Vegan Strawberry Buttercream
This vegan strawberry buttercream frosting is quick, easy and requires no chilling time! It makes a beautiful pink addition to layer cakes, cupcakes and more.
The idea of making strawberry frosting first came to me when I tried to create some chocolate strawberry cupcakes.
I had originally started with a chocolate cupcake and strawberry topping because thought it might be hard to get a strong strawberry flavour to come through in a cupcake.
My first few attempts were less than fabulous. The buttercream split on multiple occasions, and I couldn’t get it firm enough to pipe.
The one time I did manage, the strawberry on top completely crushed all of my hard work and made the frosting crack.
Why not use real strawberries?
I really did want to use real strawberry juice but I came across a few problems.
As I mentioned above, the buttercream became very runny and split after I added the juice from the strawberries. This happened a few times, despite my best efforts.
Even after adding more icing sugar and chilling it for hours on end, it still wasn’t firm enough to pipe.
Another, bigger problem was that it barely tasted like strawberry!
I tried using strained strawberry juice and when that didn’t work I tried blended strawberries, as I figured that would produce a stronger flavour.
But it didn’t taste any different from regular buttercream unless I used so much strawberry that the icing became super watery.
The colour was also a little off too. It wasn’t this beautiful pink colour that I’d imagined but rather resembled a salmony, pinky-yellow colour.
Not very appetising!
Maybe I was doing something wrong because I’ve seen other recipes using fresh strawberry juice and their frosting looked a nice pink colour and was smooth. Although I’m not convinced it actually tastes like strawberry now…
So with my failed attempts at using real strawberries, I chose to use strawberry extract and pink food colouring instead.
Yes, my frosting is very artificial! But it tastes, looks and pipes WAY better than the “natural” version.
In my humble opinion.
Where to buy strawberry extract
I always use PME’s food colouring gel too as they’re one of the very few brands to offer vegan-friendly red and pink colours!
If you’d prefer to use something a little less artificial, you could always have a go with freeze-dried strawberry powder instead.
I haven’t tried it myself yet but I assume it’d be easier to get a strong strawberry flavour without the icing turning watery.
There are a few companies that sell strawberry powder online and you can find them with a quick Google search. Or if you’re feeling extra fancy, you could try making your own!
More vegan frosting recipes:
How to make vegan strawberry buttercream frosting
This is probably one of the most basic recipes on my site!
Basically, you just mix the butter and flavouring, add your icing sugar and food colouring and BOOM, ready to go!
Add 240g (1 cup) of vegan butter to a large bowl along with 1 teaspoon of strawberry extract. I felt this was the right amount of extract to give a nice flavour without being too overpowering.
Use an electric whisk or stand mixer to beat it and make it soft.
Measure out 600g of icing sugar (5 cups).
Add it to the softened butter a little bit at a time, mixing it with a wooden spoon in between.
Once you’ve used up all the icing sugar, give it another mix with the electric whisk or stand mixer. Doing this will make it super soft and fluffy.
If the icing is a little stiff, you can add a small splash of plant-based milk and whisk that in. I typically use around 1/2 a tablespoon if I need it.
Depending on the brand of vegan butter you use or the temperature of the room, your buttercream may be slightly softer. If this is the case, you can add some more icing sugar instead of the milk. This will help to firm it up nicely.
Once you’ve got the frosting at the correct consistency for piping or spreading, add in a drop of vegan pink food colouring. I recommend starting with a very small amount and increasing it gradually if you want a stronger colour.
I also recommend using food gel over a liquid colouring as a little goes a long way, and it doesn’t change the consistency of the buttercream as much.
I took a tiny amount on the edge of a knife and put it into the bowl before whisking it again.
Of course, you can leave the colouring out if you’d prefer. Obviously, it will still taste like strawberries regardless of the colour.
I do realise that this recipe requires a lot of icing sugar!
The recipe makes enough buttercream to pipe large swirls onto 12 regular sized cupcakes or ice two 8-inch cakes.
Feel free to reduce the recipe as you see fit! This can be done easily on the recipe card below. You’ll see that it lists the number of servings, where I have put “12”. You can click on that number and move the slider around to adjust the quantities correctly.
If you’re not using a piping bag to frost the cupcakes, you’ll definitely need way less. You can just spread it on using a spoon and it’ll do the trick just fine!
In the fridge in an airtight container. It’ll last at least a week in there, although you’ll need to give it another mix before using to smooth it out again.
This makes enough to pipe a large swirl on 12 cupcakes or ice 2 layer cakes.
You can double or half the recipe as required.
I always use PME food gels and highly recommend them. They are one of the few brands I’ve found whose red colouring is vegan-friendly.
I like using gel colouring instead of liquid because you only need a tiny amount to produce a really vibrant colour.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know what you’re pairing it with, I love hearing your ideas!
Vegan Strawberry Buttercream
Fluffy pink vegan frosting flavoured with strawberry.
- 240 g Vegan butter (1 cup)
- 1 Teaspoon Strawberry extract
- 600 g Icing sugar (5 cups)
- Small amount Vegan pink food colouring gel (start with a very small amount and increase until you have your desired colour)
Add the butter and strawberry extract to a large bowl and use an electric whisk or stand mixer to soften it.
Add in the icing sugar a little bit at a time, using a wooden spoon to mix it. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, whisk it again with the electric whisk/stand mixer until it's pale and fluffy.
If the icing is a little stiff, you can add in a splash of plant-based milk. If you want it thicker, you can add more icing sugar.
Add in the food colouring and mix it in thoroughly so there are no streaks.
Spread onto layer cakes or transfer to a piping bag for icing cupcakes.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.