Cream cheese frosting needs to be fluffy, super creamy, not too sweet, and just a little tangy. The tanginess of the cream cheese cuts the sweetness, which makes cream cheese frosting the perfect buttercream recipe. (In my humble opinion). With cream cheese frosting you never need to worry about getting a sugar headache like you can with regular buttercream – and it seriously tastes delicious on just about anything.
Making cream cheese frosting is actually really quite simple. There’s only 5 ingredients. However, there’s actually a lot of areas where things can take a turn for the worst and your frosting can go from thick and creamy to thin and grainy pretty easily. So don’t despair – I’m sharing with you ALL my tips for how to make cream cheese frosting that holds its shape so you can easily pipe it onto cupcakes and cakes.
Frosting is one of the most important parts of a cake and tends to be the best part, in my opinion. Every one needs great frosting recipes that they can work with and cream cheese frosting is a classic and must-have. It’s also quick easy to make and work with, if you have a great recipe and know how to make minor adjustments as needed.
To make cream cheese frosting, you’ll need your butter and cream cheese, which should basically be at room temperature. Keep in mind though that if you’re in a pretty warm climate, room temperature may be little too warm. So as you consider the right consistency for the butter and cream cheese, it should be a little cool to the touch, but soft enough that if poked, it makes an indention without your finger going straight through it.
As for ratio of butter to cream cheese, I use a little less butter and a little more cream cheese. If you’re going for a cream cheese frosting, I say really go for it. There’s not a big decrease in butter, but just enough to make sure it doesn’t steal the show.
- 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, 4 ounces, 115g), room temperature
- 8 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese (1 package, 224g), room temperature
- About 3 cups (360g) of powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar), sifted
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until completely smooth, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure that the mixture is mixed evenly.
- Beat in vanilla extract and powdered sugar: Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer running on low speed to start, slowly add in 2 cups of the powdered sugar.
- Powdered sugar has cornstarch in it that will thicken the frosting as well as making it sweet. Keeping adding more powdered sugar to the frosting until you get your desired level of sweetness and thickness.
- Spread or pipe the frosting to decorate: Use a blunt knife or spatula to spread the frosting, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag to decorate your cupcake or cake.
Here are some fun variations:
- Add 1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and a pinch of salt for a chocolate cream cheese frosting
- Mix freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut to the frosting to make a coconut frosting
- Intensify a vanilla frosting by adding some scrapings from a fresh vanilla bean to the frosting
- Add some blueberry syrup for blueberry cream cheese frosting
- Add a tablespoon of Amaretto or a quarter teaspoon of almond extract for an almond flavored cream cheese frosting