You can make a beautiful and fluffy vegan Swiss meringue buttercream without any egg whites. Just use chickpea water!
Several weeks ago, Addie went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t want her to arrive empty-handed so I thought about making a dessert for everyone to enjoy. In any normal situation, I’d bake brownies or make some fun cupcakes. However, the friend’s family has a lot of food allergies that I had to navigate.
Addie’s friend has a dairy allergy. Her sister and dad both have gluten allergies. Mom is allergy-free but tries to eat dairy- and gluten-free since her family cannot consume those ingredients. I ended up baking this healthy deep dish chocolate chip cookie pie and they loved it.
That particular recipe leveraged two cans of chickpeas. I usually throw out the water that the chickpeas come in but have heard that the chickpea water (also known as aquafaba) can be pretty useful in vegan cooking. In particular, I read that one can make a Swiss meringue buttercream out of it.
Intrigued, I saved my chickpea water and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it. I did not have any vegan butter so I used regular butter for my version of the recipe. If you want your buttercream to be truly vegan, be sure to buy vegan butter.
I was astonished when my buttercream came together as advertised. My frosting looked clumpy after whipping, but after a few strokes of my spatula to scrape down the sides, the buttercream smoothed out like a normal Swiss meringue buttercream. The aquafaba worked!
The same day, I baked some chocolate cupcakes and frosted the buttercream on top. Nobody knew that the frosting was made from aquafaba, and I definitely could not tell the difference. I will certainly keep this recipe handy in case I make more treats for our friends with food allergies.
The one edit I made was that I only used 2 sticks of butter in my frosting. The frosting already appeared to be done, so I omitted the last stick of butter.
Husband’s rating: 4 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
Aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
- 1 and ¾ cups canned chickpea water It will equal the amount of liquid from two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 and ½ cups (3 sticks) vegan butter softened (I used 2 sticks)
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the chickpea water and sugar to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the chickpea sugar mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer). Allow the chickpea water to cool slightly.
- Whisk the chickpea water on your highest speed setting until you achieve stiff peaks. This may take more than 5 minutes and even longer if using a handheld mixer. Be patient - it will come together.
- Add the cream of tartar and the powdered sugar and keep whipping until both are fully incorporated.
- Add the vegan butter and shortening until your frosting is smooth and shiny. Finally, add the vanilla.
- Note: My frosting appeared curdled after whipping. However, when I took out my spatula and folded the frosting around a bit, it smoothed out.