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Creamy Coffee Fudge Frosting

Look closely…

What do you see in this photo?

Mocha Frosted Brownies

Do you see…

A. unicorns and rainbows?

B. flying puppies?

C. Brownies iced in thick fudgey frosting, without ANY butter or sugar?

Mocha Frosted Brownies

Hopefully you see the third choice: a decadent coffee fudge frosting recipe that is made without powdered sugar and without butter or shortening. Yet it is super rich and creamy—the perfect topping for any cake or brownies!

Above: used as frosting for my Black Bean Brownies.

Side note: If you chose answers A or B (the unicorns or puppies), it might be a good idea to talk to a psychologist about this. Or maybe an eye doctor…

Coffee Frosting

You won’t miss the butter.


coffee fudge frosting

Coffee Fudge Frosting

  • 1 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts (110g)
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp espresso or strong coffee
  • very scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp uncut stevia OR 4 tbsp powdered sugar (or simply increase the maple syrup to 4 tbsp, and decrease coffee to 1/4 cup)

Place the nuts in a cereal-sized bowl and cover with water. Let sit at least 6 hours, or overnight. Drain the liquid, then combine all ingredients in a small food processor or blender until super-smooth. (I actually used my Magic Bullet for this. If your food processor is too big, you might need to double the recipe for smoother blending.) For all substitution notes, see the nutrition link below:

View Nutrition Facts


Mocha Frosting

Do you wear glasses at all?

When I was little, I wanted to wear glasses so badly. My optician uncle sent us pairs of fake glasses, and my sister and I actually wore them to school for a few months. Now that I do sometimes wear glasses, for far distances and driving, I wish I didn’t need them. It’s especially difficult to remember to bring them shopping, and I’m constantly losing them!


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Published on September 19, 2012

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Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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  1. Erica { } says

    I’m actually wearing glasses this week because my eye doc found a small scratch on my eye. At first, I hated it, but now I’m loving them! It’s so nice to let my peepers breathe and my students are definitely showing me a bit more respect now that I look all smarty-pants 🙂

  2. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More says

    Ha! Funny question – I wanted to wear glasses after reading the Baby Sitters Little Sisters books. Then I had to wear them in 4th grade and started losing that desire and then had to get bifocals in 6th grade (no joke!). Then when I was told I didn’t need to wear them to drive, I decided that meant I didn’t need to wear them at all. 😉

  3. Ali @ Peaches and Football says

    I should wear glasses because my eyesight has gotten REALLY bad over the past couple of years. However, I have trouble naturally adjusting from far away to up close so even the multifocal contacts or bifocals aren’t cutting it. I just squint all the time and hope some breakthrough will happen so I can see again properly soon!

  4. Claire says

    You seriously made me laugh Katie! Your intros to your recipes brighten my day every time. Thanks for being creative and witty. I love it. And I love this recipe- so many options with it. And yes, I did wear glasses when I was little- but I stopped needing them when I hit puberty (how awesome?!). 😀

      • Claire says

        Ah, now that is sad! You could try getting a perm? I have a friend who lost her curly hair for a bit (after too much straightening), then when she got a perm, the curly hair just stuck! It’s like her head/hair remembered what it was doing before. 🙂

  5. Cheri @ The Watering Mouth says

    I had to wear glasses and/or contacts for my entire life starting at age 8 and it was TERRIBLE! I remember telling my husband that if I lived as a cavewoman, I wouldn’t have made it to my 10th birthday with such bad eyes!!

    But my favorite memory about having terrible eyesight (800/20!!!) was staring at the Christmas tree without them on – such pretty colors all running together!! 😀

    But last year I was fortunate enough to get a Groupon for LASIK eye surgery…and now my life is soooo much better! 😀


  6. katy sparrow says

    I also wanted glasses as a kid, cos my best friend in kindergarten wore them, and got my wish at age 7! Wahoo for me, haha. This frosting sounds and looks so good! And I can top my remaining CCK black bean brownies (great recipe!) with it.

