more volume for the money and it softens them which is vital for creating creamy texture.  It also helps to reduce the phytic acid that resides in all nuts, which will make it easier on your digestive system.

Coconut Milk

Whether you use fresh Young Thai Coconuts or canned full fat coconut milk, this ingredients helps give body, creaminess and hint of coconut undertone.  It is a healthy fat that also acts as an emulsifier, brining the recipe together.  If you can’t find Young Thai coconuts you can use the canned, but do your homework.  Aim for organic, BPA free, and free of other ingredients.

Maple Syrup

I used maple syrup because it is more alkalizing for the body than most other liquid sweeteners.  You can use raw agave, coconut syrup or any other liquid sweetener that you like to use.  But keep in mind that each sweetener has a slightly different flavor profile.


The role of vanilla in sweet goods is like the role of salt on the savory side: it enhances all the other flavors in the recipe.   You can use vanilla bean (seeds only), powdered vanilla, vanilla extract or vanilla paste.  There are actually quite a few health benefits to vanilla. I won’t get into that here, but did you know that the anti-inflammatory compounds in vanilla are destroyed by excess heat?  If the vanilla pods or powder are improperly processed and/or exposed to higher than optimal temperatures, the benefits are lost. Yay, for raw frosting!

Himalayan Pink Salt

I use salt in just about every dish I make. Using salt in desserts does not make the dessert salty. It just wakes up all the flavors in the dish.  Salt has the power to change the nature of whatever you’re eating, as it elevates and balances the flavors. But it’s all about choosing the right salt, and in the right amount. The biggest offense would be to use your basic iodized table salt. It’s best to use natural sea salt that compliments the ingredients in the dessert.  I have written more regarding Himalayan pink salt, click (here).  Even the tiniest grain of salt is important.

Coconut Oil

It is a healthy fat but also gives the frosting the overall body.  Once chilled below 76 degrees it firms up, making this frosting perfect for decorating.  But not all coconut is equal. Most commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached, and deodorized. Some are even hydrogenated.

Look for coconut oil that is a virgin, cold-pressed, vitamin E rich, “biologically pure” one that is identical to unextracted oil from coconuts.  To make virgin coconut oil, fresh coconut meat is grated and expeller-pressed to produce coconut milk, which is then centrifuged to separate it into solid components, oil, and water with no heating, refining, bleaching, or deodorizing.

Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin is made up of essential fatty acids and B vitamins.  It helps to support healthy function of the brain, nervous system and cell membranes.  It also lubricates joints; and helps break up cholesterol in the body.  It comes in two forms, powder and liquid.  I prefer the raw sunflower lecithin.  It has a thick, dark and sticky consistency with a nutty-seedy rich aroma and surprising pleasant flavor.  Setting aside all the nutritional benefits, it is a natural emulsifier that binds the fats from nuts with water creating a creamy consistency. To read more about lecithin, please click (here).


  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked  2+  hours
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 cup raw agave syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 Tbsp lecithin powder, sunflower based
  • 1 cup cold-pressed coconut oil, melted


  1. Place the cashews in a glass bowl, along with 4 cups of water.
    • Soak for at least 2 hours. Read more about why (here).
    • The soaking process will help reduce phytic acid, which will aid in digestion.
    • The soaking also softens the cashews so they blend nice and creamy.
    • After the cashews are through soaking, drain and rinse.
  2. In a high-powered blender combine the cashews, coconut milk, lemon juice, agave, vanilla, and salt.  Do not add the coconut oil and lecithin yet.   These will be added at the very end.
  3. Due to the volume and the creamy texture that we are going after, it is important to use a high-powered blender.  It could be too taxing on a lower-end model.
    • Blend until the filling is creamy smooth.   You shouldn’t detect any grit.  If you do, keep blending.
    • This process can take 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of the blender.  Keep your hand cupped around the base of the blender carafe to feel for warmth.  If the batter is getting too warm.  Stop the machine and let it cool.  Then proceed once cooled.
    • You can use a different liquid sweetener if you are not comfortable with agave.  Just be aware of the different flavors and colors that the sweetener might impart in the cake.
  4. With a vortex going in the blender, drizzle in the coconut oil and then add the lecithin.  Blend just long enough to incorporate everything together.  Don’t over process.  The batter will start to thicken.
    • What is a vortex?  Look into the container from the top and slowly increase the speed from low to high,  the batter will form a small vortex (or hole) in the center.  High-powered machines have containers that are designed to create a controlled vortex, systematically folding ingredients back to the blades for smoother blends and faster processing… instead of just spinning ingredients around, hoping they find their way to the blades.
    • If your machine isn’t powerful enough or built to do this, you may need to stop the unit often to scrape the sides down.
  5. Frosting will last 5-7 days in the fridge.  Do not freeze as it will change the consistency.

