There are many different types of sugar free frosting, but most kinds simply replace the sugar in the frosting with an artificial sweetener or other type of low calorie sweetener. This is an excellent solution for people who are avoiding sugar to lose weight, but it does not meet the needs of all people, particularly those who are attempting to eat only natural foods. Frosting is typically understood to be a sweet food, so some type of sweetener is almost always involved, but there are some alternatives to frosting that are not very sweet. Other types of sugar free frosting include those sweetened with honey, agave nectar, and even fruit and nuts.
In most cases, people who are looking for sugar free frosting need a low calorie or sugar free alternative to traditional frosting that will look and taste as good as the original. This is complicated, because sugar alternatives do not typically taste like sugar. Sugar free frosting can be bought in a store just like regular frosting, typically in the same section. Store bought frosting may be sweetened with any number of artificial sweeteners, but usually retains the flavor and consistency of the original frosting.
Some people choose to make sugar free frosting at home. This opens up a number of options for alternative sweeteners, although not all artificial sweeteners are designed to directly replace sugar. Natural sweeteners can also often be used to make frosting, and this can be a great way to avoid the supposed health risks of using chemical sweeteners.
Although sugar free frosting made from honey, agave nectar, or naturally sweet fruits may not be lower in calories than icing made with sugar, these are good solutions for people who for one reason or another simply cannot tolerate the more commonly used processed sugar. These types of frosting often carry the flavor of the sweetener that is used, but when baking is done with a particular frosting in mind, this can actually be a benefit. Many different recipes exist for making these types of frosting, and each may be appropriate for a different type of dessert.
Often, unique solutions to frosting cakes and other dessert items can be more flavorful and attractive than sugar free options for frosting. For example, many people choose to simply decorate desserts with unsweetened chocolate or fresh fruit like strawberries. When the flavor of frosting is not necessary but the traditional decorative presentation is important, stenciling designs onto the dessert items with cinnamon, powdered nuts, and other appropriate powdered flavors can be a great solution. These options may not look or taste like traditional icing, but they can be healthier and more attractive than many types of frosting.