This all-purpose vegan frosting is especially tasty on carrot cake but can be used for any dessert that calls for a rich, creamy topping. The recipe gets its incomparable flavor from seeds scraped from a fresh vanilla bean. Seeding vanilla beans is easy; all you have to do is cut the bean in half lengthwise and use the back (dull side) of a knife to scrape out the soft paste of tiny seeds inside. The pods can be saved for later and used to infuse maple syrup, cooked fruit compotes, and hot cereal with vanilla flavor. Or try tucking the pod into your box of granola to scent it with vanilla!

Recipe from

By Cathy Fisher,


  • 5 ounces pitted whole dates, chopped
  • ¾ cup unsalted raw cashews
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)


  • Combine the dates, cashews, and seeds from the vanilla bean in a blender. Add just enough water to cover the mixture. Let stand for 45 minutes or until dates and cashews are softened. Cover and blend until smooth, adding water if it’s too stiff to easily blend.

Comments (43)

(5 from 20 votes)

Recipe Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


I've made the Vanilla Bean Frosting twice, and both times it came out quite lumpy. The second time I made it, I chopped the dates into little bits before soaking...for a much longer time than specified. I used a Vitamix to blend. What can I do to get rid of the lumpiness? It tasted delicious!

Shelley Fisher

Love this! I could eat it plain right out of the container!! I might drain a smidgeon of water out of the blender before I blend it all together to make it thicker, but either way it is delicious!!!

Diane Palmer

the vanilla frosting is delicious and rich!


Amazing! Thank goodness I read the comments. I used maybe 1/2 cup of soy milk. The key here is blending, stirring, blending and stirring till it comes together lovely and creamy. Start with less liquid and add more if necessary. I also used 2 tsp vanilla essence as I did not have vanilla bean pods. I have shared the link on my healthy lifestyle living FB page and it has captured people's interest (@thenewyounz).


I put the raw cashews in the Vitamix and ground them up first to a powder. Them put 10 dates, cut in half. Added only a little almond milk, after reading all the other comments. (Could add more if needed) Didn't wait to soften, just turned on the blender. (Figured, if this can make nut butter from only the nut, it could make frosting.) Took a bit to get it all to come together. Stopped to scrape down the sides several times. You need ALL the stuff as this makes only a little, Maybe a cup 1/2 It came out fantastic! (A speck gritty from the fiber of the dates, no worse than same from sugar)


I use plant milk instead of water and it is absolutely delicious! My toddler devours it :)))


This tastes so delicious! Used oat milk instead of water. I found this site for the carrot cake recipe but stayed because of this one. Best WFPB dessert ever

Donna L

So delicious! Went perfectly with the carrot cake ❤️❤️

Cindy Leoppky

Wow! We loved this so much. After reading comments, I used a nut milk instead of water, and used as little milk as possible. That meant using the stir-thingy with my Vitamix. And, because it was going on the carrot cake (also yum), I added about 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. For sure we’re making the cake and this cream again!


I haven't made this yet, but was wondering if it would be good as a chocolate frosting and how much chocolate should be added?


easy to make and absolutely delicious. . . the icing isn't overly sweet and better than buttercream. I would highly recommend.


I made it yesterday to ice a carrote cake, and it was delicious. Instead of using dates [since the cake had plenty of it] I used dry figs. After blending, it went to the fridge for a couple of hours. Turned out delicious with a very soft and silk consistency. Thank you!


Wish I’d read the comments before making this frosting. It’s way too runny. Putting in fridge overnight and hope it helps. Might add some cashew powder to thicken?


Wow! I was so skeptical that this would actually be good or even be frosting like. It’s delicious! The dates give an almost butterscotchy flavor. I heeded the other commenters warnings and was very judicious with adding liquid. I also used oat milk in place of water because it’s the weekend and I’m feeling fancy. Highly recommend.


So good!! First time I made it, I added too much water so it was a little thinner but not a drop went uneaten!


Very creamy and delicious.


