Sweet and tangy, this perfectly balanced Cream Cheese Frosting is wonderful for almost any sweet treat, tell your taste buds to get ready!
We think about the history of a lot of foods, but often icings and frostings aren’t one of them, which had me searching to find out how cream cheese frosting came to be.
Though it’s thought it may have come from European cultures as they have cream cheesecakes, the first printed recipe is attributed to the United States in the 1960s, paired with Carrot Cake.
Which my cream cheese frosting recipe would work amazingly well with! And when you combine it with my carrot bundt cake, it’s a win-win.
And if you’re looking for more than carrot cake to enjoy it on… I have plenty of other delicious treats that go well with this frosting recipe such as Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes or my Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes and be sure to take a look at these if you love coffee!
But it’s not just for cake! Cookies and scones can be livened up with cream cheese frosting too!
To begin a quick Baker’s Note: You’ll want to be sure the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature, it doesn’t mix well when it’s cold and will produce a lumpy texture. Placing the butter and cream cheese on the counter for 30 minutes before you plan on mixing the frosting is what I recommend.
For mixing, I use a beater blade and stand mixer, but any mixer will work. Use what you have on hand.
Now let’s get to it!
Place the room temperature cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and whip it until it’s smooth, then add the butter and whip again until combined and smooth.
Reduce speed to low and gradually add in the powdered sugar to avoid a powdered sugar cloud.
Next, drizzle in the heavy cream as you increase the speed slowly, once combined add in the vanilla extract.
Whip it on high. The frosting should be fluffy, smooth, and silky, if not continue to whip.
Next, a consideration for salt – you can add a little more salt to balance the sweetness.
If you prefer a sweeter frosting then leave it as is.
Sometimes you have a sweet tooth that only chocolate can cure! Fear not, using the same recipe as above, you can alter it to make a chocolate frosting that dreams are made of!
For chocolate cream cheese frosting:
Reduce the powdered sugar by:
- small batch 1/4 cup
- medium batch 1/2 cup
- large batch 1 cup
Then add the same reduced amount of cocoa powder to the recipe, for instance: Small batch ¼ cup and so on.
Frosting recipes can be easily adjusted, if you want them thinner to maybe pour over a bundt cake, reduce the powdered sugar and add a little more heavy cream.
If you need it thicker, you can add more powdered sugar. This is helpful if you’ll be piping it on.
A note on hot weather:
The warmer the temperature is the softer this frosting will be, there are a few things you can do. You may add more powdered sugar to make it a little thicker, you can refrigerate your frosting to drop the temperature, which will help it stay firmer or you can go ahead and apply the frosting and put the cake/cupcakes/cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm the frosting up.
If you’re looking for a thinner cream cheese “glaze” be sure to take a look at this recipe.
Inquiring minds would like to know!
Can I mix this by hand?
You could. It will take some muscle to whip it up, but it can be done. I don’t recommend melting the cheese or butter down – just let them sit at room temperature for a while. You’ll need a good whisk like this one. Use a large bowl to mix it in, it’ll give you more surface area to spread the ingredients around to blend them well.
What about a non-dairy option, or a cream cheese free option?
I don’t often use substitutes, but you can use dairy-free cream cheese, and it works just as well. Or I have an Alternative Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe… It’s amazing!
What’s the difference between buttercream frosting and cream cheese frosting?
Buttercream is richer and smoother where cream cheese frosting is lighter in richness and incredibly creamy. Both are great options, and I happen to have other great frosting recipes like this American buttercream recipe and a delectable Italian buttercream frosting.
And if you like PUMPKIN, give this pumpkin cream cheese recipe a try, it’s delicious.
there are three options in the printable recipe,
you can make a small batch, a medium batch, or a large batch, and each gives examples of how much you’ll need depending on what you’ll be using in on.
