This ultra decadent low carb sugar free French buttercream frosting is super silky and rich. Use it on your best sugar-free cakes and sugar-free cupcakes.
French buttercream is a gorgeously smooth magical confection. It’s heavenly on cakes and cupcakes. This version is sugar-free and perfect for all of your sugar-free cakes and sugar-free cupcakes. If you or family members are following a low carb or keto diet for health reasons, this is the sugar-free frosting for you.
But, what is French Buttercream? Quite simply, French buttercream is an emulsion of egg yolks, melted hot sugar, and butter. It’s very similar to Italian buttercream in method, except that Italian buttercream uses egg whites instead of egg yolks.
Swiss meringue buttercream, the gold standard for cake decorators everywhere, is an emulsion of egg whites, sugar, and butter. It does not call for hot melted sugar in its production. Although Swiss meringue buttercream may be preferred by cake decorators for its stability, it is not as rich and glorious as a good French buttercream.
It took a little experimentation to make this sugar free French buttercream frosting a success, but since I like baking and experimenting it was an enjoyable process!
Let’s talk about the ingredients for a minute: I used a combination of xylitol and Sukrin Icing Sugar (or Swerve Confectioners) for the sugar free sweeteners. The xylitol melts nicely and resists re-crystallizing when it cools. It was the right substitution for the melted sugar since erythritol has the tendency to seize upon being melted and cooled.
Because xylitol can sometimes cause an insulin spike in sensitive individuals, I used the smallest amount possible to get the effect I needed. To make-up the difference in sweetness (xylitol is 60% the sweetness of sugar) I augmented with the Sukrin (or Swerve), an erythritol based sweetener. (Either sweetener works well in this recipe.)
NOTE: When I tried melting the erythritol based sweetener and pouring it into the whipped egg yolks, I ended up with crunchy crystals in my sugar free frosting! French buttercream is supposed to be silky not crunchy! Using both sweeteners gave me the best performance from both and made a wonderful frosting!
French buttercream tastes like sweetened whipped butter. If it is too buttery for you, whip 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until very stiff. Fold it into the frosting 1/3 at a time. You will notice the frosting almost making a little water. That’s because the whipped cream is cold (and it’s more liquid than fat). Let it warm up before trying to use it.
This sugar free frosting recipe was adapted from this French buttercream recipe on Serious Eats.
This low carb sugar free French Buttercream Frosting recipe is 1 net carb per serving or 17 net carbs for the whole batch.
Low Carb Sugar Free French Buttercream Frosting
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature and soft
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup xylitol
- 1/3 cup Sukrin Icing Sugar (or Swerve Confectioners)
- 3 tbsp water
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (helps make it more smooth)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- stevia glycerite or liquid stevia to taste
- Put the xylitol and water in a small pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the 5 egg yolks, Sukrin Icing Sugar (or Swerve) and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until the xylitol is ready.
- Turn the mixer down to low and pour the xylitol in a very thin stream into the egg yolks while counting to 10. Stop pouring the xylitol and count to 10, letting the hot xylitol incorporate into the egg yolks. Turn the mixer to medium and count to 10. Turn the mixer back to low and begin streaming the xylitol into the egg yolks again. Continue the procedure until all of the xylitol has been added. Turn the mixer to medium-high (speed 8) and let it run until the outside of the bowl is COMPLETELY ROOM TEMPERATURE (8-12 minutes).
- Change to the paddle attachment. With the speed on low (speed 2) begin adding the butter, tbsp by tbsp, waiting until each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next. If it appears that a few small lumps of butter haven't incorporated, turn the speed up to medium for a few seconds and then continue adding the butter on low speed as before. The frosting may "break" after the half of the butter has been added, continue adding more butter and it will come back together.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla a few drops at a time. Slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum over the frosting and mix for a few moments more. Taste and add a little stevia glycerite (my favorite) or liquid stevia if you want it sweeter. Use immediately or refrigerate.
- Makes about 2 - 2 1/2 cups or enough to frost 1 "naked cake", modestly frost 12 cupcakes, or very generously frost 6 cupcakes.
- This recipe freezes beautifully. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then let it come to room temperature before using. Whip. Then put back into the fridge for 15-20 minutes and whip again.
- French buttercream tastes like sweetened whipped butter. If it is too buttery for you, whip 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until very stiff. Fold it into the frosting 1/3 at a time. You will notice the frosting almost making a little water. That's because the whipped cream is cold (and it's more liquid than fat). Let it warm up before use. If you refrigerate before use, let it come to room temperature, whip. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes and whip again.