Soya-Who? Soy-Free Vegan Whipped Cream

April 18, 2008

 [Diet, Dessert and Dogs has moved!  If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls! 

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  


True confession (of the culinary kind): 

Even though I stopped baking with refined sugar almost a decade ago and never keep it in the house, there are times when I cave.  On occasion I’ll purchase a sugar-laden product, either because (a) it’s something new and fabulous and I feel I MUST try it, or (b) it’s something not normally available to vegan eaters and I want to taste-test, to see if I can conjure up a healthier version of my own.  Sometimes, it’s both.

That was the case when I bought my first–and only–can of Soyatoo a couple of months ago.  My friend PR Queen and I attended a health food fair where they were hawking selling the product tax-free (which–as those of you who’ve ever shopped in Canada will know–is, like, 85% off).  I couldn’t resist.

And so, feeling oddly like Sethi in the movie The Ten Commandments (though not at all regal, of course), I broke my own vow, and uttered the name of. . . Roses!  Soyatoo-based roses, to be precise.  And rosettes.  And swirls. And squiggles.

I had visions of light, fluffy peaks of the white stuff adorning cream pies and tarts; high, shimmering towers of it piped over fresh berries; or amorphous, cloudlike mounds of it perched atop steaming mugs of hot chocolate.  All these images whirled in my head as I forked over the cash and embraced my can of white, wondrous whipped “cream.”

The second I got home, I pulled some frozen raspberries from the freezer and hastily spooned them into a bowl so I could test out my cache. I followed the directions on the can–exactly–and pressed the button.  There was a hissing sound, a slight whoosh, and then–ah, sweet mystery of compressed edible oil product!–out came a rosette.  One. 

And then, all was silent. 

I shook the can.  I pressed again.  I shook again.  I placed my mouth over the nozzle as if performing some grotesque, otherworldly mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and sucked out the excess topping before trying again.

Nothing. Nada. Not even the slightest sibilance. 

And so, there went my can of Soyatoo–straight in to the garbage.*

Well, there was one favorable outcome from that failed experiment: I decided then and there to create my own, much healthier,  non-dairy whipped cream.  I fully realize that there are other similar creams already posted on the Internet (thanks, Hannah, for this recipe), but my needs were very specific.  I wanted mine to (1) be soy-free; (2) avoid the waste of using only part of the can of coconut milk;  (3) contain no sugar, and (4) be simple enough that it could work without a candy thermometer or any other special equipment.

Well, I came up fairly quickly with what I considered to be a servicable product, and one that was soy-free, to boot.  I even piped it onto Nava‘s Butterscotch Mousse Pie that I wrote about a while back, and the HH and I enjoyed that batch immensely.  Here’s what it looked like:

Before posting my recipe, however, I knew I’d need to test it out numerous times to ensure it was sound and that the results were consistent. I even enlisted two others (thanks, Sally and Alice) to help out as recipe testers.

Well, sorry to say, the results weren’t stellar. While the testers’ feedback was very positive regarding taste,  they both said the cream was a bit too soft and not fluffy enough.  I found my own results to be frustratingly inconsistent, even though I thought I was following the exact recipe each time.

And then, it hit me:  I was using coconut milk, but not the identical coconut milk for each and every trial!  Once I discovered which brand worked best, I tried again–and again, and again–with (qualified)  success. It wasn’t perfect, but the outcome was similar each time.  And so, I’ve decided to post the recipe as it now stands despite the imperfections, in the hopes that some of you might try it out and report your own findings.

The cream is rich-tasting, light, and can stand in very effectively for dairy cream atop desserts (I have no idea how it would work, say, folded into a chocolate mousse, however). 

Here are some important notes before you begin: :

  1. The recipe uses agar, an ingredient I’ve found to be tricky in the past.  Moreover, since I couldn’t find agar powder here in Toronto, I bought flakes and then ground them up myself in a coffee grinder.  So I can’t vouch for results if you use regular agar powder or agar flakes. 
  2. After trying several brands of organic coconut milk and finally moving to conventional coconut milk, I found the only brand that seemed to work consistently was Rooster Gold Label brand (I know it’s available at all Loblaws stores, but have no idea about stores outside of Canada).  I checked labels, and the brand I used contains a whopping 22% total fat content.  I’d think that if you use a milk with a similar fat content, it should work just as well.
  3. This is a very fussy recipe.  You need to cook the mixture, blend it, cool it a bit, blend again, cool some more, then whip with electric beaters–not for the faint of heart.  That said, once it’s whipped, it will retain its shape for several days.
  4. If it doesn’t work out perfectly as a whipped topping, it is sensational to eat on its own–rich, smooth, not too sweet, and very creamy.

I’d love to hear from those of you brave (foolhardy?) enough to try it out, and see if we can’t refine and perfect the recipe!

Coconut Whipped Cream


This is a great topping for fancy desserts.  To make the cream, you will need a hand (immersion) blender (a regular blender won’t work for this) and electric beaters.