  7. Olivia @ OmNom Love says

    Yes! I was looking for the perfect frosting recipe and I think I just found it! ;D

    I’m in the 7th grade and so far I haven’t needed glasses yet. I never want them, either! Having fake glasses has never appealed to me since I don’t look that good in them. 😉

  8. Anna says

    This may sound like a silly question, but is the coffee for this recipe made up into a liquid, or do you process the grounds (is that what you call it? What you buy in the jar!)

    I love your site by the way. I always read your recipes and they brighten my morning 🙂

  9. Janae @ Bring-Joy says

    Funny you mention the glasses. I’m on my last pair of contacts & since I should have thrown them out weeks ago, I’m wearing my my glasses that have the right side of the frame ripped off (only lenses, & left ear piece/frame), thanks to my 18 month old! It’s pretty lame, but we’re waiting for our insurance to kick in in a few days until I buy some new frames. At which point, I’m going to go for it & buy something a bit more expensive–some frames that I would *love* wearing.

  10. Abigail says

    Hi Katie! I stumbled upon your website given to me by a vegan friend (I’m not vegan, though) and I am OBSESSED. I seriously stay up until midnight almost every night looking at everything. My faves have been the single cupcakes & dessert pizzas. Oh. my. goodness. Desserts are my weakness, but I am really trying to eat healthy and stay away from sugar! You have brought life back into my dessert-loving body! So, thank you! Question – if you use cashew butter for this, how much would you suggest? Thanks again! 🙂

  11. Jamie says

    I’ve needed glasses since I was in first grade! My mom let me pick out my own…they were clear and with pinkish purple swirled through. (What was I thinking??) Now I wear contacts 99% of the time. I do have some amazing Chanel glasses that I would love to wear, but I’m almost too blind to wear them because a prescription that gets distorted! Is it weird to want to get partial Lasik so that my eyes are better, but I’ll still need glasses? 🙂

  12. Teresa says

    I’m not usually a frosting fan, but this looks delicious.

    I started wearing glasses when I was 6 (beginning of my 2nd grade year in school). I wore them until I got contacts when I was 16. Now I wear glasses only when I’m not wearing my contacts (usually first thing in the morning and before I go to bed). I have to wear the RGP lenses but dream of one day getting IOL surgery (they implant a lens behind your iris but in front of your natural lens). I would love to not have to rely on glasses.

  13. Lea says

    This frosting sounds absolutely magical, I need to make this asap.

    I’ve had glasses since 7th grade (but I usually wear contacts) I’m pretty blind without them, I can’t even see the big E at the top of the eye chart!

  14. Leslie says

    Oh man, are your photos getting better and better every day. Have you ever thought about doing professional photography? Although for selfish reasons, I would prefer you keep blogging. I check your website first thing every day!

  15. Fran says

    I am SO excited to try this sugar-free frosting recipe, Katie! I was talking with a friend the other day about how much fun vegan baking is (‘cuz I’ll promote veganism from ANY angle; I do it for ethical rather than health/weight concerns!). But when she asked me about frosting, I told her I usually don’t bother with it now that I know it’s all just sugar and “butter.” Even if I don’t particularly care about eating healthy foods all the time, consuming powdered sugar by the spoonful is just an unappetizing concept to me. So THANK you for this delicious-looking alternative. Mmmmm….

    And I’ve had the same love/hate relationship with my glasses: When a girl at school got glasses in kindergarten, I wanted them so badly; but now that I’VE been wearing them since kindergarten myself, they’re driving me crazy. So I just got the go-ahead from the eye doctor for PRK/LASIK surgery YESTERDAY!!! I’ll have clear vision in a couple of weeks!!!!

  16. Sarah the official CCK drooler @RomneyRyan2012 says

    you crazy woman. you’ve gone and done it now… and I thank you from the bottom of my growling stomach (it seriously is growling…overshare?). looks like I have everything. Maybe my mom will let me borrow from her Starbucks Via stash. or not.
    I do have glasses. I just never wear them. problem solved 🙂
    And don’t feel bad about losing your glasses. A couple of years ago I sat on mine and crushed them. And my sister has already broken 4 pairs of glasses- in ONE month. yeesh, like money grows on trees.

  17. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says

    This looks so amazing! I am drooling over here…but that’s nothing new when I’m on your page 🙂 I also wear glasses for distances and driving….and I ALWAYS forget to bring them with me since I don’t need them all the time. It’s a pain!

