Vegan Irish Cream Buttercream

Irish cream liqueur is a great pairing with rich Chocolate Stout Cake, but for those who don’t consume dairy, you’ll need to craft your own.


This recipe adds Irish whiskey, cocoa, and coffee flavors to creamy Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream to mimic this classic favorite.  Many thanks to Nina from Plante Pusherne, whose Vegan Irish Cream recipe provided great inspiration.

This version is darker in color than what you might get if you use a commercial Irish Cream.  You can use less cocoa and espresso powder if you want a lighter color and a more subtle flavor, but use the full amounts if a tan icing is OK with you, and you really want the flavors to come through.


Vegan Irish Cream Buttercream Recipe

Makes about 4 cups.



  1. Make Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream according to the recipe, setting aside half of the batch for another purpose.  You should have approximately 4 cups of buttercream for this recipe.
  2. Add Dutch process cocoa and instant espresso powder in the Irish whiskey, stirring well to fully dissolve the powders, and remove all lumps.
  3. Add the whiskey mixture to the buttercream, and mix well, ideally using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer.


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Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake

Chocolate stout cake is one of my favorite variations on chocolate cake.  Rich, chocolate-y, and not too sweet, it tastes great paired with poured ganache, vanilla, chocolate, or coffee Italian Meringue Buttercream, or even just whipped cream (add Frangelico or other tasty liqueur for a delicious variation.

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For those not familiar with chocolate stout cake, no, it doesn’t taste like beer!  Just as brewed coffee is sometimes added to a chocolate cake without giving it a coffee flavor, stout can add depth to the color and flavor of a chocolate cake.

I absolutely love the chocolate stout cake recipe from Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which is filled with eggs, butter, and sour cream.  Of course, not everyone eats dairy or eggs, so I set out to re-create a suitable vegan alternative.  Rebecca August’s excellent Chocolate Midnight Cake recipe as posted in the Vegan Meringues — Hits and Misses Facebook group made a great starting point.  This recipe is a merging of the two, and I am happy to say that it stands up nicely against it’s dairy- and egg-containing cousin.

Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe

Makes one 8-inch layer or two 6-inch layers.


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup stout* (such as Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout or Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil or vegan baking sticks (such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch Process
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp. aqua faba (the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas or other mildy-flavored beans)

* Note that not all stouts are vegan.  Do your research to find one that suits your needs.


  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Add cider vinegar to milk and stir.  Set aside to allow it to curdle.
  3. Grease one 8-inch or two 6-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides.  Line with parchment paper, and grease the paper.
  4. Bring stout and coconut oil to a simmer in heavy medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
  5. Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking soda into a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Add milk and aqua faba to the hot stout mixture, and whisk together.
  7. Pour stout mixture into dry ingredients and whisk gently until just blended.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  9. Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes for 6-inch pans or 37-42 minutes for 8-inch pan.  Check early and don’t over-bake, but also take care not to under-bake.  This cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back when pressed lightly in the center.
  10. Transfer cake to a cooling rack and cool 15 minutes.  Don’t rush this!  The cake will be quite soft when it first comes out of the oven, and will require some time to set.  Gently turn layers out of the pan and onto a rack.  Cool completely.
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Vegan Lemon-Curd-Filled Lemon Cake

Two luscious lemon cakes, filled with lemon curd and topped with
blueberry and lemon glaze.


Did you know that you can fill a bundt cake with lemon curd, by baking it right in?
It’s as simple as starting with half the batter, adding the lemon curd, and adding the rest of the batter on top.

Each slice will be filled with lemon-curd-y goodness.

Lemon-Curd-Filled SliceThis slice isn’t really the best example (in many of them, the lemon curd
was much more centered), but I brought the cakes to a party,
and they were eaten too fast to get a good photo shoot!

This cake is based off of Rebecca August’s excellent vanilla cake recipe from the
Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses Facebook group.

