Cream Cheese Frosting

Quick and easy cream cheese frosting brought to you by guest author Garrett McCord, the cupcake king. ~Elise

Cream cheese frosting is a baking basic. It’s perfect for practically any cake and any leftovers are great dolloped onto some freshly cut fruit. This is the basic recipe, you can reduce the amount of butter if you want a bit more tang, and increase or decrease the sugar according to your taste. Dress up with ginger, vanilla bean, or coconut flakes. I’ve listed some of my favorite variations at the end of the recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar (also known as confectioner's sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


1 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.

2 Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer running, slowly add in 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.

3 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 a teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice for an exotic take for a chocolate cake
  • Add a little ground ginger to the frosting for a carrot cake
  • Finely grind some chai spice or earl grey tea and add that to the frosting
  • Intensify a vanilla frosting by adding some scrapings from a fresh vanilla bean to the frosting
  • Mix freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut to the frosting to make a coconut frosting

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Ginger cream cheese frosting from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks
Thai Ice tea cream cheese frosting from Cupcake Bake Shop
Bourbon caramel cream cheese frosting from Cupcake Bake Shop
Coconut cream cheese frosting from Molly of Orangette
Pumpkin cream cheese frosting from Culinary Concotions by Peabody

Cream Cheese Frosting


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Showing 4 of 69 Comments

  • jonathan

    OK, this is just flat-out weird.

    Five minutes ago I pulled out these exact ingredients to make frosting for some carrot cake bars for tonight’s Super Bowl party.

    I think I need to call the bookie and up my bet on tonight’s game ;-)

    Kidding. Remember kids – NEVER gamble. Even on office football pools.

  • Delilah Hinman

    I particularly like white chocolate cream cheese frosting. It tastes quite good on white chocolate cakes with fruit in the middle. Delish!

  • Barbara Hillmer

    I like adding grated orange or lemon peel to cream cheese frosting, with a little of the juice. Good on banana muffins, lemon cake, etc.

  • jennbec

    I love making cream cheese frosting with freshly grated ginger…elevates it to a whole new level of goodness!

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