Cream Cheese Frosting is our preferred frosting for cakes and cupcakes for one important reason: it has just the right amount of sweet and tart, for the perfectly balanced frosting.
This straightforward Cream Cheese Frosting can be modified to be any flavor and suit any dessert you want to add it to – cupcakes, cakes, even cookies. It’s simple, with only four ingredients, and requires very little work.
I happen to be an avid cake baker myself. I remember watching baking shows as a kid, trying to figure out what the secret was. Now I know, the real secret is a great recipe. This recipe is so easy! You can basically let the stand mixer do all the work.
Tips for Making Cream Cheese Frosting
Just like any frosting, there are some important steps you need to take to ensure the frosting is as smooth as possible. That’s what truly makes a perfect frosting.
One of the most important aspects of this recipe is the cream cheese. You need to use full fat cream cheese in the block. Don’t use low-fat cream cheese. It has a tendency to become runny and ruin the frosting. Trust me on this.
Start by making sure to leave your cream cheese and butter out for at least an hour before mixing. This will ensure that your ingredients mix smoothly together and the frosting turns out lump free.
I’d also recommend creaming the butter and cream cheese together thoroughly before adding in the powdered sugar. You can tackle most of the lumps at this stage.
When adding the powdered sugar, add it in increments one cup and let the sugar completely combine before adding more.
The powdered sugar does two things. It thickens the frosting and it adds sweetness. Adding it in batches will help you find the right consistency and sweetness for your liking, without overdoing it.
If you want an even thicker consistency, used all 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar, plus 1/4 cup more.
You can use a piping bag to spread on the cream cheese frosting, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have the same firm consistency of regular frosting, so it’s not as easy to manage. To help out with this, put the frosting in a piping bag, then let it firm up in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
Can I Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting?
Cream cheese frosting freezes super well due to its high fat content. I always freeze the leftovers after I’ve frosted a cake. In my house, someone always discovers the leftovers while looking for ice cream and adds it as a topping to their dessert, or eats it right off the spoon.
It can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months and should be thawed in the refrigerator. Don’t set it on the counter to dethaw. And absolutely never try to thaw it in the microwave.
How to Use Cream Cheese Frosting
One of my favorite uses for cream cheese frosting is carrot cake, try our recipe. For some reason, the flavors in carrot cake just go especially well with this frosting. We also love this frosting on red velvet cake.
You can use it to frost just about any type of cake or cupcake. The frosting can be kept plain, but you can also make vibrant colors with food coloring. So you can get super creative and make any color frosting you like.
If you like coffee, you might want to try this Espresso Buttercream Frosting, too.
Other recipes to try
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Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter and beat on high speed until creamy and well blended.
- Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat on low until until completely incorporated – about 3 minutes, then beat on high for an additional 2 minutes.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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Jillian Morris is the resident baker for A Food Lover’s Kitchen. She started baking when she was very little and found she had a great passion for it. She is a high-schooler in a small town in Oregon, where she enjoys music, writing, and baking in her spare time.