And here’s a slightly firmer version:


Despite the fussiness of the recipe, I’d definitely make this again for special occasions (it was great on Nava’s Butterscotch Mousse Pie, as well as the Coffee “Cheesecake” Tart, above–recipe from Laura Mathias’s Extraveganza). 

Though perhaps not for a while. . . after more than 15 trials, the HH and I are maxed out on cream for now!

Don’t worry, Mum, we’d be willing to help you out with any extra cream. . . 

For those of you who celebrate, Happy Passover!  (I think this cream would be allowed. . . ).  And happy weekend to all!

*Addendum:  I’ve since learned from other bloggers that Soyatoo is unreliable for them, too.  Thanks to Chocolate Covered Vegan for the suggestion to open and try out each can in the store–if it doesn’t work, they should want to return it to the manufacturer, anyway; and if it does work, you’re buying it, so what would they care?

[UPDATE, December 2008:  I’ve been tinkering with the recipe and have finally come up with a much less fussy and much more reliable recipe!  The revised version will appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog.  For more information, check the “Cookbook” button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]

[Diet, Dessert and Dogs has moved!  If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  


38 Responses to “Soya-Who? Soy-Free Vegan Whipped Cream”

  1. Romina Says:

    Yum!! This looks delicious. I avoid processed soy foods so I would gladly try this. =)

  2. Celine Says:

    ok, that just looks unbelievably, insanely decadent and tempting! lovely pictures too.

  3. Deb Schiff Says:

    I’m definitely going to try this! That’s just about the coolest thing ever, Ricki. Thanks!

  4. BitterSweet Says:

    How awesome that you figured it out! I’ll have to try your version next time. 🙂

    And by the way, when I make the standard coconut cream that uses only part of the can, I use the remaining liquid in place of soymilk in baked goods- No waste!

  5. VeggieGirl Says:

    You couldn’t get the soyatoo “cream” out of the can?? That’s too bad! My family loves it (no trouble with the can).

    However, your soy-free whipped “cream” looks FAR superior than the Soyatoo product – yum!

  6. Lizzie Says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. I haven’t had whipped cream in over a year due to my dairy intolerance and I stay away from soy because it upsets my stomach. This is a Godsend!!!

    I am most definately making this. Ricki, I hope you wore your cape when you made this, because you are my hero 😉

    Such beautiful photos, too. Has anyone ever approached you about creating a cookbook?

  7. amazing! amazing! amazing. i want it all!

    you are so talented!

    I have never tried soya cream – i now have many reasons to!

  8. scratch that! why be lazy! bring on the coconut~!

  9. Courtney Says:

    You are a kitchen goddess! Seriously! It looks so lovely in your photos…I just may have to try it…


  10. Coconut whipped cream???? Wow, that just blows regular dairy whipped cream right off the map!

  11. atxvegn Says:

    I wasted TWO cans of soyatoo because of the same problem! Such a waste of money! I hope I have the patience to try your recipe. I’m soyfree too, so coconut milk seems like the perfect option. Your toppings look fantastic!

  12. Johanna Says:

    When I look at cream I often think I wouldn’t mind being vegan (which is quite different from my thoughts on cheese) so I admire your efforts in finding the perfect cream recipe but I don’t think I could be bothered – but then I really have never excelled at presentation and your photos really do look lovely with the cream rosettes and swirls!

  13. Ricki Says:

    Glad you’re feeling brave enough to give this a go! Let me know how it works out.

    Thanks so much! Yes, very decadent. . . and, unfortunately, pretty easy to keep eating! 😉

    I was hoping the agave would make this Deb-friendly! Let me know how you like it if you do give it a try.

    Well, it’s a bit more complicated (!) than the other version, but I do like the fact that it’s almost entirely the coconut cream here. . . and what a great idea for the extra coconut milk–hadn’t thought of that!! I will give that other cream a try next time I have a special dessert to bake.

    Guess I just wasn’t lucky with that can! Maybe I’ll try again if I get the inclination. But glad you like the sound of this one!

    Aww, thanks so much! I am SO glad this will let you try something creamy after such a long break! As to the cookbook, well, let’s just say I’ve done some ‘approaching’ myself, but so far, nope, those legions of publishers just haven’t called!

    Happy Herbivore,
    Thanks. Unfortunately, I also wanted it all–and ended up eating it all, too (with the HH, that is)! And I think I’ve officially decided that I must try that soya cream again, too. 🙂

    Thanks so much! If you’re feeling adventurous and do try it, let me know how you like it!

    Well, I haven’t had regular dairy whipped cream in ages, but I have to admit that, if memory serves, I liked this one better!

    Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who got a bum can! This recipe does take some patience, which is why I’d save it for special occasions. But it is yummy!

    Thanks–yes, I’d say this is really for those who either can’t or won’t use the other options (either canned, soy, with sugar, etc.) Glad you liked the photos! 🙂

  14. Monika K Says:

    It’s just amazing to me what we’re (Veggies) capable of in the kitchen now. Who would have thought that standard dairy items like whipped cream would be available to vegans (in a non-processed from a can kind of way)? I swear this lifestyle gets more and more freeing all the time!