The Institute of Culinary Ingredients™

  • Click (here) for my thoughts on raw agave nectar.
  • What is Himalayan pink salt and does it really matter?  Click (here) to read more about it.
  • Is coconut butter the same as coconut oil?  Click (here) to find out.
  • Why I use lecithin… click (here) to read about it.


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.

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Plusone Stumbleupon

14 thoughts on “Lemon Vanilla Frosting (raw, GF, vegan)

  1. jeanette says:

    I just wanted to know if the Lecithin Powder is a Must??
    Thank you
    jeanette Ulbl- Münich Germany

  2. jeanette says:

    Hi Amy Sue,
    I just wanted to say, that you have one of the most Beautiful Raw sites i have ever seen. So tastful and beautiful photographed!
    Happy to have landed here :)
    greetz from Munich- Germany

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Jeanette… I happy that you too landed here. :) How are things in Germany? I would love to visit that area one day. I am part German and would love to see where some of my heritage came from. Many blessings, amie sue

  3. Sharon says:

    Hi Amy Sue,

    I would like to know if there is anything that can be used instead of lecithin? Thank you.


    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Sharon,

      I updated the recipe a tad, making it more clear. That recipe is from a few years ago and hopefully I am now better on typing out instructions, etc. :) You can try using 2 more Tbsp of coconut oil if you don’t have lecithin. Have a great evening, amie sue

  4. aliyah says:

    I made this and piped it into some fresh strawberries that I had dug the center out off. It was a big hit and so easy to make

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh that sounds delicious Aliyah, thank you for commenting. I hope you had a wonderful day, amie sue

  5. Tina says:

    Dear Amie,
    I was wondering…as I can’t get the young coconut here…is it possible to make some kind of coconut milk from coconut butter and water? I would like to have raw milk, so the one from the can is not an option, right?
    And use “my” version for coconut milk to substitute the coconut milk from young coconut when making frosting? Would be that ok?
    I use this kind of “milk” in raw filing for the cakes and it works great, but would it work for frosting to?

    Thank you for your answer and wish you a lovely day :)


    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Tina,

      Canned coconut milk would not be an option if you want to keep the complete recipe raw… other wise using the full fat canned would work.

      I haven’t tested the frosting recipes with coconut milk made from coconut butter, but I think it would work. Make it nice and thick. If it feels gritty, I would strain it through a nut bag. This will help maintain the smooth texture of the frosting. Good luck and keep me posted on how it turns out. Blessings, amie sue

      • Tina says:

        :) ok then, I’ll try this way in near future and let you know how it turns out.

        I must try the tiger nuts ice cream too :D

        Thank you and good night,

        • amie-sue says:

          Your welcome Tina…sweet dreams.

          P.S. I did some updating to this recipe… ingredients stayed the same, I just explained things a bit better. This was a recipe from a long time ago and my way of writing recipes has greatly improved over the years. So just in case it looks a little different, that is why :) Night night :)

          • Tina says:

            Good morning Amie, I’m back :)

            I would just like to report my result of substitute the coconut milk with the “milk” made from coconut butter and water. It works :) I made the chocolate frosting, mixed two Tbsp of coconut butter with 1,5 dcl of warm water.

            Wish you a lovely day,

            • amie-sue says:

              Thank you Tina! This is great to know and will help others who might have the same question. I appreciate that you came back to share this. :) Blessings! amie sue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twelve − eleven =