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Home-Style Vanilla Bean Icing

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Home-Style-Vanilla-Bean Icing featured in a mason jar

~ raw, gluten-free ~

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 kept 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 am recommending that you 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. 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 pleasant 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. :)

a knife holding Home-Style-Vanilla-Bean-IcingIngredients:

Yields 2 cup


  1. After soaking the cashews, drain and discard the soak water.
  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.
    • Due to the creamy texture that we are going after, it is important to use a high-powered blender.
    • 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.
  3. With a vortex going in the blender, drizzle in the coconut oil.  Blend just long enough to incorporate everything together.  Don’t over process.
    • 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.
  4. Tip: If the frosting doesn’t taste rich and flavorful, add another small pinch of salt and blend a little longer.
  5. Pour into airtight container and place in the freezer until it starts to firm up.  Depending on how you are using this frosting, you can remove it from the freezer and use it at different stages.
    • One of the key steps in creating frosting is to place it in the freezer after blending all the ingredients together. Check in on it periodically testing the consistency.  If you forget about it, and it gets too hard, just let it sit on the counter at room temp till it softens enough to spread.

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14 thoughts on “Home-Style Vanilla Bean Icing

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Sabina says:

    Hello Amie Sue

    Can i replace cashews in this recipie or others? in my countrie are very expensive. Could i use sunflower seeds for example? thank you very much

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Sabina,

      You can’t always substitute cashews across the board due to their neutral flavor, creaminess when blended, and how they thicken once blended and chilled. Sunflower seeds wouldn’t be a good option for this recipe. Do you have access to young Thai coconuts? Macadamia nuts could possibly work but they too are very expensive. Let me know, amie sue :)

  4. Sonja McD says:

    Hi Amie Sue

    This page wont allow printing. Could you please help. Thank you.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Sonja… let me take a look at things and see what is happening. I will be back in touch. amie sue

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Sonja, I am not sure this glitch happened but you can now print this recipe. :) blessings, amie sue

      • Sonja McD says:

        Good Morning Amie Sue. Thank you so much for fixing it. I just figured that if it was me I would want to be told. Thank you for the amazing wealth of information that you share with us. Blessings to you and your family.

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