I have made this frosting twice and both times it has worked perfectly and tastes amazing on the carrot cake. For those who ended up with it too runny, this is what I did: - Medjool dates, chopped - 2 tsps homemade vanilla extract (liquid) - put all ingredients in Vitamix and barely cover with water. If ingredients are put in a bowl the quantity of water to cover will vary. The amount needed to cover in a Vitamix seems to work.

Rhonda Chapman

I’m allergic to dates. What could I use in place of those? Maple syrup maybe?


Have you tried (or are you able to eat) dried figs? I'm guessing they would be a similar texture. Worth a try!


I just made it with prunes (lower glycemic index) and it is pretty tasty!! 1:1 substitution.

Rebekah Welch

Delicious. I have a Vitamix and started with just a little bit of water and kept adding water as-needed Love it!


I followed the recommendations of others and I think my frosting turned out pretty well with some further additions: 1. I poured off nearly all the soaking water before blending. 2. I added a wee bit back in but very little. 3. I added .25 tsp salt 4. I added 2 tbs of cashew butter to help thicken it. Once refrigerated, the frosting got thicker. I might add a bit less water next time. Otherwise I liked the results!


I used this on the carrot cake and was a bit disappointed. I even added a little salt, vanilla and fresh lime juice to perk up the flavor, but it was just creamy and bland. I also cut way back on the water as others suggested. I think in the future, I will make a glaze with some powdered sweetener and citrus juice.


It does take a while for taste buds to get used to the WFPB diet. I love this frosting.


The Vanilla Bean Frosting came out perfect and was delicious. I would recommend making it. I love that it is sweetened with whole fruit.


We have a cashew allergy in our home. Is there a substitute for the cashews?

Elisha Polk

Macadamia nuts work as a sub for cashews. Or sunflower seeds, although the color would change with sunflower seeds.


Try using mashed Japanese sweet potatoes.


Making this for the second time. Last time I made it for Easter. My husband and I have been on a whole food plant based diet since he found out he had Graves’ disease. Which he has no more symptoms of now. My daughters wanted a more traditional vegan carrot cake so they made one with sugar and vegan cream cheese from a store. Everyone ended up like this one better. It was excellent!

Nancy Spotts

Cake smelled very good while baking. Cake is moist and loaded with wonderful flavor.


How about raisans ?


This is very tasty. I'm using it on a blueberry cobbler. What I did to make sure it wasn't too runny is to pour off some of the water into a cup. I started to blend it, checking the consistency. I added a little bit of the water until I got the consistency I desired.


How long is this yummy frosting keep in the refrigerator. And can it be frizen?


How long does this stay good in the frigerator?


How long will this stay fresh in the frigerator?


This is delicious! I read the six comments and got a little concerned it might be watery or too sweet so I made sure I didn’t put too much water, just enough to barely cover the dates and cashews. I put it on the carrot cake recipe and we loved it!


Hello, i just made the frosting and it has a very nice texture. I added about half a teaspoon of salt. It balanced out the sweetness and made the taste more complex. Thank you for the nice recipe :) PS: I would be careful not to add too much water.

Amanda Cook

I found the frosting very runny and super sweet. I added I think a good cup of cashews afterwards to get the texture like frosting. It’s very delicious but I’d also scale back on the dates and vanilla next batch too. I will probably just activate the cashews separately and set aside the water. Then soak the dates and tip out that water. Then add water as it’s blending so you can set the desired texture.

Terri Ganow

Can I leave my frosted carrot cake out on my counter? I am worried that the frosting may sink into the cake or become runny.

Flavia Precup

Delicious and healthy alternative to the butter frosting!


Looks great!


Any alternative for nut allergies


@Tee I have heard that you can substitute the nuts with oats, but I think you should test it before using that for sure :)

About the Author

Headshot of Cathy Fisher

About the Author

Cathy Fisher

Cathy Fisher is the creator of, a website offering free recipes and information on eating a whole-food, plant-based diet free of salt, oil, and sugar. She is also a cooking instructor, teaching classes at TrueNorth Health Center and the McDougall Program, both in Santa Rosa, CA. Cathy began eating a plant-based diet in 1999, and in 2016 published her first cookbook, Straight Up Food: Delicious and Easy Plant-based Cooking Without Salt, Oil or Sugar. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
See More from this Author

Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.