Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Icing

A couple of days ago I posted these gorgeous and quite unusual Chocolate Five Spice Cupcakes for my Veganmofo theme of "My Spice Rack". I posted the cupcakes recipe but I didn't post the chocolate buttercream icing. I had quite a few people ask me for the vegan chocolate icing from these pictures so I thought I would oblige. I don't use a recipe for icing. When I was a kid my mother taught me how to make icing and I've made it that way ever since. I never measure quantities, I just mix it until it tastes right. But I can give you a general recipe that you can adapt in any way you like. This is my basic chocolate icing, plus I've added a few ideas for variations down the bottom. You can be as creative as you like, just have fun. It's not healthy, but it sure it delicious!

Easy Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Icing

1 cup margarine (I use Nuttelex)
3 cups soft icing mixture
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder

To Make
1. Cream the margarine and vanilla together with an electric mixer or with a butterknife (or a spoon for that matter).
2. Add the cocoa and 1 cup of the icing mixture. Mix well.
3. Continue to add the soft icing mixture bit by bit until it is all added. Now here is the important bit - taste test it and make sure it doesn't have any of that oily margarine taste left. If it does add a bit more icing mixture until it tastes perfect.
4. Spoon or pipe generously on top of your cake or cupcakes.

This recipe makes quite a bit, as it is designed for generous piping. If you're not piping it on you can probably make a half batch.

~ Add 1/2 tsp mint extract to make choc mint icing
~ Swap 1 tsp vanilla extract for 1 tsp orange extract and add some fresh orange zest to make jaffa icing
~ Add 2 tbsp finely chopped dark chocolate for chocolate chip icing
~ Use kirsh or cherry brandy instead of vanilla extract and top with cherries for black forest icing
~ Add 1 tbsp frangelico and an extra 1/2 cup soft icing mixture
~ Swap the vanilla for strong coffee or kahlua for mocha icing

There are so many more things you could do with this, there are just a couple I came up with on the spot. If you've got some great ideas I would love to hear them.

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