Special Equipment

Cake Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (I used coconut milk beverage)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mildly-flavored oil (such as sunflower, safflower, or canola)
  • 1 Tbsp. aqua faba (the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas or other mildly flavored beans)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract


  • 1/4 cup lemon curd

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice or strained blueberry puree (enough to make it into the proper consistency)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously grease a 6-cup (not 10-cup!) bundt or tube pan.
  2. Mix together milk, lemon juice, oil, aqua faba, and extracts.  Set aside to allow the milk to curdle.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl, and mix well.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork or whisk until well combined, but do not overmix.  Use a rubber spatula to be sure that all the flour in the bottom of the bowl is fully incorporated.
  4. Pour approximately half of the batter into the prepared pan, pipe 1/4 cup of lemon curd in a ring on top of the batter, keeping away from the edges of the pan.  Top with the remaining batter.
  5. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out dry, and the surface of the cake springs back when pressed lightly, approximately 45-50 minutes.  Be careful not to under-bake.
  6. Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  7. When fully cool, mix together confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and enough lemon juice or blueberry puree to make the glaze a pourable consistency.  Drizzle the glaze over the cake, and allow it to set.
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Vegan Snowman Cake

This vegan snowman cake was made by special request
of a 5-year-old birthday boy.
2015-10-04 11.29.08The bottom sphere is Rebecca August’s excellent Chocolate Midnight Cake, and the chest and head are Rebecca’s vanilla cake, baked in mixing bowls to make hemispheres.  It’s iced in vanilla Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream and covered in sweetened, flaked coconut.

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The snowman’s hat, scarf, and carrot nose are made with marshmallow fondant (make sure to start with vegan marshmallows if you want a vegan cake), and adorned with vegan aqua faba sugar lace — watch this space for the recipe!  The snowman’s coal features and buttons are made of marshmallow fondant brushed with black luster dust for a coal-like shine.  The arms are pretzels joined together with a bit of vegan gumpaste, and I used a clay extruder to make the pompom on top of the hat.

There is always a risk with cakes like this, and there was a small mishap at the party when a young guest put a finger print into the snowman’s face, because he didn’t realize it was a cake!  It got fixed on the spot, though, and both kids and adults enjoyed the cake.

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Geeky Cakes in the Washington Post!

The Washington post has published an adapted version of my Italian Meringue Buttercream!

Read the article here.

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Chocolate Stout Cake Trials

I’ve been working really hard on a recipe for a vegan chocolate stout cake.  The current version tastes delicious, but the texture just isn’t right yet, so it’s really just not ready for prime time.

I had some leftover chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream from my daughter’s birthday party, so I decided to frost the latest incarnation.

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It might as well be pretty while you’re taste-testing, right?

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Vegan Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

I recently tried out Rebecca August’s wonderful Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe, which has a really lovely texture.

Rose Swirl Cake

I had some lemon curd and strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream left over from previous projects, so I filled it with lemon and iced it with strawberry.

Sliced Cake

Rose swirls are fast and easy, yet fancy.

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Rose Swirl Cake

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Harry Potter Monster Book of Monsters Cake

My daughter Katie just turned 6, and she is completely enamored with all things relating to Harry Potter, so of course that needed to be the theme for her birthday party.  When we looked at examples of Harry Potter cakes, the Monster Book of Monsters was her immediate first pick.

I decided to model the cake after a movie prop replica that I found on the Internet.

Monster Book of Monsters movie prop replica

I used gumpaste for the tentacles, eyes, gums, teeth, and tongue, so that it would dry hard and hold a perfect 3-dimensional shape even in the face of the heat and humidity of an August birthday party.  Thankfully I had some gumpaste left over from some recent projects, so it was easy to mix up the colors I needed to create the pieces, and I painted on the irises and monstrous pupils with food coloring gel mixed with a bit of vodka.

Monster Book of Monsters Cake

I formed the tentacles and gums onto toothpicks, so that they could be inserted into the cake at the proper angles, and a mix of 2 parts vodka and 1 part corn syrup gave the perfect creepy shine to all of the parts.