  18. LJ Briar says

    I don’t wear glasses yet, although I have a feeling I’m overdue for an eye exam. I have a pair of rainbow cheaters that I adore and occasionally use for a few minutes at a time when I’m sewing or drawing.

    I love the look of glasses, although I have a feeling I’d change my tune quickly if I HAD to wear them. I do love those rainbow cheaters, though. Back when I used to still play around on an online dating site, I put up a picture of myself wearing the glasses, just for the hell of it. Immediately after I noticed a guy I had dated briefly and was still friends with (and who I still had a huge crush on) was looking at my profile every ten seconds. After the tenth notice that he’d looked at my profile, I got a message from him saying, “I’m sorry for crazily stalking your profile, I just can’t believe how cute you look with those glasses!”

    I had never considered this before or since, but I briefly thought of scrubbing at my eyes with steel wool so I’d actually need the glasses.

  19. Sarah says

    I am just waiting for the nuts to soak, and if all goes well I will try this out tonight with your “one minute chocolate cake” that is eaten every night in my house! 🙂 It’s my favorite recipe of all time!

  20. Jenny says

    I have 20/15 vision… “More than perfect”. Heheheh. 8)

    I did a twist on this frosting for your healthy chocolate chip blondies! Instead of coffee, though, I used cocoa powder. 🙂 I used cashew butter in the blondies and cashews in the frosting to prevent the tastes from clashing… Both the frosting and the blondies are heavenly. Thank you!

  21. Emma says

    I am wearing my glasses right now. It’s the first thing I do every morning when I get up is put them on. I tried contacts, but meh. I prefer glasses and my face feels funny without them!

  22. Emma says

    Not wanting to seem like a jerk, but the recipe does have sugar! Maple syrup is pretty much pure (though yes, natural) sugar?

    I don’t have to wear glasses, my prescription is really weak, but they are kind of a fetish of mine, I have 5 pairs..

      • Karen C says

        What I’m pretty sure it means is it doesn’t have any of the white stuff known as “sugar”. So technically CCK is correct in stating it has no sugar. As long as you use the stevia instead of powdered sugar.

    • Cam says

      Exactly what I was going to say! Such a lie to say it’s sugar free… besides, cane sugar is not BAD for you, any more than maple syrup is. Both are pure, natural sugar.

  23. Julie says

    Hi Katie, I am allergic to all nuts except for almonds (which aren’t actually nuts). Anyway, do you think almonds could replace the cashews/macadamia nuts? Thanks!!

  24. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit says

    I wear glasses, yep! I got my first pair when I was around 19. They were a minor prescription for reading but I loved them so much that I wore them ALL the time. Then my eyesight got worse. Now I haven to wear glasses all the time. Darnit!

  25. Megan says

    I usually wear contacts, but I always take them out at night. They can be a pain, but I will say that probably one of my favorite parts of the day is when I can take my contacts out. When I have my glasses on, I know it’s time to relax! (And as always, I really wish I could just reach into my computer screen like Willy Wonka and grab your delicious treats!)

  26. Kit-Kat says

    I do have to wear glasses (since 2008; four years after a ball hit me between the eyes and making my vision go downhill really fast), but I’m so active that I wear contacts. If I didn’t wear any thing for my eyes, I would be really blind. I can hardly see anything a yard away! :b

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE frosting!!!!! Best part of cake ev-er! But I love brownies so much! I’m the brownie queen of the family, so thank you for both of these recipes!!!! 😀

  27. sarah says

    I am 21 and just started needing glasses for distance and driving too. I need to get glasses asap or let my boyfriend or sister drive me around after dark.

  28. Natalyn says

    Oh my gosh! I’m so excited to make this. I have been looking for a frosting that doesn’t need butter or shortening or powdered sugar, and no website seems to have the legitimate healthy frosting I’m looking for. Well, now I found it. Thanks so much! 🙂

    P.S. If I answer “all of the above”, will I still need to see a psychologist?? ;P

    ~ Natalyn

  29. Ella says

    Dear Katie (or anyone else who has an answer for me),
    In stead of stevia packets, I have a little pot of stevia, with one of those tiny scoops.
    Do you (or does anybody else) know how many scoops/teaspoons of stevia there are in one packet?
    Thank you so much!