  15. hi ricki
    when i tested this, i used coconut cream – should i have used coconut milk? oops… it did work pretty well even so. and it sure tasted good!
    best wishes

  16. Astra Libris Says:

    I am blown (or should I say whipped? :-)) away!! Your cream is absolutely gorgeous! Far, far more tempting and beautiful than any store-bought product… I am in awe!

  17. sheree Says:

    How awesome is that!! I just found your site from vegan eating for one. Love you site. I had the same thing happen to me with soyatoo. I emailed the company and they told me this happens because it is a product of England and there processing and storage is different in the USA. They did send me a coupon for a free bottle and directions on how to “prime” it before using it. After all that, the family was not keen on the taste anyway. I am going to try your version for sure. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I have never seen the brand of coconut milk you used, but I will keep an eye on the lable and make sure mine has 22% fat content.

  18. vegantickles Says:

    I just bought the SOYATOO SOY WHIP in a carton.
    You have to whip it yourself for about 10 minutes or until light and fluffy.
    It’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but it sure came in handy this morning.
    I refrigerated the leftovers in a container and it was still perfectly fluffy when I used it again 10 hours later.
    I admire you for making your own.
    That’s pretty awesome.

  19. winter Says:

    just wondering what made the cream in the second picture (the one with the tart) firmer? did you chill it again?

  20. Ricki Says:

    Monika K,
    I have to agree–I feel my cooking and baking, and even my eating habits, have become much more creative since I focused on a vegan diet!

    Hi Alice,
    Well, that explains it! I’d guess the coconut cream version would be much heavier. Yes, the recipe calls for coconut milk. Glad you liked it anyway!

    Astra Libris,
    Thanks so much!

    Thanks for your comment, and welcome to the blog! That’s so interesting about the Soyatoo and processing. All these comments people have left are making me think I might try it again. And thanks for wanting to give this version a try. . .as I said, it’s a bit of work, but I loved the result. And I think other coconut milks would work, but the final product might just be a little softer. Let me know what you think if you try it!

    Vegan Tickles,
    Thanks so much for your comment–and welcome! You make quite a good case for the Soyatoo, too–sounds much easier than mine, for sure!

    Welcome to the blog! Thanks for your comment. The softer version was made with a different coconut milk, if I remember correctly. I found that, once it was whipped, refrigeration didn’t really change the texture much. Even after a night in the fridge, it held the exact same shape (whether soft or firmer) the following morning.

  21. veganhomemade Says:

    That’s a seriously impressive inovation. Congrats on success!

  22. I don’t have electric beater, so I’ll probably never make this recipe, but I have to tell you it is amazing! such a good work! congratulations!

  23. Lisa Says:

    Wow, I’m impressed! Good for you for avoiding soy.

  24. Cakespy Says:

    Gosh, I thought I had already commented! Probably I did something cute like comment and forget to press “send”. But I have to say, these look like your improvising etc worked out–everything looks intensely decadent, and extremely delicious!!

  25. Shayna Says:

    I had EXACTLY the same experience with Soyatoo…TWICE! I will never buy it again. Thanks for the great recipe!

  26. Ricki Says:

    Thanks for your comment! And glad you like the cream!

    Alice (in Veganland),
    Thanks so much. I was really hoping I could somehow create something very easy to make and not requiring any special tools, etc. . . but it just wouldn’t cooperate. Maybe next time round. . .

    Thanks! Even though I do eat soy products, sometimes I feel as if it gets to be a bit too much, and everything contains soy. . . this is a nice alternative.

    You were here in spirit, so thanks! 🙂 And yes, it is pretty decadent-tasting. . .I’m going to reserve it for special occasions (also because it takes so darn long to make!!).

    Well, that does make me feel a little better about my own Soyatoo experience, but sorry you had to lose out, too! Glad you like the recipe, though 🙂 .

  27. Your story (funny), pictures (delicious), recipe instructions (fabulous)…great blog!!!

  28. Ricki Says:

    Kristen’s Raw,
    Thanks so much for your comment, and for visiting my blog! It’s much appreciated. And thanks for your kind words. Glad you liked the recipe!

  29. Wow, look at all these comments! Ricki, you’ve gotten insanely popular!

    I love looking at the results of your whipped coconut cream experiment. I’m going to have to try the recipe out again soon.

  30. kimberlysnyder Says:

    This looks delicious!

    I think it is great to put non-soy recipes out there. Soy can be so processes and have so many estrogens and protein-blockers.

    I really prefer almond milk though. Is that okay to use instead of the rice milk?

  31. jentifred Says:

    Oh yay!

    My son has a milk allergy and I have a soy allergy, which makes life difficult around here. But I am SO going to try this!

  32. Yaelian Says:

    Wow, what a great recipe,thanks!!! I also had a disappointment with Soyatoo whipped cream, just like you described.

  33. Jody Says:

    This looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it. I am in the US and can’t find the brand of coconut milk you use. can you give me a bit more info in it so i can find something comparable?


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