Gumpaste Tentacles

I baked a 2-layer 15×11″ cake (vanilla, per the birthday girl’s request) and iced it with Italian meringue buttercream.  The cake was filled and three sides of it were iced with vanilla buttercream, and a Wilton decorating triangle made the perfect impression of pages.  A Wilton #233 fur tip did a great job of creating the furry cover.

Monster Book Face Closeup

Of course I’m a little embarrassed to admit that out of the whole cake, the part that impressed my daughter the most was the appearance of pages.  I do have to agree that I could have asked for that to be better.

No kiddie birthday party would be complete without favors, so Chocolate Frogs in pentagonal boxes were the order of the day.  Of course each box contained a Wizard Card, and some lucky guests were fortunate enough to get a card of the birthday girl herself.

Chocolate Frog Box

Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and chocolate-covered pretzel wands were also quite popular among the guests.

Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans

I was very, very busy with my copy of the GIMP, my inkjet printer, and my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine.

It turns out that the cake isn’t any less creepy when it’s mostly eaten…but it made a certain little girl extremely happy.

Cake Mostly Eaten

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Whimsical Fairy Cakes

I recently had an opportunity to make a pair of whimsical fairy cakes for a friend’s baby blessing.  The entire cake, including the Italian Meringue Buttercreamroyal icing flowers, and gumpaste fairies and toadstools were vegetarian and egg-free, and was a real showcase of the things that can be made with aqua faba — the liquid drained from a can of beans!

Large Fairy Cake

There were two cakes in order to accommodate dietary restrictions, but they made a lovely pair.  Every component of these cakes contains aqua faba, and over two quarts of it were used in the making of these cakes.

Small Fairy Cake

The cakes were served at a tea party, so I added sugar cubes adorned with matching royal icing flowers.  Since the recipients were vegetarian, and requested sugar that had not been processed wit bone char, I first molded my own sugar cubes.

Sugar cubes with royal icing flowersI don’t know why, but nothing charms a crowd like tiny floral sugar cubes.

I molded the fairies by hand from vegan gumpaste, using a face mold to get detailed facial features.

Pink fairy, kneelingOrange fairy, akimbo

I cut the fairy wings using small butterfly fondant cutters, and used fondant cutters to thin them out and make them ripply.  Then I used a clay extruder to make the hair.  The wings and dresses are painted with pearl dust mixed with vodka, to add a subtle sparkle.

Red fairy, floatingThe red fairy is suspended above the cake on a wire.

I also used gumpaste for the toadstools, and painted an edible shine on the caps with a mixture of 2 parts vodka and 1 part corn syrup, with a silver luster dust mixed in.

Shiny toadstoolsThe white spots were made with white food coloring added to a bit of edible shine.

A pathway of royal icing flowers led away from the fairy house and more flowers adorned the roof of gumpaste leaves.

Pink fairy with a floral pathway

The cake itself was a vanilla sponge cake, filled with lemon curd Italian Meringue Buttercream, iced with vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream, and covered with vegan aqua faba marshmallow fondant.

Lemon curd mixed with Italian Meringue buttercream may be my new all-time favorite cake filling.  Mixing the lemon curd with the IMBC “takes the edge off” the tartness and results in lemony, creamy awesomeness.  Yum!

A glimpse inside the cake

In truth, the aqua faba marshmallow fondant was a bust — it wasn’t stretchy enough, it had a tendency to crack, and it was extremely difficult to work with.  That recipe needs to go back to the drawing board, but the rest of the cake was a resounding success.

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Rose Swirl Cake

10 inch round cake covered in white rose swirls.

I’ve been wanting to try out the rose swirl technique, and a friend’s upcoming birthday was a perfect excuse.  Not bad for a first try.


This technique is incredibly simple, and creates a stunning result.  It does use a lot of frosting, though!


The cake is King Arthur’s Gluten Free Chocolate Cake, and it’s covered in vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Rose Swirl Cake

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