  30. Jenica says

    Such a good idea! Thanks!
    I have worn glasses/contacts since I was 5. It’s not so bad when you always need to…it’s not like I can forget that my vision is that shitty!– but I bet it would suck to have to remember only sometimes.

  31. Laura says

    Would substituting the coffee for cocoa powder work to make a chocolate frosting?

    I do wear glasses, on the occasion that I remember them. I remember being little and wanting glasses so badly, but everybody kept saying I’d change my mind, and I was sure I wouldn’t. I finally got my glasses (My right eye was 20/400 and my eye doctor kept saying: “Meh, you could get glasses if you wanted to I suppose, but you don’t really need to…” Then he said the same thing at a repeat visit a year or two later when it was 20/1500..) and wore them a lot the first day or two, but they hurt my ears, so I started only wearing them for school, then not even that. Then I got new glasses that I liked the look of better, so I wore them a little more often, but I kept forgetting them. Then just a couple months ago our car got broken into, and my mom’s purse stolen, and my glasses were in her purse. SO, it’s probably time to go back to the optometrist. What with being almost blind in my right eye. I can only see because my left eye is near perfect. I am a little bit farsighted in the left eye though, but incredibly nearsighted in my right. I can never see the big “E” on the chart.

  32. Tamara says

    What a wonderful idea! I love using blended soaked cashews in recipes. Since it is so versatile, it would be awesome to make this simple cashew creme in bulk and stick what I don’t use in the fridge for another recipe. Have any idea how long it would stay good for?

  33. snenny says

    Looks gorgeous, I will definitely be trying this! Do the cashews have to be raw, or roasted? I know there are some recipes where it can really alter the taste of the finished product.

  34. Natalie says

    I’ve worn glasses since I was in preschool. Almost everybody in my family wears or has worn glasses at some point. I was just the lucky one whose eyes were super messed up 🙂
    This frosting looks awesome! Frostings never come out very well for me, but I’ll have to try again with this one.

  35. fit,healthy and happy says

    It looks so delicious! I am definitely going to make this in the weekend! And I absolutely love coffee and chocolate, so this is like heaven 🙂

  36. Saraquill says

    I have glasses. Since I wear them constantly, losing them is as likely as me losing a hand. My main thign is that I”m very fussy about their cleanliness and wipe them frequently.

  37. Chelsea Lords says

    Haha!!! I am the exact same! I used to wear fake glasses and now I am stuck with real ones!!! This looks great-I can’t wait to try it! I just made your no-bake peanut butter pie and give it 5 stars! It was amazing.

  38. Mandie says

    I wanted glasses when I was little (probably because Mary Ingalls needed then at 10 I needed them, but after a few months I hated them.

    My newer pair, I now love! They are very feminine and when I take them off it’s not like I’m taking off half my face, as my friend put it.
    But I also have contacts – though sometimes they REALLY bother my eyes so that I have to turn them until they get in the right spot. Weird.

    It’s funny, I really disliked my glasses last year, so I asked for contacts, but, once I got contacts – I now find I like my glasses. 😉 I wear glasses mostly at home & contacts out, but I sometimes enjoy wearing my cute glasses out.

    Cool recipe, Katie!

  39. Alanna says

    I had to get glasses in 4th or 5th grade. A day or two later at school a teacher had asked me to help hand out something in class where each person was supposed to get a certain number of copies, and one boy apparently thought it would be funny to pretend I’d given him the wrong number since I “couldn’t see”. So mean! I begged my parents to get contacts before high school, so I got them for my 14th birthday and have worn those ever since. I still hate wearing my glasses out in public, but sometimes my eyes really need a break. I always find it amusing when people comment how smart you look with glasses on… As if you looked unintelligent without them? Lol

    This frosting sounds so tasty! Coffee and chocolate were made for each other!

  40. Hannah says

    Yes, I have worn glasses since I was a wee lass. After seeing this recipe I am going to go put them on and get to baking ha ha. Love the recipe! It looks soooo delicious!