- 2 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup (2 oz) butter
- Tiny pinch salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 2-4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 oz cream cheese
- ½ cup (4 oz) butter
- Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 4-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream (or milk) heavy cream whips up nicer and thicker
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup butter (8 oz, ½ pound)
- Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 8-10 cups powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- The ingredient list gives a range of powdered to add depending on how soft or thick you'd like the frosting, to slather with a spatula or pipe on. For spreading on a cake or cupcakes you can use less powdered sugar, the frosting will be soft, if you want it thick to pipe on or to create a peak at the top of spreading on desserts more powdered sugar will allow that. Add 1/4-1/2 cup more than the beginning measurement and mix well to create the consistency you will prefer to work with, If the frosting gets too thick, add a little more heavy cream and mix well.
- Be sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, it doesn’t mix well when it’s cold (it will be lumpy)
- Placing the butter and cream cheese on the counter for 30 minutes before you plan on mixing the frosting is what I recommend.
- I use a beater blade and stand mixer, but any mixer will work.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and whip it until it’s smooth, then add the butter and whip that until it’s smooth.
- Pour in the powdered sugar, and begin mixing on low, drizzle in the heavy cream as you increase the speed slowly as the frosting mixes.
- Add in the vanilla extract.
- When all the powdered sugar is combined you can whip it on high.
- The frosting should be fluffy, smooth, and silky.
- If you need it thicker, you can add more powdered sugar. This is helpful if you’ll be piping it on.
- This is where the salt comes into consideration, you can add a little more salt to balance the sweetness.
- *If you do not like salt, do not add it.
- Add cocoa powder to the recipe and reduce the powdered sugar by that amount, (small batch 1/4 cup, medium batch ½ cup, large batch 1 cup)
- Frosting recipes can be easily adjusted, if you want them thinner, maybe to pour over a bundt cake, reduce the powdered sugar and add a little more heavy cream, or add some warm water to the frosting to thin it so it’s more of a thick glaze.
- *The warmer the temperature is the softer this frosting will be, there are a few things you can do, add more powdered sugar to make it a little thicker,
- You can then apply the frosting and put the cake/cupcakes. Cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm the frosting up (all the mixing softens it and “warms it up”).
If you are more of a chocolate kind of person,
you may prefer this…..
I just did one really similar to this… and I have to tell ya, its all I think about! I used to love buttercream, now I am ALL about the cream cheese!
The combination of both is the BEST!
Your cupcake is beautiful with that delicious cream cheese frosting swirled on top with a few teasers of chocolate chips.
Personally, I feel that the frosting should just compliment the cake not overtake it. Unless of course the cake is not at it's best and really needs help 🙂
p.s. anymore of your Mom's Blueberry Pie left? (hint hint)
Michelle @ Flying Giggles says
Cream cheese frosting is by far my favorite type and I am always using it when we make cakes/cupcakes.
~Carrie from Cottage Cozy~ says
Sounds like it was a hit!
How many cupcakes can you frost with this recipe?
The Captain's Daughter says
Your cupcakes look amazing! Do tell… which tip is it that you used to pipe your icing onto the cupcakes? I love that poof!!
Great frosting recipe..thanks! Your cupcakes look amazing:) I personally like both the cake and the frosting together, but my family loves the frosting better for sure. They would be all over the frosting shots..lol
Thank you, Thank you, Diane! FINALLY…..the frosting of my dreams! You have no idea how happy this makes me…..Susan 🙂
mmmm mmmmmm MMMMMMMMM! ok, I'm ready to earn the calories for these cupcakes and that pie! they sound fabulous! thanks so much for sharing!!
Hello. Don’t you think 1 lb of butter is too much here?
I was thinking the same thing
There are a few options I give for portions, it will all depend on how much frosting you’ll need for the dessert you’re using it for. If you have 36 cupcakes or a three-layer cake you’ll need quite a bit of frosting. You can easily reduce the frosting to a smaller portion as I mention.
There are a few options I give for portions, it will all depend on how much frosting you’ll need for the dessert you’re using it for. If you have 36 cupcakes or a three layer cake you’ll need quite a bit of frosting. You can easily reduce the frosting to a smaller portion as I mention.