Some baking recipes call for cream cheese frosting to top off your pastries. There are easy alternatives and substitutes to using this kind of frosting if you prefer low fat recipes, dairy free recipes or if you simply do not want to purchase cream cheese frosting or its ingredients. Many cream cheese frosting substitutes require only a few ingredients.
Vegan Cream Cheese Topping
Some food companies specialize in making non-dairy versions of traditionally dairy-based products like butter and ice cream. You can create a vegan alternative to cream cheese frosting by whipping together one 8 oz. package of non-dairy cream cheese and 2 tbsp. non-dairy butter alternative. Beat this mixture until it becomes light and fluffy. Add in 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar. Keep beating the mixture until it thickens to a consistency suitable for frosting. Spread it on your pastries as you would with regular cream cheese frosting.
Powdered sugar is a simple alternative to cream cheese frosting, especially if your pastries do not overly rely on a cream cheese flavor. Simply sift powdered sugar over the top of your pastries. Do this until they are covered or until the pastries look the most aesthetically pleasing. This substitution works best on pastries that have a moist and receptive surface. Powdered sugar may not adequately stick to harder cookies or other treats.
Whipped Cream Frosting
Whipped cream frosting is a good substitution for cream cheese frosting if you still want your pastries to have a dairy-based topping. Mix together 1 cup milk, one 3 1/2 oz. package of instant pudding mix in a flavor of your choosing and 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat this mixture together with a whisk for two minutes, then add 8 oz. whipped cream. Mix until the ingredients have thickened together. Spread this frosting on your pastries the same as you would with a cream cheese frosting.
Blended Cashew Frosting
This rich-tasting frosting uses natural sweeteners and is dairy-free. Add 1 1/2 cups cashews, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. agave, 1/2 cup filtered water, 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp. coconut oil to your blend. Blend the ingredients together on high until the mixture has become smooth and all chunks are gone. Refrigerate the mixture until it has set and is ready to be spread like regular frosting.
Sarah Clark has been writing since 1997, with work appearing in Northern Arizona University's "Student Life Organization Newsletter." She holds a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in art history from Northern Arizona University.