  41. Ellen says

    Okay I made this and it is delicious! Not exactly like Pillsbury frosting, but we all agreed that we like it even better because it tastes more “real” if that makes sense. There’s no sicky sweet aftertaste like with the pillsbury stuff. This might just be my new “go to” frosting recipe. I just have to play around and try a non coffee version, but for now this version is perfect for the morning muffins we had it on.

    I am in love with your recipes!!!

  42. Lori says

    OMG when I was little my sisters all wore glasses and I did not need them. But I wanted them too and would lie on my eye exams they gave us at school each year and make up letters that I could see just fine. After a couple of years of doing this and my mom taking me to an ophthalmologist to have me checked out, she said why do you keep saying you can’t see when you have 20/20 vision? I started to cry and told her I wanted to wear glasses like my sisters. She went to Woolworths and bought me a fake pair for a buck and I wore those for a couple of weeks until I decided I did not like anything on my face! lol

  43. Shadé @ One Vegan Fatty says

    Yum!! I just bought cashews too! I’m surprised you didn’t add cocoa as well to make a MOCHA frosting! I guess I’ll have to experiment on your behalf :-p

  44. Mandana says

    I’m repinning this and hope to try it soon – sounds delicious! Although I have a Ninja to do most of my food processing tasks, I would love to win a Cuisinart!!

  45. Rebekah says

    So I followed the directions. Soaked my macadamias. Though I didn’t have coffee. I ended up adding rice milk. And I did the extra maple syrup. I was using a blender but wasn’t did double like you suggested. Whatever the problem, it did not turn out well at all. I could only get it to the consistency of the chocolate chip “cookie dough” balls but it basically tasted terrible and I know yours would be wonderful. (I need to quadruple the cookie dough balls. Amazing! Like a vanilla with chocolate sauce sundae!)

  46. Jenna says

    Ok I have to admit I was not expecting to like this frosting. But it is awesome 🙂 thank you for the great recipe. I can’t wait for your book to come out.

  47. JacquelineW says

    This was unbelievably good frosting; I could not believe it was sugar- and butter- free. I have quite extensive allergies, and it’s very difficult for me to have all kinds of foods, and it means so much to me that I can make such great frosting that is safe for me to eat. Thank you 🙂

  48. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the recipe! I used cashew butter to save time and arrowroot ‘powdered sugar’ (1 cup arrowroot to 1 packet of stevia blended in a coffee grinder.) It was a huge hit!

  49. Erica C. says

    Oop. That above anonymous was me. That was supposed to read “1cup arrowroot powder to 2-3 packets of stevia.” ^^;

  50. Sarah says

    I wear glasses every day since sometime in 6th grade. I’m blind as a bat and too lazy for contacts so glasses it is!

    I had planned on making this to top the vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for my daughter’s 6th birthday today. My son is allergic to dairy and soy so this was perfect. Totally forgot to soak the cashews though. Oops. So I made it with 1/2 cup hazelnut butter and replaced the coffee with almond milk. It was fantastic! Next time I’m going to toss in some cocoa powder and make Nutella frosting. Mmmmm.

  51. Robin says

    Just wondering, is the coffee in the recipe brewed or the grounds? I used brewed coffee and the frosting came out soupy. It still tasted great and we ate it all, but I’m curious for when I make it again.

  52. Claire Elizabeth says

    Guess what, Katie? I tried this recipe with strong tea instead of coffee, and it is SO good! It is a little bit more mild, but very tasty! I had it in my oatmeal this morning, and I’m already starting to soak nuts for another batch! But this time I’m using peanuts instead of cashews, just to experiment. I’ll definitely tell you how it turns out! 😀
    P.s. the tea is by Celestial Seasonings. It’s the Gingerbread Spice Christmas Tea.

  53. Maya says

    I really want to make this for my friend’s birthday. But I just realized that I got pancake syrup instead of maple syrup. Will it be fine if I use pancake syrup? And can I use chopped almonds?

  54. Janet says

    I didn’t see unicorns or puppies, but I didn’t see thick, fudgey frosting, either. Did I miss something? I don’t see any chocolate or fudge of any kind in the ingredient list.

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