When it comes to frosting, Butter Cream Cheese Frosting is one combination that stands out as an all-time favorite! This creamy, fluffy, and sweet topping has graced countless cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pastries.
Of all the frostings that I make, this is my daughters favorite frosting recipe! Only five ingredients are needed, so follow my step-by-step guide on how to make it, tips on storing it, creative ideas for what to make with it, and answers to some common questions.
Homemade cream cheese frosting (aka: cream cheese icing) is a delightful addition to a wide array of desserts, and it’s a must-know recipe for any baker. With its super creamy richness and balanced sweetness, it’s a crowd-pleaser that will transform your homemade treats into irresistible creations.
Whether you are frosting a cake for a special occasion or simply indulging in a cupcake. This frosting is sure to delight your taste buds!
Whip up a batch and let your culinary creativity shine! Get ready to elevate your baked goods to a whole new level!
I like to make cream cheese frosting to cover a carrot cake, pumpkin cupcakes, and red velvet cake!
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- Cream Cheese – Regular is best – Do not use cream cheese spread or reduced fat cream cheese
- Butter – Unsalted Butter or Salted Butter
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
Chef Sherry’s Cookbook
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Soften the Cream Cheese and Butter: Use one of these two methods to soften the butter and cream cheese. The first method is leaving both out at room temperature for up to 1 hour. The second method is the microwave using 10 to 30 second intervals to carefully soften them. Do not melt the butter or cream cheese!
2. Cream Together: Using a stand mixer with a flat paddle or a hand electric mixer with beaters, add the softened cream cheese and butter to a large bowl. Set on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until they are well combined. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula and then mix again. This will take about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the Remaining Ingredients: Add the vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and milk to the whipped cream cheese mixture. On low speed, mix all ingredients together until combined. Scrape the side of the mixing bowl with a spatula. Beat until the frosting is smooth and fluffy. You want a spreadable cream cheese frosting recipe.
4. Taste and Adjust: Give your frosting a taste. Do you want a thicker frosting? Add more powdered sugar if you would like a sweeter or firmer frosting. If the frosting is firmer than you would like and you want a runny frosting, add a touch of milk until the desired consistency is reached.
5. Frost: How much frosting will this make? There is enough cream cheese icing for a standard sheet cake, a layered cake, or 3 dozen cupcakes. Your frosting is ready to use. Spread on your carrot cake, red velvet cake, cupcakes, or any other baked goods. Get creative with a piping bag and decorating tip to add a professional touch!
Refrigerate Cream Cheese Frosting
Refrigeration is required when using butter cream cheese frosting! That means anything that you have frosted, needs to be refrigerated! I have a professional kitchen in my home that is inspected on a regular basis.
On one of those Michigan Department of Agriculture inspections, the first question she asked me was if I offered cream cheese frosting for my wedding cakes? My answer was “NO”, because I don’t have the proper refrigeration for storage, and I have to worry about keeping the cake cold until it is served to wedding guests.
Her response was, “Great Answer!” During another inspection, she said that if I wanted to use cream cheese frosting, I had to have the proper ratio of powdered sugar to cream cheese. But to offer it, I had to make a batch of frosting and send it in to be tested.
How to Store Cream Cheese Frosting
If you have extra frosting, this stores very well in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Place into an airtight container and cover the top of the frosting with a layer of plastic wrap to prevent drying out.
Remove from the refrigerator an hour before using and let it come to room temperature. If needed, re-whip to fluff up the frosting.
Want to make the cream cheese frosting up ahead of time? This is a great frosting to make ahead and store until ready to use.
Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting
You can freeze this cream cheese frosting recipe, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind to ensure it freezes and thaws properly. Make sure the frosting recipe is stored in an airtight container with minimal air exposure which can lead to freezer burn or change its texture.
Consider dividing the frosting into individual portions to make it easier to thaw. When it’s time to use the frozen cream cheese frosting, transfer it to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw slowly.
This might take several hours to overnight, depending on the size of the container. Once thawed, give the frosting a good stir or re-whip it with a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a flat paddle to restore its original creamy consistency.
You may need to add a little powdered sugar or a splash of milk to achieve the desired texture. Freezing the cream cheese frosting might change it slightly after thawing but re-mixing it should regain its ideal consistency.
Frozen cream cheese frosting can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to label the container with the proper name and date to keep track of its freshness.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
You can easily turn this classic cream cheese frosting recipe into a chocolate version by adding a half cup cocoa powder to the powdered sugar (aka: confectioners’ sugar) and mixing before adding to the cream cheese and butter mixture. If needed, add a splash of milk to achieve the right consistency.
What to Make with Homemade Frosting
Cream cheese frosting is incredibly versatile and can be used to elevate a wide range of desserts. Use leftover frosting to top other desserts.
- Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies: Pipe decorative designs on the top.
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies: Frost your favorite cookies with cream cheese frosting, then decorate with colorful sprinkles or edible glitter.
- Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe: Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes for a classic and delightful combination.
- Fruit Cookie Pizza: Spread a thin layer across the whole top.
- Cinnamon Rolls: Smear frosting over warm, freshly baked cinnamon rolls for an extra layer of sweetness.
More Frosting Recipes
I love making different frostings! Making the perfect frosting for that perfect cake you just made will take your cake to another level and have your guests begging for more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use salted butter when making cream cheese frosting?
Yes! I prefer to use salted butter and not use any salt. Salt tends to not dissolve during the mixing process, leaving salt grains when eating.
Can you color cream cheese frosting?
Yes, you can add icing coloring to achieve the desired color for you frosting. Gel food coloring works well and won’t thin out the frosting.
Can I Add Flavors to Cream Cheese Frosting?
Yes, add other liquid flavors in place of the vanilla extract. Start by adding a few drops and taste before adding more. Lemon juice is not a flavoring that I recommend as it will add a tangy flavor.
- Cream Cheese 8 ounces
- Salted Butter 1/2 cup
- Powdered Sugar 4 cups
- Milk 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
- Soften the cream cheese and butter using one of these two methods. The first method is leaving both out at room temperature for an hour. The second method is to use the microwave with 10 to 30 second intervals to carefully soften them. Do not melt the cream cheese or butter!
- Cream both together using a stand mixer with a flat paddle or a hand electric mixer with beaters, add the softened cream cheese and butter to a large bowl. Set on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until they are combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then mix again. This will take about 3 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and milk to the whipped cream cheese mixture. On low speed, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Scrape the side of the mixing bowl. Beat until the frosting is smooth. You want a spreadable cream cheese frosting recipe that is not too thick.
- Frost: How much icing will this make? There is enough cream cheese frosting for a standard sheet cake, a layered cake, or 2 dozen cupcakes. Spread on your carrot cake, red velvet cake, cupcakes, or any other baked goods. Get creative with a piping bag and decorating tip to add a professional touch!
Amount Per Serving Calories 139Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 20mgSodium 61mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 0gSugar 18gProtein 1g
Note: For exact nutritional information, consult your dietitian. All nutritional information is simply a guideline.
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